Italian expression of the day: 'Fare il callo'

Jessica Lionnel
Jessica Lionnel - [email protected]
Italian expression of the day: 'Fare il callo'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Here's an expression you might have to put up with from time to time.


There are a few annoying situations you might have to get used to if you live in Italy: things like noisy neighbours in the apartment above you, or a dog that barks during the night. Putting up with these things can be tough at times.

There are a few phrases we could use in English, such as ‘grin and bear it’, ‘put up with it’ or ‘get used to it’.

For Italians fare il callo or farci il callo (hear it pronounced here) is their go-to in this type of situation.

This resilient idiom literally translates as ‘to do the callus’, which may not immediately make much sense in English.

Let us break down how it's constructed before we look at some examples.

Il callo (remember the double L pronunciation) means 'callus' - the tough bump of skin you get on your hands or feet if they’ve been overworked and not looked after properly. You see where the hardship part in this phrase comes from, don’t you? It’s a lot more visual than our English sayings.

The word farci (pronounced 'far-chee') is a variation of the verb fare, which means ‘to do’ or 'to make'. Depending on the context, it can be swapped with farsi or other forms of the verb.

For example:

Sono andato in vacanza con mio suocero e lui voleva pranzare tutti i giorni esattamente a mezzogiorno. Ho fatto il callo.

I went on holiday with my father-in-law and he wanted to have lunch every day at exactly midday. I put up with it.

Ho imparato a farci il callo.

I’ve learned how to grin and bear it.


The phrase implies that, just as your skin can toughen up, you can get used to bearing some minor inconvenience and won't be bothered by it after a while.

So next time you're dealing with an annoying situation in Italy, you'll know you need to fare il callo.

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