Italian Language Blog

Parting Words Posted by on Jul 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

When I was a kid we had a vinyl disk of patriotic folk songs sung by the Alpini, the Italian mountaineering corp famous for its a cappella choirs.

I used to listen to this record almost every day because those songs inspired many images in my head, and I would lose myself in them. Amongst these songs was Addio Mia Bella Addio (Farewell My Darling, Farewell), which was one of my absolute favourites.

Based on a typical Tuscan folk harmony, Addio Mia Bella Addio was written in Firenze by Carlo Alberto Bosi (1813-1886) on the 29th of March 1848, when the first battalion of volunteers was leaving Florence to go to the north of Italy and fight in the First Italian War Of Independence. For this reason this song is also known as L’Addio del Volontario (The Farewell Of The Volunteer), and it soon became very popular, being sung through all of the subsequent Wars of Independence, the expeditions of Garibaldi’s Mille, and the First World War.

Here’s a nice version sung a cappella by the Coro Vocilassù. Below are the lyrics followed by our English translation. N.B. as happens with many popular folk songs, there are lots of variations to Addio Mia Bella Addio.

Addio mia bella, addio
che l’armata se ne va,
e se non partissi anch’io
sarebbe una viltà.

Farewell my darling, farewell
as the army is leaving,
and if I didn’t leave too
it would be cowardly.

Il sacco è preparato,
il fucile l’ho con me,
ed allo spuntar del sole
io partirò da te.

The haversack is ready,
I’ve got the gun with me,
and at sunrise
I’ll be leaving you.

Ma non ti lascio sola
io ti lascio un figlio ancor,
sarà quel che ti consola:
il figlio dell’amor.

But I’m not leaving you alone
I’ll leave you a child too,
it will console you:
the child of our love.


Footnote by Geoff Cari lettori, dear readers,

Many times over the years we’ve ended our blogs with the words ‘a presto‘, or ‘alla prossima‘. But this time, I’m afraid, it’s time to say ‘ciao‘ (goodbye).
We’ve had loads of fun writing the nearly 1,500 blogs that we’ve published during the past eleven years, and it’s been a real pleasure reading and responding to your comments.
Some of you have become friends, a few of you have even come to visit us in Italy (we hope you’ll continue to do so!)

But 11 years is a long time to maintain one’s creativity in a job, and it has become gradually harder to come up with new ideas and topics.
We need a change!
If you’ve followed my blogs over the past months, you’ll have seen that I’ve started helping out in a local elementary school. I’ve loved doing this, and it has reminded me how much I enjoy direct teaching.

This is something that I’ve missed with blogging. I always say that publishing blogs is rather like sending out messages in bottles: who sees them? what meaning or impact do they have? It’s really hard to tell from the small handful of comments that come back.

Serena also plans to begin new projects, and after 18 years of teaching Yoga, is finally cutting down on her classes. That’s also nice for me because it means we can spend more time together on our joint projects, and go off exploring some of the beautiful places that we’ve not visited yet in this amazing and surprising land.

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  1. Paricia Egner:

    Thank you both for all the wonderful blogs over the years. I have enjoyed them a lot. All the best in your new endeavors!

  2. Lynn:

    So very sorry to see you go. Your enjoyable blog has helped me to improve my Italian over the past 3 years and learn about and love Italy and the Italian culture even more. Grazie mille!

  3. Mike Nicolucci:

    Hi guys,
    I’m writing this a bit choked up and quasi-weepy. Sorry for getting emotional, I’m super happy for you both. Your blog has been a regular feature in my life for about 6 years.
    I will definitely let you know the next time I get through Pontremoli. I’ve been averaging 2-3 trips per year to the boot to see family, friends and explore.
    Thank you sincerely for sharing your lives and the wonderful lessons. I’ve learned so much from both of you on many levels.

    A presto,
    Mike in Phoenix

  4. Marged Lindner:

    Ho goduto il vostro blog, e ho imparato molto. Adesso pentito di non aver scritto, di non vi aver ringraziato per il vostro lavoro. Tanti auguri per i nuovi attività. – ged

  5. Daria:

    Hi guys,
    You’ve been a significant part of my life and I will miss you a lot! Can’t imagine my days without email notifications about the new post. But very happy for you. Wish you all the best. And thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you’ve done!

  6. Maurits Breedveld:

    Dearest, thanks for all your efforts to help us out in italian and for the very interesting and often funny blogs!

    All the best!
    Kind regards,

    Maurits Breedveld

  7. Gordon:

    I have been atrempting to learn Italian in my 67th year (one year at night school) and your blogs have been very helpful and entertaining. Good luck in your future ventures

  8. Elaine:

    Noooooooo! Mi mancherete tanto! Questa notizia mi dispiace molto. Comunque, in bocca al lupo per i vostri programmi del futuro, e grazie mille per tutti i post interessanti. Ciao.

  9. Karen Eynon:

    Grazie mille for your entertaining and informative blogs. I shall miss them dropping in to my inbox regularly. I wish you both well in your endeavours and sincerely thank you for all your help with my italiano orribile!

  10. Arleen:

    I am so going to miss your blogs, fortunately I’ve saved every one of them over the years and I will enjoy re-reading them (especially the ones about your cats!).
    Thank you so much for all the time and effort you both have put in over the years and best of luck to both of you in your new endeavors. If my husband and I ever get to Italy to visit my family, we will try to see you also.

    Ciao e grazie mille,

  11. John K.:

    I will truly miss your blog. I’ve saved most of your entries over the years. And I’ve learned so much. Best wishes to you Serena and Jeff. Arrivederci!

  12. Candace Sheehan:

    Grazie mille per tutti i tuoi anni di insegnamento per parlare meglio l’italiano. Abbiamo vissuto in Umbria per oltre un anno e grazie a te e al tuo blog, ho imparato frasi inestimabili che uso ancora oggi. Buona fortuna a tutto ciò che fai e sei un eccellente insegnante ei bambini della scuola elementare saranno così fortunati da averti lì per guidarli e insegnarli.
    Sei meraviglioso e ti auguro tutto il meglio!

  13. Barbara Pendragon:

    Mahalo nui for all your many entertaining articles. Although it have not read them all, I still have them in my email archives and can read them as I have more time! Publish them if you can! They have sparked an interest in me in learning not only the language, but also about the history of my ancestral homeland. Tanti auguri da Kauai, Hawaii! Buon fortuna!

  14. Rosalind:

    Sono triste anche io di leggere questa notizia ma vi posso capire quantunque. D’altronde, leggendo l’articolo, mi sono domandata come faranno Serena e Geoff a trovare sempre dei soggetti nuovi e dopo ho visto la nota di Geoff.

    Mi tocca a ringraziarvi per le spiecazioni sempre molto chiare della gramatica italiana, le belle foto dei gatti, le storie interessante, le occhiate sulla vita della Lunigiana. La regione mi è piaciuta quando sono venuta con mio nipote e forse torneremo un giorno.

    Mi sono sempre sentita quasi una vicina, qui in Corsica ci sono molte cose che non sono così diverse. Se posso scrivere questo testo adesso in italiano è in parte grazie a voi due.

    Vi auguro un piacere tamanto con le vostre altre attività è buona saluta ai gatti (e anche a voi due😊).

  15. Adriana/Ada Saperstein:

    I must have followed you from the beginning…started to study Italian in 2008/2009. Your blog was a great help, the grammar pieces, the descriptions, even the tests ! I always enjoyed opening your blog, and testing myself on your stories in italian. Now, with your help over the years, I can finally read Ginzburg, Calvino’s stories, Bassani, etc.
    I will miss you very much !
    Enjoy your new activities ! It is wise….one needs more variety when getting older !

  16. Eileen Parry:

    Thank you. Your blogs have been both entertaining and informative. I have enjoyed them enormously and will be sad not have them anymore

  17. Carol:

    I’ll miss you both. Grazie for all of your posts.

  18. Dianne Moses:

    It has been a great joy and privilege to learn about your life and home while hopefully dipping my toes tentatively into the Italian language. Thank you for your generosity. I wish you both a very happy and fulfilling future, and while I know that you both will be sorely missed by many, you have earned every moment of this next phase in your lives.

  19. Alan:

    Say it ain’t so! I will miss your blogs so very much. It was fun to read them with my cup of coffee. You have an interesting view of life that I don’t often find with other blogs. Your topics are varied and unique. (I am having a problem using the past tense in describing your blogs.) I certainly learned un sacco del vocabolario as a result of your blogs. But, I wish your wife and you the best with the next stage of your adventures in your lives. Thank you for the years of enjoyment.

  20. Cate:

    Our loss! I’m a recent follower for the past couple of years. Thanks to you both for sharing your learning and love of Italy and language learning

  21. Carlo:

    I have only known you for several years, and I feel that I lost my best friend. I have enjoyed your blogs immensely.
    Ciao and may good fortunes follow you and your significant other.

  22. Steph B:

    Geoff & Serena –
    Tho’ I have never posted, I’ve been following your posts regularly now for a few years–they are a treat EVERY time. You have done an outstanding job of simplifying tricky and often confusing grammatical points, and in highly entertaining ways. It has been great fun to read about your lives and experiences, the more as well as the less mundane. Thank you for having put your HEARTS into the blog and sharing your lives with your readers. May the new endeavors you’re both beginning be satisfying and productive, and touch people’s lives in wonderful ways. Like gardens, there are seasons in life, and your “blog garden” yielded a delightful crop for all of us! Mille grazie!

  23. Frank:

    I am one of many readers who will miss your blog. You have sustained my desire to learn Italian and, as a lover of poetry, I appreciated especially your inclusion of poetry from time to time. My best wishes for you in your future ventures.

  24. Chippy:

    Cari Serena e Geoff. I am completely devastated! I must say that over the years, I have often wondered how you have the time to write so many informative, interesting, useful, amusing etc. etc. etc. blogs. and wondered how long you can continue. I must admit that recently, I’ve not always been able to fully read, let alone respond but I do thank you sincerely for such well-thought out grammar lessons, your insights into village life, national events and traditions, not to mention history. I have learned so much from you and recommended your blog to umpteen people who have likewise found it invaluable. I wish you both every happiness and fulfilment in your new paths. Con simpatia, Chippy.

  25. Josephine Fucile:

    Oh!, Serena and Geoff, I am sure going to miss you a lot as others will surely do as well, but Auguri for a long and happy life. Enjoy your time spent together.
    Thank you for all the beautiful Blogs you wrote for us.
    Good Luck to you both.

  26. June:

    Sono cosi’ triste anch’ io. Rosalind ha detto tutto quello che c’e’ da dire. Buone nuove esperienze! Mi mancherete tantissimo…

  27. Joanna:

    Grazie mille Serena & Geoff,
    mancheranno il tuo fantastiche storie e lezioni
    di grammatica.
    I migliori auguri

  28. Marina Brown:

    No, no…non parti mai! Solo adesso che ho ti trovato! Vorrei solo undieci anni di piu! Sto triste!!

  29. Tom Clothier:

    Per molti anni ho apprezzato i tuoi blog e le tue esperienze condivise. Vi auguro tutto il meglio per il futuro.

  30. abby:

    I am so sorry, I have just discovered you! Can I read old blog posts that you have written anywhere?

  31. Gail Baker:

    I do not comment on blogs, but this one HAS to have a response. We will miss you VERY MUCH. I have followed your stories and grammar lessons for years and loved every one. Enjoy your ventures and think of us occasionally, as, no doubt, we will be thinking of you. Best wishes, Gail

  32. Rita Sklarchuk(nee Dalla-Longa):

    I’ve enjoyed reading and learning from your Blog. I’ve come late to the party! As you’re on to other adventures I’ll be checking out the archives.
    My Italian has been learned from my parents who came from two very distinct areas of Italy. Father is Trevisano and my departed Mother was a Corcianese, (town close to Perugia. Toss in Aunts and friends from elsewhere and we have a hodgepodge of what I speak. So this blog was great. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge .

  33. Graham Duff:

    Thank you both so much and I hope your new ventures bring you as much joy as your blogs have to me

  34. Joan Engelhaupt:

    OMG! I’m going to miss you so very much. Over the years, I’ve come to feel I know you and certainly admire you. I do wish I could have known you personally. I don’t think I’ll ever forget you! Who could ever explain grammar as clearly as you two? You are such dear people to care for so many kitties.

  35. Rod Stephens:

    Sincere thanks for all your help over the years, we have visited Italy many times in the past and will continue to do so.
    very best wishes

  36. Ian Dean:

    Caro Geoff, sono rattristato nel leggere che chiuderai il tuo blog. Nelle nostre vite impegnate a trovare il tempo per imparare una lingua e impegnarsi in una cultura è diventato importante. Grazie per la vostra generosità e supporto professionale. Goditi il ​​tuo ritiro! Se sei in grado di rimanere in contatto in un modo che sarebbe apprezzato. Ian

  37. Wendy:

    Geoff and Serena,
    I have loved every word and picture over the years. I can’t thank you enough for giving so much time to your teaching. I will miss you both – and the cats!
    Grazie mille.

  38. Sharon:

    Serena and Geoff — Thank you both for all the time and effort that you have put into the blog over the years. I have loved reading it, not only for the useful grammar info, but also for the fun and interesting travel and history notes. Wishing you both the very best in your future ventures.

  39. Pamela Morey-Nase:

    I understand completely, but I am very sad that you are leaving us. Even though I haven’t commented, or rarely, I have appreciated your posts enormously – they have always been interesting, entertaining, thoughtful, instructive and well-written. I have always thought no-one is irreplaceable, now I think perhaps I was wrong! If you come to Palermo do get in touch – you will have my email address.

  40. Frances:

    Dear Geoff and Serena, I only became aware of your blog 18 months ago when I made the move to Italy. It has been a really positive asset in helping me with the language and with trying to settle here. I have derived so much pleasure from your posts and from you allowing us to share a bit of your very full lives. Thank you so much and best wishes for the good times ahead.

  41. Kirstie:

    Ciao e ciao e grazie mille! Ho imparato tante cose mentre leggere i vostri blogs, li mi piacciono molto. Ma capisco perche volete essere in pensione! Vi divertite!

  42. Ann:

    Happy active retirement to you both, Geoff and Serena! Your blogs have always been interesting and a pleasure to read because you have let us share your own enthusiasms and memories. You have provided a lovely way to practise the living Italian language.
    Big thank you! 💐
    You will be missed.

  43. Victoria:

    Dear Serena and Geoff
    Thank you for the years of finding your blog in my inbox. Your travels, memories of childhood, gardening, and best of all, cats! have all added to my own richness of life (and somewhat to my Italian.). Best wishes with your future projects and baci to each cat.

  44. valerie nissim:

    Mi molto dispiacci ma spedisco tante auguri per una bella nuova vita. Trovavo soui lessione con felicita tra molti anni, erano superbe.
    Cio e mille grazie

  45. rukmini nini:

    Oooh, we’ll miss you both, and thankyou very much for what you/both have given to us, and goodluck.

  46. Raimondo:

    As others have said, you two have been part of our lives for many years. My wife and I have read your blogs to each other over our dinner table, on long car rides, in airplanes and even during our many trips to your beautiful country. Thanks so much for sharing stories from your lives Ina way that made us feel close to you and to the Italian language that we love.
    Best Wishes for the future and thank you again.

  47. giulietta:

    Ma no! mi spiace per noi ma bon per voi.
    Salute e buon viaggi

  48. paolo:

    Serena and Geoff,
    Thanks for sharing your life with us over these 11 years. From found cats and family members passing, to historical events and government bureaucracy, it’s been quite a journey.
    I’ve learned so much reading your blog, not only of the language but also of Italy and where you live, what life is like in this part of Italy, how one who is not Italian by birth and family, in time, becomes Italian (in their own way) through living in the culture (subculture really) and seeing life through “Italian eyes”.

    Vi auguro ogni bene,

  49. William C Auge:

    Wow, for eleven years I been reading your blogs and through them getting to know you and Italian culture. Thanks it has been great and the best part is the friendship that Victoria and I established with you. The blog may end but our friendship will not. Buona fortuna in tutto quello che fate.
    a presto, Bill

  50. Barbara:

    Thank you for your varied and interesting posts. You have helped me to keep practicing my Italian in a most enjoyable way. All the best to you both!

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