Everyday Italian: Newspaper Headlines

The local newspapers in Italy’s smaller cities and towns advertise with eye-catching headline boards, designed to be as sensational as possible. Usually one board reports two headlines of the day or week, and sometimes the juxtaposition is unintentionally funny.

The headline above says: “Struck by a toilet seat thrown from the train – Priest collapses at mass!” (Okay, I cheated a bit – colpita is in the feminine form, so we know the victim of the flying toilet seat was female.)

07 03 11 032


  • Too lively: the janitoress insults and threatens the children – Writings and drawings defame the principal of Grassi high school
  • Mystery of the millionaire inheritance – Goodbye to a Lecchese pharmacist – Dies at 34 years, leaving four children
  • Shootout at the cemetery and in Pescarenico: one wounded – From today and for six months the Post Office is at the former Piccola

2006 09 17 001


  • At the wedding lunch, [he] betrays his wife with his [male] friend.
  • Fell in acid, Lecchese dies after three months.
  • Terrible accident: a woman run over and killed in the crosswalk.
  • Alarm on the Grigna (a local mountain) – six hikers lost.

2006 12 008

  • Alarm in the Business Piazza*
  • Father dies while wrapping Christmas presents
  • 30,000 Lecchesi (people of Lecco) forced to junk their cars (a new environmental law will forbid use of cars older than 1993, i.e. pre-catalytic).
  • Investigation: ‘Ndrangheta and business – treasure hunt for the [riches] of the [crime] bosses
  • In the car with a pistol – young person in handcuffs.

* As reader Marco Andreis points out, Piazza Affari is a real piazza in Milan, “just off via della Posta, a few blocks from Piazza Cordusio. Palazzo Mezzanotte, in Piazza Affari, was thei headquarters of the Borsa Valori di Milano, the Milan Stock Exchange. Nowadays, after privatisation, the Gruppo Borsa Italiana is located there.

So the name of the square was and is still used as a synonym of the Stock Exchange or, in a more general sense, of the Italian financial and business community. More or less as in the US, where Wall Street means the New York Stock Exchange.”



  • Vandals raid the Resinelli [a tourist area on the mountain above Lecco]: the shocking photos [note that choc = shock, not chocolate]
  • Tax fraud: troubles for Sergio Longoni
  • Free gift: the volume “In dialect you say it this way”

Learn Italian Through Signs

above: Here where the Archbishop of Milan held court, where with the bitter duel of Ramengo and Lupo amidst the jokes and songs of Tremacoldo, T. Grossi [the author?] gave a life of courtesy and tragic passions to Ottorino and Bice, a faithful portrait of an ungrateful age in which will dominate the figure of Marco Visconti. Here [in] the hundred and first year since the publication of the novel “The Bellanese”, with wishes for a new century of faith, probity, and glory, this memorial [set] on September 8th, 1935 – 13th year of the Fascist era.This plaque on a building in Bellano commemorates a novel we’ve never heard of – evidently the pious hopes of those who set the stone have not come true (but it appears that they themselves forgot to commemorate the book’s 100th year!). Note that there has been some attempt to whitewash that last line about the Fascist era.

Awareness Campaign

I can’t think of a good translation forsensibilizzazione. It means to make someone sensitive to or aware of something.

City Government of Lecco

Comune can refer to the city, the city government, or the town hall building (though the building can also be called the municipio).

Want my [parking] place? Take my handicap!

Note the use of the English word. A handicapped person is called un portatore di handicap or (less PC)handicappato. The h is usually not pronounced.


“In this place where Engineer Edoardo Stoppani accidentally died, His son Eugenio to the eternal memory of his defunct parent, Erected this refuge 1905” – note use of the passato remoto (remote past tense), rarely used in everyday speech anymore, at least in northern Italy. A rifugio is a mountain refuge to give shelter to hikers.


Smoke hurts/is bad for you.
Better not to smoke.
That’s good for everybody.

sign in a restaurant in Intra (or thereabouts)

il fumo fa male

salviamo la costituzione

^ Committee “Save the Constitution Born from the Resistance” (members of a parade on April 25th, Italy’s Liberation Day)

ricchi snob

^ “Rich snobs [who] pretend to be pop artists.” A comment added to wall graffiti, presumably by real pop artists.


The Abandoned Animal

Two big eyes, an infinite sadness
Hunger, thirst, the will to live!
After the past, they took away his future,
But he’s there to love you again, ever more, that’s sure,
He speaks to you in silence, he asks you for a hand
And you, dear friend, why do you look away?

Eva Bertolini

This sign sits in a piazza in Lecco.

learn italian in signs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5