Italy has long been a popular romantic destination for travelers. Whether it’s Firenze or Roma, no matter where you go in Italy you’ll find reminders of a past that so many writers have considered the foundation of true romance. An Italian man takes amore seriously. He’ll shower you with words of love, and in the bedroom he is a superb lover. He will make you feel as if you are the only woman in the world who matters to him. But don’t let him down. He expects you to be as hot and passionate as he is.

Because Italian is a romance language, what better way to start Valentine’s Day than with a lesson on relating how you feel toward your loved one…in Italian. The following is a very short list of how to express amore. This list was compiled by Francesca di Meglio, a writer who contributes to many Italian-American publications and online sites about “Growing up Italian.”

Ti amo (tee ahmoh) – I love you. This phrase is reserved for your soul mate, the person with who you want to share your life, the person for whom you are passionate

Amore (ah mor eh) – Love. This can be used as a pet name for your beloved or your kids. Or it can be used to express love as in “peace and love” or “pace e amore”. One word is really all you need.

Bacio (bacheeoh) – Kiss. This word is often used to sign off on a phone conversation or letter. It can be made plural by eliminating the final o, which is pronounced bahchee. If you say “dahmee uhn bahcheeoh”, you are saying “give me a kiss”. How sweet! The chocolates of the same name are yummy and a welcome Valentine’s Day treat.

Abbraccio (ahbracheeoh) – Hug. This word is often used with the word bacio as a sign off. It too can be made plural by eliminating the final o. You would write or say, “baci e abbracci” or “kisses and hugs”.

Stringimi (streengeemee) – Squeeze me. You would say this to your lover when you want to be held close and tightly.

Vuoi uscire con me? (vewoi usheereh cawn meh) – Will you go out with me? Use this when you want to court someone and show them a good time. Just think how impressed this new person will say when you ask him or her out in Italian! There’s no way you’ll hear no as a response.

San Valentino (Sahn Valenteenoh) – Saint Valentine. The saint that is responsible for the most romantic day of the year. His feast day is Feb. 14.

I had the privilege of growing up Italian. My pride for my heritage has led me to become involved in the Order Sons of Italy in America. It also has been a major influence in the stories I write. My latest book takes place in the Po Valley of Northern Italy in 1425. It’s the first book of a trilogy about three psychic sisters.


A new historical romance from

Jannine Corti Petska


Book One from the Sisters of Destiny Trilogy

Forced to the streets after her mother dies, Carina Gallo is desperate to survive and find her long lost sisters.

Consumed with locating his missing brother, Count Luciano Ruggero has forsaken his needs.

When Luciano catches beautiful and vulnerable Carina stealing from him, he takes pity and cares for her until she’s strong enough to work off her crime. Carina is forever grateful to Luciano, yet fears he will learn of her wicked secret and condemn her to burn.

Will Luciano and Carina find a way to feed the mutual passions they share, or will heresy and obsession with lost family destroy them both?

ebook available at

ebook: 978-1-926640-59-4print: 978-1-926647-35-7 (print release date tba)Excerpt:After Carina steals food from his tavern, Luciano rescues her from starvation and takes her to his home to get healthy and to work off her crime. This is the first meeting where he tries to learn who she is. His manservant has fallen ill, and his upstairs maid is also showing signs of becoming sick.


  “Did you come here to ply your trade?”

    “And what trade might that be, my lord?”

    He forced himself to remain rooted to the floor else he’d throttle the

outspoken wench. “Are you a strumpet?”

    His directness caused her to blush. She wasn’t unshakable after all.

    “I fear you have misjudged me, Count Ruggero.”

    “Then from where did you come? And I’ll have a straightforward


    She dropped her hands to the folds of the silk gown. To hide her

nervousness over speaking of her past? Luciano wondered.

    “I worked for the Baldovini,” she replied.

    His eyes bore into her. Carina read his suspicion.

    “If you do not believe me, send someone to the Baldovini to inquire

about me,” she openly challenged. “I spent the whole of my life on their

lands, working the fields these four years past.”

    He set his goblet down gently and moved closer. “You were a


    She nodded but couldn’t speak with the count standing but a long

stride away. His imposing presence commanded attention. Were she not

a pauper and he a count, she’d assuredly lure him into a kiss, as

improper as it might be. It wouldn’t be an unpleasant experience, she’d

wager. The only kiss she’d ever received from a man had been from the

lecherous, slobbering Signor Baldovini. He had cornered her and tried to

snatch more than just a kiss. Miseria! She still cringed from the horrible


    “The Baldovini employ only men and boys to work their fields,” the

count pointed out.

    “Signora Baldovini did not allow me to work in her private


    He stepped closer. So close, Carina smelled the clean scent from his

morning bath and the faint fragrance of wine on his breath. Her heart’s

pace quickened.

    “Why would the signora forbid you from her home?”    “Truth be told, Signor Baldovini had an eye for me. The signora told

my mother I tempted her husband. Mamma knew better, for Signor

Baldovini has an eye for all women and has many bastard children.”

    The count’s cheeks lined with shallow dimples when he suppressed a

smile at her directness. Carmine Baldovini’s illegitimate children were a

well-known fact, one his wife continually denied.

    “Did you tempt him?”

    Carina cocked her head and tightened her mouth.

    “I will take your silence as an affirmation.”

    “No!” she exploded, unduly put out by his judgment of her character.

“I did not tempt him, and I am not a strumpet. I am still a vir—” Her lips

slammed together.

    Pleased to hear her virtue remained intact, Luciano took another step

forward. His pulse hastened and suddenly he desired to touch Carina’s

cheek, to know if it was as preciously smooth as it looked. “Why are you

no longer working for the Baldovini?”

    He was not prepared for the sadness flooding her features. He

gentled his demeanor.

    “My mother died four months past. Signora Baldovini demanded I

leave at once. I had no where to go but the streets.”

    The directness of her gaze captured his. Not weak in courage by any

means, she hadn’t looked away when she replied. Gesu, how could he

allow her to pluck his heartstrings as she did? He felt her sorrow and

wished he could comfort her. Sorrow he knew all about. But where did

the need to hold her come from?

    “And still a virgin. You are fortunate.”

    “Mayhap.” She shifted her stance. “I am certain you did not bid me

here to discuss my virtue.”

    His gut constricted again. “Maiden, you’d do well to mind your place

in my presence. And that includes your impulsive tongue.”

    “, my lord.” Contrite, but nonetheless acceptable.

    “I shall leave you in Sandra’s care. Once you have attained a more

substantial…a healthier look about you,” he said carefully when her

head tilted, “you’ll tend to my chamber.” So much for keeping her at a

distance. “That means seeing to my laundry and cleaning my chamber

and reading room, the same in which you sleep. You will also mend my

garments. Marcello carries my meals up when I am in no mood to dine

downstairs. So too, he lays out the clothes I wish to wear and sees to my


    “Your pardon, count. Am I to clean your chamber pot as well?”

    His tone clipped, he replied, “I use the garderobe.”

    “And your bath?”

    She wouldn’t ask if she knew the road his mind drifted down. The

scrawny wench teased his lust into awakening yet again, and the day

was still new. “That, angel, I shall take care of myself, with help from my


    Was that relief he saw flitter across her face?

    “Then I agree to the duties you have stated.”

    “Agree?” He couldn’t hide his disbelief. “Agree?” he repeated,

closing the gap between them. Looming above her, forcing her to tilt her

head to see his face, he wondered if she was a fool or just naïve. She

didn’t even attempt to move away. Any other woman would have

cowered back.

    “Sì, agree.”

    “There is naught for you to agree to. You are working off a debt. Your

service to me is your punishment for stealing.”

    “It is, my lord.”

    She relented. Luciano became suspicious.

    “How long must I work to pay my debt, for I barely ate enough to

warrant a lengthy punishment. And I did lose it all, do you not recall?”

    Her reasoning askew, he realized he could reprimand her until the

morrow and she’d not tone down her carelessly spoken words. Had she

lost sight of the fact she had committed a crime? It mattered not how

much she stole. Or that she’d lost it shortly after eating.

    A firm knock interrupted their meeting. Agitated, Luciano barked,


    Sandra rushed in, her cheeks flushed, her face wrought with worry.

“Beg your pardon, Count Ruggero. Please forgive me for not

accompanying Signorina Gallo.”

    He nodded, though he was concerned. Except for the warm color on

her cheeks, she appeared as if standing was a chore. Her rapid breathing

confused him, and he would have addressed her health if he knew she

was prone to illness. But Sandra and Marcello hadn’t been sick a day

since they came to work at the manor.

    “Our meeting is over,” he said and slid his gaze to the wench. “Get to

the kitchen for food. The first order will be to fatten you up. For that I

shall add a new debt for you to work off.”

    He glared at her to keep her from speaking another cursed retort.

    “I do not run a room and board here.”

    “Count Ruggero—”

    “Not another word.”

    “But I must—”

    He clamped his hand over her mouth but her lips continued to move,

tickling his palm. “Be damned, woman. Must I tie a cloth around your

mouth to silence you?”

    “If you must…” She swept past him, her head held erect, and glided

toward the open door. Her gracefulness contributed to the appearance of

her floating on air. No commoner had he ever seen walk as regally as she


    His fingers twitched, his entire body tensed. As he watched her walk

away, a strange feeling settled in the pit of his stomach. About to turn his

back to her, he paused when she called his name and faced him with a

tantalizing grin, which renewed the tingling in his groin.

    “You cannot fatten me up, count. I am thin by nature.”

    Blasted wench! He slammed the door then miserably adjusted the

swell in his hose.

You can find the first chapter on my website:

I’d like to thank Janet for allowing me to share San Valentino with her readers.

baci e abbracci

5 Responses to LOVE, ITALIAN STYLE

  1. How Do You Recognize Your Soul Mate? |

    […] Romance Junkies Blog | LOVE, ITALIAN STYLE […]

  2. ruth

    Congrats and best wishes. Everything about Italy is wonderful. The country, history, charming towns and villages and the food. Thanks for this lovely post.

  3. Jannine

    Hi Lynda:
    I’m glad you enjoyed the Italian lesson! I appreciate your stopping by.

  4. Jannine

    Hi Tabs:
    Thanks for your continued support! And thanks for the compliments.

  5. Lynda

    Thanks for the lessons! This book sounds like a wonderful way to start out your trilogy. The entire concept sounds great!


  6. Tabitha Shay

    Hi Jannine,
    Congrats on your new book and wow, I love the cover!….A great excerpt. This book on my TBR list…Tabs

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