Umarell (; modern revisitation of the Bolognese dialect word ) is a term in the Italo-Romance variety of Bologna referring specifically to men of retirement age who pass the time watching construction sites, especially roadworks stereotypically with hands clasped behind their back and offering unwanted advice. Its literal meaning is "little man" (also ) sometimes in association with ''zdaura'' (or ) referring to an ''umarell'''s wife. The term is employed as lighthearted mockery or self-deprecation. The modern term was popularised in 2005 by local writer Danilo Masotti through two books and an associated blog. In December 2020, the word was included in the Zingarelli dictionary.

Instances of use

In 2015, the city of Riccione, approximately southeast of Bologna, allocated an €11,000 budget to pay a wage to ''umarell''s to oversee worksites in the city – counting the number of trucks in and out to ensure materials were delivered/removed according to the receipts, and guarding against theft when the site was otherwise unattended. The town of San Lazzaro di Savena, to the South-East of Bologna, awarded the "''Umarell'' of the year" prize to a local resident, Franco Bonini. In 2016, the local cultural association ("It only happens in Bologna") released the "''Umarèl'' card" as a fundraiser for continued restoration of the San Petronio church. Separately, a smartphone app called ''Umarells'' was released that tracked the location of ongoing roadworks and construction sites. The fast food restaurant chain Burger King also "hired" several ''umarells'' as part of a social media marketing campaign promoting its increased presence in the country. In July 2017, the Bologna city council's "consultative commission for the naming of street" approved the naming of a public square to the East of the city centre in the Cirenaica district in recognition of the local fame of the concept and the name – noting with conscious irony that the square was under construction at the time.In April 2018 the public square was inaugurated by city councillor Matteo Lepore, the district president Simone Borsari, the "lord of the ''umarell''s" Franco Bonini, the stand-up comedian Maurizio Pagliari, and the writer Danilo Masotti. A year later the street-sign for the square was stolen. In April 2020, the comic magazine Topolino dedicated an episode to the umarell Gerindo Persichetti. In December 2020 in Pescara, the real estate developer Sarra installed windows to allow Umarells to observe three construction sites.

See also

* Armchair general * Back-seat driver * Dutch uncle * Gongoozler * Kibitzer * Rubbernecking



* ''Umarells 2.0. Sono tanti, vivono in mezzo a noi, ci osservano... e noi osserviamo loro marells 2.0. They are many, they live amongst us, they obvserve us... and we observe them'' Bologna, Pendragon Press (2010) by Danilo Masotti. * ''Oltre il cantiere: fenomenologia degli Umarells eyond the construction site: the phenomenology of the Umarells'' Bologna, Pendragon Press (2016) by Danilo Masotti. {{ISBN|978-8865988077

External links

*Umarell defined at UrbanDictionary *Th
blog Category:Culture in Bologna Category:Slang terms for men Category:Observation hobbies Category:Construction in Europe