Come Picchia il Sole! Posted by on Jul 23, 2010 in Italian Language

Meriggiare pallido e assorto
presso un rovente muro d’orto.
To slump at noon thought-sick and pale
under the scorching garden wall.

These opening lines of Montale’s famous poem (here with a translation by Millicent Bell) perfectly evoke the ambience of a hot summer day. I don’t expect to compete with a Nobel prize winner, but I would like to share a few personal images that, for me, represent the summer heat:

tutte le finestre spalancate
all the windows thrown wide open
il profumo del fico riscaldato dal sole
the scent of the fig tree warmed by the sun
il frinire stridente delle cicale
the strident screeching of the cicadas
il rinfrescante mormorio della fontana
the refreshing murmur of the fountain
il ronzio delle api che si dissetano alla fontana
the buzzing of the bees quenching their thirst at the fountain
i rami degli alberi che si piegano sotto il peso della frutta che matura
the tree branches that bow beneath the weight of the ripening fruit
il rosso dei pomodori che occhieggia fra il verde delle piante
the red of the tomatoes peeping through the green of the plants
i gerani brillanti sui balconi
brilliant geraniums on balconies
la frescura della pergola
the cool of the pergola
il dolce sapore dei meloni e le rinfrescanti fette d’anguria
the sweet taste of melons and refreshing slices of watermelon
la gente che si lamenta per il caldo: "come picchia il sole!", "mamma mia, che caldo che fa!"
people complaining about the heat: "how the sun beats down!", "mamma mia, how hot it is!"
l’immobilità dell’aria durante il giorno e la leggera brezza che si alza la sera, permettendoci di dormire
the stillness of the air during the day, and the light breeze that picks up in the evening, allowing us to sleep
il profumo inebriante del gelsomino
the heady perfume of jasmine
il canto gentile dei grilli che ci culla
the gentle chirping of crickets that lulls us to sleep.

Please feel free to share your summer impressions with us.

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  1. Carolina:

    I couldn’t have expressed it any better. Such beautiful expressions that really evoke the true essence of summer, especially in Italy.

    We have been having a really hot summer here in New York. I hear the cicale ogni giorno, infatti hanno cominciato di cantare piuttosto presto quest’anno – all’inizio di luglio. Pero’ i grilli qui non direi che cantissero gentilmente, ma invece fanno un putiferio.

    E magari se potessi sentire la leggera brezza della notte in camera mia perche mio marito DEVE per forza avere accesa l’aria condizionata che io odio!

    Ma insomma, l’estate e’ sempre stata la mia preferita stagione e l’adoro.

    Buon’estate a tutti!

  2. Jeannet:

    Ciao Serena,

    Si, “come picchia il sole! mamma mia, che caldo che fa”; fortunately it cooled down for a day for breathtaking air.

    Of course we endure the heat summer for all that what has been given to us to enjoy, –
    as has been written in the beautifull poem,
    specially for those hospitalised who cann’t
    go out.

    with warm greetings,

  3. Vince Mooney:

    Salve Serena:

    You have the soul of a poet.

    I only wish you had lived by the sea.

    I dream of words that taste of salt (Sapore di sale*), smell of brine and carry the sound of nature’s heartbeat.



    Stepping outside you feel the heat singe the hairs on your arms and you know it’s over 100 degrees….(n.b. this does not translate into Celsius.)


    Roveredo in Piano — 1963

    You flee the city’s heat
    and invade the countryside,
    where the air is so pure,
    you think it’s God’s breath,
    until the farmers
    spread their manure
    and then you know
    that God
    has a sense of humor.


    Who Cares if it is Hot?

    As a child,
    playing outside,
    (twelve hours at a time)
    blazing heat,
    cooling shade,
    dips in a stream:
    air conditioning?
    just a rich man’s dream.


  4. William Auge:

    Salve Serena,
    La mia impressione:

    I lunghi giorni d’estate quale passono pui rapidamente.

    Partite di baseball nel parco con i bambini.

    Togliando lampone del cespuglio e mangiarli come caramella.

    auguri, William

    • serena:

      @William Auge Salve William, anch’io adoro i lamponi! Ed io aggiungerei: mangiare i mirtilli sul Monte Orsaro!

      Saluti da Serena

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