99 Useful Italian Words and Phrases

99 Useful Italian Words and Phrases

Now that you’ve bought the planet ticket and booked your dream villa, it’s time to start thinking about learning the language. English is not widely spoken throughout Italy; although you’ll find that those who work in the tourism industry (shops, restaurants, museums) generally speak and understand it well. Also, you could probably get away with speaking English to young Italians. However, knowing a bit of Italian can make a good impression and even polite phrases like “good morning”, “thank you” and “excuse me” will go a long way.

Study these 99 useful Italian words and phrases and you’ll have everything you need for your that Italian trip of a lifetime!

useful Italian words and phrases

Greetings and Courtesies

Learning greetings and courtesies is considered to be polite tourist behavior no matter what country you’re in. These are probably the most important phrases you could learn.

Salve! (sal-vay) – Hello (any time of day)

Buongiorno (bon-jour-no) – Good morning

Buon pomeriggio (bon po-mer-eej-jio) – Good afternoon

Buonasera (bon-a-se-ra) – Good evening

Buonanotte (bona-no-tay) – Good night

Grazie (gra-tsee-a) – Thank you

Mi chiamo… (mee kee-amo) – My name is…

Sono americano / canadese / inglese (so-no am-er-ee-kah-no / kan-a-day-say / een-glay-say) – I’m American / Canadian / English

Lei, di dov’è? (lay dee do-vay?) – Where are you from?

Piacere (pee-a-cheray) – Nice to meet you

Come va? (ko-me vaa) – How are you?

Arrivederci! (ahr-ree-veh-dehr-chee) – Goodbye! (Formal)

Ciao! (chow) – Hello! and Good-bye! (Informal)

Per favore (pehr fah-voh-reh) – Please

Prego. (pray-go) – You’re welcome

Niente – (nee en te) – It’s nothing (similar to your welcome, but less formal)

Permesso? (pehr-mehs-soh) – Excuse me (this is the common expression when trying to get by, for example, through a crowded train)

useful Italian words and phrases

Language Comprehension

When you first meet a native speaker, you might want to establish early on that you are not fluent in their language. This way, they are understanding of you from the beginning.

Non parlo italiano. (nohn pahr-lo ee-ta-lee-a-no) – I don’t speak Italian.

Parla inglese? (pahr-la een-glay-say) – Do you speak English?

Non capisco. (nohn ka-pees-ko) – I don’t understand.

Non lo so (nohn lo so) – I don’t know

useful Italian words and phrases

Directions

No matter how much you prepare for your excursions, at some point during your trip you’re going to get lost. So you’ll need to know how to ask for directions.

Si gira a destra (see jee-raa a deh-strah) – Turn right

Si gira a sinistra (see jee-raa a see-nee-strah) – Turn left

Si va diritto (see vah – dee-ree-toh) – Go straight ahead

Vicino (vee-chee-noh) – Near

Lontano (lohn-tah-no) – Far

Dov’è…? (do-vay…?) – Where is…?

 

At some point during your trip, you might need to find directions to these places:

Il museo (eel moo-say-oh)

Il supermercato (eel su-pehr-mehr-ka-toh) – Supermarket

La stazione (la stah-tsyoh-nay) – Train station

L’ospedale (lohs-pay-dah-lay) – Hospital

La stazione di polizia (la stah-tsyoh-nay dee poh-lee-tzee-ah) – Police station

Il ristorante (eel ree-stoh-rahn-tay) – Restaurant

Il Bagno (eel bah-yno)- Bathroom

 

And, if you do find yourself in a cab, tell the driver to pull over with this line:

Fermi qui, per favore. (fehr-mee qwee, pehr fah-voh-reh) – Please stop here.

useful Italian words and phrases

Transport

Getting around on local transportation won’t be difficult with these handy phrases!

Andiamo (ahn-dee-ah-mo) – Let’s go

Biglietto (bil-yetti) – Ticket

Dov’è la stazione? (doh-veh lah stah-tsyoh-neh) – Where is the station?

Vorrei andare a…. (vo-ray an-da-ray a _) – I want to go to….

A che ora parte il prossimo treno/autobus per ___? What time is the next train/bus to _ ?
(a kay oh-ra par-tay eel pros-see-mo tray-no / auw-to-boos per _?)

Quanto costa? (kwan-to kos-ta?) – How much is it?

1 biglietto / 2 biglietti per…. (oon bil-yeto / doo-ah bil-yetti per…) – 1 ticket / 2 tickets for…

Quanto dura il viaggio? (kwan-to doo-ra eel vi-ahj-o) – How long does it take?

useful Italian words and phrases

Food / Drink

No journey to Italy is complete until you’ve tried some local cuisine. Whether you’re ordering another bottle of wine in a lavish restaurant or a cone of gelato from a local shop, these phrases will be useful.

Potrei avere il menu, per favore? (pot-ray a-vay-ray eel me-noo, per fa-vo-ray?) – Can I have the menu, please?

Cosa mi consiglia? (ko-sa mee kon-sihl-ya?) – What do you recommend?

Quanto viene? (kwahn-toh vyeh-neh) – How much does it come to?

Ci fa il conto, per favore?/Ci porta il conto? (chee fah eel kohn-toh pehr fah-voh-reh/chee pohr-tah eel kohn-toh) – Will you bring us the bill please?

Un tavolo per uno / due, per favore (oon ta-vo-lo per oo-no / doo-ay, per fa-vo-ray?) – A table for one / two please

Cos’è questo? (ko-say kwes-to?) – What’s this?

Il conto, per favore (il kon-to, per fa-vor-ay) – The check, please

Mi scusi! (mee skoo-see) – Excuse me! (Calling a waiter)

Colazione (Ko-la-tsyoh-nay) – Breakfast

Pranzo (prahn-tsyoh) – Lunch

Cena (chay-nah) – Dinner

Vino (vee-noh) – Wine

Birra (beer-rrah) – Beer

Cono (koh-noh) – Cone

Coppa (kohp-pah) – Cup

Con panna (con pahn-nah) – With whipped cream

Gusto (goo-stoh) – Flavor

useful Italian words and phrases

Numbers

Whenever you pay for anything, you’re going to need to get familiar with numbers. Here are the first 20.

uno (oo-no) – one

due (doo-way) – two

tre (tray) – three

quattro (kwa-tro) – four

cinque (cheen-kway) – five

sei (say)– six

sette (set-tay) – seven

otto (ot-to) – eight

nove (no-vay) – nine

dieci (dee-ay-chee) – ten

undici (oon-dee-chee) – eleven

dodici (do-dee-chee) – twelve

tredici (tray-dee-chee) – thirteen

quattordici (kwa-tor-dee-chee) – fourteen

quindici (kween-dee-chee) – fifteen

sedici (say-dee-chee) – sixteen

diciassette (dee-ch-a-set-tay) – seventeen

diciotto (dee-ch-ot-to) – eighteen

diciannove (dee-cha-no-vay) – nineteen

venti (ven-tee) – twenty

useful italian words and phrases

Time

Never miss a tour or an event, when you learn the days of the week and the times of the day. A fun fact is that the days of the week are never capitalized in Italian.

Oggi (ohj-jee) – today

Domani (doh-mah-nee) – tomorrow

Dopodomani (doh-poh-doh-mah-nee) – day after tomorrow

Ieri (yeh-ree) – yesterday

domenica (doh-meh-nee-kah) – Sunday

lunedì (looh-neh-dee) – Monday

martedì (mahr-teh-dee) – Tuesday

mercoledì (mehr-koh-leh-dee) – Wednesday

giovedì (joh-veh-dee) – Thursday

venerdì (veh-nehr-dee) – Friday

sabato (sah-bah-toh) – Saturday

useful Italian words and phrases

Emergencies

While we hope nothing happens to you while on vacation, not everything is within our control. Be prepared with these useful Italian phrases.

Aiuto! (ah-yooh-toh) – Help!

Emergenza! (eh-mehr-jehn-tsah) – Emergency!

Chiamate la polizia! (chee-ah-mah-teh lah poh-lee-tsee-ah) – Call the police!

Chiamate un’ambulanza! (kee-ah-mah-teh ooh-nahm-booh-lahn-tsah) – Call an ambulance!

Ho bisogno di un medico. (oh bee-zoh-nyoh dee oohn meh-dee-koh) – I need a doctor.

Dov’è l’ospedale? (doh-veh lohs-peh-dah-leh) – Where is the hospital?

Mi sento molto male. (mee sehn-toh mohl-toh mah-leh) – I feel very sick.

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