Since I am in the beautiful country of Italy for the next 8 weeks (and have lived here a month already), I’ve decided to impart some of my ever-increasing knowledge with the world via this blog. And where better to start than learning a little bit of the Italian language? Today (and hopefully frequently) I will be sharing some new vocab words for all you folks back home so that if one day you visit Italy, you will have a leg up on all the other tourists (which I did NOT have, btw). And with that, here’s your first word:
cinghiale (noun): a medium-sized, dark to rusty-brown haired subspecies of wild boar with long and relatively narrow lacrimal bones that is native to central Europe
The way to adequately say the word of today is to pronounce it like CHEEN-GYAH-LAY, but with a heavy Italian accent. The lower, more gravely-sounding and foreboding your voice is, the better. I swear one day I’m going to tell my grandkids scary stories at night about the cinghiale, Jabberwocky style. And yet I doubt it will create the same level of fear in them as it will in me.
In case you’re wondering, two of the three images above were taken from inside our cottage. As in, we have cinghiale outside our FRONT DOOR. The best part is, we have counted 21 different cinghiale that come out – squealing and grunting horrifically – each night around our cottage, 12 of which are piglets (cinghialettes?). They are terrifying. Especially when you don’t realize they even exist, and suddenly find yourself a mere 6 feet away from a whole family of them as you walk back from dinner one night. Or when you accidentally take a step closer to one and it grunts at you menacingly and takes a few steps toward you too. (The proper response to either scenario is, of course, to run screaming into your house, which is exactly what I did.)
They are apparently illegal to hunt here in Italy, and yet they are offered on most menus throughout Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, the two regions closest to us. Our coworkers laugh when we recount the terror of our cinghiale sightings, saying that they’re only dangerous when they have babies. Um, HELLO. Babies everywhere.
Thankfully, we’ve remained safe thus far. But every other night you can find us whisper-screaming to each other that the cinghiale are out, running around the house toward the source of the sounds, and all three of us leaning out one of the windows and squinting into the darkness for those beady eyes, straining to hear the hoofbeats and squeals of the cinghiale as they run past our little cottage in the woods before disappearing again into the Tuscan night.