Archives for posts with tag: Italy

by Carlo Betocchi
(translated by Geoffrey Brock)

One spring day I saw
the shadow of a strawberry tree
lying on the moor
like a shy lamb asleep.

Its heart was far away,
suspended in the sky,
brown in a brown veil,
in the sun’s eye.

The shadow played in the wind,
moving there alone
to make the tree content.
Here and there it shone.

It knew no pain, no haste,
wanting only to feel morning,
then noon, then the slow-paced
journey of evening.

Among all the shadows always
joining eternal shadow,
shrouding the earth in falseness,
I loved this steady shadow.

And thus, at times, it descends
among us, this meek semblance,
and lies down, as if drained,
in grass and in patience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carlo Betocchi (1899-1986) was an Italian writer who led a double life, working for decades as a surveyor and engineer building bridges, roads, and canals, while helping to found the influential literary journal, Il Frontespizio. His Tutte le poesie (Complete poems) appeared in 1984.

 NOTE: Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree, occasionally cane apple) is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the family Ericaceae, native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe north to western France and Ireland. (Source:

PHOTO: Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree)


A costumed tourist poses before a view of San Marco Basin in Venice, Italy. Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic

This and other “blue” images appear in LIFE IN COLOR, a 504-page book of 245 photographs, essays, and inspirational quotes.The book is available at To see more images, visit the National Geographic Life in Color Blue Gallery.

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”  TRUMAN CAPOTE

by Fred Zirm

Slats of shadow, slots of sunlight –
angling between the nearly
invisible and the almost opaque.
What do they have to do
with Venice?
Were they invented there
to cut down on the glare
from the Grand Canal?
Or were they hung in the back
of gondolas so romantic couples
could open them to see the sights
or close them for a moment
of private passion while
the gondolier improvises
an aria to impress
the tourists?
I could probably Google the answer,
but speculation can be so much more
fun than knowledge, like seeing vague
silhouettes behind the blinds
beneath a Venetian moon. 

Credit: Poetry 181, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Photo: “Moon Over Venice,” found here.


by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Italian Translation 
by Fernanda Pivano

Opening lines in Italian:
Negli anni più vulnerabili della giovinezza, mio padre mi diede un consiglio che no mi

è mai più uscito di mente.

— Quando ti vien la voglia di criticare qualcuno — mi disse — ricordati che non tutti a questo mondo hanno avuto i vantaggi che hai avuto tu. 

In Inglese: 
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” 



Fernanda Pivano (1917- 2009) was an Italian writer, journalist, translator and critic. Born in Genoa, as a teenager she moved with her family to Turin where she attended the Massimo D’Azeglio Lyceum. In 1941 she received a bachelor’s degree with a thesis on Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick, which earned her a prize from the Center for American Studies in Rome. Her first translation, part of the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, was published in 1943, the same year she received a degree in philosophy.

In 1948, Pivano met Ernest Hemingway, resulting in an intense relationship of professional collaboration and friendship. The following year, Mondadori published her translation of A Farewell to Arms.

Throughout her professional life, Pivano contributed to the publication in Italy of significant American writers, from the icons of the Roaring Twenties, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and William Faulkner, through the writers of the 1960s (Allen GinsbergJack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti), to young writers of recent decades, including Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis, David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk and Jonathan Safran Foer. Pivano was also interested in African-American culture and published many Italian versions of Richard Wright‘s books. In 1980 and again in 1984, Pivano interviewed Charles Bukowski at his home in San Pedro, California. These interviews became the basis for her book, Charles Bukowski, Laughing with the Gods first published in the USA by Sun Dog Press in 2000.

Photo: Ernest Hemingway and Fernanda Pivano, 1949.



by Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)


A nameless hill

in the haze. 

Photo: “Valley Hill Fog (Rivergaro, Italy)” by Maurizio Mori


Photograph by James L. Stanfield, National Geographic

The Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain, is pictured at twilight. Dating to the first century A.D., the well-preserved structure is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This and other blue images appear in LIFE IN COLOR, a 504-page book of 245 photographs divided into color chapters. The book is available at To view a range of blue images, visit the National Geographic Blue Gallery.

James Stanfield‘s photograph of this Roman aqueduct (in Spain) called to mind one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs.


by Bob Dylan

Oh, the hours that I spent inside the Coloseum,

Dodging lions and wasting time.

Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle 

I could hardly stand to see ’em

Yes, it sure has been a long, hard climb

Train wheels runnin’ through the back of my memory

When I ran on the hilltop following a pack of wild geese.

Some day everything is going to sound like a rhapsody

When I pain my masterpiece. 

Listen to The Band (with Levon Helm — RIP — singing) perform the song on YouTube.


Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic

A costumed tourist poses before a view of San Marco Basin in Venice, Italy. 

This and other “blue” images appear in LIFE IN COLOR, a 504-page book of 245 photographs, essays, and inspirational quotes.The book is available at

To see more images, visit the National Geographic Life in Color Blue Gallery.

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”  TRUMAN CAPOTE


 “Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” 


PHOTO: “Bacoli, Italy (Naples Province)” by Adam Allegro. Congratulations to photographer Adam Allegro for the above photo’s selection as a Los Angeles Times Editor’s Choice, Summer 2012.