Italian For Dummies
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Develop an Italian shopping vocabulary to gain a new cultural experience when traveling. Whether you're shopping for clothes, food, or souvenirs, you can use the following Italian phrases to help you find just the right thing.

  • Mi dica? (Can I help you?)

  • Posso guardare? (May I just look?)

  • Cosa sta cercando? (What are you looking for?)

  • quanto [m] (how much)

  • Altro? (Anything else?)

  • Nient'altro. (Nothing else.)

In most Italian-speaking countries, it is customary to greet the store clerk with a polite Buon giorno when entering a store.

The following words can be used in a variety of shopping situations.

Soldi (sohl-dee) [m/pl] (money)
cassa (kahs-sah) [f] (the cash register)
carta di credito (kahr-tah dee kreh-dee-toh) [f] (credit card)
cara (kah-rah) [f]; caro (kah-roh)[ m] (expensive)
grande (grahn-deh) [m/f] larga/o (lahr-gah/goh) [f/m] (big; tall; large)
commessa/o (kohm-mehs-sah/soh) [f/m] (sales clerk)
piccolo (peek-koh-lah)[ f] piccolo (peek-koh-loh) [m] (small; short)
borsa (bohr-sah)[ f] (bag)
vendere (vehn-deh-reh) (to sell)
comprare (kohm-prah-reh) (to buy)
pagare (pah-gah-reh) (to pay)

Places to shop

The first step to a successful shopping expedition is to know where to shop. In Italy, there are open-air street markets (called mercato [mehr-kah-toh]) where you can buy anything from fruits and vegetables to antiques and collectibles. But if you need to go to a specific kind of store, the following terms can help.

libreria (leebray-ree-a) (book store)
pasticceria (pahs-teech-cheh-ree-ah) [f] (bakery)
alimentari (alee-mayn-taree) (grocery store; general store)
supermercato (soopayr-mayr-kato) (supermarket)
negozio (neh-goh-tsee-oh) [m] shop

Grocery shopping

In Italy, people go grocery shopping every day to take advantage of the freshest produce and meats. The following words and phrases will come in handy if you need to shop for food.

  • Salve, quanto costano le albicocche? (Hello, how much are the apricots?)

  • Prendo due kili di pesche. (I'll take two kilos of peaches.)

  • Fermiamoci al forno. (Let's stop at the bread shop.)

    cioccolata (choh-koh-lah-tah) [f] (chocolate)
    cena (cheh-nah) [f] (dinner)
    crema (kreh-mah) [f] (cream)
    formaggio (fohr-mahj-joh) [m] (cheese)
    pane (pah-neh) [m] (bread)
    acqua (ahk-koo-ah) [f] (water)
    vino (vee-noh) [m] (wine)
    verdure (vehr-doo-rah) [f] (vegetables)
    zucchero (dzook-keh-roh) [m] (sugar)
    fiore (fee-oh-reh) [m] flower)

Clothes shopping

The Italian are known for their sense of style and the high quality of their clothing. So much so that many people travel to Italy just to shop for clothes. Clothing stores are generally called abbigliamento (ab-beelya-maynto) and department stores are called grandi magazzino (grahn-deh mah-gaht-tsee-noh). The following words and phrases can help you shop for clothing in Italy.

  • Posso provare gli stivali neri in vetrina? (May I try on the black boots in the window?)

  • Sono in svendita quei pantaloni rossi? (Are these red pants on sale?)

  • Si tutto è scontato al cinquanta per cento. (Yes, everything is 50 percent off.)

    camicia (kah-mee-chah) [f] (shirt)
    cappello (kahp-pehl-loh) [m] (hat)
    cappotto (kahp-poht-toh) [m] (coat)
    abito (ah-bee-toh) [m] (suit)
    costume da bagno (kohs-too-meh dah bah-nyoh) [m] (bathing suit)
    cravatta (krah-vaht-tah) [f] (tie)
    giacca (jahk-kah) [f] (jacket; blazer)
    gonna (gohn-nah) [f] (skirt)
    impermeabile (eem-pehr-meh-ah-bee-leh) [m] (raincoat)
    jeans (jeans) [m] (jeans)
    pantaloni (pahn-tah-loh-nee) [m/pl] (pants)
    scarpa (skahr-pah) [f] (shoe)
    vestito (vehs-tee-toh) [m] (dress)

Common colors

The following words describe the most common colore (koh-loh-reh) [m] (colors).
blu (bloo) (blue)
gialla/o (jahl-lah/loh) [f/m] (yellow)
grigia/o (gree-jah) [f/m] (gray)
marrone (mahr-roh-neh) [m] (brown)
nera/o (neh-rah/roh) [f/m] (black)
rossa/o (rohs-sah/soh) [f/m] (red)
verde (vehr-deh) (green)
bianca/o (bee-ahn-kah) [f/m] (white)

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