Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Bergamo – Coronavirus – Street Sign Language Lesson XXXI

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Via Pignolo Alta, Piazzetta del Delfino with Sant'Alessandro looking down from the belltower, powerless to do anything.Doors of a palazzo with messages of hope tutto andrà bene.
Left: Via Pignolo Alta, Piazzetta del Delfino with Sant'Alessandro looking down from the belltower, powerless to help against an invisible invader. Right: Doors of a palazzo with messages of hope tutto andrà bene.

March 24, 2020. Home. Again. The fourth day without even opening our apartment door. The last set of restrictions removed jogging as a possibility: physical activity, even individually is now banned. We had been jogging in the early morning, encountering no one and running on the back roads behind Bergamo. We felt it was safer than buying groceries which puts you much more in contact with people.

To be honest, the reasons for the tightening of the restrictions especially the part about exercise aren't entirely clear to us. Perhaps some people had been abusing and interpreting the part permitting personal exercise a little too liberally and now the permission has to be removed altogether? There is a strong, unwritten sense if someone is outside without a valid reason then it's not fair to others. Reciprocal obligations in a society. What a thought.

Before the total ban on exercise, we experienced some shaming from friends when we told them we went for a morning jog - and it was still allowed! There are fines if caught out without a valid reason, but besides that, the embarrassment would be unbearable. Now, we jog in place in our apartment.

However the new restrictions came to be, we accept them. It's the right thing to do to stop transmission.

The staying-at-home bit is a bit draining but manageable. Days blends together. The quiet streets are an unexpected positive of the lock down. No more straining Piaggio Apes sounding like they are stuck in the wrong gear or noisy Motorcross motorcycles with whiny 2-stroke engines. Just the occasional footfall of someone walking quickly.

We need groceries. We get suited up: list, masks, gloves, disinfectant, and verbal reminders: don't touch our faces. We are shopping for us and a quarantined couple in our building. When we call to ask what they need, he sounds disoriented and out of it. He passes the phone to his wife and we try to make sure we understand the exact products she is asking for. "Would that be disinfectant for the house or the hands?" "What is the name of the artificial sweetener again?" A day later he would be taken to the hospital.

We exit. Ironically, as soon as we are out, we want to run back home.  Almost everyone wears a mask. Every cough or sign of heavy breathing throws us into suspicious mode. We are afraid to sniff or cough for fear someone will cast us a look. Sneezing is out of the question.

Ever try opening one of those plastic produce bags with gloves on? You know the type that stick together? We are in the PAM supermarket and my face is hot with the mask on and I'm sweating. I want to lick my finger like I usually do to get the two sides of the bag apart so I can put my fruit inside it but I absolutely must not.

Going to get groceries is permitted, as well as trips to the pharmacy or doctor, and strangely getting a newspaper. A locked-in older friend asks for the equivalent of the TV Guide if she knows we are going out. We haven't heard from here in a day. Note to self: we need to call Lola. We miss her bawdy jokes delivered with impeccable timing. We used to sit together in Bar Papavero and get them in person. It seems like ages ago that we had a coffee there whereas it was just a few weeks ago it closed like all other establishments. We must content ourselves with Lola's jokes over the phone.

These photos were taken on via Pignolo and via San Tomaso - our normal routes to the necessities.

`Messages of hope: everything is gonna be alright -  tutto andrà bene.Messages of hope: everything is gonna be alright -  tutto andrà bene.Messages of hope: everything is gonna be alright -  tutto andrà bene.
Messages of hope: everything is gonna be alright -  tutto andrà bene.

Tutto andrà bene
"Everything is going to be fine"

This is a message of hope seen up and down streets, produced by kids and their families. We love to see them. The phrase uses the future tense of the verb andare - to go andrà.

Mantenere una distanza di almeno 1 metro dalle altre persone presenti in negozio.

Mantenere una distanza di almeno 1 metro dalle altre persone presenti in negozio. Attendere il proprio turno all'esterno, prendendo il numero, se in negozio sono già presenti 3 persone.
"Maintain a distance of at least 1 meter with other people in the store. Wait your turn outside, taking a number if there are already 3 people in the store."

This sign was posted on the door Ol Formager (cheese is essential!). It's a good example of how Italians tend to write in block letters (see Lo Stampatello: How Italians Write). It's also a complicated sign. Should go in and take a ticket and then go back outside and wait? Or wait outside and then go in and take a ticket?

The phrase attendere il proprio torno - is a stock phrase to say "wait your turn". What we can never figure out is how to choose between the imperative infinite or imperative informal. (Formal imperative would almost never be used in a sign like this.) Here, they have chosen the imperative infinitive, often used when giving instructions and a message given generically (destinatario generico). So it's mantenere instead of maintieni/maintenete and attendere instead of attendi / attendete. Let's just say we would be paralyzed when asked to make this sign.

Avviso importante - viste le nuove misure di contenimento

Avviso importante - viste le nuove misure di contenimento...
"Important notice - given the new restrictions..."

The sign appears outside of "La Botiga" but apparently the official name of this shop is Panetteria Burini. Didn't know that.

The interesting language element here is viste, from the verb vedere. The sense is "seeing that". Some other examples are: viste le circostanze - under the circumstances, vista la situazione - given the situation, visto il parere - regarding the opinion, and visti i problemi - considering the problems.

Caro studente, come saprai stiamo vivendo un momento molto particolare

Caro studente, come saprai stiamo vivendo un momento molto particolare in cui le notizie sul Coronavirus si susseguno creando una situazione caotica.
"Dear student, as you already know we are going through a challenging time in which the reports about coronavirus follow one after the other creating a chaotic situation."

This sign was on the My English School on via Pignolo. Of course, I was curious to see this sign produced by a language school and it didn't disappoint.

The first point of interest is the use of come saprai. Why simple future? Why not come sai - using present indicative? To the best of our ability, we believe this to be a modal use of the future tense, that is, a use that doesn't have a temporal sense. The use of future expresses a supposition on the part of the writer, a kind way of say "as you would or might already know". The grammatica-italiana site has a discussion of different modal uses of the future tense.

The second point of interest in the language used in this sign is the phrase vivendo un momento. The first temptation we would have is to write that like vivendo in un momento. Is there a difference? We think that, with the preposition in it means you are living in a time, a bit detached. Without in it means you are experiencing it first person. More skin in the game.

Finally, si susseguono. The verb is susseguire - to come in succession or follow one another. To make the translation work better, we need to translate le notizie not as "news" but as "reports".  Then the sense of reports following one another makes sense...we hope.

In ottemperanza al decreto anti-coronavirus, l'esercizio rimarrà chisuo fino a data da destinarsi!

In ottemperanza al decreto anti-coronavirus, l'esercizio rimarrà chisuo fino a data da destinarsi!
"In compliance with the anti-coronavirus measures, this shop will remained closed until a date to be determined."

This sign was on the gelateria next to our favorite piadina shops, Squacquerone & Rucola, on via Pignolo. This sign includes one of our new Italian words of 2020, ottemperanza - compliance.  A common confusion is the use of esercizio which can mean practice/scope, exercise/workout, or business/shop.

È un sacrificio necessario.

È un sacrificio necessario. Siamo convinti che solamente con il contributo di tutti risolveremo la difficile situazione.
"It's a necessary sacrifice. We are convinced that only with everyone's contribution will we resolve this difficult situation."

What a positive message! We are in this together. The phrase siamo convinti or in the singular sono convinto - "I'm convinced" can be followed the present subjunctive or the simple future as in this case, risolveremo - future simple of risolvere. Remember the future tense has one M and the conditional two, which would be risolveremmo - "we would resolve".

L'enoteca rimane chiusa.

L'enoteca rimane chiusa. Il rispetto delle regole è l'unica arma che abbiamo.
"This wine shop is closed. Compliance with the rules is the only weapon we have."

Another positive message and solidarity. Respect - il rispetto - in this phrase is better read as compliance withe the rules.

Gentile cliente. la situazione sanitaria ci impone di prendere misure drastiche

Gentile cliente. la situazione sanitaria ci impone di prendere misure drastiche che ci obbligano per il benessere vostro e nostro e dover chiudere l'attività fino al 16/3/20. Siamo sicuri che questa scelta verrà favorevolmente accolta e confidiamo di rivedervi presto.
"Dear customer, the health situation requires us to take drastic measures that require us for your well-being and ours and to have to close our business until 16/3/20. We are sure that this choice will be looked upon favorably and we trust to see you again soon."

Okay, like who are we to criticize, but this closure sign is a bit wordy and to our ears there is a bit of "we are forced to do this and we would rather not" underlying the message. Ci impone - "we are required" or "compels us". Ci obbligano - "require us" or "compel us".  Dover chiudere - "we must close" in a forced sense.

Se in questo periodo preferite stare a casa

Se in questo periodo preferite stare a casa, persone anziane in primis, offro la mia disponabilità a far la spesa o altre commissioni ovviamente tutto gratis.
"If in this period, you prefer to stay at home, above all the elderly, I'm offering my availability to get groceries and other small errands, obviously free of charge."

It's nice to see people offering there services to help out others in these stressful times. in primis - is a Latin phrase meaning "the first place" or "above all". persone anziane - can be older people, elderly people, or older persons. Speaking of the phrase stare a casa, a common message and hashtag during the Coronavirus pandemic here in Italy is #iostoacasa - "I stay home" though in English it reads better to say "I'm staying home".

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Bergamo – Coronavirus – Street Sign Language Lesson XXX

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In this post of the Street Sign Language Lesson series, we are a few days into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The "red zones" were a few isolated communities in Lombardia, then all of Lombardia and other provinces, and now all of Italy. We mostly stay inside - as instructed - and keep ourselves busy, reaching out to friends virtually. When we venture outside, it's to get food or exercise, maintaining a distance between us and others.

Here are a few signs we've seen in the lead up to and after the lockdown. There are a few new vocabulary words and phrases to be sure:  avviso, disposizione, ottemperanza, asembramento, decreto, patologia, and inibito. Read on to find out what these are.

A2A Energia - Bergamo

Seduta inibita. In ottemperanza alle disposizione del decreto legge del 02.03.2020 - per consentire la distanza minima di 1 metro tra le persone.
"Seat blocked. In compliance with the legislative decree of 02.03.2020 - to allow the minimum distance between people."

An inhibited seat? No, a blocked seat. This sign was seen in the a2a offices before the total lockdown went into effect. The seats are blocked off in such a way to maintain distance between people. This day, no one was fighting down to sit. In fact, we were the only ones there.

A sign in Bergamo offering help for those at home

Avviso: per tutte le persone con più di 70 anni o con patologie.
"Notice: For all people over 70 or with illnesses"

This sign offering help to those who wanted to remain at home. Help to get groceries (fare la spesa) or do small errands (comissioni). patologia here is used to mean an illness. We have the English word pathology, which is used to mean the study of the causes or effects of a disease, illness or injury.

This church is for praying only - no tourists.

Avviso: La Basilica resterà aperta tutti i giorni dalle 9 alle 15 solo per la preghiera personale. Sono vietate le visite turistiche.
"Notice: The basilica will remain open every day from 9 to 3 for private prayer only. Tourism forbidden."

This warning was issued before Italy went into total lockdown. Now this church is closed completely.

Due to coronavirus the funiculars are not running today

Emergenza coronoavirus: Il servizio delle Funicolari di Città è sospeso fino a nuove disposizioni.
"Cornavirus emergency: Funicular service is suspended until further notice."

It's funicolari, plural, because there are two funicular railways in Bergamo - just a little insider tip for you dear reader. The rest of the notice (see photo) says that you can take the number 1 bus and while that is true, just walk! To get the the upper city, walking is not that hard.

The natural science museum is closed

Avviso: In ottemperanza alle disposizioni contenute nel decreto ministeriale dell'9 marzo 2020 relativo alle misure di contenimento di COVID 19, questo museo rimarrà chiuso fino a prossime disposizioni.
"Notice: In compliance with the provisions contained in the ministerial decree of March 9, 2020 relating to the containment of COVID 19, this museum will remain closed until further notice."

This notice was for the Museo Civico di Scienze Naturali E. Caffi di Bergamo in Bergamo Alta, in Piazza della Cittadella. This really is a wonderful museum. You are greeted by a huge woolly mammoth and her baby that was dug up in a nearby valley.

Table service only

Il servizio al banco è sospeso, solo servizio ai tavoli.
"Bar service is suspended, only table service."

Again, this sign was photographed before the drastic measures went into effect and it was enough to keep your distance.

Waiting for victory over coronavirus

Chiuso...fino alla vittoria sul Corona V.
"Closed until victory over the coronavirus.

"In Italian, virus is masculine in gender, and so is coronavirus the compound word.

Don't create groups outside this bar

Si prega di non creare assembramenti fuori dal locale.
"Kindly do not create groups outside the bar."

An assembramento is a group of people but with the sense of a "thick" or "throng".

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Working with Sphinx Extensions and Building to DocFx Output

DocFx output using Sphinx .yml files and Sphinx extensions
DocFx output using Sphinx .yml files and Sphinx extensions


The previous Sphinx/DocFx posts are:

In those posts, we talked about the Sphinx conf.py configuration file for configuring Sphinx to use extensions. An extension is simply a Python module that can be used to extend Sphinx functionality. We used the "sphinx.ext.autodoc" extension to get docstring comments from Python files and we used the "docfx_yaml.extension" extension to instruct Sphinx to export YAML files. In the Sphinx to DocFx post, we had a conf.py file with:

extensions = ["sphinx.ext.autodoc",  "docfx_yaml.extension"]

In this post, we'll discuss two more extensions you can use so that the we have:

extensions = ["sphinx.ext.autodoc", "sphinx.ext.intersphinx", 
              "sphinx.ext.extlinks", "docfx_yaml.extension"]

sphinx.ext.autodoc Import modules for documentation, including pulling in content from docstrings.

docfx_yaml.extension An exporter for the Sphinx autodoc module to produce YAML files for use with DocFX. Seems to need to be at the end of the extensions list. Order is important. The docfx extension needs to be at the end. 
sphinx.ext.intersphinx Generate automatic links to the documentation in other projects like Python base classes. Depends on variable intersphinx_mapping variable in conf.py. See the interpret community repo for an example.

sphinx.ext.extlinks Allows creating a short link for commonly used links that go to subpages of one site.


The intersphinx_mapping configuration value is in the conf.py and it can be used to create mappings so that references to other documentation sets (outside of yours) can be referenced.

We'll use the following intersphinx_mapping:

intersphinx_mapping = {
    'Python': ('https://docs.python.org/3', None),
    'Pillow': ('https://pillow.readthedocs.io/en/latest/', None),
    'NumPy': ('http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/', None),
    'pandas': ('http://pandas.pydata.org/pandas-docs/stable/', None),
    'sklearn': ('http://scikit-learn.org/stable', None),
    'matplotlib': ('http://matplotlib.sourceforge.net/', None)

To get a link to a Python builtin type at docs.python.org, we need only specify the type name in the type or rtype docstring field as follows:

:type: bool
:rtype: list

And the correct linkages will be made to the docset when Sphinx builds. And, if you wanted to link to these types in text outside of these fields? You can like so:

This is a link to the Python built-in string type: :class:`str`.

It works the same for other doc sets specified in the intersphinx_mapping.

This is a link to :class:`pandas.DataFrame`, this to :mod:`matplotlib.image`,
and this to :func:`numpy.array`.

:type: pandas.DataFrame or numpy.array
:rtype: matplotlib.image

The big gotcha with using intersphinx_mapping is that if you look at the example above in the Sphinx rendered HTML, you would see pandas.DataFrame, matplotlib.image, and numpy.array are correctly linked to their library types for both the descriptive text and the :type: and :rtype: markup.
However, if you look in the DocFx rendered HTML (from the same docstring), you would see that while the links in the descriptive text do resolve, those in the :type: or :rtype: markup do not. To get around this problem, we need to use a cross reference file in DocFx as described here.  This will be the subject of a future post. (For numpy links, see the stack overflow question.)

This extension is a convenience for avoiding repeatedly typing a URL to a web site you are referencing frequently. The docs for extlinks show how you might use this to link back to GitHub issues. In our tutorial here, we'll create links back to Wikipedia.

In the conf.py file make sure you have extlinks configuration parameter defined like so:

extlinks = {'wiki': 
  ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%s','Wikipedia: ')

Now, suppose in a docstring you want to reference these three Wikipedia pages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_learning, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supervised_learning, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsupervised_learning. Your docstring would look like this:

Here are links using markup to make external links easier to
work with. See :wiki:`Machine_learning`, :wiki:`Supervised_learning`,
and :wiki:`Unsupervised_learning`.

This docstring would create the three links like so: Wikipedia: Machine_learning, Wikipedia: Supervised_learning, and Wikipedia: Unsupervised_learning.

You can experiment with the presentation be modifying the extlinks configuration parameter.

Build Example

The steps below follow the post From Sphinx to DocFX - Generating Python API Documentation with DocFx. TIn this tutorial, our goal is to use the new extensions we enabled and show how they appear in the DocFX HTML. The prerequisites are:

  • Sphinx installed
  • DocFx installed
  • Optional: read or ran the previous tutorial

Step 1: Clone the repo travelmarx-blog and start in the \sphinx-extensions-example folder.

Step 2: Create config.py and index.rst files.

Use the instructions in the Sphinx Quickstart post to generate these files, following the suggested answers for the prompts. Or, if you already have these files from that project, you can reuse them here. Your folder structure should look like this.
│   ├───core_api
│   │   ├───package1
│   │   └───package2
│   └───test_api

Step 3: Edit source\config.py to include extensions.

In this tutorial, we are working with four of the extensions mentioned in the intro:

extensions = ['sphinx.ext.autodoc', 'sphinx.ext.intersphinx', 
   'sphinx.ext.extlinks', 'docfx_yaml.extension']

Point to the code folder:

import os
import sys
sys.path.insert(0, os.path.abspath('../mycode'))

Add intersphinx_mapping configuration:

intersphinx_mapping = {
    'Python': ('https://docs.python.org/3', None),
    'Pillow': ('https://pillow.readthedocs.io/en/latest/', None),
    'NumPy': ('http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/', None),
    'pandas': ('http://pandas.pydata.org/pandas-docs/stable/', None),
    'sklearn': ('http://scikit-learn.org/stable', None),
    'matplotlib': ('http://matplotlib.sourceforge.net/', None)

Add extlinks configuration:

extlinks = {'wiki': 
  ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%s','Wikipedia: ')

Some of these lines in the config.py file may already exist and you'll have to uncomment them and/or modify them.

Step 4: Run sphinx-apidoc to create .rst (reStructuredText) files describing the code.

In the root folder, run:

sphinx-apidoc -o source .\mycode

This creates .rst files in the \source folder.

Step 5: Modify the source\index.rst file to include the modules.rst file which is the entry point for code to document.

Running sphinx-apidoc will produce a source\modules.rst file by default. The modules.rst file is the entry point for documenting the code in \mycode.

source\index.rst (snippet, add the "modules" line)
Test documentation
.. toctree::
    :maxdepth: 4
    :caption: Table of Contents  


Step 6: Run sphinx-build to create Sphinx HTML and create YAML files for DocFx.

In the root folder, run

sphinx-build source build

You may not be interested in Sphinx's HTML, but it's this step which creates the YAML files. It doesn't hurt to check it to see what Sphinx's HTML looks like. To see it, run:


If you are interested in only the Sphinx generated HTML, then you can stop here.

Step 7: Confirm the YAML files were generated.

Starting in root folder, run:

dir build\docfx_yaml

You should see a listing of .yml files like "core_api.package1.someclass.SomeClass.yml".

Step 8: Generate an initial docfx.json file.

In the root folder, run:

docfx init -q

This will create a docfx_project folder with the docfx.json configuration file.

Step 9: Copy the Sphinx YAML files to the docfx_project folder.

Copy .\build\docfx_yaml\* to .\docfx_project\api\*

Step 10: Build the DocFx HTML and serve the docs on localhost.

Starting in the root folder, run:

docfx docfx_project\docfx.json --serve

Step 11: View the HTML docs produced by DocFx.

Go to http://localhost:8080.

You will note that there are some warnings in the DocFx output for things to address. Mostly invalid links.

Build Cycle

So running through the build once is great, but what about an authoring flow that works for the fix-build-verify cycle. Well that's where it gets messy with both Sphinx and DocFx we've found. We find that cleaning out previous build artifacts and building everything works the best. To this end we create a simple batch file (for Windows) that looks like the following:

REM For best results cleaning out directories works the best

del build\* /Q
del build\docfx_yaml\* /Q
rmdir docfx_project\_site /S /Q
rmdir docfx_project\obj\.cache /S /Q

del source\core_*.rst /Q
del source\modules.rst /Q
del source\test_*.rst /Q

REM Run sphinx commands

sphinx-apidoc -o source .\mycode -f
sphinx-build -a source build

REM Copy the sphinx generated yaml files to the docfx folder

copy .\build\docfx_yaml\* .\docfx_project\api\*

REM Build and serve docfx html
docfx docfx_project\docfx.json --serve

Monday, March 9, 2020

Bergamo – Coronavirus – Street Sign Language Lesson XXIX

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In this post of the Street Sign Language Lesson series, we find ourselves in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Here in Italy, and specifically Lombardia, the effect has been devastating.

In the many competing sources of information, the Regione Lombardia - the entity governing the region of Lombardy - has put information to help residents make the right choice and understand their responsibility for keeping the virus at bay. In this post, we'll look at eight of those messages from the point of view of a language lesson. These informational message can be found inTwitter with #fermiaologinsieme and at the Regione web site: https://coronavirus.regione.lombardia.it/

Se ti vuoi bene, lavati le mani

Se ti vuoi bene, lavati le mani. Piu del solito. Meglio di solito. 
"If you love (care about) yourself, wash your hands. More than usual. Better than usual."

Many of the messages in this campaign start with the the se ti vuoi bene - "if you loved yourself" - to drive home the message that's this is a personal fight against the coronavirus. The informal imperative lava plus the reflexive pronoun ti come together as làvati meaning "wash your hands". We added the accent on à to indicate the stress. It's not lavàti

Se ti vuoi bene, metti la mascherina

Se ti vuoi bene, metti la mascherina. Protegge te e gli altri.
"If you love yourself, use a mask. It protects you and others."

We were initially tempted to use the word maschera ("mask") when talking about protection, but it's really mascherina ("half mask") that is more appropriate. Also a little tricky is protegge te, which you might read quickly as protect yourself (following with imperatives that have gone before), but it's really "(the mask) it protects you".

Se ti vuoi bene, mantieni la distanza

Se ti vuoi bene, mantieni la distanza. Un metro può bastare.
"If you love yourself, keep your distance. A meter is enough."

Se ti vuoi bene, rimani a casa

Se ti vuoi bene, rimani a casa. Metti il virus alla porta.
"If you love yourself, stay at home. Kick out the virus."

The interesting phrase here is mettere alla porta, which has the idea of keeping away, chasing way, showing the door, or firing. The Italian Wikipedia page of frasi fatti - clichés or platitudes - describes mettere alla porta as allontonare ("push away"), licenziare ("fire, dismiss"), cacciare senza tanti complimenti ("chase away unceremoniously").  All appropriate for the virus.

Se vuoi bene ai noni, tienili a casa

Se vuoi bene ai nonni, tienili a casa. Difendi chi e più fragile.
"If you love your grandparents, keep them at home. Defend those that are more fragile."

This one pulls at your heartstrings. Think of your grandparents and keep them - masculine plural - at home so you use li, a direct object reference as "them". Tieni is the informal imperative of tenere.

Tutela te, proteggi gli altri

Tutela te, proteggi gli altri
"Protect yourself, protect others."

Tutela is the imperative form of the verb tutelare, to protect or defend. We have the English word tutelage - rarely used - which means the education or protection of someone.

Isoliamo il virus

Isoliamo il virus. Evitare lughi affollati. Mantenere 1 m di distanza. Evitare il contatto fisico. Over 65 stare a casa ed evitare estranaei
"We isolate the virus by avoiding crowded places, maintaining a distance of 1 meter, avoiding physical contact, and those over 65 stay at home and avoid strangers."

This is a list of things to do to avoid the catching (or spreading) the virus. Since this is a list of instructions, the imperative form using the infinitive form of the verb is use: evitare, mantenere, and stare.

Keep calm and mantieni le distanze

Keep clam and mantieni le distanze. Cornovirus. Fermiamolo insieme
"Keep calm and keep your distances. Coronavirus. We can stop it together."

This message is a take off the British motivational poster during the lead up to World War II, Keep Calm and Carry On. Note that since virus in Italian is masculine, we use the masculine article: "fermiamolo".

Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Sunday Walk To Maresana

View from Villa Pighet looking west toward Val Seriana.View over Sorisole.
Left: View from Villa Pighet looking west toward Val Seriana. Right: View over Sorisole.


Length: ~ 15 km (9.3 miles)
Duration: < 5 hours (includes at least an hour for lunch
Elevation:  max 700 m (2300 ft), min 300 m (985 ft)
Location: Italy, Lombardia, Bergamo, Colli di Bergamo

The coronavirus has arrived and we are in lockdown. Well, to be honest, the virus didn't just arrive but has been here a for at least a few weeks. Yesterday, the news of the lockdown in northern Italy added another blow to the psyche of folks living here. Lombardy in it's entirety (which includes Bergamo) is in that lockdown area. Everyone is a bit on edge. We took to the hills.

The hills around Bergamo are - as we've written many many times - are one of the great assets of living in Bergamo. And today was no different, helping us take our minds off the virus. We just walked out with no specific plan in mind and ended up above Maresana and had a nice lunch at Trattoria del Moro (Ponteranica).


Our starting location is usually Fontana Delfino (Piazzetta del Delfino) in the lower city. By the way, the fountain won the most votes in a Sanex-Palmolive competition to be restored and is currently under restoration. Can't wait to see it brought back to life and working again!

From the fountain, walk to the Accademia Carrara and on to the Atalanta Stadium (officially called the Gewiss Stadium). The stadium is in the middle of renovations as well. They have finished one part of the renovation so far - the north end called "curva nord". The result looks like the former stadium much "puffed" up with lots of additional space for wonderful commercial activities like Burger King and American Graffiti restaurants. Sigh.

Closing your eyes past the puffed up stadium, you head north. You then can continue on to Quintino Alto to pick up trail 533, which is the most common way to climb up to Maresana. Today we follow an unofficial trail that follows the spine of the hill between Bergamo and Torre Boldone/Ranica. The trail starts with via Delizia and turns from asphalt to dirt. Along the spine is a series of roccoli - ancient bird trapping devices - until you reach via Maresana (here). From there, we decide to take a look at the Ristorante Villa Pighet (here), passing by a large white cross on Colle di Ranica.

Outside of Pighet, we chatted with an Italian family (husband, wife, son). We talked about how the virus and closures of schools has made experimenting with new ways of teaching, such as online tools, an urgent priority. It's starting to happen but it will take time. Even teleworking in Italy is not as common as it is in the USA. One of the main reasons is that many jobs still require physical presence to do the work.

The family we chatted with mentioned Trattoria del Moro (here) and so we headed off to see if we could get in for lunch and we were successful. We had a great lunch

Trattoria del Moro - appetizer.Trattoria del Moro - pasta (foiade) with rabbit.
A lunch at Trattoria del Moro. Appetizer, foiade with a rabbit sauce and polenta with beef cooked in Barolo wine.

Back to the virus. Before lunch, we washed our hands and the staff is maintaining lost of distance between tables. There is even red tape on the floor indicating how far to stand back from the bar when approaching to pay your bill. By law, they have to ensure a minimum distance of one meter.

From the trattoria, it was back to Maresana and then down trail 533 and into town past Gewiss stadium, up via San Tomaso, and back to Fontana del Delfino.

We did the reverse of this hike back in March 2017, Walk from Bergamo to Maresana for Lunch.


Here are a few plants we saw along the way. Two interesting plants flowers today are the Erythronium dens-cans and the Polygala chamaebuxus, because they are less common in this area.

[Family] Genus species – {Common name in Italian}

[Apocynaceae] Vinca major – {Pervinca maggiore}
[Asteraceae] Bellis perennis – {Pratolina comune}
[Boraginaceae] Pulmonaria sp. – {Polmonaria}
[Euphorbiaceae] Euphorbia helioscopia – {Euforbia calenzuola} - This is just a guess on the species.
[Liliaceae] Erythroninum dens-canis – {Dente di cane}
[Polygalaceae] Polygala chamaebuxus – {Poligala falso bosso}
[Primulaceae] Primula vulgaris – {Primula comune}
[Ranunculaceae] Anemone nemorosa – {Anenome bianca}
[Ranunculaceae] Hepatica nobilis {Erba trinità}
[Violaceae] Viola odoratum – {Viola mammola}

For more information on identifying plants, see the post Resources for Identifying Plants around Bergamo.
[Apocynaceae] Vinca major – {Pervinca maggiore}[Boraginaceae] Pulmonaria sp. – {Polmonaria}[Ranunculaceae] Hepatica nobilis {Erba trinità}[Violaceae] Viola odoratum – {Viola mammola}
Left to right: Vinca, Pulmonaria, Hepatica, and Viola.

[Asteraceae] Bellis perennis – {Pratolina comune}[Euphorbiaceae] Euphorbia helioscopia – {Euforbia calenzuola} - This is just a guess on the species.[Liliaceae] Erythroninum dens-canis – {Dente di cane}[Liliaceae] Erythroninum dens-canis – {Dente di cane}
Left to right: Bellis, Euphorbia, and Erythronium.

[Polygalaceae] Polygala chamaebuxus – {Poligala falso bosso}[Polygalaceae] Polygala chamaebuxus – {Poligala falso bosso}[Primulaceae] Primula vulgaris – {Primula comune}[Ranunculaceae] Anemone nemorosa – {Anenome bianca}
Left to right: Polygala (magenta colored), Polygala (yellow), Primula, Anemone.

East of Bergamo heading toward Torre Boldone.East of Bergamo heading toward Torre Boldone.A map of today's walk - to Maresana.Climbing up through a roccolo - near Bergamo.
Left and center left: East of Bergamo heading toward Torre Boldone. Center right: A map of today's walk. Right: Climbing up through a roccolo.