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Staying on the Pista and Going the Extra Mile

This week Dixi is attempting to ride a bicycle.


Non c'è due senza tre.

There can't be two without three [good/bad things come in threes].


-Shall we try again?

Caption 28, Dixieland - In bicicletta

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Three is often seen as a magic number, and the above expression is the way Italians express this. It can mean that if two bad things happen, one more will happen to make three, and the same can hold true for good things. Still another way the phrase can be interpreted is “third time’s a charm,” so it’s important not to stop after two. In fact, on the third try, Dixi does manage to stay on his little bicycle.


A related expression with numbers comes to mind that has to do with making that extra little effort at the end of something you’ve worked so hard on. It has to do with going that extra mile. It means going all the way and then some:


Abbiamo fatto trenta, facciamo trentuno.
We’ve done thirty; let’s do thirty-one.


Meanwhile, Dixi is not perfectly in control of his bike:


Attenzione! Pista!

Careful! Track [coming through]!

Caption 10, Dixieland - In bicicletta

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Pista means track, racetrack, runway, skating rink, dance floor, path or trail. If you hear someone yelling pista, it basically means they “have” the track, so you should get out of the way and in a hurry. It’s not considered impolite, but more about safety.


A proposito di sicurezza (speaking of safety), there are more and more bike paths cropping up in Italy.


E vicino al lungomare ci sta una pista ciclabile.

And next to the promenade there is a bike path.

Caption 44, Antonio - racconta Praia a Mare

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In their work, Lara and Luca use pista to indicate the track they’re on in the investigation, or the lead they’re following.


E che pista seguiamo?

And which track are we following?

Caption 25, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP8 - Morte di un buttero

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When you’ve undertaken something, you’re off and running, like in a race. 

Sono in pista!
I’m off!

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