The Ciao

Story of a word

Published on 01 December 2020

In 1978, in one of his most beautiful songs, Vasco Rossi wondered what the word CIAO (HELLO) really meant.

Etymologically, it derives from the word slave: a few centuries ago, to greet someone, you would say "I'm your servant" or "your slave"; the first traces of the word CIAO, however, date back to around 1818, from the testimonies of colloquial or familiar Italian as spoken by the Venetians, the Lombards and the Piedmontese.

CIAO is one of the most popular Italian words in the world, so much so that if you search Google the results are about 123 million pages. It was also the name of the mascot created for the 1990 Italian soccer World Cup, those of the “Magic Nights” SONG SUNG BY Gianna Nannini and Edoardo Bennato.

An all-Italian name, therefore, which thanks to its success has traveled the world, infecting other languages ​​and becoming a symbol.

It was in 1967 that the name CIAO was adopted by the new modern Piaggio moped, definitively consecrating it as a young, dynamic and brilliant two-wheeled vehicle, as evidenced by the advertising campaigns.


Info taken from the volume “The museum of Italian language” by Giuseppe Antonelli, published by Mondadori. The volume ends with a photo of our beloved Ciao.

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