Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

The spade has a golden tip

The spade has a golden tip
With such a strong agricultural heritage, it’s no surprise that plenty of popular Italian expressions have the farming community to thank for their origins. The full version of this expression is: “The spade has a golden tip, the hoe a silver one and the plow, iron”. Essentially, it means the spade is the best way to make money for farmers.

The saying comes from a legend of a dying farmer. He told his sons he had left them treasure and to set out on his farm to find it. After a long search, they found nothing and continued to tend the land. Come harvest time, they worked hard with spades and filled the barns with freshly cut wheat. When the sun shone on it, giving it a golden glow, they realized. The treasure was always there with them – they just had to work hard on the land to make it theirs.

Today, the expression suggests that we must work hard to achieve the riches we seek.