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A sprinkle of Italianness

by Maria Elena Sandalli, President of the Italian Society (EU International Relations and Diplomacy - Manuel Marin Promotion) and Sara Conti, San Marino Society (EU International Relations and Diplomacy - Manuel Marin Promotion)

The Italian Society and the San Marino Society at the College of Europe have undertaken close cooperation during the Marin Promotion: we are excited to announce that this year's National Week will be jointly organized and will reunite the two countries under the magnificent concept of Italianness and Italian culture!

Eh sì, although Italy and San Marino are separate countries, they are deeply connected in terms of history and culture. In fact, italianness - or "italianità" if you want to sound as a real italian speaker - revolves around the sharing of food, music, art and language!

This very particular concept merges together three components: the sensory one, linked to art, culture, food, fashion; the emotional one, linked to the nice weather, good food, beauty, holidays, style, outgoing people; and the historical one, linked to the past history, geography and language.

San Marino at the College of Europe

Our (not so) secret mission at the College is to bring alive, in this rainy and gray place called Bruges, a bit of italianness! We are planning to do so by recreating the sensory and emotional uniqueness of the traditions of the Peninsula during the National Week in January: deliziosi manicaretti, soave musica, cultura e tanto altro! Stay tuned ;)

In order to give a hint of the "italianità", Italiani and Sammarinesi at the Collège of Europe have put together a compilation of favorite words, phrases and sayings from their regions of origin.... we would like to share with you some linguistic espressions that we use in the Peninsula. They are a good representation of the big variation of local dialects and of the plurality of mindsets that is very familiar to the people living in the Italian Peninsula, but which might be new to many... Godetevele!

Uè testina!

“Don’t be silly, man!”

Giulio Crespi


Ciapa su e porta a ca.

Literally “pick it up and bring it home”, meaning “be satisfied with it”.

Cristina Bacci



Literally “here it is!”, used when something you could predict, mostly an unlucky event, happens.

Claudia Doldo


Magna, bef e tas, se ta vöret vif in pas.

“Eat, drink and shut up, if you want to live in peace”.

Paolo Recaldini


Alme Sol, possis nihil urbe Roma visere maius.

Latin for “Oh lifegiving Sun, you will never look upon anything greater than the city of Rome”.

Stefano Cabras


Hai voglia a mettre o'rumm, o strunz n'addiventa babbà.

“No matter how much rhum you add to it, a piece of shit will never turn into a babbà [ed. a typical Neapolitan dessert]”

Andrea Marulli & Elio Maciariello


Quann o mar è calm ogne strunz è marenar.

“When the sea is calm any dumbass can be a sailor”.

Andrea Marulli& Elio Maciariello



Contraction of “breve” and “intenso”, brief and intense.


“Sbalordito” and “sbigottito”, amazed and dismayed.

Elena Turci


Meglio ave’ paura che toccanne.

“Better safe than sorry”.

Martina Coli



“Very much”, “A lot”, “Absolutely”

Do you like repas froid? “Avoja!”

Maria Elena Sandalli


Tam fe’ strimuli’! 

“You make me shiver!”

Piutòst che gnint l’è mei piutòst.

“Something is better than nothing”.

Sara Conti


Ce 'nge n'am'á sscí, sciamanínne, ce non 'nge n'am'á sscí, non 'nge ne sime scénne!

“If we need to go, let’s go; if we don’t need to go, we will not go!”

The Bari Committee: Francesco De Marzo, Rosanna Accettura, Angela Di Terlizzi


T’è na testa cun la magna gnenca e gat!

“Your head is so empty that neither a cat will eat it!”

Sara Conti


A moî e pagâ gh’é de longo tenpo.

“There’s always time before dying and paying.”

Ludovic Pastor


Quand che e Sgnur l’è pas a distribuì al sgrezi, ma chesa tua uis’è scent’ e sac!

When God was going around and distributing misfortune, the sack was broken when He came to you!

Sara Conti



In Genoa, "Belìn" [penis] serves as a comma, a point, a question mark and an exclamation mark, and an incipit. “Belinàta” means something easy to implement, an awkward, damaging or foolish action or even something totally stupid: Genoese are polysemic poets!

Matteo Barisione


L’è cme di “putèna” ma la voipa

It’s like say “bitch” to a fox 

(It is usually said to someone who hasn’t reacted to something you have said to him/her)

Sara Conti


The more, the merrier - Issue n. 2, 9 November 2018


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