Where does the expression ‘uscio e bottega’ come from?Figures of speech
Where does the expression ‘uscio e bottega’ come from?
We Tuscans love to emphasize that our region, but above all Florence, is the cradle of the Italian language. Moreover, we also have proof of our conviction... very convincing proof! The very first vocabulary of the Italian language was created in Florence thanks to the Accademia della Crusca! The words it contained came from the works of three Tuscans: Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarca. Florence was also the breeding ground of many popular expressions that are still used today. One of these is ‘uscio e bottega’, which means something is ‘close’ both in a physical sense and in an emotional way, denoting a close friendship and a special kind of complicity.
This expression comes from the structure of ancient Florentine shops. The ground floor of the buildings was dedicated to commercial shops that all had a vault above the counter. The counter looked out onto the street where negotiations with customers took place. The door from which you entered the shop was usually to the left of the counter, or alternatively it was in the center and therefore two counters were located either side of the entrance. Only those who were particularly wealthy or those who had to do large-scale business entered the shop and went beyond the counter.
But the door of the shop was also the entrance to the home which was at the back, so the two parts were almost just one thing. While the counter overlooked the main street, the windows of the house usually overlooked the side streets. Therefore, it is precisely the closeness, even overlapping between home and shop that gave rise to the expression ‘uscio e bottega’. Do you fancy visiting some of these old shops? One with the typical structure with the arch overlooking the street is in Borgo San Jacopo. Alternatively, you can take part in our 'Perfume workshop in Florence' which takes place in one of the oldest shops in Florence.
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