Dante and Beatrice meeting in Paradise

We’re always looking for ways to spice up or inject a little romance into our love life, and let’s face it, Italian is the language made for that sort of thing, being the language of opera and sonnets.  If you think you need some schooling in pretty language to woo that special someone, Italy has its fair share of great poets and lovers for you to emulate.  Here are five of their most poignant and enduring thoughts on love and relationships.

1.  L’amore che move il sole e l’altre stelle. “The love that moves the sun and other stars.” Possibly the most famous line in all of Italian poetry and considered by many to be the most beautiful line ever written, these eight words refer to the vision Dante has of Heaven at the end of his final book of the Divine Comedy, Paradiso.  While the words are technically referring to divine love, the entire work is essentially a love song to Beatrice, the girl he met twice and then obsessed over until he died, and thus fair game to be used in the romantic sense.

2.  Fui preso, et non me ne guardai, chè i bè vostr’occhi, donna, mi legaro. “I was taken, and I put up no fight, my lady, for your lovely eyes had bound me.” When it comes to unrequited love, the Renaissance poet Petrarch knows his stuff.  Like Dante, he was trapped in a courtly love (read by modern standards: creeper) situation with a married woman named Laura.  He wrote a sonnet a day for a year about his love for her, and is considered to be the father of humanism for his focus on individualism.

Italy's Great Seductor of Women

Italy’s Great Seductor of Women

3.  L’amore è un divino fanciullo che aborre la vergogna. “Love is a divine child who abhors shame.” Not surprising coming from a man whose name has come to be a synonym for “womanizer.”   However, Giacomo Casanova was also a famous writer, adventurer, and alchemist in his time, and over the course of his life came up with a wealth of witty (and surprisingly progressive) quips about life, love, and relations between men and women.

4.  Ella si va, e par che sia una cosa venuta de cielo in terra a miracol mostrare. Dante again, from his collection of love sonnets, La Vita Nuova: “She walks on, and seems to be something come from Heaven, appearing to be a miracle on earth.” If you’re looking for something of a more conventional chat-up line, this is both tasteful and classy to quote at someone in a nightclub.

5.  Non c’é amore amore più sincero di quello per il cibo. “There is no love more sincere than that for food.” Possibly the most honest and straightforward notion on love there is—especially true in Italy, where sumptuous meals are a fundamental part of their culture.

Whether you’re spending your Valentine’s Day with your partner, a new love interest, or a delicious sandwich, a few words of Italian will make it memorable.  Contact us to learn about classes we offer, or check out our course page.  Buon San Valentino!