San Martino – Giosuè Carducci Posted by on May 23, 2020 in Culture, Italian Language


Today I want to share with you all a poem by Giosuè Carducci, who was regarded as the official national poet of modern Italy. He became the first Italian in 1906 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature.

The English translation is posted at the end as well, but I challenge you to read, and re-read, solely the Italian. Translating poetry, and literature in general, is an extremely difficult feat because it’s more than just words, but rather the overall sentiment and feeling of the words itself. Thus, translations never seem to really do them justice. Here’s one for you to decipher, published in 1887, as well as a video!

San Martino (Saint Martin’s Day)

by Giosuè Carducci

La nebbia agli irti colli

piovigginando sale,

e sotto il maestrale

urla e biancheggia il mar;


ma per le vie del borgo

dal ribollir de’ tini

va l’aspro odor dei vini

l’anime a rallegrar.


Gira su’ ceppi accesi

lo spiedo scoppiettando:

sta il cacciator fischiando

su l’uscio a rimirar


tra le rossastre nubi

stormi d’uccelli neri,

com’esuli pensieri,

nel vespero migrar.

The fog to the steep hills

amid the rain ascends,

and under the mistral

the sea screams and whitens:


but through the alleys of the village

from the bubbling vats

goes the sour smell of wine

the souls to rejoice.

Turns on burning logs

the spit, sputtering;

stands the hunter whistling

on the door to gaze


among the reddish clouds

flocks of blackbirds

as exiled thoughts,

in the twilight migrating.


Allora, che ne pensate? What do you think?

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement Associate for TL. Gaelophile. (Soon to be) Digital Nomad. Check out my personal blog, A Polyglot's Inkblot:


  1. Janet Porcaro:

    così bello.

  2. Francesca:

    A wonderful poem but the translation doesn’t work so well. As you mention, translating Italian literature to English presents all sorts of problems. Francesca

  3. Mary O Ruanai:

    I can see the migrating blackbirds as exiled thoughts flying into the sunset, not banished but staying in touch from afar.
    Mi piace molto.

  4. Terence:

    I am afraid I fell at the first hurdle as I struggled with “agli irti” but found this mind map helpful in understanding the context of this poem

  5. minou:

    grazie mille per questa bellissima poesie (e per l’audio). Calmante.

  6. Jan Mackay:

    Bellissimo. Mi piace molto il video. Grazie mille.

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