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Useful Italian Words and Phrases
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FLORENCE CULTURAL GUIDE: EVERY DAY LIFE...This Every Day Life Guide will help you understand terms, traditions, proverbs and curiosities while in Florence:
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Italian Word: Pasta
Meaning:literally means paste or dough. The word is used to say "pastasciutta" (dry "pasta"), such as spaghetti, penne, maccheroni, and other multiple varieties, which are found in restaurants as "primi" or "primi piatti" (first dishes) in numerous varieties of sauces; it is not used in the plural
Pasta is also used to say "pasta dolce" (sweet "pasta"), also "pastina", such as "ciambelle" or "bomboloni" (lit. lifesavers), brioches, "sfoglie" (a way of preparing the dough) and other multiple varieties found principally in "pasticcerie" and "bars"; it is also used in the plural "paste".
Italian Word: Bar
Meaning: A bar is similar to a café; it is not a pub. In an Italian bar you can ask for: coffee in all its (Italian) varieties, "paste", "salati" (quick salted snacks) such as sandwiches, "tramezzini" (lit. small "in the middles" a word that refers to sanwiches of soft white bread, cut in triangles) or "schiacciate", "schiacciatine" (lit. "crushed, squashed", they are flat salted crunchy dough-cakes with olive oil); sweets, liquors, and common alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages...
It is a place where you usually have a coffee, a snack or a "pasta", read the newspaper or watch the news on the tv, exchange a few words and leave.
"Bar Tabacchi" – here, they also sell cigarettes and common cigars such as "toscani", their complements, bus tickets, cellular cards and international phone call cards, among others...
These bars have a T outside over the entrance.
Snack Bar – refers principally to the selling of snacks, such as pre-packed fried chips of different flavours, sweets, etc.
Wine Bar – specifies that they serve a good variety of wines and complementary food and apéritifs. It has a quieter ambiance than a cocktail bar.
Cocktail Bar – they serve all alcoholic beverages, including good varieties of cocktails; these places are usually complemented by good lounge music..
The specification american bar of some cocktail bars may refer to the fact that they also work during the day, serving light lunches and good lounge ambiance...
Pub and "Birreria" – pub and beer pub.
Italian Word: Aperitivo
Meaning: Aperitivo has three meanings:
Italian Word: Caffè
Meaning: meaning coffee and it can also mean cafè (and it is usually specified in the name of the place), even though bars are more common than Caffè’s in Italy.
Varieties of coffee:
The time to drink a coffee is usually: in the morning before starting to work; at mid-morning during the break; after lunch; at mid-afternoon during another break. After dinner people drink coffee if, for any reason, they need to keep going.
Coffee in Italy is commonly accompanied by a cigarette.
Italian Word: Menù
Meaning: A menu in Italy is usually divided as follows:
Italian Word: Ristorante
Meaning: Italian word for restaurant. In Florence however many different names define places to eat, some of the most common are:
Italian Word: Fiaschetteria and vinaino
Meaning: both are similar small places where wine is served to the guests, commonly with sandwiches, some cheeses and charcuterie, but less pretentious than a wine bar and busier during the day.
Italian Word: Banco or Bancone
Italian Word: Crostino and Crostone
Meaning:The difference between "crostino" (plur. "crostini") and "crostone" is that the first is small, with simple toppings and eaten as an apéritif, and the second is a bigger slice of bread more elaborately topped with a larger variety of ingredients and eaten as a main dish.
Italian Word: Rustica
Meaning: means rural, from the country.
Italian Word: Pasticceria
Meaning: pastry shop. In these shops all kinds of pastries, or at least the most common, are served; they serve cakes, "pasticcini" (lit. "small ...muddles", referring to the mixes of the dough, but it means small cakes, cookies, biscuits), etc...
Italian Word: Pasticcio
Meaning: "Pasticcio" on the other hand is a pie.
Italian Word: Gelateria
Meaning: A "Gelateria" is an ice-cream shop. They serve all kinds of ice-creams, and according to the main characteristics of each "gelateria", ice-creams can vary from the most traditional to the most extravagant ones. There also are "gelateria / pasticceria" shops.
Italian Word: Pizzicheria and Salumeria (or Salumificio)
Meaning: Respectively delicatessen and charcuterie shop. Pizzicheria comes from an ancient word which meant "corner of the table"; the second comes from "salumi" (charcuterie; the term "salume" perhaps comes from "sale", salt, which is quite abundantly used either in their mixture or on their surface); here they sell fresh: charcuterie, cold cuts, cheeses and related foods.
Italian Word: Alimentari
Meaning: store where retail items to eat are sold.
Italian Word: Salume
Meaning: is also called "insaccato" (lit. "inside a sack", the skin which contains the mixture) and "affettato" (lit. "cut in slices", cold cut).
Italian Word: Rosticceria
Meaning: means rotisserie, delicatessen. In a "rosticceria" roasted food is prepared and sold to be taken away: meats, vegetables, together with some complements, which vary from main dishes such as "lasagne" and other pastas to salads; all is presented in displays for the customer to see.
Italian Word: Ortolano
Meaning: greengrocer, selling fresh vegetables and fruits.
Italian Word: Pescheria
Meaning:A "Pescheria" is a fishmonger
Italian Word: Macelleria
Meaning: a Macelleria is a butcher’s shop.
Italian Word: Drogheria
Meaning: grocery store.
Italian Word: Mesticheria
Meaning: A "Mesticheria" is a store where they sell colours, mixes of different substances to paint or brush the house; but today they sell almost everything small related to the house (not decorative) and its construction or maintenance.
Italian Word: Merceria
Meaning: store where all elements and instruments to sew are sold; today they also sell related items such as stockings, pantyhoses, bodysuits, etc.
Italian Word: Ferramenta
Meaning: an ironmonger’s shop, iron goods. Some of these items can also be found in a "mesticheria" more and more frequently, even though the "ferramenta" is still more specialized.
Italian Word: Pane
Meaning: Italian word for bread. There are various types and shapes of bread in Florence, and if not specified, it is assumed that it’s Tuscan bread, it has white flour and is "sciocco" (without salt).
The most common shapes are:
Bread can be made of different types of flour, and it is also called accordingly; hare are some simple examples:
Bread can be from other regions of Tuscany and Italy, and it may be specified in its name or definition, but it depends on the individual "forno" (lit. "oven") that prepares and sells them.
Finally, each "forno" can produce their particular types and forms of bread.
Italian Word: Panino
Meaning: A Panino is a sandwich. When the sandwich is made of "pan carré", it is usually cut in two triangles and is called "tramezzino". Sometimes more varieties of "panini" are especially sold at a "panineria".
Italian Word: Forno
Meaning: is a bakery. "Forni" shops commonly prepare, (serve and) sell from breads to "schiacciate", "focacce", fresh pizzas, "pizzette" (small pizzas), "schiacciatine", a few fresh pastries...
Italian Word: Merenda
Meaning: A "Merenda" is a snack. The phrase "fare merenda" (to have a snack) is more associated to children and young people and refers to pastries, "schiacciate" or "schiacciatine", "panini", etc. at mid-morning or mid-afternoon. For adults it means a light meal to eat during a break or as lunch.