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It is difficult to convey how intensely provincial Italians are. As an example, look at the following song by the singer/songwriter Paolo Conte.
He is from Alessandria, in Piemonte and he is singing about Genova. The song is about his piemontese feelings about Genova - If you look at the lyrics, you have an impression of two different worlds, separated by strong cultural differences and vast oceans.
But no: between Genova (in Liguria) and Piemonte there are maybe 100 miles of highway, that easily cross the Appennini (hardly a daunting mountain range).
Nonetheless, the cultural differences are there: Genova historically has been looking seawards, while landlocked Piemonte always looked towards France.
In both regions, completely ununderstandable dialects are spoken in everyday life. Genova is dirty, and it smells like every good seaport should: rotten. Piemonte is a land of meticulously kept little towns and vineyards. Genova is a labyrinth of little streets, all different - Torino is a brutally rational gridwork of wide streets.
Another point where people from Genova and the piemontesi concur is irony: both are famed for having a taste for the cutting joke. Even if Piemonte is more famed for the deadpan delivery - the Italian proverb says piemontese, falso e cortese (which requires no translation).

Anyway, here you have it: Genova for us.

Genova per noi

by Paolo Conte

Con quella faccia un po' cosí
quell'espressione un po' cosí
che abbiamo noi prima di andare a Genova
e ogni volta ci chiediamo
se quel posto dove andiamo
non c'inghiotte e non torniamo piú

With that face just so
the expression just so
that we have before we go to Genova
and every time we wonder
if that place where we are going
will not swallow us so that we never go back home

Eppur parenti siamo un po'
di quella gente che c'è lí
che in fondo in fondo è come noi, selvatica,
ma la paura ci fa quel mare scuro
che si muove anche di notte e non sta fermo mai.

And yet, we are somewhat relatives
of those people that live down there
that, deep inside, are bit wild, like us
and how afraid we are of that dark sea
that moves even at night and never stands still

Genova per noi
che stiamo in fondo alla campagna
e abbiamo il sole in piazza rare volte
e il resto è pioggia che ci bagna.
Genova, dicevo, è un'idea come un'altra
Ah, la la la la la la

Genova for us
we, that live in the bottom of the countryside
we, that have sunshine in the city square rarely
and the rest is rain that wets us.
Genova, I said, is an idea like any other one
Ah, la la la la la la

Ma quella faccia un po' cosí
quell'espressione un po' cosí
che abbiamo noi mentre guardiamo Genova
ed ogni volta l'annusiamo
e circospetti ci muoviamo
un po' randagi ci sentiamo noi.

But that face just so
the expression just so
that we have when we look at Genova
every time we smell it
we move very carefully
and we feel a little bit like strays

Macaia, scimmia di luce e di follia,
foschia, pesci, Africa, sonno, nausea, fantasia ...
e intanto, nell'ombra dei loro armadi
tengono lini e vecchie lavande
lasciaci tornare ai nostri temporali
Genova ha i giorni tutti uguali.

Monkey of light and madness,
haze, fishes, Africa, sleep, dizzines, fancy ...
and meanwhile, in the shadow of their closets
they keep linen and old sprigs of lavender
let us go back to our thunderstorms
every day in Genova is the same

In un'immobile campagna
con la pioggia che ci bagna
e i gamberoni rossi sono un sogno
e il sole e' un lampo giallo al parabrise ...

In a still countryside
soaked by the rain
the red jumbo shrimps are a dream
and the sun a yellow flash in the windscreen ...

Ma quella faccia un po' cosi'
quell'espressione un po' cosi'
che abbiamo noi che abbiamo visto Genova
Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm ...

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