Fathers Day saying from Dante? Why? Well, I have to confess that the famous Italian poet of old, so famous that we all have come to know him by just one name – Dante – has crept unexpectedly into my life.
I have recently been reading Dianne Hales book La Bella Lingua, a little bit each night. The subtitle to this book is, “My love affair with Italian, the world’s most enchanting language,” and I would encourage every serious student of Italian to read this book to discover just how the Italian language we love so much came about.
In this book, we relive the “story” of the adoption of Italian by Italians as told through Dianne’s experiences in Italy; she discovers the facts of history, bit by bit, directly from scholars she interviews as well as from the families that she meets every day during the many months of the year she spends in Italy.
The third chapter is dedicated to Dante, who was born into an educated family for Florence as Durante degli Alighieri in 1265. At the beginning of Dante’s life, Latin was the language of scholars. Diane explains Dante’s genius as a poet in the Italian language that had been developing for hundreds of years before his time. Dante’s three volume Commedia(The Divine Comedy) was the longest serious work written in Italian up to that point, and earned him the title “Father of Italian.” The Renaissance developed in Florence as Dante was writing this book in the early 1300’s. Italians still study Dante in school today; his rhyming story-line of one man’s journey from hell to paradise, and the different characters he meets along the way, still permeate the culture in many ways.
After I discovered Dante’s history and place in Italian life, I decided I had to learn more. So, I went to an Italian website, and found several of Dante’s most famous phrases. I’ve reprinted his verse that includes a phrase about true love for everyone to enjoy this Fathers Day.
When I first read this verse written so long ago, it made me think of the type of love that can be shared by families even today. The type of love that parents show their children to let them know that they believe in them. The type of love that my father showered on his two daughters when he was alive, and for which I will always be grateful.
Do Dante’s words remind you of a loved one?
Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you! Happy American Fathers Day!
L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle:
«Alla mia grande capacità di immaginazione mancarono le forze;
ma Dio, l’amore che fa muovere il sole e le altre stelle,
faceva già girare il mio desiderio e la mia volontà,
come una ruota che gira con moto uniforme».
The love that moves the sun and other stars is verse 145 of the XXXIII canto Paradise of Dante Alighieri and the conclusion of the entire Comedy . Paraphrase:
This verse at the conclusion of the work is dedicated to God, and today used to refer not only to the greatness of divine love, but also to the love that all of humanity is capable of.
If you would like to read more famous phrases by Dante, here is the link:
How do I say, “I love you?” in Italian? Let me count the ways…
For Valentine’s Day this year, let’s learn how to greet all of our loved ones warmly by saying, “I love you!” in Italian, using the correct phrases for our one true romantic love and for our family and friends.
For the last 2 years, we’ve been learning that “commonly used phrases” are the key for how we can all build fluency in any language in a short time.
Well, what common Italian phrases could be more important to learn than the phrases that mean “I love you”?
This post is the 19th in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE.
Many “commonly used phrases” that will help us talk more easily describe “I love you…”
We will discuss the Italian expressions for those we love – our one true love, our family and our friends. See below for how this works.
As we all master these phrases, so will you. Try my method and let me know how it works. What sentences will you create with these phrases?
The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained atLearn Travel Italian.com.
How to say, “I love you!” in Italian
Let’s learn how to use the verb amare, which means “to love” in Italian. But be careful! Because this is the Italian verb of romantic love! In fact, Italians often address their romantic love simply as “amore,” which is the noun that means “love.” Italians also address loved ones as “amore mio,”which means “my love.” Beautiful, isn’t it? The full conjugation of this important verb is given below, with the stressed syllables underlined.
Amare – to love
you (familiar) love
you (polite) she/he loves
you all love
For our focus on conversational Italian, as usual, the most important conjugations to remember for the verb amare will be the first and second persons – amo and ami. We can use these two verbs when speaking to our “one true love,” to ask about and declare our feelings of love.
This is a bit tricky in Italian, though, since the sentence structure is different from English. In English, we say, “I love you, putting the direct object pronoun “you” after the verb “love.” But, in Italian, the word order is the opposite. The direct object pronoun for “you,” is “ti” and tiis placed before the verb “love”. So, “I love you,” is, “Io ti amo,” in Italian. But, the subject pronoun, is left out as usual, so we come to the simple phrase, “Ti amo.”
To tell someone that you love them in Italian, you must think like an Italian! In my mind, to keep this all straight, I use the English sentence structure, ” It is you who I love!”
When asking the question, “Do you love me?” in Italian, the sentence structure is the same as the statement, “You love me,” but with a raised voice at the end to signify that this is a question. In Italian, it is not necessary to say, “Do you…?” the way we do in English when asking a question. So, the Italian phrase would be, “Tu mi ami?” Leaving out the subject pronoun, we come to, “Mi ami?” for, “Do you love me?”
to love in a romantic way
amore / amore mio
love / my love
essere innamorato(a) di…
to be in love with…
Do you love me?
I love you!
After you and your romantic love have announced your love to each other, you may want to describe your feelings to someone else. Or, you may be talking to your friend about how someone you both know has fallen in love with another. My favorite Italian phrase to describe this head over heels feeling is, “Ho/Ha perso la testa per…” “I/he,she has lost their mind for…”
Another expression: “essere pazzamente innamorati di…” – “to be madly in love with…”
“Sono pazzamente innamorato di lei.” = “I am madly in love with her.”
Or, “amare (qualcuno) alla follia” – “to love (somebody) to distraction”.
“Amo lei alla follia.” = “I love her to distraction.”
Below are different variations of the first phrase, which is the one I have heard most often, listed in a table. Of course, you can substitute a male name for “lui” and a female name for “lei” and use the same verb form.
Ho perso la testa per lui!
I’ve fallen in love with him!
Ho perso la testa per lei!
I’ve fallen in love with her!
Lei ha perso la testa per lui!
She has fallen in love with him!
Lui ha perso la testa per lei!
He has fallen in love with her!
The phrases we have just discussed for romantic love are very useful. But, we know that in life there is more than just romantic love. What about our love for family and friends? For places or things?
In America, we seem to “love” everyone and everything – from our spouse to our best friend, our hometown, our favorite movie, a comfortable pair of shoes, pizza… Everyone and everything can be “loved” in America! But, as an Italian friend once told me. it is best to reserve amare for that one and only, special romantic love.**
So, how do we tell family and friends that we love them in Italian?
We use the Italian phrasal verb form “volere bene (a qualcuno)” and the expression, “Ti voglio bene,” which really doesn’t translate well into English. It has been translated as, “I care for you,” or, “I wish you well,” but really, it is the way Italians tell their children, parents, and friends that they love one another.
The phrase, “Ti voglio bene,” is also used frequently between spouses or romantic couples. In other words, this phrase can also be used to express one’s romantic love for another. When you watch old Italians movies, listen closely, and you will hear this phrase come up often!
Mi vuoi bene?
Do you love me/care for me?
(for family and friends, and also your true love)
If you can learn to use the verbs amare and volere in these expressions,
you will have really learned to think in Italian!
Remember these phrases, and I hope you can use them every day!
**I have recently seen and heard exceptions to this rule about amare in advertisements: on a billboard in Milan, in an Italian magazine, and on Italian TV, but I still think it safest to be careful when choosing to use the verb amare.
Valentines Day will be here again soon, and so will the need to say, “I love you,” in Italian! For the last couple of years, I’ve focused on finding important phrases about dating and relationships in Italian when I read Italian novels or watch Italian movies, since these are phrases that are not usually listed in textbooks. Once I find these phrases, I run them by my Italian friends and instructors to see if and how they are really used. After all, language is a “living thing,” and I’ve always been fascinated by how people use their language.
For these advanced blogs, I typically provide a dialogue or story that uses the theme phrases, and then an explanation of the grammar needed to understand what I have written. Feel free to click on the link to the blog above to read a dialogue about a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship and learn a bit about the subjunctive mood if you like!
Today in America, we “date,” “go out on a date,” or refer to two people who are “dating,” from the first romantic encounter until they become married. After they are married, they can still have “date nights.” But be careful when translating American romantic experiences into Italian! The English verb “to date” as used in America today to refer to a romantic relationship does not have a literal translation in Italian.
Of course, to “court” a woman was common in past centuries, and the Italian language still reflects this. When a man tries to show he is interested in a woman, the phrase “fare la corte a…”is used from the verb corteggiare or “to court.”
If a woman wants to refer to dating a man, the following phrases can be used:
“Mi vedo un ragazzo.”
“I’m seeing a boy.”
“Esco con un ragazzo.”
“I’m going out with a boy.”
“Il ragazzo con cui ho/avevo appuntamento.”
“The boy with whom I have/had an appointment.”
There is another verb still in use in Italy today that refers to a man seducing, or “winning over,” a woman:“conquistare a… ”If a woman lets herself be “won over” or “captivated” by a man, she can use the phrase, “Mi lascio conquestare a…”
The usual Italian phrases used to refer to two people who have become romantically involved and are getting together regularly before marriage are “to go out with someone”—“uscire con qualcuno”—or “seeing each other”—“frequentarsi.”
Finally, to express a close romantic relationship in Italian, we can use the word “rapporto.” Any relationship in general is considered a “relazione.” But be careful, as an “affair” outside of marriage is also a“relazione,” whereas “affari” refers to more general personal and business “affairs.”
“Ti voglio bene” is an idiomatic expression in Italian, which translates roughly as, “I wish you well,” or better, “I care for you.” It originates from the verb volersi,which takes on a different meaning than the verb volere. The meaning of this verb is not easily translated into English, but is used often in Italy for many different situations.
“Ti voglio bene”is an old expression that is still used for platonic forms of caring and loving among family members and close friends in Italy today. The expression can be used between a boyfriend and a girlfriend and is also used between a husband and a wife. Watch some older Italian movies, and you will hear this expression often!
Mi voui bene?
Do you care for/about me?
Ti voglio bene.
I care for/about you.
The verb amare, which means “to love,” is reserved for romantic love—that one true love held between fiancée and fiancé, wife and husband.