Learn Italian: “How much does it cost?”

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Last week on the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, we learned how to ask, “How much does it cost?” in Italian.

Do you like to barter? Did you know that the merchants in the piazzas of Italy (and some stores) actually expect you to barter with them? Don’t pay full price for your Italian treasure if you don’t have to! And the sellers always appreciate it if you pepper your English with a few friendly Italian phrases to help the deal go through!

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, on the topic of how to barter in Italy. If you want to read more about this topic, the textbook is available for delivery from Learn Travel Italian.com. The rights to purchase the book in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be purchased at Learn Travel Italian.com.


Quanto Costa?

When asking a shopkeeper in Italy how much one thing costs, you can point to the item and ask:

Quanto costa? =  How much does (it ) cost?

When asking a shopkeeper in Italy how much more than one thing costs, you can point to the items and ask:

Quanto costano? = How much do these things cost?


Start a conversation with a shopkeeper by asking:

Quanto costa… How much is…
(literally: How much costs…)


Of course, the listed price will be:

troppo caro too expensive
costoso  expensive, costly
proprio costoso  really expensive
Costa un occhio della testa! Costs an arm and a leg!
(lit. Costs an eye out of the head!)


Unless the article happens to be:

in vendita/in saldo, saldi on sale/on sale for a reduced price
in svendita  in a closeout sale
sconto/scontato  discount/discounted
a prezzo basso at low/lowered price


And here we go with bartering… If you’ve tried this in Italy, leave a comment describing your method and let us know how it worked! 

Quanto costa? How much (does it) cost?
Venti euro. (It costs) 20 euro.
Troppo caro! Quindici euro, invece! (That is) too expensive! 15 euros instead!
Non è in saldo… ma, diciannove va bene. (It) is not on sale… but 19 is good.
No, è costoso! Forse diciassette? No, (it) is expensive! Perhaps 17?
Diciotto. Non posso fare più sconto! 18. (I) can’t discount it any more! (lit. I can’t make it (any) more discounted!)
D’accordo. Agreed.


Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  www.Learn Travel Italian.com

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