A sasso (stone) that has been made smooth and round by the action of water is a ciottolo (pebble) in Italian. It is the diminutive form of ciotto, an archaic word for pebble.
Ciottolo is a masculine noun whose plural form is ciottoli. The definite and indefinite articles it takes are as follows:
- il ciottolo = the pebble
- i ciottoli = the pebbles
- un ciottolo = a pebble
- dei ciottoli = (some) pebbles
Prese un ciottolo e lo gettò nell’acqua.
He picked up a pebble and threw it in the water.
Here are three of the most common types of pebbles:
- ciottolo della spiaggia = beach pebble
- ciottolo del torrente = stream pebble
- ciottolo del fiume = river pebble
Note: Ciottolo should not be confused with the similar sounding ciotola which means bowl or dish!
The adjective ciottoloso means pebbly, but when used to refer to the surface of a path or road, it translates as cobblestone. For example, a cobblestone road would be una strada a ciottoli.
In Tuscany, ciottolo is also the word for a terracotta dish.
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.