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The Essential Italian Phrases for Travel

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Traveling is wonderful. You get to know new places and ways of life, meet different people, and relax—far from your usual routine. Regular contact with a new language is another huge plus. And when you travel, you can learn that language in the most fun and interesting way.

Nevertheless, you should still know a few important phrases before jumping on a plane and heading for a new country. If that country is Italy, there’s even more reason to learn some phrases in advance; we’ll explain why in a bit.

Ready to learn Italian travel phrases, and other Italian phrases about travel?

Welcome to ItalianPod101’s guide to Italian phrases for travel!

Table of Contents

  1. Why it’s Important to Know a Few Phrases when Traveling
  2. Do Italians Speak English?
  3. The Essential Italian Phrases for Travel
  4. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Get Ready for Your Travel to Italy

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1. Why it’s Important to Know a Few Phrases when Traveling

Preparing for Travel

Before we go over our list of common Italian travel phrases, do you know why they’re important to learn in the first place?

There are at least three reasons why you should learn some bits of a language before your trip:

  • Because you’ll start knowing the country that you’ll soon be visiting. Language is a key element in culture, and it’s a window to look into its habits and traditions.
  • Because you’ll be able to talk to everyone in the most direct way. People tend to appreciate tourists that speak a bit of their language—and you might end up with some new friends!
  • Because you might need these phrases in case of an emergency. English is a widely spoken language in most of the world, but this doesn’t mean that everyone knows it. In fact, it’s estimated that there are about 1.5-billion English-speakers in the world. This is a lot, but it’s still only twenty percent of the world’s population.

2. Do Italians Speak English?

Airplane Phrases

According to the English Proficiency Index, Italy ranks twenty-fourth out of thirty-two European countries for English-speaking skills. This is worse than any other Western European country except France (which still is a nice victory over its cousins beyond the Alps). It’s also the worst of most of the old Eastern Bloc.

Why? Mainly because Italy is an old country. The average age is very high and people over sixty-five years old rarely speak English. Most young people today speak at least some basic English, but when visiting Italy, you’ll notice that the population, in general, is older than in other countries. Italians also have a higher retirement age, meaning that they keep on working longer, so you’re more likely to be in contact with them.

So yes, it’s a nice idea to learn some key Italian phrases to be able to communicate a bit.

Knowing just a few simple Italian travel phrases will make your life—and the lives of the many Italians that you’ll meet—better. Furthermore, Italian is the language of love, and we at ItalianPod101 strongly believe that everybody should know at least some Italian travel words and phrases.

3. The Essential Italian Phrases for Travel

Survival Phrases

We’ve created an easy-to-use collection of the most useful Italian phrases for tourists on their Italy travels. Enjoy!

1- Useful Italian Travel Phrases for Good Manners

We’ll start off with some phrases to help you practice good manners in Italy. Here’s an essential list of greetings and other useful expressions for your Italy travels. You can also hear Italian travel phrases with pronunciation by visiting our relevant vocabulary lists, where you can find an audio alongside these useful phrases.

  • Ciao
    • “Hello.”
  • Buongiorno
    • “Good morning,” or “Good day.” This phrase is actually used until about four o’clock p.m.
  • Buonasera
    • “Good evening.”
  • Buonanotte
    • “Good night.”
    • “Yes.”
  • No
    • “No.”
  • Grazie
    • “Thank you.”
  • Per favore
    • “Please.”
  • Scusa
    • “Excuse me.” This can also mean, “Forgive me,” when said to a young person or a friend.
  • Scusi
    • This means the same thing, but when said to an older person or in a formal occasion.
  • Come va?
    • “How are you?”
  • Bene, grazie
    • “Fine, thanks.”
  • Non parlo italiano
    • “I don’t speak Italian.”
  • Bello
    • “Beautiful,” or “Great.” You’ll notice that Italians say this a lot.

2- Essential Italian Travel Phrases for Transportation

Some of the most useful travel phrases in Italian have to do with getting from A to B. Moving around in Italy, especially in Rome or Naples, can be a bit complicated. Buses aren’t always the most reliable means of transportation, and metros don’t cover the entire city.

But don’t worry, you have our collection of basic Italian phrases for travel to help you get around Italy anyway!

  • Dov’è la fermata dell’autobus?
    • “Where is the bus stop?”
  • Dov’è la stazione della metropolitana?
    • “Where is the metro station?”
  • Quante fermate per il Colosseo?
    • “How many stops to the Colosseum?”
  • Dritto
    • “Straight.”
  • A destra
    • “To the right.”
  • A sinistra
    • “To the left.”
  • Quando passa l’autobus?
    • “When does the bus come?”
  • A che ora parte il treno?
    • “What time does the train leave?”
  • Quanto costa il biglietto?
    • “How much is the ticket?”
  • Quanto costa la corsa in taxi fino all’aeroporto?
    • “How much is the taxi ride to the airport?”

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3- Italian Phrases for Accomodation

In the vast majority of hotels and other accommodation structures, you’ll find an English-speaking staff. But things might be different if you stay at a small B&B or if you rent a home in someone’s apartment, especially far from the most popular tourist destinations.

In that case, you can find a host that speaks very poor English or doesn’t speak it at all.

If that does happen to you, here are some key Italian travel phrases to know:

  • Avete una camera libera per stanotte?
    • “Do you have a free room for tonight?”
  • Quanto costa la camera?
    • “How much is the room?”
  • A che ora è il check-in/check-out?
    • “What time is the check-in/check-out?”
  • A che ora servite la colazione?
    • “What time do you serve breakfast?”
  • Posso pagare con carta di credito?
    • “Can I pay with credit card?”
  • Vorrei una camera con due letti singoli/con un letto matrimoniale.
    • “I’d like a room with two single beds/one double bed.”

4- Italian Phrases for Visiting

Yes, most staff in museums and tourist sites speak English. But still, isn’t it more charming to speak Italian while walking down the Uffizi Gallery or Pompei’s roads? Check out these basic Italian words for tourists visiting this country’s many beauties:

  • Avete una guida in inglese?
    • “Do you have a guide in English?”
  • Quanto dura la visita?
    • “How long does the visit take?”
  • Amo l’arte italiana.
    • “I love the Italian art.”
  • Chi è l’autore di questo dipinto?
    • “Who’s the author of this painting?”
  • Di che epoca è questo sito?
    • “What time period is this site from?”
  • In quale secolo è stata costruita questa chiesa?
    • “In what century was this church built?”

5- Italian Phrases for Shopping

Basic Questions

Shopping in Italy is something you can’t miss. Fashion, art, handicrafts, antiques, food, wine…there are so many unique products you can only buy here. Here are the most useful Italian phrases for travel and shopping:

  • Quanto costa?
    • “How much is it?”
  • Costa…:
    • “It costs….”
  • Posso avere uno sconto?
    • “Can I have a discount?”
  • A che ora aprite?
    • “What time do you open?”
  • A che ora chiudete?
    • “What time do you close?”
  • Apriamo/chiudiamo alle…:
    • “We open/close at…”
  • Vorrei restituire questo.
    • “I’d like to return this.”
  • Può fare un pacchetto regalo, per favore?
    • “Can you gift wrap it, please?”
  • Siete aperti di domenica?
    • “Are you open on Sundays?”
  • Avete questa camicia in una taglia più grande/più piccola?
    • “Do you have this shirt in a bigger/smaller size?”

6- Italian Phrases for Emergencies

Nobody wants to experience an emergency, especially when far from home. It’s better to be prepared, but we want to reassure you: Italy is a safe country. Petty crime is common in crowded places, like in every other country in the world, but violent crime is rare.

Things have changed a lot over the last few decades, and crime statistics show a constant decrease. Moreover, the country has one of the best public healthcare systems in the world, even if hospitals in the South tend to be worse than in the North. Policemen always speak at least a little English at the tourist locations, as do most doctors across the country.

Still, if you have a condition or severe allergies, it’s always wise to learn their name in the native language before going abroad.

Check out these Italian phrases for tourists experiencing an emergency:

  • Aiuto!
    • “Help!”
  • Chiamate la polizia.
    • “Call the police.”
  • Chiamate un’ambulanza.
    • “Call an ambulance.”
  • Mi hanno derubato.
    • “I’ve been robbed.”
  • Mi hanno rubato il portafoglio / il cellulare / la borsa.
    • “They stole my wallet / cellphone / bag.”
  • Devo andare all’ambasciata di [your country].
    • “I have to go to the embassy of [your country].”
  • Dove ha male?
    • “Where does it hurt?”
  • Ho male al petto / alla pancia / alla schiena.
    • “My chest / my stomach / my back hurts.”
  • Prende delle medicine ogni giorno?
    • “Do you take some daily medication?”
  • Sì, prendo…
    • “Yes, I take…”
  • Ha delle allergie?
    • “Do you have any allergies?”
  • Sì, sono allergico a [allergen name].
    • “Yes, I’m allergic to…”
  • Non trovo mio figlio.
    • “I can’t find my son.”
  • Mi sono perso.
    • “I got lost.”
  • C’è un medico che parla inglese?
    • “Is there a doctor who speaks English?”

Italian

7- Italian Phrases for the Restaurant

And now the best part of every travel to Italy: Food!

Here are some basic Italian phrases for travel to help you enjoy the local food experience to its fullest without language barriers:

  • È buonissimo!
    • “It’s really good!”
  • Vorrei prenotare un tavolo per quattro per stasera, per favore.
    • “I’d like to reserve a table for four for tonight, please.”
  • Vorremmo ordinare, per favore.
    • “We’d like to order, please.”
  • Avete dei piatti vegetariani?
    • “Do you have any vegetarian dishes?”
  • Vorrei del vino locale.
    • “I’d like some local wine.”
  • Può portare il sale / l’olio / il parmigiano, per favore?
    • “Could you bring the salt / oil / parmesan, please?”
  • Complimenti al cuoco!
    • “Compliments to the chef!”
  • Può portare il conto, per favore?
    • “Can I have the check, please?”

How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Get Ready for Your Travel to Italy

What did you think of our list of best Italian travel phrases? We hope that with our guide, you’re well-equipped with basic Italian travel phrases to help you on your travels in Italy!

Do you still want more Italian phrases for travel? Check out our articles and guides about this topic and get ready for your Italian adventure!

With ItalianPod101, you’ll be able to learn Italian the fastest and most entertaining way. Prepare for your trip by learning some Italian vocabulary, culture, body language, and much more. Use our apps to improve your Italian anywhere you are and whenever you want. And if you have any doubts or want to share your progress and opinions, there’s our amazing forum, full of other students like you!

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