To do the shopping in Italian

How do you translate to do the shopping in Italian?

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at this very expression, also known as collocation, and even talk about the different kinds of expenses in Italian.

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

To do the shopping in Italian

First of all, let’s translate to do the shopping in Italian.

Fare la spesa
To do the shopping

people checking out at the supermarket

To do the shopping in Italian – Let’s break it down!

Fare la spesa literally means to do the grocery shopping.

To do, to make

La spesa
The grocery shopping

Fare spese and fare compere mean to go shopping, eg. looking at shop windows and buy clothes, purses, jewelry… Fare la spesa, on the other hand, means to go grocery shopping.

Spesa has a double meaning in Italian: it can mean “grocery shopping”, as in our case, and “expense, cost”, as in…

Ho molte spese da affrontare a fine mese.
I have many expenses to cover at the end of the month.

Mia mamma va a fare la spesa quasi tutti i giorni.
My mom does the shopping almost every day.

You can commonly find it as simply fare spesa, without an article.

Vado a fare spesa. Vuoi qualcosa?
I’m going grocery shopping. Do you want anything?

mom doing the grocery shopping


Fare is a verb of the first -are group and it happens to be the most common verb in the Italian language. Its indicativo presente conjugation is irregular and is as follows.

lui, leifa

It’s a common mistake even for some native speakers to say “voi facete”. It sounds so natural, doesn’t it? However, this is a BIG mistake. So remember: the correct conjugation is voi fate!

You will find fare in a huge number of expressions. Some of them are:

Fare una domanda
To ask a question

➡️ Learn how to pronounce to ask a question in Italian here!

Fare presto/tardi
To be early/late

Fare una telefonata
To make a phone call

For example, you could say:

Michele fa spesso tardi a scuola.
Michele is often late for school.

Paolo non fa mai domande.
Paul never asks questions.

Devo fare una telefonata.
I have to make a phone call.

boy talking on the phone


We said that the translation for to do the shopping in Italian is fare la spesa. Spesa is a feminine noun. In the indefinite and plural forms, it translates as “expense” and it’s never used to mean “grocery shopping”.

Una spesa
An expense

Delle spese
Some expenses

La spesa
The grocery shopping / the expense

Le spese
The expenses

man worried about medical expenses

Some common expenses in Italian are:

Spese complessive
Total expenses

Spese superflue
Unnecessary expenses

Spese mediche
Medical expenses

Spesa pubblica
Public spending

For example, you could say…

A quanto ammontano le spese mediche?
How much are the medical expenses?

La spesa pubblica per la sanità è molto bassa.
Public spending on health care is very low.

Non possiamo permetterci spese superflue.
We cannot afford unnecessary expenses.

To do the shopping in Italian – Examples

Mia sorella è appena uscita per fare spesa.
My sister just went out for groceries.

Andrò a fare la spesa non appena esco dal lavoro.
I will do the shopping as soon as I get off work.

Il papà fa la spesa per i nonni.
Dad does the shopping for the grandparents.

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