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Italian word of the day: 'Crepuscolo'

The Local Italy
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Italian word of the day: 'Crepuscolo'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

It's a beautiful word for a beautiful thing.


Today's Italian word is for the romantics, the artists, and the photographers.

It’s the most magical moment of the day: those last few moments of fading light before the sky becomes fully dark.


The phrase al crepuscolo means 'at dusk', or 'at twilight'.

- la luce del crepuscolo

- twilight

Right after il tramonto (the sunset) and before al calare del buio (darkness falls)

- Ha detto che sarebbe arrivato prima del crepuscolo.

- He said he'd be here by nightfall.

Like twilight, crepuscolo (pronunciation available here) can also describe the moments just before l’alba (dawn)


And, like all the best Italian words, it can be used in other contexts to add a little drama.

It's sometimes taken to mean that something is falling, weakening, or declining.

- il crepuscolo della civiltà

- the decline of civilization

It’s a little different than the word 'crepuscular' in English, which has the same Latin root and is an adjective describing something connected to twilight, but is rarely ever heard outside the worlds of zoology and highbrow literature.

Crepuscolo is a word people actually use in Italian; though it is a little flowery, even for this language.

And the adjective form crepuscolare in Italian means something is hazy or unclear.

- Un sentimento crepuscolare

- A vague feeling

- luce crepuscolare

- twilight

We think it’s much nicer to say than vago (vague) or incerto (uncertain)

But one thing we are sure of is that you’ll never be stuck for a poetic way to describe the half-light in Italian.

Do you have a favourite Italian word, phrase or expression you'd like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.



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