Ciao bella! Italian phrases to make the heart sing!

Truly, Madly, Italy

Where the English are all for understatement – our favourite adjective being ‘nice’ – it’s fair to say the Italians love to overstate the case wherever possible. In place of ‘nice’ there is ‘bello’ (masculine form) ‘bella’ (feminine) which, in my opinion, is quite a leap of description. Bello translates, most obviously, as beautiful (una bella ragazza: a beautiful girl) but can also mean good, fine, pleasant, wonderful, and good-looking amongst many other things. At this stage in my Italian-learning development, I often find myself searching around for an alternative adjective to describe, let’s say, a scenic country footpath (percorso) but am generally only able to come up with  ‘un bel percorso’, or when wanting to express my enthusiasm for my latest read,  ‘che bel libro!’  – ‘what a great book!’ When using bello I nearly always feel like I’m…

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