10 commonly used dialectal words to better understand the culture and traditions of Alessandria and its territory.
Italy is often called "the country of a thousand bell towers" to emphasize the infinite cultural identities that characterize and differentiate it. An important component of these identities is represented by dialects, which with their nuances reflect the peculiarities of each region and each city, telling its story as good as monuments and works of art.
For this reason, our team created for our travelers a tiny vocabulary of 10 words of the dialect of Alessandria. In this way you can start to know a little better about our territory and, why not, blend in with the locals. Beware of pronunciation though! As a dialect with a strong French influence, those of you coming from France may have a slight advantage.
Anlòt: The agnolotti, a typical plate of Alessandria’s cuisine consisting of square-shaped pasta stuffed with roast meat. Next time in the restaurant try to sort them in this way, you never know that you get a more abundant portion.
Barlafùs: A useless and quite bulky object. Often it is also used to fairly address a helpless and clumsy person.
Cadregæ: Widespread term, common to almost all of northern Italy to indicate a chair. This word is essential in the vocabulary of a tourist visiting Alessandria.
Fiocæ: A word that you could hear walking down the street in winter, which refers to the snow. But since we like to complicate our lives, we use vulæra to indicate the single snowflake.
Lapòn: It comes from the verb lapà (= eat) and is indicative of a greedy person. If you hear it at the restaurant it means you proved yourself to be a good eater. Congratulations!
Pòm: The apple. This term demonstrates the strong link between our dialect and French. Those who haven’t a smattering of this language can be deceived, thinking it's a curious short for the Italian word for tomato (pomodoro), but no! To indicate the tomato we use tomaticæ. Keep this in mind if you want to buy fruits and vegetables from some peasants.
Rabatà: A verb that means falling and which has given its name to one of the most famous dishes of Alessandria’s cuisine: the rabatòn. In fact, these large vegetables and cheese gnocchi are prepared by dropping and rolling them into the flour. You have to taste them!
Scarnebia: a meteorological term that indicates a particular climatic condition, very common during the Autumns of Alessandria, that is, a very fine, almost vaporized, rainfall. A sort of hybrid between rain and fog. We know, at first it looks terrible, but once you get used to it, it becomes almost enjoyable, especially if you are sitting in a warm cafè, with a hot cup of tea in your hands.
This is just a taste of our dialect. If you are curious to go further, we strongly advise you not to be shy and try to make conversation with locals, better if with the older ones. In this way, besides learning the dialect, you will be able to hear stories and interesting anecdotes.
A 's veduma, travelers!