"Salve!" Italy by alza
Italy Travel Guide: 69,734 reviews and 186,962 photos
You'll hear 'salve' for 'hello' a lot, in the north of Italy. I heard it all the time, as far south as Genoa this last time. Maybe they even say it in more southern spots, but I never noticed before.
Mostly, I heard it in Mantova, in Ravenna and surroundings, but I heard it a lot in Genoa too, so maybe that's considered 'north', to Southern Italians. hehe. I don't care, I like to hear and to say 'Salve!' when I go into a store there.
Cesare Pavese was born in Turin. He wrote his English literature thesis on the American poet Walt Whitman at 22 years old, and translated many other great American and British authors. Politically active from a young age, he joined the Communist Party after the Second World War, and lived in Serralunga di Crea, Rome, Milan and Torino. He never stopped writing during these years, including a novel, La luna e i falò (The Moon and the Bonfires), which I hope to read.
It's about a man who returns to the place where he wasn't born, where he was given to a peasant family by the hospital, for a silver dollar every month. Pavese dwells in strange thoughts.
He wrote beautiful poetry. Here are some lines I copied on a scrap of paper during a trip, don't remember where and when.
Anche tu sei collina e sentieri de sassi e gioco di canneti e conosci la vigna che notte tace.
... sei un chiuso silenzio che non cede, sei labbra e occhi bui. Sei la vigna.
a first attempt at translating, very unsatisfactory...
"You too are hill and trails of stone and playful reeds and you know the vine, silent at night.
... you are a locked silence that never falls, you are black lips and eyes. You are the vine."
Pavese took his life in a hotel room in Turin in 1950. I want to know more about him and will try to find books by him or on him on my next trip to Italy, which might be soon.
My favourite lines by Cesare Pavese are those, where he remembers his childhood in a place that disappeared when a large motorway was built across it. He describes the shacks that surrounded him... but since I don't have a photo of shacks in Italy, I've chosen this old house I saw in Bergamo.
ll mio paese sono quattro baracche e un gran fango, ma lo attraversa lo stradone provinciale dove giocavo da bambino. Siccome - ripeto - sono ambizioso, volevo girare per tutto il mondo e, giunto nei siti più lontani, voltarmi e dire in presenza di tutti 'Non avete mai sentito nominare quei quattro tetti? Ebbene, io vengo di là'".
"My village is four shanties and lots of mud, but now the motorway cuts across it, where I used to play as a child. And so, as I already said, seeing as I am ambitious, I wanted to go 'round the world and once in the farthest of places, turn and say to everyone there "Have you never heard of these four old roofs? Well then, that's where I'm from."
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