Italian Word of the Day: Girasole (sunflower)

The sunflower, known as a girasole (masculine, plural: girasoli) in Italian, is a beautiful tall plant of the daisy family with very large golden-rayed flowers.

IPA: /gi-ra-só-le/

The Italian name is a combination of the verb girare (to turn, spin) and sole (sun). The name refers to the heliotropic behaviour of the flower (it turns throughout the day to follow the sun). However, contrary to popular belief, sunflowers only follow the sun during the early stages of their growth, stopping once they reach maturity. (Source: Ripleys)

C’è uno splendido girasole in giardino.

There’s a splendid sunflower in the garden.

woman looking at a sunflower
Il girasole è grande come la sua testa! = The sunflower is as big as her head!

Sunflowers are cultivated for their edible seeds (semi di girasole), which are used in the production of sunflower oil (olio di girasole) for cooking. Historically they have also been used in the making of paper, feed for livestock, dyes, and flour.

Despite being native to North America, they have become widespread across most of Europe. In Italy, sunflower fields (campi di girasoli) are in bloom in the regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche between mid-June and early August, with late June and early July being your best bet.

Andiamo a vedere i campi di girasole domani? Sono bellissimi!

Shall we go see the sunflower fields tomorrow? They’re beautiful!

sunflower field with a rainbow in the background
Un doppio arcobaleno sul campo di girasoli. = A double rainbow above a sunflower field.

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