Lecciones de Italiano

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Presso answers the question dove (where)?

If you hang out in Italy for even just a visit, you are likely to see the word presso written somewhere, and you may or may not hear it. It's not all that easy to figure out, so let's take a look.

 

These days most folks use email to communicate, rather than mailing letters. This avoids, in many cases, needing to write your address anywhere, except possibly on an immigration form at the airport. But if you do have to write down where you are staying, for example, then you might need presso. One of its very basic meanings is "at" or "in." But that isn't very helpful since we use these prepositions in so many ways.

 

If, for instance, I am staying at the Hotel Verdi, in Pisa, then I might use presso. It's not my house, but that's where I am temporarily lodged. One dictionary gives this definition for presso:

indica un indirizzo preciso ma non specificato (it indicates a precise, but not specified address).

 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Presso is a preposition, and we can use it to mean in casa di (at the home of), the equivalent of: "in care of," or "c/o," as you would write when addressing an envelope. Maybe you are writing to an exchange student friend staying at the home of a family in Tuscany.

Signorina Giovanna Bossi

     presso la famiglia Bianchi

via Verdi, 4

56036 Forcoli PI

 

Biancaneve vive presso i sette nani nel bosco.

Snow White lives with the seven dwarfs in the wood.

Caption 11, Ti racconto una fiaba Biancaneve - Part 2

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We immediately visualize that Snow White is staying with the dwarfs, or that she is staying at the home of the dwarfs.

 

1) Your friend is in the hospital and someone asks you where, for example: (dov'è ricoverato Giacomo?): How could you answer?

 

We can use it to mean "in a place," for example, where you work.

Ciao ragazzi, sono Adriano, un ragazzo italiano di ventisette anni e lavoro presso un agenzia di programmatori informatici.

Hi guys! I'm Adriano, an Italian guy of twenty-seven and I work at a computer programing agency.

Captions 1-2, Adriano Giornata

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Adriano is implying that he also works for this agency. He could have said:

Ciao ragazzi, sono Adriano, un ragazzo italiano di ventisette anni e lavoro in un agenzia di programmatori informatici.

 

Presso is a bit more formal, a bit more refined.

 

2) Tu dove lavori/studi (where do you work/go to school)?

 

Arianna and Erica both used presso when talking about where they went to school.

Mi sono laureata presso l'Università di Perugia in Lingue Straniere per la comunicazione internazionale.

I got my degree at the University of Perugia in foreign languages for international communications.

Captions 5-6, Un'italiana all'estero

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Quindi mi sono iscritta a, all'indirizzo archeologico presso l'Università di Pisa.

So I enrolled in, in the Archeology course of study at the University of Pisa.

Captions 10-11, Professioni e mestieri Erica - archeologa - Part 1

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Martina is talking about what she would like to do when she finishes her university studies.

Quando finirò i miei studi, vorrei diventare o perito minorile o giudice onorario presso il tribunale per i minori.

When I finish my studies, I would like to become either an evaluator of minors, or lay judge at juvenile court.

Captions 28-29, Serena presenta Martina

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Daniela teaches some video lessons about writing letters, both formal and informal. She describes a letter applying for a job.

Per esempio io, io, Daniela Rossi, sto cercando un lavoro presso la casa editrice Feltrinelli e scrivo al dottor Luca Monti, responsabile del personale, per mandare la mia candidatura e vedere se c'è una possibilità di lavoro per me.

For example, I, I, Daniela Rossi, am looking for a job at the Feltrinelli Publishing House, and I am writing to Doctor Luca Monti, Personnel Manager, to send in my application and to see if there is a possibility of a job for me.

Captions 43-47, Corso di italiano con Daniela Lettera formale - Part 1

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We can also use it to mean "among," "in," "for," or "with": 

Presso gli Etruschi, l'aldilà era molto importante.

For the Etruscans, the afterlife was very important.

 

Lui è partito con... diciamo, all'interno del... di questa, di questo movimento che fu chiamato la Nouvelle Cuisine, ma poi, dopo aver fatto, per esempio, esperienze molto intense presso le cucine orientali e in particolare la... la cucina giapponese, la sua attenzione è stata subito attratta da una delle più grandi cucine...

He set off... let's say, at the center of the... of this, of this movement that was called la Nouvelle cuisine, but then, after having had, for example, very intensive experiences with Asian cooking, and in particular... Japanese cooking, his attention was immediately drawn to one of the greatest cuisines...

Captions 40-45, L'arte della cucina L'Epoca delle Piccole Rivoluzioni - Part 12

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Translating presso isn't always easy, but the important thing is to grasp the idea of what it means. 

 

3) What if I wanted to say that in Italian, we often leave out the personal pronoun?

 

Presso as "near," "close by," "by"

Another meaning of presso is "near," "by," "close by." 

Il sole splende in Val Rendena. illuminando il fianco destro della chiesa di San Vigilio, presso il cimitero di Pinzolo.

The sun shines in the Rendena Valley illuminating the right side of the church of San Vigilio by Pinzolo's cemetery.

Captions 1-3, Itinerari Della Bellezza Trentino Alto Adige - Part 3

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4) Dove ci incontriamo Where shall we meet? You can answer by suggesting the bar near the train station, even if you don't know the name of it.

 

To conclude:

You can get away without using the preposition presso,  but isn't it nice to able to understand it if someone else uses it? And if you do use it, people will be impressed!

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

Possible solutions:

1) È ricoverato presso l'ospedale XXX.

2a) Lavoro presso una scuola di lingue.

2b) Studio presso l'Università di Firenze.

3) Presso la lingua italiana, si può spesso omettere il pronome personale.

I could also say:

Nella lingua italiana, si può spesso omettere il pronome personale.

4) Ci vediamo nel bar presso la stazione.

Ci vediamo al bar vicino alla stazione.

Ci vediamo al bar all'interno della stazione.

Or in Tuscan Italian:

Ci si vede nel bar...

 

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