Italian Language/preposition di


Don't fully understand the use of di with essere.  I thought that the article is used with geographical names but I see on one site that "I Rossi sono di Catania" is correct.  Why not della Catania?
Are "loro sono della Brasilia" or "Loro sono degli stati uniti"
not correct?


Hi Pat,

There is a set structure in Italian when you are stating what city/region/country etc that a person is from.

In this case, the structure is essere + di. Although you typically would add the article when describing countries such as Gli Stati Uniti o L'Italia, when you are simply talking about somebody's nationality, it is enough to just use essere + di without having to attach the article to the preposition in question.

Essere + di would be simply translated as 'to be from' so 'I Rossi sono di Catania' tells that 'The Rossis are from Catania. As a rule of thumb, you will always keep 'di' as it is without affixing any articles to it if you are referring to the person's nationality.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

Italian Language

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Lauren O' Hagan


Although not my mother tongue, I have spoken Italian fluently for more than 12 years so I am very confident to answer any questions about the Italian language. I am also competent in Roman Dialect if there are any questions relating to this.


MA Applied Linguistics First Class Honours in Modern Language Studies (Linguistics, Italian, Spanish) Received the top grade in the whole of UK for GCSE Italian, receiving a letter of congratulations from the Italian Consulate Completed my two-year A Level in 1 year with a grade A country. Carried out many translation jobs for a wide range of clients and topics including self-help, literature and exam papers. For personal reference, I have also translated Federico Moccia's Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo and 2 of Francesco Totti's book.

El Pensador, University of Bristol

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