I was reading this article from la repubblica http://www.repubblica.it/politica/2016/07/06/news/cricca_delle_nomine_puntava_sui_tribunali_2_0_abbiamo_visto_legnini_ora_lotti_-143516669/?ref=HRER3-1

The first couple of sentences throw me off badly, I have asked a couple of italian native speakers and they assure me it is correct, but I still don't understand. The segment in question:

Nell'ufficio di via in Lucina, a pochi passi da Palazzo Chigi, Raffaele Pizza stava combinando con due imprenditori la "mandrakata". Diventare fornitori esclusivi per la pubblica amministrazione della gestione del sistema Tiap, il "Trattamento informatizzato Atti Processuali", in uso anche alla procura di Roma.

The first sentence makes sense, but I don't understand what the second sentence refers to at all "diventare fornitori..." I know what the words mean, but to my (native English) mind, it's just a fragement with no subject. Can anyone explain what is going on here?

  • 3
    I wouldn't take repubblica.it as a model of good, or even standard, Italian. On the other hand, it often exemplifies most traits of a new non-standard (and in somebody's unscientific views, “ugly”) variety of Italian
    – DaG
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 19:49
  • The subject of the second sentence is "la mandrakata", it explains what it is, that is "diventare fornitori esclusivi.....". The two sentences could actually (more correctly ?) be one. It is part of journalist style to write short sentences.
    – user519
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 19:50
  • 3
    @Josh61 The “logical” subject, not the “grammatical” subject. The sentence should definitely have a colon and not a period.
    – egreg
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


If you replace that full stop with a colon (and turn the upper-case “D” into a lower-case one), it becomes a more standard sentence. The spirit in this “style” is to focus the attention of the reader on some elements that in a more traditional phrasing would be simply parts of a longer sentence.

To learn about the spirit of such sentences, more than about this particular formulation, you may read about the stile nominale, which favours short sentences, arriving almost to a fragmentation of normal syntax, and is exemplified at its most extreme in such texts as Ilvo Diamanti's:

Li avevamo dati per dispersi. Da parecchio tempo. I giovani. Ci parevano invisibili. Indistinguibili dalle generazioni precedenti. Dai fratelli maggiori. Dai genitori. Analoghi atteggiamenti. E una incontenibile voglia di mascherarsi. Agili, per affrontare la complessità sociale. Incriptati nelle loro cerchie minime. Nei piccoli gruppi di amici. Nascosti in famiglia.

  • Yes that's pretty much what I thought. The most difficult thing for me learning Italian is reading, because full stops or commas either appear or don't appear when I expect, and the flow is different. But that being said, some writers are better than others.
    – Jesse
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 20:16

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