I have read the following sentence in Treccani:

Appena uscito dalla palestra, sono stato in biblioteca.

I would initially translate it as "As soon as I left the gym, I was in the library", but that makes no sense unless the library and gym are adjacent rooms, which is unlikely. I guess that "stare" means "andare" in this context? I have not found that meaning in https://www.wordreference.com/iten/stare. Is it usual?

  • 1
    It's essentially the difference between "I've gone to the library (and I'm still there)" and "I've been to the library (and then I left)"
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 22:02
  • @DenisNardin minor: If I'm still at the library, I think I'd say "I've come to the library" in English (and not "I've gone"). Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


No, it doesn't simply translate to andare; the idea of going to the library is implicit, but the sentence conveys the sense of having gone to the library, staying there for a while. However, the speaker is no longer in the library.

How would you say this in English? I think you can use to stay as well:

As soon as I left the gym, I stayed at the library for a while.

Of course, in order to stay at the library, you have to go there, but you don't need to say that explicitly.

The Italian sentence could also mean

As soon as I left the gym, I went to the library.

if the context makes clear that I went there for a short time, for instance in order to return a book I borrowed. However, for this case, I'd use Appena uscito dalla palestra, sono stato alla biblioteca, that is, I didn't really stay there long. Alternatively, sono passato dalla biblioteca.

  • Do "stare in biblioteca" and "stare alla biblioteca" imply the duration of permanence? Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 16:59
  • @AlanEvangelista “sono stato alla biblioteca” (past) is good; “sto alla biblioteca” is regional.
    – egreg
    Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 17:00
  • ok, but I was asking about the implied duration of permanence in "in biblioteca" and "alla biblioteca". In your answer, you say that "sono stato in biblioteca" expresses that you stayed there for a while and "sono stato alla biblioteca" expresses that you didn't stay there long. Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 17:46
  • @AlanEvangelista It's “stare in” that conveys the idea of duration.
    – egreg
    Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 18:23
  • @greg I am confused now. I thought that the preposition used after "andare", "essere", "stare" depended only on the place, eg andare/essere/stare/ in biblioteca, andare/essere/stare al mare. Are you saying that the choice of the preposition after "andare" depends on the place and the preposition after "stare" depends on the duration of permanence ? Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 18:34

Basically, your assumption can be considered correct; but in this case the meaning of the verb "stare" can be this one, taken from Treccani:

Essere, trovarsi, permanere in un dato luogo, o in una determinata condizione.

To be, to stay, to linger in a given place, or in a given condition.

So the expression "sono stato in biblioteca" is used to say that yes, he went to the library, but it remarks that he passed some time there.

It is pretty used; for example you can say:

Sono stato al mare = I've been at the seaside (I spent there some days).


Sono stato dai miei parenti = I visited my relatives

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