Rome Travel Guide

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saldi, Saldi, Saldi....Selling in Summery Rome

She was interested.  He was ready to go. 

50% off in Vicenza.  Note orange items at left. 
Fearful that we might melt, we generally avoid Rome in July.  But this year was different, and so we were there when the "SALDI" signs began filling store windows not just in the Eternal City, but elsewhere in Italy.

"Fino a" means "up to"
It was obvious that "saldi" meant sale, but we couldn't resist looking the word up in our Cassell's Italian Dictionary, which we are embarrassed to say was printed in 1959.  The word is there, both as a noun and an adjective, but in 1959 it did not mean "sale."  As a adjective, it meant "firm, steady, steadfast," and "massive, solid, strong."  As a noun, it meant "balance of account, settlement," as in "pagare a saldo," to pay in full.  Today it means "big sale."

Big means discounts of from 20 to 70% off the original price, and merchants are required by law to list not only the sale price, but the original price. 

A store window in Trieste

One retailer took a postmodern approach, using the word "saldi" not just to announce the sale, but as part of the product, part of what was being sold.  How ironic!  Great gifts for lit-crit friends!

This year, with the Italian economy in the doldrums, there was hope that the summer "saldi" would loosen consumer pursestrings and bring some relief to distressed shopkeepers, perhaps even jumpstart the economy.  Early reports were disappointing.  Not exactly man bites dog. 


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