Auguri! Italy and Ireland celebrate

Two celebrations today: Italy’s birthday (150th anniversary of Italian Unification) and St. Patrick’s Day.

To continue the theme of my last two posts, Kate Smith suggests in the blog Live in Full Colour that St. Patrick’s colour is not green, but blue. Indeed, the emerald tones of the Chicago river and celebratory St. Patrick’s day beer are actually produced by blue and orange additives. Which is pretty ironic, if you think of all the sectarian connotations of those colours (if you live in Glasgow, you can’t not think of them).

For some gorgeous examples of navy and royal blue, by the way, check out Mary Egbula’s Awards Show fashion feature in the same blog (and don’t miss those fabulous reds while you’re there – doesn’t Nicole Kidman look lovely?).

As someone of Irish descent married to an Italian, I’m interested in Italian-Irish links. One such link that’s particularly pertinent, to me at any rate, is that the Irish bishop St. Cathuldus (San Cataldo) is the patron saint of Taranto, my husband’s city and the place I lived when I first moved to Italy. Taranto’s San Cataldo cathedral (see also the fuller Wikipedia description, in Italian) is just one of several churches in southern Italy dedicated to St. Cathaldus.

On a linguistic note, the Italian word “duomo” means “cathedral” or principal church (“cattedrale” is also used). The word for “dome” (in the architectural sense) is “cupola” or “volta”. With thanks once again to Garzanti:


1 cupola; volta (anche fig.): the – of heaven, la volta celeste

2 (poet.) palazzo; casa padronale: the shadow of the dome of pleasure / floated midway on the waves, (coleridge) l’ombra del palazzo dei piaceri fluttuava in mezzo alle onde

3 (geol.) cupola tettonica, duomo: salt –, duomo salino

4 (mecc., metall.) duomo.

Confusing, isn’t it?

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

Join the conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Have your say!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.