Frutta e Verdura: Learn Phrases For Shopping In An Italian Market

10 January 2023
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House

Unsplash: Wendy Petricioli

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an English proverb that many of you have heard. But, how many times have you heard of it? Probably more than you can count on the fingers of one hand. ”

The first recorded appearance of the expression was in Pembrokeshire, Wales, in 1866, and it went something like this: "Eat an apple before retiring to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread,” which means that eating nutritious foods can help you stay healthy and reduce the need for occasional pricey medical visits. On the other hand, the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," first appeared in print at the end of the 19th century, with the earliest examples dating back to 1887.

In Italian, the popular adage goes something like this: una mela al giorno leva il medico di torno. Again, it means the same thing as “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Una mela in Italian translates to “an apple” in English, and the famous apple is a type of delicious fruit that is commonly produced in Italy. And if you ever visit an Italian market, you can find different types of this sometimes sweet and sometimes tart fruit among other things. However, would you happen to know how to navigate the Italian market scene? If not, here are some key phrases to help you get started.

Pro tip: try to bring your own bag from home so you don’t have to pay extra for la busta or “a bag.”

Italian Market Phrases:

  • How much does it cost per kilo? – Quanto costa al chilo?
  • Do you have…? – Avete…?
  • What are those called? – Quelli come si chiamano?
  • Then, I’ll take a kilo. – Allora me ne dia un chilo.
  • Are they organic? – Sono biologiche?
  • Could you add a little more? – Me ne può aggiungere un po'?
  • I am looking for… – Sto cercando…
  • I am just looking, thank you. – Sto solo guardando, grazie.
  • That’s all, thank you. – Basta così, grazie.
  • How much is it, please? – Quant'è, per favore?
  • It’s a bit expensive, thank you. – Un po' troppo caro, grazie.
  • I will take this, thank you. – Lo prendo, grazie.
  • What do you suggest? – Cosa mi suggerisce?

Measurement – Misurazione:

  • A lot – Tanto
  • A slice – Una fetta
  • Kilogram – Chilo
  • Gram – Grammo
  • More – Di più
  • Weight – Peso
  • A little – Un poco; Un po'
  • Less – Di meno

Vegetables – La verdura

  • Cabbage – Il cavolo
  • Broccoli – Il broccolo
  • Mushroom – Il fungo
  • Corn – Il mais
  • Lettuce – La lattuga
  • Asparagus – L’asparago
  • Eggplant – La melanzana
  • Peas – I pisellini
  • Carrot – La carota
  • Spinach - Gli spinaci
  • Garlic - L’aglio
  • Cilantro - Il coriandolo
  • Cauliflower - Il cavolfiore
  • Onions – Le cipolle

Fruit – La frutta

  • Avocado – L’avocado
  • Peach – La pesca
  • Apple – La mela
  • Strawberry - la fragola
  • Grape – L’uva
  • Melon – Il melone
  • Cherry – La ciliega
  • Banana – La banana
  • Watermelon – L’anguria
  • Kiwi – Il kiwi
  • Tomato – Il pomodoro
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