English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have noticed that palazzo is used not only in Italian but in English too.

So what is the difference between palazzo, and palace (in English)?

share|improve this question
Isn't palazzo where we get plaza (cf. German Platz). – Robusto Feb 4 '11 at 14:43
@Robusto plaza comes from the Spanish, palazzo comes from the Italian – F'x Feb 4 '11 at 14:50
Ultimately, they all come from πλατεῖα ὁδός (broad way). – RegDwigнt Feb 4 '11 at 15:24
@RegDwight: Not true. The ultimate origin of all these words is from Mons Palatinus (the Palatine Hill) in Rome! The first "palace" was the Imperial palace on this hill in Ancient Rome. – Noldorin Feb 4 '11 at 17:18
@Noldorin: let's meet in the middle. Platz, place, piazza, etc. do come from πλατεῖα ὁδός, but Palast, palace, palazzo, etc. do come from Mons Palatinus. That should make everybody happy. (As it is actually correct.) – RegDwigнt Feb 4 '11 at 18:16
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Strictly speaking, a palace is the official residence of a sovereign (or, by extension, a dignitary). Informally, it may also mean “a building that looks like a palace”, i.e. a vast, beautiful and richly-decorated house.

The NOAD has for palazzo: “a palatial building, esp. in Italy”. So, I expect that the main difference is this “in Italy”. Other than that, I think it's quite close in meaning, at least to the informal meaning of palace.

As for usage, palazzo is much less used than palace: the Corpus of Contemporary American English has 7622 occurrences of “palace” vs 597 for “palazzo” or “palazzi”.

share|improve this answer

"Palazzo" is mainly used in English to communicate that the building is called a palazzo in the regional language of its location.

share|improve this answer

Palazzo is, indeed, an Italian Palace, but it could also be an impressive public building or a private residence( in english).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.