The most common Florentine idioms

The most common Florentine idioms

Walking through the streets of Florenceyou can hear many vernacular expressions typical of the Tuscan capital. Between history and legends, let’s discover together not only what are the most common idioms, but also where they originated from.

The typical idioms in Florence

Who has never heard “bischero“? This word, which can also be used affectionately, indicates a naive person.

Its origins date back to the 13th century, when the city of Florence planned to build its very famous Duomo right in the area where the possessions of the powerful Bischeri family were located who, after having pulled a long price, found themselves with a handful of flies and the good name vilified.

Instead, the expression “door and shop” refers to the tradition according to which the ancient Florentine shops were also the homes of the same shopkeepers. It is enough to know that in Tuscany the door is the entrance door to a house, to understand how this saying indicates situations in which there is no separation between home and work environment.

Another typically Florentine expression, of ancient origin, is “being at the gates with stones”, which indicates reducing oneself to the last minute. It refers to the stones that were thrown by those who, delaying returning to the interior of the fortified city, signaled their presence to the guards by throwing stones at the entrance doors, which were kept closed during the night to protect the citadel.

Even the way of saying “ass and forty hours” comes from past centuries, but refers to a concrete episode, which took place during the celebration of a liturgical rite that attracted many faithful, the forty hours to be precise. It seems that a man, slapped by the woman he had groped, tried to justify himself bringing up the lack of space due to the throng of people. It was precisely the woman’s readiness, who asked him what the lower back was about with the celebration, that gave rise to this expression analogous to the proverbial cabbages for a snack.

Florentine idioms entered the national language

The expression “not having a beak of a penny” refers both to an ancient coin, which also circulated in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and to a part of the bird’s body, notoriously very small and therefore used to reinforce the expression.

Staying on the subject, even “ending up with your ass on the ground” indicates an economically unfavorable situation that originated in the era of the Florentine Republic.

Here was, and still is, the stone of scandal, which had a double function. If on the one hand it was used to hoist the banner of the city at the dawn of a battle, on the other it was the place where the defaulters were punished, beating their buttocks right on the stone, positioned on the ground.

Finally, the expression “hold the snot“, which refers to those who are too many in a situation of courtship, owes its origins to a Florentine street, via Calimala. Here the prostitutes, to ensure that potential customers could see their face and beauty, lit up with candles of which, when they were almost consumed, there was nothing left but the snot, that is the final part.

Discover Tuscany and its dialect

Tuscany, and in particular Florence, have a really colorful and fun dialect that has roots in the past.

Walking through the streets of the “Cradle of the Renaissance” and immersing yourself in its picturesque life means taking a real dip in the past.

If you too want to discover Tuscany and its dialect, we are waiting for you at Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort!

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