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An original section to reveal legends, mysteries, anecdotes and Tuscany curiosities
The exuberant spirit and strong attachment to their land that have always characterized the Tuscans - it seems that the term 'parochialism' was born here - have spawned hundreds of legends, anecdotes, folk beliefs and mysteries.
In this section, curated by a true insider and constantly updated, you can discover many curiosities of Tuscany and get to know the hidden treasures of Tuscany!
Do you want to know about illustrious and famous people from Tuscany? Or are you curious to discover the most famous (but even the less known) Tuscan anecdotes and legends? Then you are in the right place! Toscanainside will reveal the myths, legends, anecdotes and curiosities of Tuscany: based on historical facts, these brief descriptive texts will take you on a fun journey through the history, folklore and mysteries of a hidden Tuscany!
Anecdotes and Tuscan Curiosities is the fortnightly publication of toscanainside.com dedicated to those who want to learn about places, oddities, legends and whimsical Tuscan characters who, for some reason, have become part of the history of this land. Do you find the history and culture of Tuscany interesting? Our legends, mysterious places and Tuscan historical curiosities will be the same! Embrace this exciting reading... we're sure you will want to visit first-hand the places mentioned and the villages where the most famous Tuscan historical characters lived!
If you want to be kept informed about new anecdotes of Tuscany (curiosities about Tuscany, but also photos, tours and current events), visit the Facebook page of toscanainside and click 'Like' and start interacting with us: let us know what your curiosities linked to the Tuscan territory are and we will do everything to satisfy them!
Why do children call their father babbo in Tuscany?
In Tuscany, children call their father babbo - not just during childhood, but for their entire life. You might have already heard this word in one of Pieraccioni’s films or in monologues by Benigni and Panariello. Just to give you another example, Carlo Conti, another Tuscan born and bred, chose as the title for the book in which he speaks of his experience as a father: 'We say babbo'! Who knows, perhaps you first heard of this word as a child, reading the Italian book 'The Adventures of Pinocchio'? Do you remember when the puppet meets Geppetto in the belly of the whale and calls him: 'babbo... my dear babbo'! But there is more to it! Dante Alighieri also uses this word in his Divine Comedy. At the beginning of the XXXII canto, referring to the difficulty of finding the right words to describe the bottom of the universe, he wrote: ‘For to describe the bottom of the universe / is not an enterprise wherewith to jest, / nor for a tongue that says ‘mamma’ and ‘babbo’. Having said this, have you ever wondered why in Tuscany we say babbo instead of papà? The explanation is rather simple. Both babbo and papà are words that reproduce the simple language used by children when they start talking. They usually utter stuttering sounds composed of a consonant and a vowel: like ba-ba, pa-pa, ma-ma and so on. With this in mind, there are no great differences in the onomatopoeic origin of the two terms. The main difference lies in the fact that babbo, unlike papà, is an Italian local term. At the end of the day, we all know that Florence is the cradle of our language! We don’t want to upset the other Italian regions, but Manzoni came to Florence when he wanted to polish his Italian! The other term, papà, has a French origin: a term borrowed from the French language that by proximity spread across northern Italy in particular. So how come babbo was replaced by papà in almost all of Italy? Especially in the nineteenth century, papà was used by the higher social classes, while babbo was limited to use within the family and by the less wealthy families. In the end its use survived only in Tuscany and in some other areas of Sardinia, Emilia Romagna, Marche and Umbria and... to describe one of the most important characters of our culture. Have you ever realised that Father Christmas in Italy is called 'Babbo Natale' and not 'Papà Natale'! It’s nice to discover amusing anecdotes on Tuscany, don’t you agree? So why not take advantage of one of our activities in Florence to discover some quirky facts about this wonderful city? Check out our 'Unusual Florence' section and you will find many perfect experiences to whet your curiosity.
Tuscany: 'Buco pillonzi', all of Tuscany’s irreverence in a witty expression
Figures of speech
People who speak Tuscan dialect are known for aspirating their c’s. But this isn’t the only peculiarity and, as a matter of fact, w...View
Pistoia: Where does the name of the Ospedale del Ceppo in the city of Pistoia come from?
Mysteries & Legends
Ospedale del Ceppo undoubtedly counts among the many masterpieces that the delightful city of Pistoia has to offer. What fascinates tou...View
Florence: The 'Rificolona': a funny name tracing back to the mischievous spirit of Florence’s people!
Lanterns are now very fashionable and are used at parties and weddings. Florence, however, has always been ahead of time, so much so th...View
Florence: In Florence people are known to be a 'short arm'!
How many times have you heard the expression 'avere il braccino corto' (lit. to be a short arm)? Many I guess. You will also then know ...View
Arezzo: Guido d'Arezzo and the invention of the music
In Talla and surroundings people have no doubt: the inventor of the musical stave, the inventor of the music notes and also of the mode...View
Pisa: Kinzika, the young woman who saved Pisa from the Saracens
It was really her, a young woman with an Arabian name, Kinzica, of the noble Sismondi family, to save Pisa from being sacked by Saracen...View