Italian Vocabulary for Fruits and Vegetables

Learn key words to shop for fruits and vegetables

Outdoor market in Tuscany, Italy
Outdoor market in Tuscany, Italy. WALTER ZERLA

I turned the corner off of via Garibaldi and saw stands lined up along the edge of the piazza. People with plastic bags, children with balloons, and Asian tourists with umbrellas milled about, stopping at a stand every so often to sample a slice of a peach or inquire about the price of a bundle of spinach.

When you visit Italy, it’s likely you’ll run into a similar market, and if you want a snack or have the option of cooking, you’ll want to stop as they are great places to practice your Italian and feed yourself.

To help you out, here are some key phrases and vocabulary words that you can use when buying fruit and vegetables.

Fruit & Vegetable Vocabulary

Phrases

  • Vorrei quattro mele per oggi, per favore. - I would like four apples for today, please.

    NOTE: If you say “per oggi - for today”, it implies that you want to eat these apples today and don’t want to wait for any produce to ripen.

    • Quanto costa al chilo? - How much does it cost per kilo?
    • Quelli come si chiamano? - What are those called?
    • Un etto di…(fragole). - 100 grams of…(strawberries).
    • Come si può cucinare…(il finocchio)? - How does one cook…(fennel)?
    • Avete...(il basilico)? - Do you have…(basil)?
    • Posso assaggiare (il peperone), per favore? - Can I try (the bell pepper), please?

    Look...but don’t touch

    Here’s a quick cultural tip that might save you some embarrassment when shopping for fruits and vegetables. In Italy, you never want to directly touch any of the produce. In supermarkets, they have plastic gloves available so you can choose what you want, and there will be a machine you use to print out a label so the sales clerk can easily scan your purchases. When you go to the market, just ask for help from the venditore (vendor).  

    In both cases, it helps to bring your own bag from home. In supermarkets, they will charge you for la busta (the bag), but at outdoor markets, they’ll typically just give you a plastic one if you don’t have your own.

    If you’re curious about phrases for shopping in other contexts, read this article, and if you still need to learn the numbers so you can understand how much everything costs, go here.

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    Hale, Cher. "Italian Vocabulary for Fruits and Vegetables." ThoughtCo, Aug. 20, 2016, thoughtco.com/italian-vocabulary-fruits-and-vegetables-4076711. Hale, Cher. (2016, August 20). Italian Vocabulary for Fruits and Vegetables. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-vocabulary-fruits-and-vegetables-4076711 Hale, Cher. "Italian Vocabulary for Fruits and Vegetables." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-vocabulary-fruits-and-vegetables-4076711 (accessed December 14, 2017).