Italian Language Blog

La Poesia – Poetry Posted by on Oct 16, 2020 in Culture, Italian Language

Oggi, leggiamo un po’ di poesia italiana. 

Ugo Foscolo was a famous poet, revolutionary, and writer from the 18th century. He is especially remembered for his 1807 poem called Dei Sepolcri, Of the Sepulchreswhich you can read fully here. It is a 295 hendecasyllabic (line of 11 syllables) verse poem, so make sure you give yourself ample time to read it. Essentially it is a poem of protest of Napoleon Bonaparte’s decree that all burials must take place outside the city walls, that they all must be of the same size; and that their inscriptions would be controlled by a special commission. It allowed Foscolo to reflect upon the nature of death and the desire for those who are dead to be remembered and to inspire those who are still alive.

A shorter yet still iconic poem from Ugo Foscolo is Alla Sera, To Evening, written in 1803. I think it’s a very beautiful ode to evening and the images he evokes in the poem are strong yet soft and whimsical.

It reminds me of the painting by Claude Monet called San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk, which was painted of the San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice in 1908.

Image by
Mick Haupt from Unsplash, CCO.


You’ll be able to read the Italian and then the English translation right below it, as well as watch a YouTube video and listen to the poem being read out loud. Let me know how you feel after reading the poem in the comments below! For me, mi sento sognante, I feel dreamy…

Alla Sera – Ugo Foscolo 

Forse perché della fatal quiete

tu sei l’immago, a me si cara vieni,

o Sera! E quando ti corteggian liete

le nubi estive e i zeffiri sereni,


Perhaps because you are the image of that fatal quiet

so dear to me, you have come,

O Evening! And when happy summer clouds

and the gentle west wind are your escort,


e quando dal nevoso aere inquiete

tenebre e lunghe all’universo meni,

sempre scendi invocata, e le secrete

vie del mio cor soavemente tieni.


and when from snowy restless heights

you send shadows and darkness into the world,

you descend summoned always, and gently hold

the secret ways of my heart.


Vagar mi fai co’ miei pensier su l’orme

che vanno al nulla eterno; e intanto fugge

questo reo tempo, e van con lui le torme


You make my thoughts wander forms

that vanish into eternal nothing; meanwhile

this cursed time flees, and with it, the throng


delle cure onde meco egli si strugge;

e mentre guardo la tua pace, dorme

quello spirto guerrier ch’entro mi rugge.


of cares with which it me destroys;

and while I gaze on your peace, that warlike spirit

sleeps, that yet within me roars.

Keep learning Italian with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.


  1. Jo Ingham:


  2. Tom Dawkes:

    A marvellous poem – and the very one my granddaughter was asked about in a school test yesterday. Thank you for these always interesting blogs.

  3. valerie and shalom nissim:

    totalmente incredibile – ho sentito meraviglioso
    grazie – la poesia mi paccio molto
    salute di Australia (Costa D’ora)

  4. Ian:

    When the poem is recited , the reader brings it to life and , I would agree, gives it that dreamy sensation .
    thank you

  5. Rosanna McFarlin:

    Poesia colma di fato e nostalgia. Mentre nel 1961-62 andsi a vedere la sua tomba , era vuota, perche’ ora stato gia’ traslato . Grazie.

  6. Rosanna McFarlin:

    molto bella con pensieri profondi di grande nostalgia. Nel 1961-62 mentre ero a Londra andai a vedere la sua tomba. Il suo corpo non c’era, perche’ gia traslato a Zante !

  7. Rosanna McFarlin:


Leave a comment: