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You might think I am going to provide you with the usual list of funny nicknames that Romans use to give to their family and friends. And yet, if you follow us and got to know well enough Rome and Romans, you should have learned that the creativity of this amazing people goes far beyond usual boundaries. As a matter of fact, in Rome even monuments and neighbourhoods have their nicknames.

Er cuppolone. Ok, this one was easy, being one of the symbols of Rome, along with the Colosseo (another nickname, by the way, since its real name is Anfiteatro Flavio). And if you think about it, calling this enormous, white church “the big cupole” is far more expressive than referring to it with the name of a (yet most prestigious) saint.

‘A machina da scrive – ‘a torta nuzziale – ‘a dentiera – er calamaio. It is impressive how many nicknames this controversial monument has been able to inspir during the last 100 years: in order, “the typewriter”, “the wedding cake”, “the denture”, “the inkwell”. Originally buit to commemorate the fallen soldiers of IWW, theVittoriano gained consideration among Romans for its distinctive shape, which in the opinion of many stands completely unrelated to the urbanistic landscape of Piazza Venezia.

Er Colosseo quadrato. colosseo_quadrato

Being the symbol of EUR, the vast neighbourhood that Mussolini had built for the Universal Exposition of 1941, thePalazzo della Civiltà Italiana is indeed a rationalist reinterpretation of the famous amphitheater. With the usual perspicacity, Romans have been able to syntethize the main carachteristic of this architectural structure in just two words (“the squared Colosseum”). Chapeau.

Er Palazzaccio. On the right hand side of Castel S. Angelo stands this huge white building, once the central Courthouse and now home of the Supreme Court. Its nickname, formed by the addition of the pejorative suffix -accio to the nounpalazzo (“palace”), is due to its humongous size and to the fact that the entire palace seems built using rough stones.

L’Orinatoio. Parental advisory: here’s an example of how Roman people can become amusingly blasphemous. Whoever had the chance to take a train from Termini Station, surely noticed this bizarre statue of John Paul II, which have been inspiring jokes and laughs since its inauguration, in 2011. To understand why Romans use to call it “the urinal”, a quick look at this awful example of modern sculpture is more than enough…oliviero-rainaldi-beato-giovanni-paolo-ii-8


As you might imagine, this list if far from being exhaustive. There are many more statues (er Pasquino, er Babbuino, l’Abbate Luiggi, er Marforio), buildings (er Dado, ‘a Scala Santa,er Fontanone) and even neighbourhoods (‘a Subburra) that could have been part of it. Is there anything like this in your city? Reply in the comments! 😉

by Enrico Piciarelli teacher@ Italian teacher at Kappa Language school

Read more:

English pronunciation by Italian speakers

Any given Christmas in Italy

Croce e delizia, Rome and its public transportation

Zuppa Romana & Luca Toni

Cooking Italian, thou shalt not put pineapple on your pizza

Italian Pronunciation

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At 13ft (4.6m) high, it certainly won’t go by unnoticed on one of the most fashionable streets in the capital.

The sculpture features a vintage Fiat 500 – the first car the 44-year-old Italian ever bought – and an oversized aluminium hand modelled from his son.

Read more: Metro.co.uk

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To master the prepositions you need a lot of practice, try with this activity.

First combine the 10 definite articles with the basic prepositions and then fill the gaps in the following 6 phrases.

Buon lavoro, Antonio

Preposizioni articolate

di + le =

di + i =

a + le =

su + l’=

su + gli =


da + il  =

a+i =

in + il =

a+il =

Usa le preposizioni articolate per completare l’esercizio

  1. Oggi andiamo _______ Musei Vaticani.
  2. Voglio vedere il Museo ________ cere.
  3. Il prezzo______________biglietti è 3 euro.
  4. Le rose sono _______ soggiorno.
  5. Esco di casa _______ otto.
  6. I miei libri sono _______ zaino.

Have you got a question for us? Email it to antonio.lucicesare@gmail.com

Articoli Determinativi
il al dal del nel sul
lo allo dallo dello nello sullo
l’ all’ dall’ dell’ nell’ sull’
i ai dai dei nei sui
gli agli dagli degli negli sugli
la alla dalla della nella sulla
l’ all’ dall’ dell’ nell’ sull’
le alle dalle delle nelle sulle


Check now here : combined prepositions from www.ilearnitalian.net

Study Italian in Italy

Trova l’errore e cambia o aggiungi la preposizione quando necessario

  1. La colazione è compresa nello prezzo della camera.
  2. Per arrivare sull’università vai dritto e poi alla prima strada a sinistra.
  3. L’ufficio postale è davanti alla ristorante greco.
  4. L’edicola è accanto allo supermercato.
  5. C’ è un parcheggio vicino al stazione?
  6. Vado per prendere una pizza, vuoi qualcosa?
  7. Ti piace giocare il calcio?
  8. Appena finisco lavorare ti chiamo e organizziamo qualcosa per stasera.
  9. Davanti di Duomo c’ è un albergo molto carino e non è tanto costoso.
  10. Cerco per gli occhiali da un’ora, sai dove si trovano?
  11. La farmacia è fra il teatro e la chiesa

Have you got a question for us? Email it to antonio.lucicesare@gmail.com

More on prepositions: fill the gaps1fill the gap 2 and fill the gaps 3

Learn Italian and practice basic Italian grammar with more activities on Italian prepositions: ….1… …2.., …3… 

Click here for basic prepositions

Listen, learn and sing

learning italian blog

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original title: DOPO MEZZANOTTE
directed by: Davide Ferrario
cast: Giorgio Pasotti, Francesca Inaudi, Fabio Troiano, Francesca Picozza
Venue: Italian Cultural Institute, 39 Belgrave Square London SW1X 8NX

Martino is the night guardian of the Mole, the Turin Museum of Cinema. But for him it’s not just a job. From midnight on he considers himself the master of the place. He spends his life watching the old silent movies until day comes, and then retiring to an abandoned office in the building to spend the rest of the day. The Angel is a petty thief from the outskirts of the city. He likes cars and girls. This does not make Amanda, his girlfriend, very happy. She would like to lead a regular life and she works hard to leave her tough neighborhood, but she is afraid she never will. One day Amanda gets into trouble and, running from the police, finds shelter in the Mole. Martino and Amanda could not be more different. He is used to loneliness – and now he has to share his pad with a girl. On the other hand, she never thought a dreamland like the Mole could exist. Slowly, something happens between them. But then it’s time for the Angel to go find his girlfriend. Their lives tangle up like one of the silent dramas Martino is so fond of.

In Italian with English Subtitles

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An exhibition of paintings and drawings by Italian artist, Pordenone Montanari, will take place at the Italian Cultural Institute in London from 21st September 2010.

A series of over fifty of Montanari’s witty, modernist works, selected from a much larger cache of paintings and drawings found in a remote villa in the Piedmont region of Italy, will be displayed, on loan from the private art collection of the venture capital firm, DAR Capital.

From The Guardian : The art of Pordenone Montanari

Date: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 – Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Opening times: Monday – Friday: 10am – 8pm; Sa – Sun:10am – 4pm

Venue: Italian Cultural Institute , 39 Belgrave Square, SW1X 8NX

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