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Bread, apart from being the staple food of Italian diet, has a very ancient history in the Bel Paese, which dates back to Roman times. Nutritious, fragrant and tasty, bread turns on the four senses and over the centuries has taken forms and types that have made it a fundamental food for our diet.
Now-a-days, in Italy, there are 250 different types of bread that change depending on the region in which they are produced. Such an offer could not but have repercussions also on a linguistic level. As a result, many are the Italian ways of saying that are related to the world of bread.
Check out some of them!
Vivere di pane e acqua (Literally: living on bread and water)
= feeding at the limits of survival, generally taken as a symbol of a harsh punishment. It can allude to prison as a bad treatment, whose the most immediate image is the deprivation of nourishment. In a non-punitive sense, it also applies to indicating major economic hardships. Feeding on bread and water was one of the various forms of prison punishment applied up to not too distant times.
Dire pane al pane e vino al vino (Literally: say bread to bread and wine to wine)
= Being very sincere, saying things openly without leaving any possibility of misunderstanding, even at the cost of being brutal.
Essere il pane di qualcuno (Literally: be someone’s bread)
= Specific topic which is very familiar to a person. Used in phrases such as “the history of Italy is its bread”, or “the controversy is its bread” and so on.
Essere un pezzo di pane (Literally: be a piece of bread)
= Be mild, indulgent, malleable character. Referred to people and also to animals, being mild and harmless.
Guadagnarsi il pane col sudore della fronte (Literally: to earn the bread with the sweat of the forehead)
= Work to get what is necessary to live. It refers to one of the sentences pronounced by God when he chased Adam and Eve from the Earthly Paradise to punish them for the Original Sin (Genesis, 3:19). Because with the preaching of Christ, the bread has also acquired the Eucharistic meaning of spiritual grace. In a broad sense, it also applies to any effort aimed at knowledge.
Levare il pane di bocca (Literally: to remove bread from the mouth)
= Get help from someone by making them make great sacrifices and sacrifices, or exploit them economically to the point of impoverishing them.
Mangiar pane e cipolle (Literally: to eat bread and onions)
= have very few needs or very little money to satisfy them; in any case be satisfied with the minimum necessary for survival. Even being very poor, you have nothing to eat but inexpensive foods like bread and onions. The saying does not have the connotation of suffering commonly linked to poverty, and is used rather for a choice of life that induces to renounce material goods rather than spiritual ones considered of greater value, often freedom, independence and the like.
Mangiare pane e veleno (Literally: to eat bread and poison)
= To be unhappy because you suffer from resentment, envy, resentment and other negative passions that “poison” your existence.
Masticare come il pane (Literally: to chew like bread)
= know very well a topic or a specific job in general thanks to a long habit, referring in particular to a foreign language, a technical language and the like.
Non distinguere il pane dai sassi (Literally: to not distinguish the bread from the stones)
= To see very little, so much so that you can’t even see the difference between bread and stones. Also lacking the most elementary discernment, not understanding things, not knowing how to distinguish by lack of intuition or intelligence. Or still be distracted or distracted, or very inexperienced, naive and gullible, and in a broad sense, very ignorant.
Per un tozzo di pane (Literally: for a piece of bread)
= At a very low price, generally referred to a good of great value that is sold by those driven by need.
Rendere pan per focaccia (Literally: to give bread for focaccia)
= Repay one rudeness with another, an offense with another offense and so on. Originally the saying was not intended to revenge but referred simply to reciprocate what one receives.
Vendere come il pane (Literally: to sell like bread)
= Sell with great ease, as if it were a necessary and daily thing like bread, said of an article or a much requested good.