Letters from Italy

Letter “C” :: Castagne vs Marroni


castagne_wp_1_fotor

Autumnal Bounty :: Chestnuts and Pomegranate | Photo ©Lonza65

I realize that autumn has arrived when the scent of roast chestnuts is in the air. Only after I smell it do I really think that summer is a faraway memory and I need to put on heavier clothes, as if my brain refuses to admit that the time for shorts and flip flops is over.

0032_chestnuts_artkey

Autumnal Bounty :: Sweet chestnuts in their spiky shell | Photo ©ArtKey

The word for chestnut is “castagna” [kastaɲɲa], but also “caldarrosta” (roast chestnut) or “marrone”. The Italian language uses “castagna” in the idiom “prendere qualcuno in castagna” i.e. a mild translation of the far more dramatic “to catch someone red-handed”. The plural “castagne” is present in the idiom “togliere le castagne dal fuoco” i.e. something like “to do the dirty job” on behalf of someone, in a rather unwilling disposition, though.

0022_chestnuts_artkey

Autumnal Bounty :: Sweet chestnuts in and out of their spiky shell | Photo ©ArtKey

Marroni (plural) are something that is advisable not to break, since its figurative meaning is the not-so-elegant “balls”: therefore, use it sparingly and in very informal circumstances. So, be careful not to “rompere i marroni” to someone otherwise you’ll be likely to receive a “castagna” in the face which, in this case it is not the fruit but a strong punch, kick or blow. Forewarned is forearmed.

0034_chestnuts_artkey

Autumnal Bounty :: Sweet chestnuts in their spiky shell | Photo ©ArtKey

Advertisements