Word of the Day (la parola del giorno)

Word of the Day: Spicci

Ever try paying for something in Rome with a 50 euro bill and NOT get a dirty look? Forget a 50, what about a 20 euro bill? Them Roman cashiers, they sure don’t like big bills.  But more than that, they want you to pay in exact change. From what it seems like, in all coins! Yes, you, middle-aged, short blonde haired, Italian woman at my Punto SMA, you that without fail always give me a dirty look and ask for exact change, I am talking to you! (I’m pretty sure she reads this blog, I mean who doesn’t?)

‘Spicci?’ ‘Ce l’hai spicci?’ ‘Qualche spiccio?’ Or in other words, ‘coins…do you have any coins…some coin?’ Pronounced speechee, spicci, or spiccio (singular), in Italian, is the word for coins, or change. It comes from the Italian word, spicciolo (or spiccioli, plural) meaning small change. The term is used in regular Italian, but it is super-used in Rome. It is also one of those Italian words that get mixed in to sentences in English. For example, ‘I don’t have any spicci, do you?’ If you really want to sound cool, you can even abbreviate the abbreviated spicci,  and go for speech: ‘It costs €3,20, do you have enough speech?’
(Credit for this abbreviation goes to Miss Tess Shapiro, hey gurrrl!)

Like I said, it’s always good to have spicci on hand, because Roman cashiers can’t roll their eyes enough when you hand them a bill that needs to be broken. So the next time someone asks you for spicci, you’ll know what to do: give up your coins, or be difficult and make them change your bill!

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