Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Italian expressions of America

It may be known the world over as the ‘Land of the Free’, but America also pops up in several Italian expressions. Here are a few English interpretations of well-used Italian sayings.
Discover America – “He thinks he’s discovered America!”. To think or claim to have discovered something that is already common knowledge to most people.
To find America ­– To suddenly find yourself in a position of economic prosperity, without all the hard work in getting there.

An Uncle in America – With such a legacy of migration, many Italians now know a relative in the US. To talk of an ‘Uncle in America’ is a tongue-in-cheek way to talk about finances, when the truth is a little secretive. “How could you afford that?” – “Oh, you have an Uncle in America”.

Generally, the mention of America conjures ideas of the American Dream, painting a picture of a mythical, idealized land of wealth, where everyone has the potential to realize their dreams and make a name for themselves – not to mention their fortune. While the experiences of Italian immigrants vary greatly, one thing is certain, they all have some amazing stories to tell about the land they came to call home.