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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)?

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Isn't palazzo where we get plaza (cf. German Platz). –  Robusto Feb 4 '11 at 14:43
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@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
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@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

3 Answers 3

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”.

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

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

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