Italian Word of the Day: Aiuola (flowerbed)

One of the hardest words to pronounce in Italian for English speakers is the feminine noun aiuola, which means flowerbed. Why is it so difficult, you might ask? Well, it has a lot to do with the presence of four adjacent vowel sounds, a phenomenon that doesn’t really occur in English.

italian word aiuola

In fact, the plural aiuole contains all five vowels in the Italian alphabet – a, e, i, o and u – broken up only by the lonely consonant L!

Here are the definite and indefinite articles that should be used with this word:

  • l’aiuola = the flowerbed
  • le aiuole = the flowerbeds
  • un’aiuola = a flowerbed
  • (delle) aiuole = (some) flowerbeds
The girl plants flowers in the flowerbed.

Non calpestare l’aiuola!

Don’t walk on the flowerbed!

Aiuola can be used to refer to a plot in a garden, the bed around the edge of a lawn, or the earth prepared for the growing of plants.

Aiuola spartitraffico, which literally translates as “traffic-separating flowerbed”, is the term used to describe the strip of land between the carriageways of a freeway or other major road. In English, we call this a central reservation or median strip.

Aerial picture of an empty road, green central reservation and a parking lot.

There is another word, which is easier to pronounce for learners, and that is aiola (you basically drop the “u”). They’re perfect synonyms, but aiuola is considered more literary so it’s not uncommon to hear Italians say aiola instead.

Si dice aiola o aiuola? Tu lo sai?

Do you say “aiola” or “aiuola”? Do you know?

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