Whenever I look down a narrow lane and see a glimpse of a building in the distance or a view of the countryside beyond the city walls (usually hill top towns), I always think of the word that describes this in Italian – uno scorcio.
I haven’t found a better word in English and my own description is rather long : a sliver of a partial view glimpsed at in the distance through a narrow road or alleyway. Much more precise the simple scorcio. (Above Montefalco and below Monte Santa Maria Tiberina)
That said, I looked up scorcio in my trusty Garzanti Dizionario Inglese Italiano (English Italian dictionary) (1984), and found the following: to foreshorten something; foreshortening.
Curiosity now taken hold, I searched for an Italian dictionary, only locating my husband’s old Zingarelli, Casa Editrice Bietti, 1937, and Zingarelli, Zanichelli Editore, 1949, and there was no mention of glimpse, but instead: a work of pictorial perspective where the figure/object is reduced in it’s dimensions. (Todi below)
This would explain why scorciare (or also accorciare) means to shorten something, as in a hemline or a route. Which leads us directly to scorciatoia (shortcut). Which by the way is very much related to scorcio, (and not just etymologically), because it is usually when you see uno scorcio that you know that particular passageway is going to shorten your route (scorciare la via) to the piazza or city wall in no time (Venice not included as seen below).
And now my new favorite but older word that I discovered while looking through the dizionario: lo scorciatone, meaning a rather long shortcut.
sarc/ But enough with moldy old books! /sarc. Back in the “modern” world, online scorcio was defined as visuale ristretto di una vista piu’ ampia (narrow view of a larger panorama).
Either way, scorcio is still the simpler “route” to describe some of my favorite Italian glimpses.