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I would expect that the definite article for Marzocco would be “il”. Why is it “la”? Is there a word that is omitted?

With "La Marzocco" I refer to the espresso machine company.

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    Do you refer to "La Marzocco" company? Can you please clarify this in the body of the question? If it's that way, it's because "the company" is "l'azienda" in Italian, which is feminine. So, yes, there is an omitted word in such expression: "azienda" or "ditta": "l'azienda Marzocco" or "la ditta Marzocco" is transformed into "la Marzocco".
    – Charo
    Jul 25 at 11:29
  • Ah, yes, I was referring to the espresso machine company. Jul 25 at 11:48
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    Can you please add this detail to the question?
    – Charo
    Jul 25 at 11:58
  • Why did you expect il?
    – DaG
    Jul 25 at 13:23
  • I've modified the body of the question so as to add what you have said in your comment: otherwise it's unclear what you are asking. Please, edit your post if you feel that you want to change or add anything else.
    – Charo
    Jul 26 at 6:36
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You can find a detailed answer to this question in the article by Vittorio Coletti "Articolo determinativo con nomi di aziende", published in the website of the Accademia della Crusca:

Nessuna regola della lingua vieta di dire “Fiat ha venduto le sue azioni” o “La Fiat ha venduto le sue azioni”, anche se la seconda soluzione è molto più diffusa della prima. Quanto più il nome è familiare e popolare tanto più il parlante tende a legarlo all'articolo, usato al femminile quando comprende o sottintende (come perlopiù accade) parola femminile, come azienda, ditta, società, fabbrica, banca, compagnia, fondazione ecc. (e quindi: la Lancia, l'Ariston, la Cirio, la Banca Etruria, la Reale Mutua) o al maschile, quando è sottintesa o esplicita parola maschile, come banco (Il San Paolo, il Banco Alimentare). [...] È significativo che nella forma standard e tradizionale “Banca d'Italia” sia perlopiù preceduta da la, mentre non lo è mai nella forma sintetica ad acronimo, corrente nel linguaggio giornalistico e specializzato (Bankitalia). In Liguria è fisso Cassa di Risparmio di Genova e Imperia con l'articolo, ma è frequente Carige senza, ancorché soprattutto nel linguaggio degli addetti ai lavori, perché la gente comune preferisce comunque “la Carige”.
In sostanza, non c'è errore nel mettere l'articolo e neppure nell'ometterlo, anche se la lingua tradizionale lo preferisce (ad esempio è comunissimo con i nomi distesi e tradizionali di banche, tipo “la Banca del Fucino”, “la Cassa di Risparmio dell'Umbria”). L'italiano recente è più disponibile all'omissione, del resto non incompatibile con la grammatica. [...] È opportuno infine ricordare che il nome della stessa azienda può essere maschile e femminile a seconda di quello che si sottintende. Dico: “faccio un salto al Carrefour” (il supermercato) e leggo, sottintendo “azienda”: “la Carrefour apre un nuovo supermercato” e, non meno spesso, “Carrefour ha acquisito l'esclusiva del tal prodotto”. In casi come questo, l'anteposizione dell'articolo consente di disambiguare subito il significato di un nome: se si dicesse “Cinzano ha grande successo nel mondo”, si potrebbe intendere tanto “il Cinzano” (vermut) quanto “la Cinzano”, azienda, e quindi è preferibile esporre l'articolo. L'articolo è preferibile anche quando il nome di un'azienda coincide con quello del proprietario e questo è per di più molto comune: per indicare l'azienda di pollame Rossi Mauro, è meglio anteporre l'articolo (femminile), per non confonderne il nome con quello di tanti omonimi signori, ivi compreso quello stesso del suo proprietario.
[...]

So, to answer your specific question: as explained above by Coletti, there is indeed an omitted word in the expression "La Marzocco" used to indicate a company: "azienda", "ditta" or "società" (all words meaning "company"). Feminine article "la" is used because all these words are femine nouns. In other words, "l'azienda Marzocco", "la ditta Marzocco" or "la società Marzocco" are transformed into "La Marzocco". The capitalization of article "la" is a way of including it in the proper name of the company.

As said by Coletti, the usage of determinative article with the names of companies was traditionally common in Italian, but this tendency has begun to change in modern Italian. Such determinative article is mostly feminine "la" (or "l'" if followed by a vocalic sound) because a feminine noun is implicit in the expression, such as "azienda, ditta, società, fabbrica, banca, compagnia, fondazione", etc. So, we say, for instance, "la Lancia, l'Ariston, la Cirio" or "la Fiat". Only in the few cases in which the omitted noun is masculine we use a masculine article. So, we say "ll San Paolo" because the omitted word in this case is "banco", which is masculine.

Another interesting fact explained in the quoted text is that, in some specific cases, the choice of the gender of the definite article to use before the name of a company can determine the meaning of the construction. So, for instance, "la Cinzano" would be "l'azienda Cinzano", whereas "il Cinzano" would be generally understood as the vermouth beverage produced by this company.

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Yes, there is something omitted in this sentence: the object or the person you are referring to. The definite article follows the gender of the latter one; I'll try to explain a bit better.

Marzocco is a surname, so the phrase:

  1. Can be about a person: in this case the person in all likelihood is a lady (or a miss), so the complete phrase would be:

"La signora (o signorina) Marzocco."

This kind of sentence is basically always used in an informal way and in spoken language, when both you and your interlocutor know the person very well.

Writing about someone as "la Marzocco" is not much elegant (at least in my opinion) but can be quite commonly used in written language when referring to a well-known person, like:

"La Cartabia" instead of "la ministra Cartabia."

Note that (in my experience) in this case this kind of expression is rarely (or even never) used when referring to a man; personally I've never seen written "il Di Maio" even if he's a minister, too.

In my experience the habit of using the definite article with the surname of the person was common on Northern Italy and later it spread to the rest of Italy.

Also in Northern Italy it is common to use the first name of the person too, only in spoken language and informally, so between friends is very common to say, when speaking of someone, "il Gianni" or "la Marta." In this case it is commonly used for both genders.

There is a big exception to the "rules" I've written so far, as @Charo commented: when the phrase refers to a personality of culture, especially of literature. So it is commonplace to say or to write "il Manzoni" or "la Morante" in all Italy.

This is a way to emphasize the authority of the person you are speaking or writing of.

  1. Marzocco is the name of a company (in Italy it is not uncommon, think about Ferrari or Lamborghini, both companies are named after their founder).

In this case "la Marzocco" can refer to the whole company, so the complete phrase would be "la (ditta) Marzocco"; another example could be "la Disney" to refer to "LA (compagnia) Disney.

Or can be about something that the company produces, so again the gender of the article follows the gender of the product:

La (macchina per il caffè) Marzocco

Or

La (automobile) Lamborghini

Please note that, if I don't remember wrong, the case about Ferrari is tricky because some people claim that "la Ferrari" must be used only with reference to the company, while the car should be addressed at as "IL Ferrari."

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    But sometimes one says "il Boccaccio", "il Manzoni", "il Leopardi", "il Serianni", "il Renzi", etc.
    – Charo
    Jul 25 at 6:15
  • And "la Ginzburg" or "la Morante" are always "la Ginzburg" and "la Morante", which doesn't seem inelegant.
    – Charo
    Jul 25 at 7:11
  • @Charo personally, I've never heard "Il Renzi" nor "il Bersani" nor "il Di Maio", except for very particular phrases like "Il Berlusconi dei tempi d'oro". If you think about it, you never read "Il Salvini ha detto... ", "il Letta ha fatto" but always "La Raggi ha detto", "La Meloni ha fatto". But your point about "il Manzoni" is brilliant, I forgot it. I'll try to articulate my answer Jul 25 at 12:33
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    “It is not much elegant (at least in my opinion) and it should be used only on spoken language” Not at all: it's the traditional norm for written Italian (check Serianni, p. 120: “ls norma tradizionale, cui è bene continuare ad attenersi, prescrive...”).
    – DaG
    Jul 25 at 13:21
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    As said by @DaG (and you can check it in Serianni's book), traditionally women surnames were preceded by the feminine article (and Serianni doesn't mention any noun omission in this case), which hasn't to do with Northern use of article with female names. But usage of such articles in modern Italian has changed and is now more complex, so a question about this would be interesting. The point is that what the OP seems to ask is a complete different issue. So I think there should be two threads: one about the usage of articles with the names of companies and a different one on female surnames.
    – Charo
    Jul 25 at 14:53

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