First snow . . .

I want to celebrate the first snow of 2012 with a poesia (poem) by Annabella Mele.

The Italian poetess Annabella Mele lives in Novara, Italy. Annabella is registered with the board of Writers of the Gruppo Cultura Italia (Italy Culture Group).  In 2000 she published  “Poesie“, a collection of poems. Her poems are also present in several Anthologies. She has been recognized with many literary awards.

Annabella has a very special place in my hearth, she is my sister-in-law and godmother but, she is even more than that.

Through the year I will be posting her beautiful poems. It will be my personal way to thank her to be part of my life.

I am experimenting with audio (I hope it works!),  you can listen to the poem in Italian while following the text and then read the English translation at the bottom of the post.

I hope you will enjoy the poem and the first snow of the year!

Original Italian version


L’ho visto arrivare da lontano,

col passo incerto,

la barba rigida dal gelo,

gli occhi lacrimanti,

avvolto in un grigio pastrano,

le cioce ben strette ai polpacci.

Portava con sé un ricco bagaglio

di dolci nenie e soffuse melodie,

di lunghe notti trascorse a raccontare,

di fumi dai comignoli delle case,

di effluvi pungenti di resina bruciata,

di profumi inebrianti di mandorle e

di caldarroste, di passeri zampettanti sul suolo,

di stagni riverberanti e compatti,

di passi frettolosi e voci ovattate,

nei vicoli e nelle strade,

di densi vapori nelle osterie,

di gatti accovacciati accanto ai camini,

di sagome esili,

dietro i vetri appannati,

di anziani e bambini.

Ha soggiornato a lungo, Inverno,

dormendo all’addiaccio,

incurante dei venti e delle bufere,

poi… al calore dei primi raggi,

si è dileguato in silenzio…

come fa al sole un pupazzo di ghiaccio.

English translation


I saw it coming from far away,

with an uncertain step,

the beard stiff frost,

teary eyes,

wrapped in a gray cape,

the cioce[i] well tied to his calf.

It was bringing a rich baggage

of sweet lullabies and soft melodies,

of long nights spent telling

of smoke coming from the house’s chimneys,

of pungent scents of burned resin,

of heady fragrance of almonds and roasted chestnuts,

of sparrows scampering on the soil,

of reflecting and solid ponds,

of hurried steps and felted voices

in the alleys and the streets,

of dense fumes in the taverns,

of cats squatting by the fireplace,

of slender silhouettes,

of elderly and children,

behind the fogged windows.

It stayed long, Winter,

sleeping in the bivouac,

unmindful of the winds and storms,

then… with the warmth of the first rays,

it has silently faded…

as does an icy snowman in the sun.


Learning the Italian Language

Benvenuti (Welcome) to my first blog of 2012!

It is time to share with you My beautiful language. If you have been following my blog you should have learned many Italian words and expressions.

Just in case you have not been paying attention I have compiled a list of all the Italian words and expressions used in My December blogs.

The words and expressions are grouped into categories.

I hope you will find this useful.


Limone Lemon
Biscotti All kind of hard cookies
Torrone Nugget
Nocciole Hazelnut
Frutta secca Dry fruit
Insalata Salad
Insalata di rinforzo A marinated vegetable and
cauliflower salad
Baccalà Salted cod-fish
Pizzelle Neapolitan fried dough
Pasta cresciuta A type of pizza dough
Capitone Female adult eel
Gamberi Shrimps
Cozze Mussels
Vongole Clams
Calamari Squids
Frutti di mare Sea Food
Calamarata Type of pasta
Spumante Italian sparkling wine
Zampone Mixture of ground pork,
pork rinds, and spices
stuffed into a boned pig’s foreleg
Cotechino Big sausage  made with a  pork rinds,
mixture of ground pork,
and spices
Lenticchie Lentils
Struffoli Neapolitan dessert typical of Christmas
Mostaccioli Neapolitan large cookies typical of Christmas
Limoncello Lemon liqueur of the Amalfi coast
Frutta Fruit
Dolce Dessert
Cucina Kitchen
Ricetta Recipe
Pranzo Lunch
Cena Dinner/supper
Cenone (della Vigilia) Big dinner
(on Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve)
Contorno Appetizer
Primo Piatto First course
Secondo Piatto Second course
Contorno Side dish
Far saltare la pasta Make the pasta jump – lightly fry
Pasta al dente Pasta must still have a little bite
Brindisi Toast
Buon Natale Merry Christmas
Buon Anno or  Felice Anno Nuovo Happy New Year
Benvenuti! Welcome!
Natale Christmas
Capodanno New Year’s Day
Vigilia di Natale Christmas Eve
San Silvestro St. Sylvester – New Year’s Eve
Veglione di San Silvestro New Year’s Eve Party
Babbo Natale Father Christmas/ Santa Clause
Zampognari Shepherds, from the mountains of
Abruzzi, who during the two weeks prior
to Christmas travel from house to house
often to play Christmas music
on their bagpipes.
Feste Natalizie Christmas Holiday Season
Presepe Nativity scene/crèche
Vigilia Eve
Re Magi Three Wise Men
Bambino Gesù Baby Jesus
Madonna Virgin Mary
Pastori Shepherds (In the Nativity scene it
refers to all the figures in the scene)
Mangiatoia Manger
Albero di Natale Christmas tree
Addobbato Trimmed/decked up
Parole Words
Espressioni Expressions
Mezzanotte Midnight
Botti Fireworks and firecrackers
Amici Friends
Notte Night
Bambino Child
Chiesa Church
Passeggiare To go for a stroll
Pizzaiolo Pizza maker
Mercato Open market
Confusion Confusion
Buonissimo! Very, very good!
Che delizia! How delicious!
Ospiti Guests
Zia Aunt
Pompieri Firemen
Il ponte The bridge (literally), it also means
that if a holiday falls on a Thursday or
a Tuesday, they bridge the holidays
taking off from work and school the
extra day in between.

Wow, these are a lot of words! You will have a lot to practice. Have fun!

If you live in Frederick County (MD), Motgmomery County (MD), Washington Metropolitan Area and the Princeton (NJ) Area and you are interested in Italian language classes visit my website  You will also find information on cooking classes and traveling in Italy.