Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Bergamo – Street Sign Language Lesson XXIII

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It will never end. I confess I love signs and notes. With that, let's dig into the 23rd* installment of Street Sign Language Lessons where we study a lost cat sign, learn the Italian word for caviar, learn about a type of broccoli grown in the Veneto, and review some negative graffiti about soccer.

* In Italian, 23rd is ventitreesimo, which you get to know well in Bergamo because the beloved pope Papa Giovanni XXIII was born in nearby Sotto il Monte. His name, always with the XXIII,  graces many roads and institutions so that living here you soon get used to saying, vay-n-ti-tray-ay-zi-mo. No, it' isn't a new Starbucks coffee drink.

Sign for caviar to order at Orobica Pesca.Sign for panettone to order.A variety of broccoli grown in the Veneto and called broccoli fiolari.
Left: Sign for caviar to order at Orobica Pesca. Center: Sign for panettone to order. Right: A variety of broccoli grown in the Veneto and called broccoli fiolari.

Caviale fresco su ordinazione – "fresh caviar to order"
We were in Orobica Pesca once again, and while waiting for our number to be called, I came across this sign for caviar. I was surprised that there was not an "r" in the Italian word for caviar, which is caviale. Note that caviale is a noun ending in "e" which is masculine, for example: il caviale fresco. For more on words ending in "e" and that are masculine, see A Rule of Thumb for Predicting the Gender of Italian Language Nouns.

Panettoni su ordinazione – "panettone to order"
Tis' the season to order, from caviar to panettone. This sign was seen in a new bakery Grani Madre in via Santa Caterina specializing in grani antichi  e mulino a pietra – "ancient/heirloom grains, stone-mill ground".

Fioi Broccoli Fiolari – "Sons Broccoli sons?"
Broccolo fiolaro di Creazzo – is a variety of broccoli from Creazzo in the Veneto region. The term fiolari (singular fiolari) comes from the dialect term "fioi" which means "figli" or "sons", so named for the presence of shoots/buds along the trunk of the plant. In this case, Fioi is the name of the company producing this variety that we saw at our local ortofrutta.

Poster for a lost male cat in Bergamo.Graffiti in Bergamo equating soccer to ignorance.Sign advertising an house for sale.
Left: Poster for a lost male cat in Bergamo. Center: Graffiti in Bergamo equating soccer to ignorance. Right: Sign advertising an house for sale.

Gatto smarrito – "lost cat"
It's something that grabs you every time: a lost cat poster complete with a cute picture of said cat staring at you. We first dealt with this subject in Bergamo – Street Sign Language Lesson XIV, where we sweat(ed) over the difference between gatto (male cat) and gatta (female cat). This poster continues on to say gatto rosso maschio di 4 mesi – "red male cat 4 months old".

There is a good example of using the subjunctive as well in the poster: chiunque lo vedesse mi contatti – "anybody who sees him contact me". It's vedesse instead of vede, because with indefinite pronouns like anyone/anybody, the subjunctive is used. So much to learn in a lost cat poster. 

Calcio -> ignoranza – "soccer -> lack of education"
Instead of all the pro-soccer graffiti we usually find "decorating" walls of the streets leading to the stadium, it was interesting to see graffiti that was anti-soccer.  Ignoranza could mean illiterate, lack of education, rude, or incompetent. Or, maybe all of the above?

Città Alta svendita, trilocale doppia terrazza, introvabile – "Città Alta sale, three rooms, two terraces, extremely rare"
A trilocale – three rooms - on average is about 80 mq (860 ft^2), and is usually two bedrooms and a living room. The kitchen may be part of the living room or separate (but usually small) and there is at least one bathroom. I was drawn to this sign by the word introvabile, a word to keep in your back pocket and pull out when occasion warrants it.

Sign asking us to stay off the bocce court.A sticker on an ATM that says the bank is always smiling at us. Really?
Left: Sign asking us to stay off the bocce court. Right: A sticker on an ATM that says the bank is always smiling at us. Really?

Si prega cortesemente di non entrare nel campo da bocce – "please don't enter the bowling court"
The bowling court or bocce court was behind the Santuario della Madonna della Castagna, on the very northern edge of Bergamo. From Bergamo Città Alta, you walk about 6 km northwest to reach this little church. It's a pleasant walk through the characteristic well-to-do neighborhoods of Bergamo. As the story goes from the brochure describing the church, Mary appeared here in April 28, 1510 and asked the locals to spread the news that they should erect a temple...and a bocce court.  I suspect this kind of bossy apparition wouldn't work so well these days.

La tua banca ti sorride sempre – "your bank always smiles at you"
This was a sticker on an ATM machine.  The sticker features the words on the background of huge gaping jaws of a shark (squalo). What could they ever mean by this!? The sticker was gone when we went back a week later.

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