I am studying for the Italian driving test and doing my best to learn new vocabulary as I go along. But I'm having a lot of trouble understanding what "riesce malagevole" means because I'm having trouble finding it used in other contexts. First, here it is in the driving exam question context:

E' obbligatorio ridurre la velocità e all'occorrenza fermarsi quando riesce malagevole l'incrocio con altri veicoli

My best guess is that this means you are obliged to reduce your speed and even stop when there is an intersection that is difficult to manage involving other cars. But that's a pretty awkward translation.

And here is another place that I found it used, which is just completely beyond me:

L’imperatrice Eusebia, donna d’illustre prosapia, di splendente bellezza, di castità singolare, di colto ingegno, ed elegante, prese ad amarlo con tenera costante affezione, la quale se in appresso da quella sua pura sorgente traviasse, riesce malagevole alla storia di affermare egualmente che di negare.

  • 1
    I think you got the sense of “malagevole” in the driving text question. What is exactly your question? “Quando riesce malagevole” can be literally translated as “when it turns out to be difficult “
    – Hachi
    Aug 30, 2020 at 19:03
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    It is compulsory to reduce the speed and, if necessary, to stop when crossing with other vehicles is difficult.
    – Hachi
    Aug 30, 2020 at 19:15
  • @Hachi This helps too, thanks.
    – Tony M
    Aug 30, 2020 at 19:41

3 Answers 3


Your translation of the first sentence (about the driving exam) is correct.

First, the verb "riuscire" is used to mean "risultare" , "presentarsi" (to appear, to be, to turn out), I take this definition from Treccani Vocabulary

  1. Con un agg. in funzione di compl. predicativo, essere, apparire, risultare

With an adjective as a predicative complement, to be, to appear, to prove to be

Second, about "malagevole" - From the Treccani Vocabulary, too:

malagévole agg. [comp. di mal- e agevole]. – 1. Non agevole, non facile; che presenta ostacoli superabili con fatica:

malagévole adj. [composed by. mal- and agevole] - 1. Not manageable, not easy; that presents obstacles hardly surmountable.

A translation similar to yours could be:

It is mandatory to reduce the speed and even stop when the intersection between vehicles is proved to be difficult to be managed.

The second sentence is a lot more difficult to be translated because of the pompous and obsolete language; I will try with:

The Empress Eusebia, a woman of illustrious lineage, of shining beauty, of singular chastity, of cultured intelligence, and elegant, she started to love him with tender constant affection which, if it would have been misled from that pure source, it is difficult to history to affirm as well as to deny.

Basically, the Epress Eusebia (described as a noble, beautiful, pure and intelligent woman) started to become affectionate to a man and if her feelings later had become less pure (misled from the original chaste source), it is very hard to confirm or to negate.

  • when the intersection between vehicles is proved to be difficult to be managed.” is not a good translation IMO
    – Hachi
    Aug 30, 2020 at 19:21
  • @Hachi yeah maybe you're right... I am unsure about "the crossing between vehicles"... I can't find right now better words Aug 30, 2020 at 19:26
  • I appreciate your explanation of malagevole (which I thought was my difficulty) but now I see that riuscire was also a problem for me. I knew it could mean "to manage to" while malagevole means "not manageable" which is hard to put together. But it's interesting to me that you take another sense of riuscire for the translation. It's starting to make sense now. Still, examples are the easiest way to learn but I guess this phrase doesn't appear that much.
    – Tony M
    Aug 30, 2020 at 19:28
  • Also from Treccani treccani.it/vocabolario/riuscire "5. Con un agg. in funzione di compl. predicativo, essere, apparire, risultare" (With an adjective as a predicative complement, to be, to appear, to result) Aug 30, 2020 at 19:35
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    Quanto a riesce, il sinonimo migliore in questo caso mi sembra risulta. La sua traduzione dovrebbe essere prove to be, o, come ha detto Hachi, turn out. Aug 30, 2020 at 21:29

The sentence is part of the questions for the driving license exam. It has been written by somebody who likes bureaucratic language and the purpose is to puzzle the examinees first about the meaning of the question.

It is question 21003. There is no intersection involved. The situation to imagine is when the road is narrow and two vehicles meet, coming from opposite directions. By the way, the answer is “true”.

The word malagevole is a bureaucratism for difficult. The prefix mal is actually male and there are several adjectives so composed: malcompreso, malfatto and others. However just a few of them are used in common spoken language and malagevole is not among them. The prefix mal is also used in French and Zamenhof used it for making opposites in Esperanto; which is bad, in my opinion, because both in Italian and in French the prefix mostly has a negative connotation: la fille malgardée is not a child that has not been taken care of, but that has been looked after in a bad way.

However malagevole and disagevole are essentially synonymous and both mean uneasy.

Riuscire and adjective means something like to result. A smooth translation into Italian would be

È obbligatorio rallentare e, se necessario, fermarsi quando l'incrocio con altri veicoli è difficile.

In English

It is mandatory to slow down and, if necessary, to stop when it is difficult to pass by other vehicles.

  • From this answer I learned not only more about malagevole, but also to consider incrocio more broadly than just 'intersection'. It's also helpful to get insight into the bureaucratic mindset behind some of these questions. At times it seems almost malevolent
    – Tony M
    Aug 31, 2020 at 8:29
  • @TonyM Malevolente is another good example of an adjective that's not the opposite of another: volente is somebody who wants to do something (not very common except in fixed phrases), but malevolente is somebody who wants to do something bad to others, in thought or in act.
    – egreg
    Aug 31, 2020 at 8:34

Malagevole combines MAL + AGEVOLE

AGEVOLE comes from AGIO (=ease, comfort)

AGEVOLE (adj.) then means something that can be done easily, with ease, comfortably

MAL+AGEVOLE means that something can NOT be done easily, comfortably

  • Welcome to Italian.SE and thanks for your answer!
    – Charo
    Sep 2, 2020 at 5:24

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