Bruciare i rifiuti così vicino alla casa non è stata una buona idea.

English Translation

Burning the trash so close to the house wasn’t a good idea.

I wonder if one could use stato here, as one could argue that it refers to the verbal phrase “bruciare i rifiuti”.


I don’t think so.
If you translate
“It was not a good idea to burn the trash so close to the house.”
(which is not better English but closer to the Italian grammar)
it is clear that is has to be “stata”.


To me the question boils down to: should the participle correlate to the subject (bruciare i rifiuti) or the predicative (idea)?

Cf. “le elezioni sono state (stato???) uno scandalo”.

In my understanding the structures are different.
Compare in English:

The elections are a scandal / were a good idea.

It was a good idea / It is a scandal to have elections now

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@mike-lima: cosa ne dici, per favore?

I must say that “e’ stato” in this case does not feel right to me, but it is just a personal feeling.

But in as similar sentence, i.e. “Le vacanze non sono state una buona idea” I couldn’t think the concordance with “idea” would work.

As @MRgK notes,

“Non e’ stata una buona idea bruciare i rifiuti” and
“Bruciare i rifiuti non e’ stata una buona idea” are equivalent.

But rules for the concordance according to the grammar (below there is an exhaustive explanation)

is that with the “essere” verb, it is grammatically correct to match the gender/number of either the subject or the predicate.

So both appear to be technically correct.

In practice, you will notice actual people speaking have a definite preference with one construct over the other.