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Do you know when to say città and when to say paese in Italian?

Here's the transcript of my latest video.


Megalopoli means…


Metropoli means…


Città means… city, you would say. And it does, but it also means town.


And that's where all the parallels with English stop. You see, in English you say: “I'm going to town.”


We say: “Vado in città.” I'm going to city. A town is anything from… Let's take the Bay Area. You got San


Francisco, which is a city. Berkeley would be a town on the other side of the bay, but so would be Sausalito on the other side of the bridge. So in Italian, you would say città for San Francisco, Berkeley would be una cittadina, and Sausalito would be un paese. Of course, cittadina also means citizen. So Una cittadina Italiana could mean a small Italian town or an Italian citizen in the feminine. And paese also doesn't only mean town.

It also means country. Italy is known by Italians as Il Bel Paese, the beautiful country. So, tutti i paesi europei would mean all the European countries. But for all intents and purposes, paese means town all the way to a small town. Of course, in common parlance, you could say paesino or paesello to refer to a very, very tiny town in the countryside.


If it's a teeny tiny one, usually in the mountains and usually one that's been preserved just like in the Middle Ages and all the way to the Renaissance, it would be called borgo un borgo medievale.


It's the literal translation of borough.


Finally, we have villaggio, which does mean village, but it's like a tourist village, like a Club Med village or a tribal village. An African village, a village made with huts and, mud houses.


So there are no villaggi in Italy other than tourist ones.


Where do you live and what would you call that in Italian?

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