We saw in the last lesson how the verb sentire takes care of several of our senses. Not to leave out the sense of sight (la vista), let’s look at how it‘s used in some common expressions.
If we translate the English expression “I can’t wait” literally, it becomes non posso aspettare, and while this can be useful if someone is late, and you really can’t wait for him, we sometimes mean we are looking forward to something with anticipation. As we see in the following example, Italian uses the verb vedere (to see) to express this.
Francesca had been going back and forth about learning to drive. But now, she’s really looking forward to getting started, so much so that she “can’t see the hour.”
Ma invece adesso sono convintissima, motivata e non vedo l'ora di cominciare.
But now however I'm totally convinced, motivated and I can't wait to start.
Caption 4, Francesca alla guida - Part 2Play Caption
If there’s someone you don’t like very much, it’s probably someone you don’t want to see. In fact, if you say, non lo posso vedere (I can’t see him), you’re really saying you can’t bear seeing him. Note: If you do want to say that you can’t see something or someone, just say, non lo vedo (I don’t see it/him) or non riesco a vederlo (I don’t succeed in seeing it/him).
You might be so hungry you can’t see straight. It so happens that an expression made famous in an Italian TV commercial for a candy bar says just that. Non ci vedo più dalla fame! (I can’t see straight from hunger [I’m famished]!)
Many expressions using vedere (to see) and occhio (eye) do indeed coincide with the English use of the sense of sight. For example, visto che translates easily as “seeing that,” although we would usually sooner use “since.” It’s a good expression to have handy when you are explaining something, like the woman telling us about her day at the lake.
E visto che siamo solo ad un chilometro, penso che andrò e tenterò di rilassarmi tutto il giorno.
And since we are just one kilometer away, I think that I will go and try to relax all day.
Captions 12-13, Una gita al lago - Part 1Play Caption
When you want to talk to someone privately, you want to see the expression in their eyes as they speak, so parlare a quattr’occhi (to speak with four eyes) is to have a conversation face to face.
If something is super expensive, you might describe it as costing un occhio della testa (an eye of the head), which isn’t that different from paying “through the nose,” or something costing “an arm and a leg!"
When something is too obvious to question, you might hear this: Vorrei anche vedere (I’d also like to see that), meaning something like, “I should think so/not!” “Yeah, right,” or “No way.”
Putting it all together just for fun:
Stamattina sono andata a parlare a quattr’occhi con la mia professoressa anche se non la posso vedere. Ora non vedo l’ora di arrivare a casa perché non ci vedo più dalla fame. Visto che I panini al bar costavano un occhio della testa, vorrei anche vedere se ne compravo uno.
This morning I went to talk face to face with my teacher even though I can’t stand her. Now I can’t wait to get home because I’m starving. Seeing that the sandwiches at the bar cost an arm and a leg, there was no way I was buying one.
And to really conclude, chi s’è visto s’è visto (literally, “we’ve seen whomever we’ve seen” meaning, “that’s the end of it”).
Practice using the expressions in this lesson until they feel comfortable. (Think about all the the things you are looking forward to!) Then visit WordReference to see all the modi di dire connected with vedere, and add one or two more to your repertory.