101 Italian phrases to learn for your trip to Italy (2022)

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If you’re planning on visiting Italy then it’s a good idea to learn some key words and sentences. In this guide to basic Italian phrases for travel, we step you through the most useful ways to communicate on your trip to Italy. After all, language is a big part of Italian culture and you want to experience it all, am I right?

Making an effort to understand and speak Italian on your trip is not simply a matter of respect – although we think this is very important too. When you talk to people in their language they appreciate it and experiences open up to you that would not have been possible if you had been speaking English.

So let’s get started with the common Italian phrases and words that will be most useful to you on your travels.

Basic Italian phrases

101 Italian phrases to learn for your trip to Italy (1)

When you visit Italy, these are the most common words and phrases that will demonstrate you have made some effort to speak the local language. Learning these useful Italian words will help you talk to all manner of people during your trip.

Note – We’ve provided a phonetic pronunciation guide after the Italian translation for each word. If you really want to get the accent right a little extra study is recommended. We’ve provided some useful resources at the end of this article.

  • Yes – SiSee

  • No – NoNoh

  • Please – Per favorePehr fah-voh-reh

  • Thank you – GrazieGrah-tsee-eh

  • You’re welcome – PregoPreh-goh

  • Cheers! (To your health) – Salute!Sah-loo-tay

  • Excuse me (for attention) – ScusiSkoohzee

  • Excuse me (to pass by) – PermessoPehr-mehs-soh

  • Do you speak English? – Parla Inglese?Parh-la een-glay-zeh

  • I don’t understand – Non capiscoNon kah-pee-skoh

  • I’m sorry – Mi dispiaceMee dees-pyah-cheh

101 Italian phrases to learn for your trip to Italy (2)

Common greetings in Italian

One thing we really love about visiting Italy is the cultural differences and norms. In Italy, saying “good morning” is not simply a throwaway line. You should always greet people wherever you go – when entering a shop or restaurant, to hotel staff, on the bus or at a cultural sight. It’s the expected thing to do.

A friendly “buon giorno!” with a smile will go a long way. So here are the most common greetings and their context so you get it right! Generally you use the formal with people you don’t know, especially older people. The informal is used between friends.

  • Good morning (formal) – Buon giornoBwohn-johr-noh

  • Good afternoon (formal) – Buona seraBwoh-nah-seh-rah

  • Good night (formal) – Buona notteBwohnahnohteh

  • Hi / Bye (informal) – Ciao!Chow

    (Video) Top 10 Italian Phrases for Travel you NEED to know 🇮🇹[Italian for Beginners]

  • Good bye (formal) – ArrivederciAhr-ree-veh-dehr-chee

  • My name is … – Mi chiamoMee kyah-moh

  • What is your name? – Come si chiama?Koh-meh see kyah-mah?

  • Pleased to meet you – PiacerePyah-cheh-reh

  • How are you? (formal) – Come sta?Koh-meh stah?

  • Good thank you – Bene grazieBeh-nehgrah-tsee-eh

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While you don’t need to be able to count to 100, a good grasp of numbers up to 12 at least (for the hours of the day) will stand you in good stead. After all, you need numbers when you’re at a restaurant – una pizza per favore! (a pizza please!); at a museum –

  • One – UnoOo-noh

  • Two – DueDoo-eh

  • Three – TreTreh

  • Four – QuattroKwah-troh

  • Five – CinqueCheen-kweh

  • Six – SeiSay

  • Seven – SetteSeht-tey

  • Eight – OttoOh-toh

  • Nine – NoveNoh-veh

  • Ten – DieciDee-EH-chee

  • Eleven – UndiciOondee-chee

  • Twelve – DodiciDoh-dee-chee

To learn more about counting in Italian click here

Telling the time and days of the week

Here are the basics of telling time in Italian plus days of the week and other useful sentences for making reservations and plans. Italians generally use a 24 hour clock but also understand the 12 hour clock if you specify morning and afternoon.

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  • In the morning – Di MattinaDee mah-teen-ah

  • In the afternoon – Di pomeriggioDee poh-meh-reed-joh

  • In the evening – Di SeraDee sehrah

  • Noon – MezzogiornoMehd-dzoh-johr-noh

  • At what time? – A che ora?Ah kay oar-ah?

  • Nine o’clock in the morning – Le noveLe noh-vay

  • Eight o’clock in the evening – Le otto di sera /Le ot-to dee seh-rah

  • Monday – LunedìLoo-neh-dee

  • Tuesday – MartedìMahr-teh-dee

  • Wednesday – MercoledìMehr-koh-leh-dee

  • Thursday – GiovedìJoh-veh-dee

  • Friday – VenerdìVeh-nehr-dee

  • Saturday – SabatoSah-bah-toh

  • Sunday – DomenicaDoh-meh-nee-kah

  • Today – OggiOhd-jee

  • Yesterday – IeriYeh-ree

  • Tomorrow – DomaniDoh-mah-nee

Want to speak more Italian?

Check out our review of Rocket Italian, one of the best online courses for learning Italian.

Useful phrases at restaurants

No your Italy trip includes a plan to enjoy a few meals at restaurants. And we’re sure ordering a gelato or two is also high on your list. Let’s get you ready with these essential Italian phrases you need for ordering food or at restaurants. These may be the times that you interact with Italians the most so practise your greetings too!

  • Can I see the menu please? – Il menu, per favoreEel men-oo, pehr fah-voh-reh

  • What do you recommend? – Che cosa ci consiglia?Kay koh-za chee kon-seel-ya?

  • I’m allergic to… – Sono allergica/o a...Son-oh ah-ler-gee-koh / kah ah

  • Gluten / Dairy / Fish – Glutine / Lattecini / PesceGloo-teen-ay / Lah-tay-cheen-ee / Pesh-ay

  • House wine – Vino della casaVee-noh del-lah car-sah

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  • Red / white wine – Vino rosso / biancoVeenoh ross-oh / bee-ahn-koh

  • A glass / bottle – Una bicchiere / una bottigliaOO-nah beek-kyeh-reh / boht-tee-lyah

  • Appetizer – AntipastoAhn-tee-pah-stoh

  • First course – PrimoPree-moh

  • Second course – SecondoSek-kon-doh

  • Dessert – DolciDoll-chee

  • Two flavors please – Due gusti, per favoreDoo-eh goo-stee, pehr fah-voh-reh

  • Where’s the bathroom? – Dov’è il bagno?Doh-veh eel bahn-yoh?

  • The check (bill) please – Il conto, per favoreEel kon-toh, pehr fah-voh-reh

  • Can I pay by card? – Posso pagare con la carta?Pohs-soh pah-gah-reh kon la cahr-tah?

Words to know when you are visiting museums

Visiting museums and attractions is a big part of many Italian itineraries. In this section we’ve given you some useful phrases in Italian to help you buy tickets and ask common questions.

  • When does it open / close? – Quando si apri / chiude?Kwahn-doh see ah-pree / chee-oo-deh?

  • Two adults / one child – Due adulti / un bambinoDoo-eh ah-dool-tee / oon bahm-bee-noh

  • One / two ticket/s – Un / due biglietto/iOonbeel-yet-toh / tee

  • One senior – Un pensionatoOon pen-seyoh-nah-toh

  • One student – Uno studenteOoh-noh stoo-den-teh

  • Where is the bag store / cloak room? – Dov’è la guardaroba?Doh-veh lah gard-ah-robe-ah?

Asking for directions in Italian

If you get lost or need help with directions, these helpful words in Italian will come in handy.

  • Where is… ? – Dov’è…? – Doh-veh … ?

  • Entrance – EntrataEn-trah-tah

  • Exit – UscitaOoh-shee-tah

  • Left – SinistraSeenee-stra

  • Right – DestraDeh-stra

  • Right – Uno studenteOoh-noh stoo-den-teh

  • Straight ahead – DrittoDree-toh

  • Forward – AvantiAh-vahn-tee

  • Back – DietroDee-et-roh

101 Italian phrases to learn for your trip to Italy (3)

Useful words for transport and getting around

Most visitors to Italy will need to take a train or bus, or ride in a taxi. These phrases will be useful in these situations when it is likely you may need to ask for help to reach the right platform or bus stop.

  • Where is the train station? – Dov’è la stazione?Doh-veh lah stah-tzee-oh-neh?

  • Where is the bus stop? – Dov’è la fermata Doh-veh lah fur-mah-tah?

  • One / two ticket/s – Un / due biglietto/iOonbeel-yet-toh / tee

  • One way – AndataAhndah-tah

  • Return – RitornoRee-torn-oh

  • What platform for Rome? – Da quale binario per Roma?Dah kwah-lay bin-ah-rio pehr Roh-mah?

  • Newstand (for bus tickets) – TabacchiTah-back-kee

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Shopping words in Italian

Time to go shopping! Make sure you’re ready with these key ph

  • I would like… – Vorrei…Vor-ray…

  • How much is this? – Quanto costa questo?Kwahn-toh kohs-tah kwehs-toh??

  • OK I’ll take it – Va bene, lo prendoVah beh-neh, loh prehn-doh

  • I don’t want it – Non lo voglioNohn loh voh-lyoh

  • Can you ship to…? – Quanto costa questo?Kwahn-toh kohs-tah kwehs-toh??

What to say if you need help in Italian

We hope you never need to use these phrases but it’s a good idea to know them “just in case”.

  • Help! – Aiuto!Ay-oo-toh!

  • I need a doctor – Ho bisogno di un dottoreHo biz-ohn-nyo dee oon dot-tor-reh

  • Call the police – Chiami la poliziaKee-ya-mee la po-lee-zee-ah

  • Look out! – Attento!Atten-toh

  • Go away! – Vai via! Vy vee-ah!

101 Italian phrases to learn for your trip to Italy (4)

Want to get beyond basic Italian phrases for travel?

101 Italian phrases to learn for your trip to Italy (5)

These days there are a wealth of resources to help you learn Italian. You can use handy apps, books and podcasts to get started and we outlined some of the best of these in this article.

But, if you want to construct your own sentences and perfect your accent, a systematic approach with a proven method will help you make progress quickly. After much trial and error, we enjoy using Rocket Italian. This online course combines verbal cultural situation lessons with grammar and vocabulary to get you speaking Italian quickly. My accent also. improved significantly thanks to the voice recognition tasks.

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(Video) Italian for Travelers: Key Words & Phrases for a Trip to Italy

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What are the 100 most common Italian words? ›

100 most common Italian words
RankItalian wordEnglish translation
1il, la, lethe
3e, edand
4essereto be
96 more rows
Jan 15, 2019

How do you say basic words in Italian? ›

14 Italian words you are getting WRONG! [Italian Pronunciation]

What are some basic greetings tourists should know in Italy? ›

Here are some basic phrases and courtesies to help you get by in Italy: Greetings. Know how to say "buongiorno" (bwohn-JOR-noh) for "good morning" or "good day"; "buonasera" (BWOH-nah-SAY-ra) for "good evening"; and "arrivederci" (ah-ree-vay-DEHR-chee) for goodbye (obligatory when you leave a shop or restaurant).

What is a famous Italian saying? ›

Noi Non Potremo Avere Perfetta Vita Senza Amici – “We Couldn't Have a Perfect Life Without Friends” This quote by Dante Alighieri is one of the most famous Italian sayings still used in everyday speech despite its old-fashioned phrasing.

What does Chow Bella mean? ›

The expression 'ciao Bella' translates from Italian to 'hello/goodbye beautiful' in English.

What do they call a bathroom in Italy? ›

Bagno – this is the most common Italian word for bathroom/restroom. If you need ask where the restroom is, you will ask: Scusi, dov'e' il bagno?

How many words do you need to be fluent in Italian? ›

Learning those 1000 words would give you a huge head start in becoming fluent in Italian. Statistically speaking, having these 1000 words in your Italian vocabulary, would mean you would know close to 9 out of 10 words in every Italian conversation. Understanding most Italian conversations would be a breeze.

What does Ciao Mio Amore? ›

Hello, my love!

What is Ma Che Vuoi? ›

"what do you want?"), alternatively described as ma che vuoi?, ma che dici?/ma che stai dicendo? ("what are you talking about?"), or simply che? ("what?"), is one of the best known hand gestures of Italy. In English, it is sometimes referred to as "pinched fingers" or "finger purse" (Italian: mano a borsa).

How do u say good morning in Italian? ›

Buongiorno: The standard way to say 'good morning' in Italian
  1. Buongiorno Signore = Good morning sir.
  2. Buongiorno Signora = Good morning madam.
  3. Buongiorno Signorina = Good morning miss.
  4. Buongiorno a tutti = Good morning everyone.
  5. Buongiorno a te / a voi = Good morning to you / to you all.
Jul 17, 2021

How do you greet in Italy? ›

The common verbal greeting is “Ciao” (Hello). This is quite casual. People may also say “Buongiorno” (Good day) or “Buonasera” (Good evening) to be more formal. Address a person by their title and last name, and continue to do so until invited to move to a first-name basis.

What does Fanabla mean in Italian? ›

A FANABLA: 'go to hell'

It's short for “va fa Napoli” – go to Naples – which is either a sick burn on the city of the sun or a massive compliment: as the saying goes, “see Naples and die”.

How do you introduce yourself in Italian? ›

Learn How to Introduce Yourself in Italian | Can Do #1 - YouTube

How do you cheer in Italian? ›

How to Say "Cheers" in Italian | Italian Lessons - YouTube

How do you flirt in Italian? ›

After the first catchphrase, an Italian flirting strategy would usually proceed with a ton of compliments and sweet words accompanied by slow movements like holding your hand, caressing your face, blinking, winking, smiling, and looking in your eyes.

What is Italy's slogan? ›

The colors of the Italian flag represent three virtues: hope (green), faith (white), and charity (red). The Italian Republic does not have an official motto, but it does have a common phrase: "L'Italia e' una Repubblica democratica, fondata sul lavoro" (Italy is a democratic Republic, founded on labor).

How do you say I speak a little Italian? ›

How to say that you speak Italian - One Minute Italian Lesson 3

How do you greet in Italian? ›

Hello in Italian – formal

A more formal way to say hello in Italian and the Italian word for hello you will use the most on your travels is 'buongiorno'.


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