The Organising Committee of the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics has announced that English will be the official language of the Games. In order to help foreign visitors to northern Italy, a number of changes will be made to street signs, metro stations, airports, towns and other locations for the duration of the Olympics. The Regions of Milano and Veneto have already established a joint Office of Official Translation which will have the legal power to force local authorities to change the language of signs to English.
The most significant changes will appear in the road signs outside many towns in the two regions. The airport of Malpensa, which serves the city of Milan, will be renamed “Bad Think” during February 2026. Venice’s main international airport, Marco Polo, will become “Mark Pole”. Other changes that will occur in Milan include:
- Abbiategrasso will change to “May You All Have Fat”
- Porta Romana will become “Roman Gate”
- Via Fatebenefratelli will be called “Do Well Brothers Street”
- Via della Spiga will change to “Ear of Corn Street”
A number of Milan metro stations will change their name:
- Precotto will be termed “Pre-Cooked”
- Pagano will be known as “They Pay”
- Sesto San Giovanni will be called “Sixth Saint John”
- Sesto Rondo will be styled “Sixth Round”
- Bande Nere will be called “Black Bands”
- Marche will be “Brands”
- Pero will become “But”
In Veneto, signs pointing to the highest mountain in the Dolomites, Marmolada, will read “Marmalade” and feature a symbol of Paddington Bear eating a marmalade sandwich. The city of Treviso will temporarily be called “Three Face”.
Other temporary changes that will ensure non-Italian speaking visitors to the Games are able to enjoy their stay in Italy more easily have also been announced:
- Instead of asking for a “cappuccino”, visitors will be able to order a “little hood”.
- All menus will change the word “spaghetti” to “little strings”.
- Instead of “tiramisù” customers will be offered a “pick-me-up”.
The Mayor of Milan, Beppe Sala, will officially become “Joseph Hall” throughout the Olympics, while the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, will be referred to as “Marius Dragons”. Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, will be styled “Serge Rolling Pin” (although several linguists have criticised this change as inaccurate).
For more information regarding the official signage changes, please contact the joint Office of Official Translation.
© Robert Dennis 2022, robertdennis.it