Today math and science lovers are uniting to celebrate the world’s most famous irrational number Pi on the date which matches its value: 3.14. I thought it might be a good day for us to look at the irrational side of Italy for an Italian inspired Pi day. Remember psychologists tell us that seemingly irrational preferences may be the best thing for us and let it be noted that the wisdom of Italy is to each his own.
Here are a few seemingly illogical expressions of Italian culture and living that may not be so far fetched after all.
- the number of Italian dialects. The fragmentation of Italy until the 19th century into city states, duchies and kingdoms resulted in many, many ways of saying the same thing depending on where you come from and to some extent your economic and cultural background.For example the sentence”The kids play in the park” translated into standard (classical) Italian is “i bambini giocano nel parco”. While in Rome you might hear “i bambini giocano ner parco” and yet another variation to be heard in Sicily or Genoa. Confusing for those of us learning the language but makes perfect sense in regional conversations.
- certain rules and unspoken regulations to ward off bad luck aka superstitions. As in it may be bad luck to work in the gardens or orchards on a certain day or giving away a sprig of basil to a lover will make him or her faithful or never plant beans on days spelled with “r”. Associations of cause and effect where there are none or common sense folk advice?
- cappuccino is strictly for breakfast. And totally forbidden during meals and never drunk after 11:00am. Fresh whole milk can sometimes play havoc with your digestion so drinking it early in the day may have its benefits.
- olive oil, vinegar, lemon and salt are the only ingredients for dressing salads. Sensible, simple and healthful – enough said.