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3 Ways of being a cavallo (on horseback)

There's a great expression in Italian to describe being between two things: cavallo, or rather, essere a cavallo di or tra/fra (to straddle) meaning con un piede da una parte euno dall'altra (with one foot on one side and the other on the other side).


Di solito, questo stato influenzale, quindi il raffreddore o l'influenza, si prende nel periodo che è a cavallo di due stagioni in particolare.

Usually, this flu-like state, that is, a cold or the flu is caught in the period that straddles two seasons in particular:

Captions 7-8, Marika spiega - Il raffreddore

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The expression is often used figuratively when referring to historical dates: cavallo di due secoli —negli anni finali di un secolo e iniziali del successivo (straddling two centuries: in the last years of one century and the first years of the following one).


We also use cavallo to mean touching on two or three places. 

Maratea si trova al sud d'Italia, eh... a cavallo di tre regioni:

Maratea is located in the south of Italy, uh... straddling three regions:

Caption 35, Antonio - Maratea, la carne e il pesce

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But without the proposition di (of) or fra/tra (between), cavallo means something else entirely.


Essere a cavallo can mean "to be golden, in good shape." In other words, we're riding horses rather than having to walk, and that's a good achievement.

Ora lo facciamo analizzare e se corrisponde a quello trovato sul mio cuscino, siamo a cavallo.

Now we'll have it analyzed and if it corresponds to the one found on my pillow, we'll be in the saddle [all set].

Captions 11-13, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP3 - Delitto tra le lenzuola - Part 10

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Firmi, ed è fatta. Ah, allora siamo a cavallo, vedi?

Sign, and it's done. Ah, so we're on horseback [we're on our way, we're in good shape], you see?

Captions 42-43, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP8 - Morte di un buttero - Part 12

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Of course, there is the literal meaning as well: andare a cavallo (to go horseback riding).

E a cavallo ci si arriva?

And can you get there on horseback?

Caption 63, L'Italia a tavola - Interrogazione sulla Puglia

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