Friday, June 30, 2017

Conjugating Italian Verbs and Knowing Where to Put the Tonic Stress

Conjugating verbs in Italian is a bit different than in English. Take the simple present indicative. In English, you have at most to think about adding an “s” to the third person singular, while in Italian, all six forms - first, second, and third-person, plural and singular - are different. For example, to talk, is:

English: I talk, you talk, he talks, we talk, you talk, they talk
Italian: io parlo, tu parli, lui parla, noi parliamo, voi parlate, loro parlano

In English, the pronunciation doesn’t change over the different forms: talk is pronounced the same. However, in Italian, spelling and pronunciation is different. With stress marks added for clarity, we have:

Italian: io pàrlo, tu pàrli, lui pàrla, noi parliàmo, voi parlàte, loro pàrlano

The example above is a relatively easy verb to conjugate and pronounce. There are other verbs that are not so easy, ones on which I always choke on getting out the correct pronunciation.

When I thought about it, I realized my problem with pronunciation of certain verbs was due to understanding where the tonic accent fell, that is, the stressed syllable changed in a way that I wasn’t expecting, or at least, I wasn’t used to. And, it turns out that the problem is related to conjugated verb forms where the third-from-last syllable is stressed. (For more on the general subject, see Italian Words with Tonic Stress on Third-From-Last Syllable.)

In thinking about the types of verbs that have the third-from-last syllable stressed in conjugated forms, I stumbled across five interesting points about Italian verbs that I include here.

Point #1: You only need to look at the first-person singular form of an Italian verb to understand the pronunciation pattern for that verb in the simple present indicative. The first-person pronunciation, or really where to put the stress, applies to the singular forms and the third-person plural form. The first-person and second-person plural forms have a more predictable pronunciation. You can see this in the example above for the verb parlare. pàrlo, pàrli, pàrla, and pàrlano share the same stress while parliàmo and parlàte have the stress in the ending or suffix (in bold).

Some dictionaries indicate the stress for the conjugations like la dictionary. For example, see the entry for parlare. Other dictionaries, like the popular, don’t give any indication of stress. For example, for parlare notice that there is no indication on where to put the stress.

The first-person singular form’s pronunciation for simple present indicative also applies to present subjunctive present (pàrli) and imperative conjugations (pàrla). However, in all other indicative tenses, the endings are stressed: imperfetto (parlàvo), passato remote (parlài), and futuro (parlerò). As well, endings are stressed for congiuntivo imperfetto (parlàssi) and condizionale (parlerèi).

Point #2: Before I started this post, I assumed the infinitive form of all verbs had their stressed accent on the endings ARE, ERE, and IRE. However, that isn’t correct.

  • The infinitive form of verbs ending in ARE are always accented second-from-last, that is, in the ARE ending. Examples are: accomodàre, lavoràre, meritàre, parlàre, and trasportàre.
  • The infinitive form of verbs ending ERE are of two types: those where the stress falls on the verb root (specifically, the last vowel of the root) and those where the stress falls on the ERE ending. Examples of the first type are: conóscere, méttere, and ripètere. Examples of the second type are: cadére, piacére, and vedére.
  • The infinitive form of verbs ending in IRE are always accented on the ending like ARE verbs. Examples are: aprìre, capìre, finìre, and servìre.

I arrived at the summary above based on my personal experience and lots of dictionary look-ups. Later, I found confirmation in the article Stress on Second Conjugation Infinitives in Italian published in the journal Italic, Vol. 64, No. 3, Linguistics: Theoretical and Applied (Autumn, 1987), pp. 477-498. In the article, the authors are concerned with how the stress is assigned to second conjugation infinitives (ERE) and what might be ways to teach students of Italian to recognize the two types (stress on root or stress on ending).

Point #3: I had been wondering for some time about pronouncing Italian verbs correctly and one day I stumbled on the Dummies Italian Grammar for Dummies Cheat Sheet, and there I found the magic words I had been searching for: “Certain Italian verbs, usually those with Latin roots, are accented differently from the norm. Instead of the stress falling on the usual next-to-last syllable, the stress falls on the third-to-last syllable…”

After a little more digging, I found the Centro Studi Italiani page on Retrocessione dell’accento where it is explained that the stressed syllable in the conjugation of verb can be tricky, in particular, for some ARE verbs where the accent of the conjugated forms is on the third-from-last syllable. They also provide a list of such tricky verbs from which many of the examples of ARE verbs in the list below are drawn.

I breathed a sigh of relief realizing I wasn’t exactly crazy and there was something simple I could do: I could just look the verb up in a proper dictionary to work out the pronunciation. I was, however, also a little bit frustrated because I was again face-to-face with my “sdrucciola problem”. (For more on that subject, see Italian Words with Tonic Stress on Third-From-Last Syllable.)

The change in accent can be seen with these ARE verbs where accent marks are added for the purpose of discussion:

First-person conjugation
accomodàre  io accòmodo
meritàre  io mèrito
terminàre  io tèrmino
vincolàre  io vìncolo

Notice how the accent jumps from the second-from-last syllable in the infinitive form to the third-from-last syllable in the conjugated form. In other words, the conjugated forms are not io accomòdo, io merìto, io termìno,and io vincòlo as you might guess. In fact, saying this way will cause Italians to cringe. Believe me, I've done it enough.

And while there is no hard and fast rule (at least that I could find) for telling which ARE verbs are subject to this jump (or retrocessione) of accent, it does bring us to an interesting suggestion I found in a forum post. In that post, one of the responses suggests that for Italian verbs ending in ARE, the third-from-last cases mostly involve verbs that derive from other words (nouns, adjectives) and that the verbs tend to keep the stressed syllable of the original word. Starting with the same examples in the preceding table where the accent jumps and adding other examples where the accent doesn't jump, we have:

Noun Infinitive First-person Conjugation Sdrucciola
l’accòmodo accomodàre  io accòmodo yes
il mèrito meritàre  io mèrito yes
il tèrmine terminàre  io tèrmino yes
il vìncolo vincolàre  io vìncolo yes
il bàcio baciàre io bàcio no
il cancéllo cancellàre io cancèllo no
il lavóro lavoràre io lavóro no

Therefore, I propose that if you know the associated noun of an ARE verb, start there with your pronunciation of the conjugated forms (but not for first and second-person plural as noted above in Point #1). This rule of thumb works whether the accent jumps to the third-from-last syllable or not.

Point #4: We are taught from week one in our Italian classes that there are three classes of verbs, those ending in ARE, ERE, and IRE. As I was researching this post, I realized that I wasn’t sure where Italian verbs ending in ARRE, ORRE, and URRE fit in. I found that they are usually lumped in with ERE verbs because they derive from older Latin verbs ending in ERE: condurre from conducere, porre from ponere, and trarre from trahĕre. The ĕ represents a short-conjugated vowel as in the e in decidere.

Point #5: The stress on the infinitive form of a verb is not affected by the addition of prefixes used to create a new verb or suffixes denoting objects (direct or indirect) or particles. For example:

Infinitive FormRelated Infinitive Form
andàre andàrsene
chièdere chièdergliela
entràre rientràre
fàre fàrecela
lèggere rilèggere
telefonàre telefonàrgli
vestìre svestìre

In the following lists, the infinitive form is show along with the first-person singular in parenthesis for the present simple indicative. As discussed above in Point #1, the first-person singular conjugate form tells you about the second and third-person singular and the third-person plural pronunciation. The first and second-person plural pronunciation always has a different stressed syllable.

Finally, repeating what was mentioned above: the stress marks are shown here for the purpose of discussion. They are not normally used when writing unless they are needed to clarify between homographs as discussed in the post People and Place Names in Italian: Correct Pronunciation.

I. Verbs that end in ARE

I.A The tonic stress is on the third-from-last syllable in conjugated forms
abitàre (àbito), auguràre (àuguro), brontolàre (bróntolo), capitàre (càpito), celebràre (cèlebro), comunicàre (comùnico), coniugàre (còniugo), consideràre (consìdero), consigliàre (consìglio), cucinàre (cucìno), dimenticàre (diméntico), dominàre (dòmino), elemosinàre (elemòsino), entràre (éntro), esageràre (esàgero), escogitàre (escògito), formulàre (fòrmulo), identificàre (identìfico), indicàre (ìndico), immaginàre (immàgino), liberàre (lìbero), meritàre (mèrito), morisicàre (mòrsico), occupàre (òccupo), ordinàre (órdino), operàre (òpero), paragonàre (paragóno), partecipàre (partècipo), pianificàre (pianìfico), provocàre (pròvoco), pullulàre (pùllulo), scodinzolàre (scodìnzolo), significàre (signìfico), superàre (sùpero), telefonàre (telèfono), terminàre (tèrmino), ubicàre (ùbico), unificàre (unìfico), vagolàre (vàgolo), verificàre (verìfico), vincolàre (vìncolo), visitàre (vìsito), zuccheràre (zùcchero)

I.B The tonic stress is on second-from-last syllable in conjugated forms

alzàre (àlzo), arrivàre (arrìvo), aspettàre (aspètto), assaporàre (assapóro), baciàre (bàcio), bruciàre (brùcio), camminàre (cammìno), cancellàre (cancèllo), cantàre (canto), cercàre (cérco), chiamàre (chiàmo), circondàre (circóndo), combinàre (combìno), compàre (cómpro), consegnàre (conségno), controllàre (contròllo), crollàre (cròllo), fasciàre (fàscio), fermàre (férmo), frequentàre (frequènto), imparàre (impàro), lavàre (làvo), lavoràre (lavóro), mangiàre (màngio), organizzàre (organìzzo), parlàre (pàrlo), passàre (pàsso), pensàre (pènso), portàre (pòrto), odiàre (òdio), pagàre (pàgo), segàre (ségo), spiegàre (spiègo), studiàre (stùdio), svegliàre (svéglio), trasportàre (traspòrto), tornàre (tórno), trovàre (tròvo), volàre (vólo)

I.C Irregulars

andàre (vàdo), dàre (do), fàre (fàccio), stàre (sto)

II. Verbs that end in ERE

II.A Stress on the last vowel in the root of the verb
accèndere (accèndo), chièdere (chièdo), conóscere (conósco), corrèggere (corrèggo), córrere (córro), decìdere (decìdo), distìnguere (distìnguo), divìdere (divìdo), èssere (sóno), esplòdere (esplòdo), fóndere (fóndo), giùngere (giùngo), lèggere (lèggo), méttere (métto), nàscere (nàsco), occórrere (occórro), pèrdere (pèrdo), prèndere (prèndo), règgere (règgo), resìstere (resìsto), ripètere (ripèto), scégliere (scélgo), sciògliere (sciòlgo), scrìvere (scrìvo), spègnere (spègno), vìncere (vìnco), vìvere (vìvo)

II.B Stress on the ending ERE
avére (ho), bére (bévo), cadére (càdo), dovére (dèvo), godére (gòdo), piacére (piàccio), parére (pàio), potére (pòsso), sapére (so), temére (témo), tenére (tèngo), valére (vàlgo), vedére (védo), volére (vòglio)

II.C Verbs that end in ARRE, ORRE, or URRE are often grouped under ERE verbs
condùrre (condùco), pórre (póngo), tràrre (tràggo)

There are a greater number of verbs in group II.A as compared to group II.B.

III. Verbs that end in IRE
acquisìre (acquisìsco), aprìre (àpro), attribuìre (attribuìsco), capìre (capìsco), costruìre (costruìsco), dìre (dìco), divertìre (divèrto), dormìre (dòrmo), finìre (finìsco), offrìre (òffro), percepìre (percepìsco), proibìre (proibìsco), pulìre (pulìsco), restituìre (restituìsco), seguìre (sèguo), sentìre (sènto), servìre (sèrvo), spedìre (spedisco), soffrìre (sòffro), trasferìre (trasferìsco), ubbidìre (ubbidìsco), udìre (òdo), vestìre (vèsto)

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Palio of Fossano: A Rich Tradition of Color, Ceremony and Camaraderie


Palio is an Italian word that describes a contest in which different groups, such as factions or neighborhoods of a town or city, compete against each other in contests. Palios are usually based on an historical event, which is reflected in the participants wearing costumes and playing roles over a series of days of celebration and ceremony leading up to the palio. The winning group walks away with money and bragging rights for being the best of the bunch, at least for one year.

Chances are you’ve probably heard of the Palio di Siena. But, can you name another palio? You probably couldn’t off the top of your head despite there being over 50 palios a year in Italy. Don’t feel bad, we couldn’t either, at least until recently when we had the chance to experience the Palio dei Borghi e Giostra dell’Oca, or simply put, the Palio of Fossano where seven borghi compete on the second to the last weekend in June.

The procession of Borgo San Bernardo dressed in and white as they head to the palio. Borgo San Bernardo fans cheering with smoke and confetti.The castle of Fossano: Castello dei Principi d’Acaja.
Left: The procession of Borgo San Bernardo in the borgo's colors red and white as they head to the palio. Center: Borgo San Bernardo fans cheering with smoke and confetti. Right: The castle of Fossano: Castello dei Principi d’Acaja.

Palio di Fossano

Fossano is a charming Piedmontese town of about 25,000 people. It is considered one of the seven sister cities (sette sorelle) that are the most important in the Province of Cuneo. The sisters cities are Cuneo, Alba, Bra, Fossano, Mondovì, Savigliano, and Saluzzo. The beautiful and compact centro storico of Fossano is the stage where several days of celebration lead up to the day of the palio. On that day, costumed representatives from each borgo make their way to the castle in an elegant and colorful parade called the sfilata del corteo dei borghi. Fossano’s castle, Il Castello dei Principi d'Acaja, is one of the most picturesque to be seen and provides the perfect backdrop for the palio.

We had been to Fossano three times before, including visits to the castle, but this time it was really special with the palio and its festive environment. It was amazing to see the area around the castle transformed into a horse racing circuit with viewing stands. It was all well-laid-out well-planned. I guess Fossano has had some time to perfect their palio: the first was held in 1585 when Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy passed through Fossano with his new bride Infanta Catherine Michelle of Spain. The couple was married in March 1585 in Spain, and they were making their way to Turin, the capital of the Savoy dynasty when they dropped in on Fossano. According to the Palio dei borghi site, the royal couple was treated to celebrations including fireworks. From that royal visit over 400 years ago, the palio of Fossano was born.

The Fossano’s palio involves two competitions: archery and horse racing. In the archery contest, archers (arcieri) from each borgo take aim at (fake) geese (oca/oche) on a moving track, trying to hit as many as possible. Each borgo provides three archers who shoot six arrows a piece for a total of 18 attempts. The three highest scoring borghi in the archery contest compete in the first horse race or heat (batteria), while the remaining four borghi compete in the second race. A third horse race is for the winners of the first two races. To be honest, I didn’t completely follow how the point system worked. In fact, in this palio it got a little complicated as the archers were called back as a tie-breaker (spareggio) to settle the final placement of the borghi. The rules call for another horse race as a tie-breaker, but there was limited light and the archers therefore settled the question.

In the Palio di Fossano, the horses are ridden by professional jockeys (fantini). As you can imagine, good jockeys are in high demand there being so many palios across Italy. The jockeys wear a tunic (casacca) with the colors of the borgo they are riding for, but are not from the borgo (or it would be the rare case that they were). It’s the work of the organizers in each borgo to procure the best jockey and horse they can.

The king and queen of Borgo San Bernardo head to the palio.Borgo San Bernardo standard bearer and drummers.Earlier in the day of the palio the Borgo San Bernardo musicians practice at Castello dei Principi d’Acaja.
Left: The king and queen of Borgo San Bernardo head to the palio. Center: Borgo San Bernardo standard bearer and drummers. Right: Earlier in the day of the palio the Borgo San Bernardo musicians practice at Castello dei Principi d’Acaja.

Borgo Spirit

A borgo is part of Italian city or town like a neighborhood, district, or hamlet that has some importance such as being a center of commerce, containing an important market or fortification, or having some other distinguishing feature. In Fossano, there are seven borghi: Borgo Vecchio, Borgo Salice, Borgo Piazza, Borgo S. Antonio, Borgo San Bernardo, Borgo Nuovo, Borgo Romanisio. The statistics provided by the Fossano comune site suggest that each borgo is between 1,000 and 6,000 residents (Romanisio was not included in the data).

Stats on number of residents of six borghi in Fossano. Source.

Each borgo has its particular colors and symbol, taken from the zodiac signs. Here are three examples:

  • Borgo Vecchio’s colors are red and black, and their symbol is a pair of fish (Pisces). Borgo Vecchio was the winner of the Palio di Fosssano 2017. They hadn’t won in 52 years so it was a sweet victory for them.
  • Borgo Salice colors are blue and white, and their symbol is a scorpion (Scorpio). They seemed to be the least “liked” borgo. When I asked why this was the case, I was told they were arrogant, but mind you, it’s a small town and there is no real animosity that I sensed. In fact, there was an amazing amount of camaraderie within and between borghi. The palio is time for coming together and having fun while celebrating history.
  • Borgo San Bernardo’s colors are red and white, and their symbol is a balance (Libra). We were rooting for Borgo San Bernardo, which was the borgo of our hosts. Borgo San Bernardo by virtue of its name also has the San Bernard dog as a mascot. We saw many red and white t-shirts with pictures of San Bernard dogs, and during the palio, letters spelling SAMBY – referring to the cute stuffed San Bernard – were held up in the cheering section as can be seen in one of the photos.

If Borgo Salice was the least “liked”, Borgo San Bernardo has to be the borgo that other teams poked the most fun at this year. That's because last year, San Bernardo won the palio, sort of, until they had the title revoked because of horse doping. Other borghi held up signs referring to the doping incident as can be seen in one of the photos.

The story goes that the San Bernardo horse had a cough and the jockey requested medication from the veterinarian in charge who refused. However, after the 2016 palio, random checking of horses revealed a broncodilatatore substance (with properties similar to doping) in the blood of the San Bernardo horse. Some how that horse got some "cough medicine". In Italian, you can read about the revoking of the title here: Drogato il cavallo che ha vinto il Palio di Fossano.

Another integral part of the palio are the fans (tifoserie) for each borgo. While the costumed courtesans of each borgo look stately and composed as they made their way to the palio, the fans let it all hang out. They marched through the streets to the castle chanting and shouting in coordinated fan (tifoso) clothing and face makeup. During the palio, the fans make noise and cheer on their borgo: they fill the air with colored smoke bombs and confetti, wave flags and banners, bang drums, chant, and stomp their feet. Some wonderful photos from the point of view of fans are shown here. In the linked photos, you can see the excitement of the night before the palio when fans are creating their props for the big day, their march to the palio, the cheering during the contests, the euphoria in the faces of the fans whose borgo is in the lead, and discouragement in the face of the others. In particular, you can see the emotion of the fans of Borgo Vecchio when they learned they had won.

The pride of the fans supporting their borgo and the good-naturedness of the competition is evident in the photos and we certainly felt it when we were there. It’s interesting to us that the long tradition of the Palio di Fossano carries on year to year with many young people behind it.

After the palio, the castle area cleared out and everyone retreated to their borghi to celebrate. In Borgo San Bernardo, there was a dinner in the Parrocchia S. Bernardo. That day we were wearing blue (no particular reason) and there we sat in the after-palio dinner in a sea of red and white shirts. We survived, but note to readers: when attending a palio, read up on the appropriate colors for the team you’ll be supporting.

Borgo San Bernardo fans cheering with SAMBY spelled out.The Borgo San Bernardo entourage exits the castle and presents itself to the palio.Start of a horse race.
Left: Borgo San Bernardo fans cheering with SAMBY spelled out. Center: The Borgo San Bernardo entourage exits the castle and presents itself to the palio. Right: Start of a horse race.

Glossary for the Palio di Fossano

These are terms you might find useful if you are planning to experience the Palio di Fossano.

arciere (plurale arcieri)
An archer.

batteria (plurale batterie)
A tournament or heat.

borgo (plurale borghi)

A borgo is a neighborhood, district, or hamlet of a city. Other words that you might see to mean the same thing include rione/rioni, quartiere/quartieri, frazione/frazioni, contrada/contrade, paese/paesi, borgata/borgate.

casacca (plurale casacche)
A tunic. The jockey’s wear tunics color-coordinated for the borgo they are riding for.

Castello dei Principi d’Acaja
The castle of Fossano, constructed between 1314 and 1332. “Acaja” refers to Principality of Archaea or Morea, the name of the Peloponnese peninsula during the Middle Ages. The word made its way into a title as an outcome of the fourth crusade, where it made it to Piedmont through marriage.

centro storico
The most historic part of a town in Italy, typically located near in the center of the modern town for towns not located near water. For towns located near water – be it a river, lake or ocean – the centro storico is usually closest to the water.

corteo (plurale cortei)
A parade or procession, usually leading to a festival or contest like a palio.

fantino (plurale fantini)
A fantino is a jockey. The word fantino is a diminutive of fante, which means a foot soldier or a jack (card).

giostra (plurale giostre)
In the historical sense of the word, it’s a battle between two horse riders, a joust. In the modern sense of the word, it’s an amusement park ride.

oca (plurale oche)
A goose. Today’s Palio di Fossano features fake geese. At one time, they were live geese.

palio (plurale pali o palii)
A palio is and Italian word that broadly means tournament. The specifics of palios vary, but generally include participants from different borghi of a city wearing costumes in parades and competitions involving horses.

Palio dei Borghi e Giostra dell’Oca
The official title of the Palio di Fossano, it translates roughly as the palio of the neighborhoods and tournament of the goose.

sbandieratore (plurale sbandieratori)
A flag thrower.

spareggio (plurale spareggi)
A tie-breaker.

sfilata (plurale sfilate)
A parade or procession.

tifoso (plurale tifosi)
A fan or supporter.

tifoseria (plurale tifoserie)
The collective group of fans or supporters of a team.

Red smoke from the Borgo San Bernardo fans.Gruppo sbandieratori e musici principi d'Acaja di Fossano - flag throwers of Fossano. Another borgo's court makes their way to the palio
Left: Red smoke from the Borgo San Bernardo fans. Center: Gruppo sbandieratori e musici principi d'Acaja di Fossano - flag throwers of Fossano. Right: Another borgo's court makes their way to the palio.

San Bernardo musicians. Dinner in Borgo San Bernardo after the palio.During the palio, fans making fun of San Bernardo and the horse-doping incident. The sign starts of: cavallo dopato...
We were rooting for Borgo San Bernardo. Left: San Bernardo musicians. Center: Dinner in Borgo San Bernardo after the palio. Right: During the palio, fans making fun of San Bernardo and the horse-doping incident. The sign starts of: "cavallo dopato palio revocato..."

Brochure of the Palio of Fossano.
Brochure of the Palio of Fossano.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Islanda: dei consigli sulle cose da vedere e fare

Siamo stati in Islanda due volte: novembre 2012 per 4 giorni (post) e luglio 2015 per 12 giorni (post). Nel 2012 abbiamo concentrato sulla Reykjavik e il Circolo d’Oro. Nel 2015, abbiamo fatto un giro dell’isola antiorario. La luce del giorno in luglio dura circa venti ore e quindi potete fare tante cose. Per il giro di 12 giorni, abbiamo prenotato una macchina “normale”. Un paio di volte siamo andato fuori asfalto su strade sterrate per raggiungere un inizio di sentiero.

Godetevi l’acqua geotermale
  • La Laguna Blu. Anche se un po’ turistico vale la pena di passare un paio d’ore lì. Abbiamo mangiato un buon pranzo in un ambiente raffinato in accappatoio. Posizione.
  • Se vi trovate a Reykjavik, c’è una piscina pubblico (Laugardalslaug) dove si può pagare poco per entrare. È divertente. Ci sono tante piscine da diverse temperature e diverse dimensione, tutto con l’acqua termale – niente artificiale. Si vive un po’ della vita di una cittadina. Vicino, c’è un campeggio.
  • C’è tanti poste termali sull’isola. Un altro che abbiamo visitato è Mývatn Nature Baths (segnalato: Jarðböðin við Mývatn). Posizione.
Le città/località

Intorno all'isola per regione

Regione 8 – Suðurland
  • Circolo d’oro
    • Parco nazionale Þingvellir – se poteste fare solo una cosa nel circolo d’oro, fate questo parco. Entrata principale è qui, ma ci sono altre entrate.
    • Kerið (posizione) è un cratere con un lago dentro.
    • Gullfoss (posizione) sono le più note cascate dell'Islanda sud-occidentale. Ricordiamo che nel ristorante lì abbiamo mangiato un buona zuppa di agnello.
    • Geysir (posizione) è il più antico geyser conosciuto; la parola geyser deriva da Geysir.
    • Skálholt (posizione) è un piccolo villaggio con una chiesa particolare.
  • Hveragerði parco geotermale (posizione) è dove ci siamo fermato per cuocere un uovo nell'acqua bollente che esce dalla terra. Si compra un uovo nella biglietteria.
  • Nupsstadur (posizione)- UNESCO, parcheggiate sulla strada e camminate nord for 5 minuti. Sembra di essere privato, ma si può entrare perché c’è una chiesa lì e tutte le chiese sono accessibile da legge. Foto: Bing.
  • Ci sono molte aziende offrendo i tour per andare a cavallo. Siamo andati con Sólhestar (posizione). Il cavallo islandese è veramente diverso degli altri cavalli.
  • Skógafoss (posizione) è una cascata che è facilmente raggiungibile. Inoltre, può essere l’inizio or finito di una camminata tra Þórsmörk e Skógarfoss. Si può camminare dietro la cascata.
  • Escursione a piedi tra Þórsmörk e Skógarfoss è descritto qui: blog post.
  • Escursione a piedi a Þakgil (Thakgil) “parco” è descritto qui: blog post.
  • The Geothermal Energy Exhibition a Hellisheiðarvirkjun (posizione) potrebbe interessare le persone che vogliono sapere dell’energia che cosa fornisce l’isola.
  • Vík í Mýrdal che è descritta sopra nella sezione le città/località.
  • Cose da fare nella prossima visita che potrebbero interessarvi:
    • Hafursey è nord di una pianura dei depositi neri di origine fluvioglaciale, un paesaggio impressionante.
    • Vistare con piedi o jeep in tour uno dei ghiacciai: Sólheimajökull oppure Myrdalsjokull.
Regione 7 - Austurland

  • Jökulsárlón (posizione) è il più grande e più conosciuto lago di origine glaciale dell'Islanda. C’è un sacco di cose di fare intorno questo lago. Abbiamo fatto solo un corto passeggio. Foto: Bing.
  • Humarhöfnin Veitingahús (posizione) è un ristorante. Passavamo di lì e ci siamo fermati per un pranzo in un posto caratteristico dove si mangia scampi.
  • Icelandair Hotels Herad (posizione). Un po' costoso ma si mangia bene. Abbiamo passato una notte qui. Mi è piaciuto tanto che c’era olio di pesce alla colazione buffet! A ciascuno il suo.
  • Cosa da fare nella prossima visita che potrebbero interessarvi:
    • Vistare con piedi o jeep in tour uno dei ghiacciai: Skaftafell

Regione 6 - Norðurland eystra

  • Hverfjall (Hverfell) Cratere (posizione). Piccola camminata. Foto: Bing
  • Mývatn (posizione) è un grande lago con tante opportunità per divertirsi.
  • Hverir/Hverarönd (posizione) è un’area geotermale che merita una fermata.
  • Mývatn Nature Baths (posizione) (segnalato: Jarðböðin við Mývatn) è simile alla Laguna Blu, ma a me è sembrato meno affollato.
  • Akureyri che è descritta sopra nella sezione le città/località.
  • Cose da fare nella prossima visita che potrebbero interessarvi:

Regione 5 - Norðurland vestra

  • Peccato, l’abbiamo persa e non la conosciamo.

Regione 4 – Vestfirðir

  • Peccato, l’abbiamo persa e non la conosciamo.

Regione 3 - Vesturland

Regione 2 – Suðurnes

  • La Laguna Blu (non il film!). Vedi la descrizione sopra.
  • Cose da fare nella prossima visita che potrebbero interessarvi:
    • Grindavík, un piccolo comune a sud della Laguna Blu.

Regione 1 - Höfuðborgarsvæðið

  • Inside the Volcano (posizione per parcheggiare) è costosissimi ma indimenticabile. Thrihnukagigur è il nome del vulcano (posizione).
  • Krýsuvík (posizione) è un’area geotermale si può visitare da solo.
  • Certamente Reykjavik che è descritta sopra nella sezione le città/località.

Questi quattro blog post (in inglese) forse sono utili per i lettori che cercano per cose da fare in Islanda, se non magari le foto vi inspirano:

Questi blog post (in inglese) sono altre cose che ci interessano su Islanda:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Hike from Maresana to Selvino

Hiking route from Maresana to Selvino along trail 533.View of Salmezza from 533.
Left: Hiking route from Maresana to Selvino along trail 533. Right: View of Salmezza from trail 533.


Length: ~14 km (8.7 mi)
Duration: 5 hours one way
Elevation: minimum @Maresana (546 m) (1,790 ft), maximum @ Salmezza 1057 m (3,467 ft), total elevation gain 857 m (2,812 ft)
Location: Italy, Lombardy, Bergamo, Parco dei Colli di Bergamo and north

The Walk

A lot of our hikes start or end on Sentiero - Trail 533. It’s a major hiking trail that’s close Bergamo city center, easy to get to, and from the 533 you can connect up to the larger network of trails. Trail 533 connects Bergamo (Monterosso neighborhood / via Quintino Alto to be exact) to Selvino. We tried a week ago to do the walk but flopped and made it only to Monte di Nese (see A Short Hike from Bergamo to Monte di Nese). This time we got a lift to Maresana to cut the city walking out as well as starting out a little earlier in the day.

Trail 533 is relatively easy to follow. It’s not too steep and a large part of it is under the cover of trees. The trail drops you on the southwest side of Selvino. Once you reach Selvino, there is another kilometer or so to get to the top of the funivia (cable car) to head back to Bergamo. We, fortunately, got picked up by the partner of our hiking companion.

We drove around Selvino looking for a restaurant, which were all inexplicably closed on a Tuesday. We called it quits in Selvino and headed to the Oca Bianca Osteria in Treviolo. Oca is “goose” in Italian, and as you might expect, the menu featured a couple of goose-related dishes. All in all, a delicious dinner in a nice atmosphere made a great way to finish the hike.


You can take the number 6 or 9 bus to Quintino Alto and catch trail 533 from there to start the hike. From Selvino, take the funivia (cable car) to get down to Albino, and from there take the tram back to Bergamo. To get to the Oca Bianca from Bergamo, take a number 5 bus.


During the hike, we saw at least 20 plants we could identify. Among them, the usual suspects (clover, rose, and vetch) as well as four different types of orchids. Feeding on the flowers, we saw  [Zygaenidae] Zygaena filipendulae or the Six-spot Burnet moth, a black and red-colored day-flying moth.

[Family] Genus species – Common name in English (Common name in Italian)

[Asteraceae] Arnica montana – Wolf’s Bane, Mountain Arnica (Arnica)
[Apiaceae] Astrantia major – Great Masterwort (Astranzia maggiore)
[Asteraceae] Centaurea montana – Perennial Cornflower (Fiordaliso montano)
[Asteraceae] Cirsium erisithales – Yellow Thistle (Cardo zampo d’orso)
[Campanulaceae] Phyteuma sp. likely scheuchzeri
[Caprifoliaceae] Knautia arvensis – Field Scabiosa (Ambretta comune)
[Fabiaceae] Lotus corniculatus – Garden Bird’s Foot Trefoil (Ginestrino)
[Fabiaceae] Securigera varia – Purple crownvetch ()
[Fabiaceae] Trifolium rubens – Red Trefoil (Trifoglio rosseggiante)
[Geraniaceae] Geranium sanguineum – Bloody Crane’s Bill Geranium (Geranium sanguineum)
[Lamiaceae] Thymus vulgaris – Common Thyme (Timo commune)
[Liliaceae] Ornithogalum pyrenaicum – Spiked Star of Bethlehem (Latte di gallina dei Pirenei)
[Orchidaceae] Anacamptis pyramidalis – Pyramidal Orchid (Orchide piramide)
[Orchidaceae] Dactylorhiza fuchsii or maculata
[Orchidaceae] Gymnadenia conopsea – Fragrant Orchid (Manina rosea)
[Orchidaceae] Platanthera chlorantha – Greater Butterfly Orchid (Palantera verdastra)
[Plantaginaceae] Plantago media – Lamb’s Tongue (Piantaggine media)
[Rosaceae] Aruncus dioicus – Goatsbeard (Barba di capra)
[Rosaceae] Filipendula vulgaris – Dropwort or Fern-leaf Dropwort Filipendola)
[Rosaceae] Rosa canina – Dog Rose (Rosa selvatica comune)

Anacamptis pyramidalis. Dactylorhiza (either fuchsii or maculata).Gymnadenia conopsea
Orchids along the trail. Left: Anacamptis pyramidalis. Center: Dactylorhiza (either fuchsii or maculata). Right: Gymnadenia conopsea.

Dactylorhiza (either fuchsii or maculata).Dactylorhiza leaves. Platanthera chlorantha
More orchids: Left: Dactylorhiza (either fuchsii or maculata). Center Left: Dactylorhiza leaves. Center right and right: Platanthera chlorantha.

Arnica montana Arnica montanaCirsium erisithales
Left and center: Arnica montana. Right: Cirsium erisithales.

Aruncus dioicusFilipendula vulgaris
Left: Aruncus dioicus. Right: Filipendula vulgaris.

Astrantia majorAstrantia major
Left and right: Astrantia major.

Plantago mediaOrnithogalum pyrenaicum
Left: Plantago media. Right: Ornithogalum pyrenaicum.

Rosa caninaSecurigera varia
Left: Rosa canina. Right: Securigera varia.

Centaurea montana Zygaena filipendulae – Six-spot Burnet feeding on Succisa pratensis.Trifolium rubens
Left: Centaurea montana. Center: Zygaena filipendulae – Six-spot Burnet feeding on Knautia. Right: Trifolium rubens.

Geranium sanguineumLotus corniculatus
Left: Geranium sanguineum. Right: Lotus corniculatus.

Phyteuma (likely scheuchzeri) Phyteuma (likely scheuchzeri)Thymus vulgaris
Left and center: Phyteuma (likely scheuchzeri). Right: Thymus vulgaris.

Trail 533 - Nearing Salmezza. Trail 533 - Looking northeast over Selvino.
Views of trail 533. Left: Nearing Salmezza. Right: Looking northeast over Selvino.

Trail 533 - A steep part between Monte di Nese and Salmezza. Trail 533 - Near Ca' del Latte heading to Olera.
Views of trail 533. Left: A steep part between Monte di Nese and Salmezza. Right: Near Ca' del Latte heading to Olera.