In Italian, “cavolo” means “cabbage.”
And man, did I see some serious cabbages in Tuscany. But the funny thing is, you’ll hear young Romans saying “Cavolo!!” all the time, and I guarantee you that they are not talking about vegetables.
Because it is so completely ridiculous to hear people yelling CABBAGE! all the time, “cavolo” has become my favorite Italian slang. As slang, it usually means something along the lines of “wow!” or “incredible!”
I found this actual cavolo in the organic garden of the agriturismo we stayed at near Pienza. The owner, Luciano, told me that the funniest mistake he hears people learning Italian make on a regular basis is when they call a “cavallo” a “cavolo.” Cavallo means horse. Calling a horse a cabbage- cavolo!