Italian Word of the Day – “Visto”

La Maestra Maldestra

La Maestra Maldestra

This post is about a word that has come to mean so, so much to me.

It’s not long and complicated and stuffed with syllables, like “figuriamoci“. It’s not short and sweet like ““. It doesn’t mean something extraordinarily Italian like “gelato“, and it doesn’t carry with it undertones of “amore” (love), or “odio” (hate). It’s not fanciful like “pipistrello” (bat) or abrupt like “gru” (crane).

So what does it mean? I know the anticipation is killing you…

It means “living in Italy”. It means “working in Siena”. It means “open door” and “welcome mat”. It means “legitimacy”. It means “hard work pays off“. It means “perseverance is rewarded“.

In short, it means “dream come true”.

Well, for this girl, anyways. Because “visto” in any Italian-English dictionary worth its salt means “seen”, but it also means “visa”. As in “entrance visa” or “tourist visa” or the one I’ve toiled for a year to get: “work visa”.


So, it’s official. This girl, this blog, and two suitcases of her stuff are moving to Italy! To Siena, precisely (where else?) for the foreseeable future. Thank you to everyone who has followed this visa quest with me through this blog and through Facebook. Your kind words and thoughts are always so appreciated. I promise, a post or two on the “hilarity” of this whole bureaucratic process are in the works.

When’s the big move? T-14 days. Two weeks. June 8th.

There’s lots to do between now and then, so wish me luck!

Italian Life Olympics – Event #2

Not Just Another "Dolce Vita"If you missed my first post on Italian Life Olympics, click here to catch up.

So, back to event #2: crossing the street in Italy.

No, no! It’s no joke. In order to correctly perform this task in busy, crowded, car-congested cities like Roma or Napoli, there’s a certain level of skill required or else –


Some Mario Andretti wannabe will remorselessly metterti sotto (run you over) in their little Fiat 500 without a backward glance while you’re left, stuck to the pavement, newly resembling a human pizza. Fiat 500

Wishing earnestly to avoid this fate, you keep your wits about you and gear up for the event. (Some people choose to say a hearty goodbye to their loved ones beforehand – you never know!).


“Today I’m crossing the street.” “Call when you get to the other side.”

You walk to the curb of the street you wish to cross and size up the amount of traffic (probably molto) that’s crossing your path. You pay no attention (this is important) to what’s going on with the semafori (traffic lights) or the strisce (crosswalks), because the drivers don’t either. You take in the speed, the size of the vehicles and any other obstructions in the area. You toe up to the edge.

Then you turn your head towards oncoming traffic and catch the eye of a driver in the lane closest to you. Now, they’re not really slowing down yet, but you know this is your chance. You maintain eye contact with the driver, steel yourself for the exertion ahead, step off the curb and you…

Walk into traffic.

Chin up, head high, like you own the street. And you keep walking.

You catch the eye of other  drivers as they approach you, and something miraculous happens. Sensing that you’re actually serious about traversing their path, and that their sewing-machine engines are no match for you, they’ll take in your confident stride and acquiesce. Momentarily.

And like Moses parted the Red Sea, the traffic will part, if only briefly, to allow your safe passage to the other side.

But don’t dawdle, and per l‘amor del cielo (for goodness’ sake), don’t run. You’ve gotta look like you’re in control or else someone’s foot might get a little heavy at your display of weakness and – POM! The human pizza fate is once again yours.


All of this fuss can be avoided if you can cross in the company of a nun or priest. Italian drivers will sooner crash than harm someone in a habit!


Italian Word of the Day – “Ricominciare” (+ Visa Update)

La Maestra Maldestra

La Maestra Maldestra

It’s been a long time since I last published a Word of the Day post, but I figured this was fitting. Today we’re going to learn about the word ricominciare.

ri (again) + cominciare (start) = to start again

And that’s exactly what I have to do with this whole Italian Visa process, folks.

Grazie to all of you who took the time to leave a comment, send a message, say a prayer or light a candle for me when I went to apply for my Italian work Visa a couple weeks ago. Things didn’t quite go as planned (obviously) and now my team of trusty friends and I have to ricominciare da zero (start back at square one) with the whole process.

Back to the drawing board...

Back to the drawing board…

Having to re-do things because they weren’t quite right the first time isn’t as disheartening, however, as hearing that something’s impossible. And I’m (thankfully) sitting in the first camp. So now I know how things go. Now I know what to do, who to see, what to send and what to sign. This Visa is still within reach, and so is my dream of living and working in Italy (again).

So, to ricominciare is not all bad. No, not at all. Besides, I’m not the only one who has to fare salti mortali (jump through hoops) to get something done on the Visa or Permesso di Soggiorno (permit to stay) front.

Take a look at these posts from other great Italy bloggers to read their trials and tribulations:

Girl in Florence – How to Survive Your Next Permesso di Soggiorno Renewal

Italy Project 365 – How to Obtain a Permesso di Soggiorno per Lavoro

The Florentine – Let’s Talk About Visas II

And just because we are still talking about our Word of the Day, take a listen to Adriano Pappalardo’s 1979 hit, “Ricominciamo” (Let’s Start Over).

(If the original music video is available in your area, take a look. The guy looks like a pro wrestler-turned-singer!)