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

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