Subject: Re: Nicknames
Hi all.

Bassano del Grappa is a lovely town about an hour from Venice in the Veneto. Technically, the "Del Grappa" part isn't a nickname as it is a legal part of the city name, but, as I understand, the city was once simply Bassano. I understand that in order to capitalize upon the popularity of its distilleries (Poli is the one that I am familiar with), it appended the "Del Grappa" part.

Perhaps someone who knows the Italian language better than I do can explain one mystery. I am sure that the noun Grappa (a type of brandy made from grape leftovers) is feminine, which would suggest that the name should be "Bassano della Grappa" since Italian articles and other adjectives agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify. Why is the masculine "del" used? Thanks in advance.

Ira H. Bernstein Dallas, Texas