21.3.7 stare / essere in reference to persons

In reference to persons the situation is quite similar as in the case of things. The verb essere is used to describe the residence of someone at the time of speaking and the verb stare is used to describe the place someone lives or is usually.

The problem is that we can find a lot of discussions on the internet about the use of essere / stare in reference to things but very few about the use of these verbs in reference to persons. Below the only discussion we have found on the internet, which confirms the thesis mentioned above.

Se ci si riferisce a persone, il verbo stare, nell’uso moderno neutro - ...—, ha generalmente il senso di «soggiornare», «risiedere», o indica la postura, o, ovviamente, le condizioni di salute. Poi ci sono le espressioni idiomatiche, inalterabili.
= In reference to persons the verb stare, in the neutral, modern signification, -...- corresponds to remain, live somewhere, have residence somewhere etc, or describes the health state of someone. Beside that there are inchangeable, idiomatic expressions.

Mi sembra che le due frasi da lei proposte abbiano un significato lievemente diverso:
«Sono contento di essere qui» = «Sono contento di trovarmi qui [in questo preciso momento]»;
«Sono contento di stare qui» = «Sono contento di soggiornare qui».
= I think that the two sentence you propose have subtle difference in meaning.
"
Sono contento di essere qui" = "I am happy to be here" [right now]";
"
Sono contento di stare qui" = "I am happy to live here"

Nella prima frase si esprime la collocazione nello spazio e nel tempo; nella seconda, si sottolinea invece la permanenza nel luogo di cui si parla (sicché, invitato a cena a casa di amici, io userei sempre la prima: la seconda potrebbe essere interpretata male da qualche animo permaloso).
= The meaning of the first sentence is that at the moment of speaking someone is somewhere, in the second sentence we talk about the normal residence of someone (if I am invited for dinner I would always use the first sentence ("Sono contento di essere qui"). The second sentence ("Sono contento di stare qui") can be misunderstood.)

Accademia della Crusca

The link above is a contribution in a forum with a following controversial discussion but the basic statement is confirmed by other examples.

Simplifying we can say that in reference to persons essere as well as stare is possible and that there is a preference for stare if the usual residency of a person is to be described.

Beside that stare is used if the residency at a place is a consciously taken decision. In this meaning stare corresponds to remain.

A: Dove sei?
B: Sono a casa. (not a consciously taken decision))
A: Esci stasera?
B: No, sto a casa (consciously taken decision)
A: Where are you?
B: I am at home.
A: Do you leave today?
B: No, I stay at home.
  Non voglio più stare in casa,
me ne vado a fare un giro.
I don' t want to stay at home any longer, I go out for a walk.
   




contact privacy statement imprint