How to say “A SLICE OF” in Italian [Ep. 12]

By Manu Venditti | Advanced

Aug 16

David asks:
How do I say "A SLICE OF" in Italian? 

The THREE words I recommend! 

The three most common expressions to talk about "slices" of food are: FETTA, PEZZO, TRANCIO.

The most common word is FETTA

FETTA is a feminine word, this means it comes in these variations:

LA FETTA (the slice)
LE FETTE (the slices)

The standard structure for this wor is:
UNA FETTA DI (a slice of) ___________ (the item you want)

or, if you want more than just one slice (I’m not judging!):
DUE, TRE, QUATTRO… FETTE DI ___________ (the item you want)

Some examples

VORREI UNA FETTA DI PANE
I would like a slice of bread

VORREI DUE FETTE DI PANE
I would like two slices of bread

FETTA works in most cases where you can expect a thin, usually vertical, “slice” of something. For example:

PANE Bread
PIZZA Pizza
PROSCIUTTO Prosciutto
FORMAGGIO Cheese
TERRA Land
TORTA Cake

Sometimes though we use the word PEZZO

PEZZO literally means “PIECE”, not “SLICE”.
PEZZO is a masculine word, this means it comes in these variations:

IL PEZZO (the slice)
I PEZZI (the slices)

The standard structure for this wor is:
UN PEZZO DI (a slice of) ___________ (the item you want)

or, if you want more than just one slice:
DUE, TRE, QUATTRO… PEZZI DI ___________ (the item you want)

Some examples

VORREI UN PEZZO DI PIZZA
I would like a slice of pizza

VORREI DUE PEZZI DI PIZZA
I would like two slices of pizza

PEZZO works in most cases where you can expect a “piece” of something, that is a “portion” of it. PEZZO does not usually identify a neat slice, but rather something that has been ripped off something. For example:

PANE Bread
PIZZA Pizza
* PROSCIUTTO Prosciutto
* FORMAGGIO Cheese
TORTA Cake
CARTA Paper
STOFFA Fabric

 

While PEZZO works just fine for PIZZA, PANE, and TORTA, you need to understand that for other things, like PROSCIUTTO or FORMAGGIO the implication is that you will be getting “a piece” of someone else’s PROSCIUTTO or FORMAGGIO.

It’s like saying “a chunk”. It works well for things that don’t need to be necessarily sliced, like bread and pizza, it’s a little more specific with things that must be sliced.


Another word we use is TRANCIO

TRANCIO literally means “WEDGE”, not “SLICE”.
TRANCIO is a masculine word, this means it comes in these variations:

IL TRANCIO (the slice)
I TRANCI (the slices)

The standard structure for this wor is:
UN TRANCIO DI (a slice of) ___________ (the item you want)

or, if you want more than just one slice:
DUE, TRE, QUATTRO… TRANCI DI ___________ (the item you want)

Some examples

VORREI UN TRANCIO DI TORTA
I would like a slice of cake

VORREI DUE PEZZI DI TORTA
I would like two slices of cake

TRANCIO works in most cases where you can expect a “wedge” of something, that is a “thick, triangular” piece of it. For example:

PIZZA Pizza
FORMAGGIO Cheese
TORTA Cake

 

As you can see, the examples, all can be cut in “wedges”.
Some cheese cannot be “sliced”, for example, or are simply usually served in bigger chunks. Think of parmigiano, or brie.
TRANCIO just wouldn’t work for other things where a wedge is not possible, or usual (pane, carta, stoffa, etc).


So how do we talk about small towns?

Usually a small town is simply called a PAESINO.

PAESE = town
PAESINO = town with fewer residents, maybe less than 10,000?

For smaller places, we use the word BORGO a lot.

BORGO is related to the English word BOROUGH, often seen as part of a town’s name.

Usually (but not necessarily) a BORGO is an old town, a bit isolated (up a hill?) and with very old buildings (Medieval?).

We also use BORGO for rural towns.


Click on the button below to download the Lesson Notes for this lesson. You will find more examples and some exercises for you to practice! 

ASK YOUR QUESTIONS - GET PERSONALIZED ANSWERS! CLICK HERE TO ASK