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Italian word of the day: 'Struscio'

Jessica Phelan
Jessica Phelan - [email protected]
Italian word of the day: 'Struscio'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash"

Slow down and take the time to stroll through learning this word.


Struscio comes from the verb strusciare, 'to shuffle' or 'to drag' (if you're talking about feet), or 'to rub' (if you're talking about, say, elbows).

That makes uno struscio literally 'a shuffle'. But during the days of Covid lockdowns, three Italian regions banned this from city centres, in their so-called "anti-struscio" ordinances - in this case, it isn't walking funny but strolling.

READ ALSO: 'No strolling' in Venice as Italian regions tighten local Covid-19 rules


A struscio is another way of saying a 'stroll' or 'amble'.

Con mio padre faccio lo struscio per le vie principali del borgo.
I go for a stroll with my father through the main streets of the village.

You might assume that the term refers to the slow gait of someone moseying without a destination in mind, but according to the dictionary its origins are more specific than that.

The word refers to an Easter tradition in Naples that sees the faithful visit seven churches on Maundy Thursday, the day before Christians mark the Friday that Christ was crucified.

People would make the tour on foot, dragging their feet slowly – either because they were reflecting on their faith, or simply because they were surrounded by chatty friends and neighbours.

Walking in Naples looks a little different these days. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The ritual became known as lo struscio, possibly in reference to participants' shuffling feet, or perhaps they would rub up against the rest of the crowd, or maybe even because of the rustling of their stiff Easter finery.

By extension the term refers to any kind of meandering walk, especially a sociable one and especially one you dress up for.

It's like a slightly old-fashioned, southern synonym for una passeggiata, the uniquely Italian form of walking practiced around squares and along seafronts every evening or Sunday afternoon.

Will you be going for a struscio this week? Now you can invite your Italian friends and family out for a leisurely evening wander with a new word up your fine sleeve.

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