Italian Music – A Window Into Italia


“La musica è l’ambasciatrice del nostro cuore.” – Raffaele Direnzo

Listening to Italian music is an excellent way to get in touch with Italian culture and also improve your knowledge   of la bella lingua. Plus, Italian music is pretty good. But don’t just take my word for it. Assolutamente no. Right here in this post and on my new Italian Playlist page, I’m giving you the tools to judge for yourself.

Before I ever set foot in a classroom to formally study Italian, and long before I ever set foot on Italian soil, I listened to Italian music. I sang along, replicating the foreign words, willing my tongue not to get tangled around all the challenging -gli and -gn sounds, not understanding most of what was coming out of my mouth. But being the ever-curious adolescent that I was, I also dedicated un sacco (a bunch) of time to looking up the lyrics on the Internet and translating them to my little heart’s content.

When I walked into my first Italian class in grade 10, I couldn’t conjugate any verbs. I couldn’t make verbs and objects agree in the past tense. I couldn’t tell masculine from feminine and plural from singular. But I knew un monte (a ton) of vocabulary thanks to my love of Italian music. And my Italian accent wasn’t too bad either. (It was all the “gli” practice I had in my formative years…)

Music is very important to me, and I often associate different songs with different times in my life. Each song that I add to my playlists has  meaning for me, even if it’s only the memory of what I was doing when I first heard it or the person who first played it for me. Although I’m pretty fluent in Italian, I still take the opportunity to learn new words from Italian songs. And when I’m really feeling the mancanza (lack) of Italy in my life, I put on one of my Italian playlists and an instantly transported back to il bel paese.

So, readers, I thought I would share with you my Italian playlists. They’re essentially the colonna sonore (soundtrack) to my Italian life. They include a smattering of my favourite canzoni by my favourite cantanti –  some of them old, some of them new, some of them pre-historic, some of them Italian-American, all of them wonderful. I’ve split them up into mini-playlists, and will be adding new ones every so often. The first one I’ll publish will be my first Italian songs – the ones that bring me back to my childhood in an Italian-Canadian household.

I hope you enjoy these songs, these singers, and the feelings that they evoke as much as I do. And yes, Raffaele Direnzo was right: music is the ambassador of our heart.

Buon ascolto!

Italian Playlist Menu

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Happy 1st Blogiversary!


Happy 1st Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary!

   I am very proud to announce that today marks one year since Not Just Another “Dolce Vita” came into being. Exactly one year ago today, up to my eyeballs in essays and right in the middle of crunch time for my Master’s Degree in Italian Studies, I decided that it was obviously the perfect moment to start writing an Italy-themed travel and culture blog.

   Not only has my little blog baby helped me to practice and (hopefully!) hone my writing skills, it has also helped me to share my cultural knowledge of Italia and gli Italiani, as well as regale  you with stories of my many mishaps – cooking, cultural and otherwise. I’ve connected with other bloggers, readers and Italy- enthusiasts from all over the world, and it’s great to know that I’m                                                     part of a larger community.

Knowing that my 1st blogiversary (love that word) was coming up, I started to really reflect on why I decided to start writing a blog in the first place. These are the reasons I’ve come up with:

1.) Distraction – I was looking for something, anything, even remotely productive to help me get through the final crunch of my Master’s Degree. Writing blog posts instead of essays didn’t seem like the best use of my time to many people around me, but brainstorming and writing about my favourite place (Italy, if you hadn’t already guessed) gave me the boost I needed to power through my work and finish my degree.

2.) Documentation – I’ve never been a fan of blogs that read like a badly-written online diary. I don’t need to know what you eat for breakfast each day, how long your commute to work is, how much you hate/love so-and-so, et cetera. At Not Just Another “Dolce Vita’s” inception, I was, however, a month away from embarking on an extended stay in Italy. I hoped that a blog would allow me to document my experiences for the folks at home. And of course, I hoped that a few strangers would stumble upon it and read as well…

3. Practice – I have always dreamed of being a writer. When I was younger, I never dreamed of being a doctor or a vet or anything along those lines. The one dream that has been alive inside me ever since I can remember, is the dream to write. One day I’d like to be published. One day, I’d love to see my name on the cover of a book. One day. So far this blog has been a great way to see if people are interested in what I write and how I write, and to get me into the habit of semi-regular writing.

4. ItalyNeed I say more? I’ll probably have to dedicate a whole post to why I write about Italy…

5. Other Perks -I’ve figured out how the confounded blog thing works! For the most part…  I’ve connected with other writers and Italy lovers who have inspired me. I’ve expanded my social media presence. I got to work with an awesome artist to create my beautiful logo.

My choice to create a blog has been an excellent one.  

*          *          *

70 posts after my initial Welcome post, eccoci. Here we are. Grazie for reading, commenting, subscribing, tweeting, and supporting this blog. Do me a favour and follow me on Twitter @s_mastroianni and be sure to like Not Just Another “Dolce Vita’s” Facebook page. A year from now I’m hoping to celebrate Blogiversary numero 2 with twice as many subsrcibers, monthly viewers and followers. Aiutatemi! Help me to make it happen.

The Fine Art of Italian Rule-Bending


Ciao tutti!

Today I submitted a guest post for fellow Canadian Nicole Basaraba’s excellent travel and writing blog, Uni-Verse-City. Entitled “The Fine Art of Italian Rule-Bending” my post talks about a couple of funny and typically Italian “rule-bending” situations, as well as my thoughts on why Italians seem to think that rules and laws are so darn flexible!

Read the post here:  http://universecityblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-fine-art-of-italian-rule-bending-guest-post-by-sarah-mastroianni/

A big grazie to Nicole for giving me the opportunity to contribute to her blog!

Buona lettura!   Happy reading!