Italian word of the day: ‘Ferie’

Italian word of the day: 'Ferie'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Here's a word you'll be seeing everywhere in Italy this month.

If you live in Italy, you'll be all too familiar with the scene: You arrive at your favouite pizzeria, only to find a sign hanging on the door saying “chiuso per ferie.”

Of course – it's August.

It's the same story at the butcher's, the baker's and in some areas even the banks are chiuso per ferie. You want to make an appointment at the the hairdresser's, or need to see your dentist or accountant? Well, guess what? You should've done that in July.

– Chiuso per ferie, di ritorno a settembre

– Closed for holidays, back in September

Millions of Italians leave for their summer break at the same time, around the beginning of August – and taking the whole month off is far from unusual – meaning the country more or less grinds to a halt.

– Siamo tutti in ferie estive
– We're all on summer vacation
 
You could of course also use the word vacanza.

– Quest'anno andremo in vacanza in Sicilia.

– We're going on vacation in Sicily this year.

– le vacanze sono andate bene

– Literally meaning “the holidays went well”, this phrase is used to tell people you had a nice time on vacation
 
But ferie seems to be more commonly used, especially when talking about vacations around the sacrosant Ferragosto holiday on August 15th. And some say it refers more to taking annual leave, whether you actually take a trip or not.
 
 
Ferie looks like a plural, but it's the same in both the plural and sngular form.

– prendere le ferie

– to take holidays

– andare in ferie

– to go on holiday

If you thought it sounds a bit like the English noun fair, it's because that word also comes from the Latin ferie.

If you're lucky, you'll be able to say:

– ho fatto le ferie al mare 

– I spent my holidays at the seaside

If you're planning to work in Italy, you'll want to ask your employer about ferie retribuite (paid holidays).

But ferie isn't just for August. Italians also use the phrase giorno di ferie for any day they take off work for any reason.

 
– ho preso un giorno di ferie
– I took a day off
 
We hope you'll have plenty of opportunities to use this word yourself this summer!
 
Do you have a favourite Italian word you'd like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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