Italian Word of the Day: Camino (chimney)

Today’s word of the day is part of our Italian Christmas Word Advent Calendar series. Each day throughout December, we’ll post a word that is related to the holiday season. Enjoy!

How does Santa Claus manage to enter the homes (case) all the world’s children? Not through the door, not through the window, but by shimmying his way down the chimney of course!

small chimney on a stone house
Ok, perhaps not this chimney! 🙂

The word for chimney in Italian is camino (masculine, plural: camini), which mustn’t be confused with the similar-sounding cammino meaning walk or hike. (This can be especially confusing for Spanish speakers as camino does actually mean walk in Spanish!)

IPA: /kaˈ

Babbo Natale sta venendo giù per il camino.

Santa Claus is coming down the chimney.

The word for fireplace is caminetto, which is the diminutive form of camino. Traditionally people used dry logs (ciocchi) to keep the fire (fuoco) ablaze but today there are also gas, electric and ethanol fireplaces.

Voglio installare un caminetto a legna per scaldare la casa.

I want to install a wood-burning fireplace to heat the house.

Both camino and caminetto are kept free of ash (cenere) and soot (fuliggine) by a spazzacamino (chimney sweep).

Speaking of camini and spazzacamini, you may recall the famous song from the musical Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. The original English version is called Chim Chim Cher-ee, whereas the Italian version is Cam Camini.

The English chorus goes Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee

…whereas the Italian chorus goes Cam Caminì Cam Ciminì Spazzacamin.

Babbo Natale Giù Per il Camino

Below is a simple song for kids called Babbo Natale Giù Per il Camino (Santa Claus Down the Chimney).

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