One of the major uses of the imperfetto is to describe the weather.

Il sole splendeva mentre camminavo.

Can you ever use the passato prossimo toward the same end?

For example could you say, "ieri ha fatto bel tempo"?

  • You picked one of the verbs that have no participio passato so that you cannot actually turn the sentence in the passato prossimo! :-) Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 12:51

2 Answers 2


We prefer the use of imperfetto because it describes an event that has lasted for a while, like could be the wheather.

You can use passato prossimo describing something that has ended, like rain or snow for example:
- Ieri ha piovuto.
- Ieri ha nevicato.

"Ieri ha fatto bel tempo" sounds a bit weird.

  • 2
    Purists would say ieri nevicò.
    – egreg
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 21:55
  • Unfortunately passato remoto is dying nowadays.
    – pinckerman
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 22:29
  • 2
    Ieri ha fatto bel tempo does not sound weird (ilfattoquotidiano.it/2011/10/04/…) and the passato remoto is not dying (corriere.it/politica/14_dicembre_16/…). Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 12:50
  • In the common language is dying, I rarely hear it and use it in real life when talking with people.
    – pinckerman
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 12:54
  • 1
    In the Southern half of the country the passato remoto is used a lot in speech. In both halves of the country it is the normal tense used in novels, stories etc. What has long declined is the differentiated usage of passato prossimo and passato remoto (basically because the distinction is very nuanced in most cases). Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 13:22

Yes, you can, and the weather is no special case as far as verb tenses are concerned. The choice between imperfetto, passato remoto and passato prossimo is made according to the usual grammar rules.

Piovve così tanto che i fiumi esondarono.

Pioveva quando ci siamo baciati la prima volta.

La sposa è preoccupatissima perché ha piovuto ininterrottamente per una settimana.

As with sentences unrelated to weather, in the South the passato remoto is used more often while in the North the passato prossimo tends to cannibalise sentences that a balanced usage of all tenses would render as passato remoto.

The problem with your sentence is that splenduto is not commonly used (read Crusca's opinion), splendere is one of the verbs that lack the participio passato therefore you cannot simply change the tense to passato prossimo without rewording the sentence in some way.

BTW, according to the Crusca you can use both essere or avere with piovere and similar verbs:

È piovuto, è nevicato, è grandinato. Ha piovuto, ha nevicato, ha grandinato.

Some sources hold the opposing view that only è piovuto etc. are OK, but in the everyday language both forms can be heard (perhaps ha piovuto is even a little more common).


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