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How to Say “I’m Sorry” in Italian


Learning how to say “I’m sorry” in a foreign language is a crucial step in assimilating not only its grammar and vocabulary, but also its culture. This is why we at ItalianPod101 have decided to write an extensive guide about how to say sorry in Italian.

Reading this article, you’ll discover how to say “I’m sorry” in Italian with your words and with your body language. Moreover, you’ll find out how to say sorry in Italian in different circumstances and to different people.

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Don’t let them devastate your relationships with your Italian friends, relatives, colleagues, or other special people in your life. Learn how to say “I apologize” in Italian in the most effective way and take care of your relationships. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Italian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

  1. “Sorry”: A Complicated Word
  2. The Meaning of “I’m Sorry” in Italian
  3. How to Say Sorry in Italian
  4. How to Say “Excuse Me” and “Pardon” in the Street

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1. “Sorry”: A Complicated Word

3 Ways To Say Sorry

As explained by the Harvard Business Review, “I’m sorry” is an expression that’s very complicated to translate. This is because it involves the cultural meaning of apology, culpability, and mistake, which greatly varies from culture to culture.

For example, in the Western world in general, an apology implies an admission of culpability. What “I’m sorry” really means is “I’ve made a mistake, therefore I’m sorry.” On the other hand, in Japan an apology doesn’t mean that one admits he’s in the wrong, and it’s instead a way to repair a problem within a relationship. So it’s more like “I’m sorry that there’s this problem between us. Please, let’s fix it.”

It’s such a complicated matter, that the Journal of Applied Social Psychology has defined “sorry” as the hardest word. In order to clarify this extremely intricate subject, we could use the classifications of dignity, face, and honor cultures as defined by social studies:

  • Dignity cultures are individualistic, and the self-worth of every individual is based on his/her achievements, not on the others’ opinion. The U.S. is considered a dignity culture.
  • Face cultures are more based on hierarchy, and the value of individuals is assessed on their ability to do what’s expected of them according to their social position. China and Japan are considered face cultures.
  • Honor cultures are strongly based on reputation and each one’s ability to defend it from attacks, for example in the Middle East.

The meaning and effectiveness of an apology varies amongst the different cultures. For example, they tend to be less effective in honor cultures and more effective in dignity cultures.

Then, what about Italy? Like many others in the world, the Italian culture is a mix. We can define it as a mix of dignity and honor cultures. An individualistic society with strong familial ties, where honor still has some relevance.

Three Generations of Hands Overlapping

2. The Meaning of “I’m Sorry” in Italian

As in other Western cultures, “I am sorry” in Italian involves an admission of culpability. You’re supposed to apologize in mainly three circumstances:

  • When you’ve done something wrong, even if you haven’t done it on purpose.
  • When you’re disturbing someone or something.
  • When you’re lacking something.

Let’s see this in more in detail.

1- A Few Examples of Things that are Considered Wrong in Italy

You’re supposed to say sorry in Italian when you’ve done something that Italians consider wrong. The concept of wrong and right is another element that greatly varies from culture to culture, so let us give you some examples of what’s wrong according to Italians:

  • When you forget an appointment or a birthday.
  • When you offend someone, even if it’s not on purpose.
  • When you make a mistake while working.
  • When you’re late—but mind that many Italians have a very flexible idea of punctuality, and if they arrive fifteen minutes late, they might not see the need to apologize.
  • When you can’t quite finish your second dish of pasta. :-)

Remember that you shouldn’t apologize if you don’t think you’re in the wrong. Apologizing just to make things okay, without being ready to admit your fault, would look false and deceiving.

Little Boy Apologizing to His Grandfather

2- When You Should Apologize for Disturbing

You should apologize:

  • When you’re interrupting someone speaking.
  • When you need someone to move in order to pass through.
  • When you enter a room during a meeting or a private discussion.
  • When you need to have someone’s attention while he’s/she’s doing something (for example, when in a restaurant you need to ask the waiter something while he’s/she’s carrying another table’s dishes).

3- When You Should Apologize for Lacking Something

Here are a few examples of this particular situation. You are supposed to apologize:

  • When you invite someone to your home and you’re out of coffee, wine, or anything else a guest wants.
  • When someone talks to you in a language you don’t speak.
  • When you don’t know something you should know.

3. How to Say Sorry in Italian

Say Sorry

Now that you know the cultural meaning and circumstances of apologizing in Italy, let’s look at how to say “I’m sorry,” in Italian with these Italian sorry phrases.

1- A Dictionary to Say Sorry in Italian

So, how do you say sorry in Italian? It depends on the situation, but by far the most common Italian sorry phrases are:

  • Scusa: This word basically means “I’m sorry,” but also “I apologize,” “excuse me,” and “pardon.” It should be used with one singular person you’re addressing with the second singular person tu and not the formal third singular person lei (this is because you’ll be talking to a friend, a relative, or a partner, and not someone superior to you).

Examples of use:
- Sarò venti minuti in ritardo, scusa.
- Scusa per la fretta, ma ho poco tempo.

- “I’ll be twenty minutes late, sorry.”
- “I’m sorry for the rush, but I have little time.”

  • Scusate: This is the same as the above word, but should be used when apologizing to more than one person.

Example of use:
- Scusate, ho dimenticato che dovevamo vederci tutti in pizzeria stasera.

- “Sorry, I forgot that we were all supposed to meet at the pizzeria tonight.”

  • Mi scusi: Wondering how to say “sorry to bother you” in Italian to a superior? Mi scusi is a good option. This is the same thing as the above phrase, but it’s used when addressing someone with the formal third singular person lei, such as an older person you don’t know very well, a client, or a professor.

Examples of use:
- Mi scusi, vorrei avere delle informazioni sui vostri corsi di italiano.
- Mi scusi, non parlo italiano.

- “Excuse me, I’d like to have more information about your Italian courses.”
- “Sorry, I don’t speak Italian.”

  • Scusami / mi scuso: This is like scusa, but with a more emphatic nuance.

Examples of use:
- Scusami, mi sono davvero comportato male ieri sera.
- Sono stato molto scortese, mi scuso.

- “I’m sorry, I behaved very badly last night.”
- “I’ve been very rude, I’m sorry.”

  • Scusatemi: This is like scusami, but is used when addressing more than one person.

Example of use:
- A causa del mio errore abbiamo perso un cliente, scusatemi.

- “Because of my mistake we lost a client, I’m sorry.”

  • Mi dispiace: This is another expression that means “I’m sorry,” but is used in more serious circumstances (or when used after it, there’s a subordinate clause).

Examples of use:
- Non sapevo della tua perdita, mi dispiace.
- Mi dispiace che tu non possa venire a Roma con noi.

- “I didn’t know about your loss, I’m sorry.”
- “I’m sorry that you won’t be able to come to Rome with us.”

  • Perdonami: This is a word meaning “forgive me,” used when talking to one singular person that you’re addressing with the second singular person tu.

Example of use:
- Perdonami per averti fatto soffrire.

- “Forgive me for making you suffer.”

  • Perdonatemi: This is the same as the above word, but should be used with more than one person.

Example of use:
- Perdonatemi per tutti i problemi che ho causato con la mia disattenzione.

- “Forgive me for all the problems I’ve caused with my inattention.”

  • Ti prego di scusarmi / Ti prego di perdonarmi: These phrases mean “Please, forgive me,” and is a stronger request for forgiveness.

Examples of use:
- Sono stato davvero sciocco a dire quelle cose, ti prego di scusarmi.
- Ti prego di perdonarmi per la mia arroganza.

- “I was really silly to say those things, please, forgive me.”
- “Please, forgive me for my arrogance.”

  • La prego di scusarmi / La prego di perdonarmi: This is the same as the above phrases, when talking to someone with lei.

Example of use:
- La prego di scusarmi per l’inefficienza.

- “Please, forgive me for the inefficiency.”

  • Vi prego di scusarmi / Vi prego di perdonarmi: This is the same thing again, when talking to more than one person. If you’re wondering how to say “I’m really sorry,” in Italian (or “I’m very sorry,” in Italian), this is a good option.

Example of use:
- Ho commesso un grave errore, vi prego di perdonarmi.

- “I’ve made a big mistake, please, forgive me.”

Woman Asking For Man's Forgiveness

2- How to Say Sorry in Italian to a Friend, Relative, or Someone Special to You

In order to say sorry in Italian to a friend, a relative, or a special person in your life, you’ll use the more familiar expressions, as when talking to someone with the tu person.


  1. Scusami per aver perso la tua festa ieri sera.
  2. Ti chiedo scusa per non essere stato presente quando avevi bisogno di me.
  3. Non sono stato un buon amico, perdonami.
  4. Scusa zia, le tue tagliatelle sono buonissime, ma sono pienissimo!
  5. Scusate, ho dimenticato di portare il vino.


  1. “I’m sorry for missing your party last night.”
  2. “I’m sorry for not being there for you when you needed me.”
  3. “I wasn’t a good friend, forgive me.”
  4. “I’m sorry, aunt, your tagliatelle are excellent, but I’m super full!”
  5. “Sorry, I forgot to bring the wine.”

3- How to Say Sorry in Italian in Formal Situations

In a formal situation—like when talking to a client, a superior, a business contact, or simply an older person you don’t know well—you have to use the lei person.


  1. Mi scusi, non ho capito cosa ha detto.
  2. La prego di perdonarci per il disguido.
  3. Mi perdoni per essere stato indelicato.


  1. “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand what you said.”
  2. “Please, forgive us for the misunderstanding.”
  3. “Please, forgive me for being indiscreet.”

Saying Sorry

4- How to Say “Excuse Me” and “Pardon” in the Street

After talking about Italian for “sorry,” what about saying “excuse me” or “pardon” in a crowd, on a bus, or wherever you need to pass? It’s very easy: you just say scusa to boys and girls, and mi scusi to older persons.


  1. Scusi, posso passare?
  2. Scusa, dovrei scendere alla prossima fermata.


  1. “Excuse me, could I pass?”
  2. “Pardon, I should get off at the next stop.”

5- How to Say Sorry in Italian with Your Body Language

In many cultures, for example in Japan, body language is an essential part of an apology. When you want to say that you’re so sorry in Italian, the expression on your face is the most important body language element. Italians are more expressive than other peoples, and an apology always comes—pardon the pun—with a “sorry” face.

Sometimes an apology can come with gestures; a hand to the heart is the most common, as a sign of pain and regret.

4. Keep on Learning the Italian Culture and Language with ItalianPod101!

We hope you learned some useful Italian sorry phrases in this article, and that you’ll start practicing them!

With, you’ll learn so much more than grammar rules and vocabulary. You’ll discover how to behave in Italy, how Italians communicate through body language, and how to understand their culture and habits. You’ll be able to blend in with your Italian friends, relatives, and colleagues, and can fully enjoy your holiday in Italy.

Learn Italian with our innovative tools, tailor-made on your level and perfect for any device. Discuss what you discover and share your thoughts on our forum with the other members of our community!

Until next time, we’re wishing you the best as you continue learning Italian!

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Italian Hand Gestures: Talk with Hands Like a Real Italian


Body language is such an important part of communication for both humans and animals. Charles Darwin dedicated years of study to this topic, writing his famous essay, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. And among humans, animals, and other creatures, those that use body language the most are Italians.

Italian body gestures—and, specifically, Italian hand gestures—are a complex, marvelous completion to the language, adding the emphasis Italians love so much, and sometimes even replacing the words. Body gestures in speaking Italian have the ability to add so much flair. That’s why it’s so important for everyone who loves Italy and the Italian language to learn these gestures. And we at are here to help you master the use of the most common Italian body language and gestures!

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Table of Contents

  1. The World-Famous Italian Hand Gestures
  2. Gestionary: A Dictionary of Italian Body Language and Gestures
  3. Other Italian Body Language Expressions
  4. The Italian Hand Gesture that Shaped Heavy Metal Music
  5. Gesticulate Like a Real Italian with ItalianPod101

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1. The World-Famous Italian Hand Gestures

There’s a famous joke that says: “Do you know how to make Italians shut up? Tie their hands.” Italians talk with their hands. It’s a common known fact, like the fact that Germans are punctual and the Spanish like to go out at night.

But why? Why do Italians talk so much with their hands? Why are gestures in Italian culture so prominent? And why did Italian gestures become so famous across the world?

The New York Times has dedicated an article to the issue of, explaining that there are three theories. Italian non-verbal gestures could be: a way to communicate in an unfriendly environment, like the many foreigner dominations that held power over Italy throughout its history; a strategy to state strength and confidence in the crowded streets of Naples or Rome; a heritage of more ancient civilizations, like the Hellenic one.

Whatever the case may be, Italian gestures and body language have become known worldwide. Cinema gave a big contribution to the fame of Italian hand gestures, with immensely successful films like The Godfather, Dolce Vita, and many others.

What do Italians think about their lively body language? We’ve asked them. They replied, of course, with a gesture: waving their hand in the air, meaning “There’s so much to say!”

Italians Talk with Hands

2. Gestionary: A Dictionary of Italian Body Language and Gestures

Isabella Poggi, professor of psychology at Roma Tre University, identified 250 gestures in Italian body language. We’re not going to teach you all of them in our guide to Italian hand gestures and body language, since it’ll be too confusing. But if you’re looking for the most important Italian hand gestures meanings, here you’ll find a reply. And you’ll be able to talk with your hands like a real Italian as fast as snapping your fingers.

1 - The “What Do You Want?” Italian Hand Gesture

Pinch your fingers together and move your hand up and down. Here you have the most famous Italian gesture in the world: the “What do you want?” gesture.

  • Meaning: “What do you want from me?” (It can also mean “This makes no sense,” “What are you doing?” or simply “What?”
  • How to do it: Start by pinching your fingers together.
  • When to use it: Not in formal occasions. Use it when you don’t want someone to bother you, or when someone is doing something stupid. You can also use it when you think someone’s making fun of you.
  • Example situation: A friend is telling you a strange story and you think it’s a joke.

2 - The “It’s Very Good” Italian Hand Gesture

This is another super-famous gesture that Italians do when they really like a food they’re eating.

  • Meaning: “This food is great.”
  • How to do it: Take your index finger to your cheek and twist it.
  • When to use it: Every time you eat something good!
  • Example situation: Your Italian host asks if you like the pasta.

A Plate of Pasta

3 - The “I Don’t Care” Italian Hand Gesture

Italians have a very vivid way to express their indifference on a topic. With gestures, naturally.

  • Meaning: “I don’t care,” or “I don’t give a damn.”
  • How to do it: Brush under your chin with the upper part of your fingers.
  • When to use it: This gesture expresses contempt and disdain, and can be pretty strong.
  • Example situation: You hear a mean rumor about a friend, and you want to state that you don’t believe it and don’t care.

4 - The “I Don’t Know” Italian Hand Gesture

Italians love to add a fatalistic inflection to the things they say, and this gesture is perfect to do it. It’s not only a quick way to state that you don’t know something, but also a gesture that signifies that you can’t do anything about it and you’re in the hands of the providence.

  • Meaning: “I don’t know,” and also “There’s nothing I can do about it.”
  • How to do it: Shrug your shoulders and open your arms with palms up. Add a “boh,” and you’re the perfect Italian.
  • When to use it: Whenever you don’t know something and there’s nothing you can do to know more.
  • Example situation: When you’re waiting for a bus in Rome and someone asks you when it should arrive.

5 - The “So Much” Italian Hand Gesture

The Italian hand gestures language has a solution for every communication need. That includes a wide expression like this one.

  • Meaning: “So much.”
  • How to do it: Make a circle with your hand in the air.
  • When to use it: Use this gesture if something is “so much” (very) beautiful, if someone is “so much” dramatic, if a restaurant is “so much” good, etc…
  • Example situation: When someone asks you if Florence is beautiful and you want to simply say “So much!”

6 - The “I Can’t Stand this Thing/Person” Italian Hand Gesture

You can’t stand something or someone? Tell it to your Italian friends with this lively gesture.

  • Meaning: “I can’t stand this thing/person.”
  • How to do it: Pinch your fingers together, point them to the ground, and tap your hand on your chest, as though something very heavy was stuck into your stomach.
  • When to use it: When you can’t stand a person or a thing.
  • Example situation: When someone asks you what you think of an unpleasant colleague.

7 - The “Are You Crazy?” Italian Hand Gesture

This is a gesture that can be very useful in life. But be careful; it can be offensive, too.

  • Meaning: “Are you crazy?” or “Are you out of your mind?”
  • How to do it: Wave your hand in front of your face like you were sending a fly away.
  • When to use it: When someone behaves in a foolish, incomprehensible, or crazy way. Careful, it can be offensive.
  • Example situation: When someone tells you that French wine is better than Italian wine.

3. Other Italian Body Language Expressions

There are so many Italian body language and hand gestures that it’s impossible to make a complete list. But here are some other body language expressions you should know:

  • Nodding your head: “Yes.”
  • Shaking your head: “No.”
  • Wrinkling your nose: “I don’t like it.”
  • Moving your head from left to right: “I’m undecided.”
  • Assuming a posture with your head and shoulders low, looking at the ground: “I’m resigned.”

4. The Italian Hand Gesture that Shaped Heavy Metal Music

The Italian hand gestures language has a long and complicated history. Probably born in ancient Greece, it became part of the Italian way of communication. From there, it spread to the entire world, especially to North and South America.

And since body language survives through the most revolutionary events (like moving to another continent), unlike spoken language, North and South Americans of Italian heritage still use many of the typical Italian hand gestures, even if they haven’t spoken the language in generations. It’s part of their culture, identity, and tradition.

And through migrants, Italian body language has made its way to the very top of the movies industry. Who could forget the last scene of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, where he’s playing in the garden with his grandson and calls him with the typical Italian beckoning gesture?

The Godfather

But there’s a gesture that has made the most unpredictable travel in world culture. It’s a spell to push bad luck away, used especially in Southern Italy, and is done by raising your index and little fingers like horns.

Every heavy metal fan has seen this gesture on the hands of the most famous stars of the genre. It’s said that it was brought to the metal music world by Ronnie James Dio, a singer who copied his Italian grandmother.

5. Gesticulate Like a Real Italian with ItalianPod101

Body gestures in learning Italian are essential, and body language is a crucial part of the way Italians communicate. But there’s a bright side: It’s so fun to learn it! Here at, we’ll guide you through every aspect of the Italian language, from grammar to culture, from verbs to onomatopoeia. And with our courses and learning apps, you’ll behave, talk, and gesticulate like an Italian in no time!

There’s so much more to say about Italian hand gestures alone, that we at have decided to dedicate more articles and guides to the topic, completely free. Be sure to keep an eye out!

Before you go, let us know which of these Italian gestures is your favorite by dropping a comment below. Also, are there any other Italian body language signals you want us to cover? We look forward to hearing from you! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Italian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Ferragosto Festa Nazionale: Celebrating Ferragosto in Italy

What is the Italian holiday Ferragosto? The name may sound a bit odd, as it refers to the month the holiday takes place in (August), and not the holiday itself. Simply put, Ferragosto is Italy’s version of the Assumption celebration, which commemorates the assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven.

At, we hope to make learning about the Italian Ferragosto holiday both fun and informative, as we peel back layers of Italy’s unique culture and its religious traditions. After all, this is key in truly mastering any language!

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1. What is Ferragosto?

Ferragosto is the Italian word for the mid-August holiday, and this is the festival of the Assumption of Mary. That is, the day when, according to the Catholic religion, we celebrate the passage of Mary, the Madonna, from earth to Heaven.

The Assumption of Mary is a Catholic holiday, but its origins are Roman, as evidenced by the name Ferragosto, which in Latin means “resting of Augustus,” and signifies a feast that was held by the Emperor Augustus. One can say that today, in Italy, both Roman and Catholic traditions are present, but changes have nevertheless occurred since the time of their origin.

2. When is Ferragosto?

Fireworks Going Off

Each year, Italians celebrate Ferragosto on August 15. Because of its particular date, the Ferragosto holiday is also associated with the end of summer, and the coming of autumn and winter. Read below to learn how Italians make the most of their final days of warm summer sun!

3. Ferragosto Traditions in Italy

Woman With Feet Out Car Window

On Ferragosto, Roma and all the rest of Italy celebrate with good food, games, and a procession to commemorate the Virgin Mary.

The festivities that take place in Trappeto—a small Sicilian village—are linked to the Catholic tradition. Every year, on August 15, the statue of Madonna is put on a boat. For a typical procession at sea, the boat with the statue is dragged through the entire coastline of the country and believers follow it.

There are other customs, such as horse racing, which have a pagan origin instead. One of the most famous races is the “Palio of Siena.”

Italians, wherever they are, like to meet their friends to celebrate the summer and go outdoors to eat Ferragosto food together. It’s especially popular to organize picnics with large barbecues of meat and vegetables. Consuming large amounts of watermelon is also a must!

In addition, the resort areas hold special tournaments, such as the Greasy Pole. Here, Italians hang culinary delicacies atop a pole, which serve as the prize for the one who’s able to climb the pole fastest. But, as the name suggests, the pole is greased!

4. A Midnight Swim

Do you know how most Italian guys celebrate the Ferragosto holiday?

They gather in groups of friends on August 14, in the evening, and go to the beach together. At midnight, the ritual is to take a dip together.

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Ferragosto

People swimming at Night

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Ferragosto in Italy!

  • Grigliata — “Barbecue”
  • Picnic — “Picnic”
  • Andare in spiaggia — “Go to the beach”
  • Andare a messa — “Go to mass”
  • Viaggio — “Trip”
  • Piccione arrostito — “Roast pigeon”
  • Cestino da picnic — “Picnic basket”
  • Bagno di mezzanotte — “Midnight swim”
  • Fuoco d’artificio — “Firework
  • Falò — “Bonfire”
  • Ferragosto — “Ferragosto”
  • Festa — “Party”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Ferragosto vocabulary list! Here, you’ll also find relevant images accompanying each word to help maximize your memorization!


We hope you enjoyed learning about Ferragosto with us! Does your country have Assumption Day celebrations, too? If so, what are they like? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about Italian culture and the language, explore and take advantage of our many fun and practical learning tools:

If you prefer a one-on-one learning approach, or just want to give it a try, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. In doing so, you’ll gain access to your very own Italian teacher as well as a personalized learning plan based on your needs and goals!

Whatever your reason for learning Italian, know that your hard work will pay off, and it’ll be well worth it! And ItalianPod101 will be here with you on each step of your language-learning journey.

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The Complete Guide to Italian Internet Slang

A language is like a country which is connected to others by borders, relations, connections, and history—yet is somehow still separate from them. This is true in every aspect, even when talking about the most global phenomenon you can imagine: the internet. Every language on earth has its own internet and text messaging slang, Italian included. Learning the Italian internet slang is, therefore, an important step in becoming a real master of the language. Without it, how will you chat and text with your Italian friends?

Here at ItalianPod101 we’ll show you everything you need to know about Italian text abbreviations and slang on the internet and in SMS.

Table of Contents

  1. Italians on the Net: A Few Data About the Internet in Italy
  2. Italian Internet Slang Dictionary
  3. Italian Text Slang Abbreviations
  4. Bonus: Free Must-have Cheat Sheets About Italian Internet Slang
  5. Why You Should Learn Italian Internet Slang
  6. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Italian

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1. Italians on the Net: A Few Data About the Internet in Italy

Italians are very attracted to innovations and technology, but their average age is also quite high. No wonder, considering all that good wine and food…those heart-warming landscapes. But being quite far from youth makes everyone less inclined to adopt new means of communication. That’s why, compared to other developed countries, Italians use the internet a lot less. According to the data released by the World Bank, 61% of Italians used the internet in 2016, compared to 93% of the Japanese, 95% of the British, and 76% of the Americans.

Nevertheless, the internet is widely used by young people to communicate and share the things they care most about with their friends on social media (there are more than twenty-million Facebook users in Italy). So, if you have Italian friends, they’ll probably ask you to use Facebook or email to stay in touch. And if you’re not familiar with Italian internet slang, it may be hard for you to understand what they’re writing to you.

Just as in many other languages around the world, new technologies have created a new lingo made of abbreviations and neologisms that look completely mysterious to a novice. But there’s no need to worry. Below you have a complete dictionary of Italian text abbreviations that you can use every time you need it!

2. Italian Internet Slang Dictionary

Like everywhere else, the internet slang in Italy is characterized by abbreviations and new words. And as with every change, there are pros and cons and the public opinion is split. Some people say that new technologies are making the young Italians’ language poorer and less complex—that’s to say less capable of describing and understanding reality. Others reply that every language is a “work in progress” and that only dead languages are incapable of changing and adapting to new needs.

This said, Italian internet slang has some significant benefits for a learner:

  • It’s less formal and less meticulous over grammar and orthography compared to the traditional written language;
  • Sentences are usually shorter;
  • You can easily avoid using complex verbs—such as subjunctives or the super hard passato remoto.

It also has a few cons, though. For example, some abbreviations are pretty obscure. But our dictionary is here to help you with them. So, if, when chatting with your Italian friends, you happen to wonder “What does nn mean in Italian?” or other similar questions, you’ll finally have access to the answers.

1- What About All Those “X”s and “K”s?

Italian is certainly not a language that uses the letters “X” or “K” very much. So why is the Italian internet so full of them? Because those letters are used in Italian text messages to shorten a huge variety of words.

The X replaces the syllable per both when it’s a preposition (the meaning of per is “to; for; in order to; because of; through; towards”) and when it’s part of a word.

A few examples:

  • Sono tornata a casa x studiare. -> Sono tornata a casa per studiare.
    Translation: “I went back home to study.”
  • Passo x il centro. -> Passo per il centro.
    Translation: “I’m passing through the city center.”
  • Vengo al cinema, xò più tardi. -> Vengo al cinema, però più tardi.
    Translation: “I’m coming to the cinema, but later.”
  • Sei davvero una xsona interessante. -> Sei davvero una persona interessante.
    Translation: “You really are an interesting person.”

In the same way, the letter “K” replaces the letters “ch,” that are indeed pronounced “k.” For a foreigner, writing “k” instead of “ch” can make things so much easier.

A few examples:

  • Ke noia questo film! -> Che noia questo film!
    Translation: “This film is so boring!”
  • Non capisco ke vuoi dire. -> Non capisco che vuoi dire.
    Translation: “I don’t understand what you want to say.”
  • Sto studiando kimica. -> Sto studiando chimica.
    Translation: “I’m studying chemistry.”

Sometimes “X” and “K” abbreviations are even combined. For example, to form the word xké, that’s to say perché (meaning “because”).


  • Xké Luca e Marta si sono lasciati? -> Perché Luca e Marta si sono lasciati?
    Translation: “Why did Luca and Marta break up?”
  • Sono arrivata tardi xké mi sono addormentata. -> Sono arrivata tardi perché mi sono addormentata.
    Translation: “I was late because I fell asleep.”

3. Italian Text Slang Abbreviations

Slang in Text Bubbles

If you’re asking yourself “What does frs mean in a text message?” or “What’s the meaning of tvb in Italian?” this section is for you.

Apart from those we’ve already listed, the most-used abbreviations are:

  • “Nn” for Non (meaning “not”)
    • Example: Nn ho ancora fatto i compiti.
    • Translation: “I haven’t done my homework yet.”
  • “Sn” for Sono (meaning “I am” or “they are”)
    • Example: I tuoi cugini sn tornati a casa?
    • Translation: “Did your cousins come back home?”
  • “C”, “T”, and “V” for “Ci”, “Ti”, and “Vi” (meaning the personal pronouns “us” and “you” in singular and plural form)
    • Example: C vediamo stasera!
    • Translation: “See you tonight!”
    • Example: T voglio dire una cosa.
    • Translation: “I want to tell you something.”
    • Example: Penso che v raggiungerò dopo.
    • Translation: “I think I’ll join you later.”
  • “Frs” for Forse (meaning “maybe”)
    • Example: Frs non riuscirò a venire alla partita domani.
    • Translation: “Maybe I won’t be able to come to the game tomorrow.”
  • “Tvb” for Ti voglio bene (meaning “I love you,” but usually told to relatives and friends). Sometimes you can also find “Tvtb” for Ti voglio tanto bene (meaning “I love you very much”) or “Tvumdb” for Ti voglio un mondo di bene (“I love you very very much”). An Italian comic music band has also dedicated a very funny song to this last expression.
    • Example: Tvb, lo sai?
    • Translation: “I love you, you know?”

1- Italian Internet Slang Expressions

And here you have a guide to the most popular Italian internet slang expressions:

  • Chissene: An abbreviation for Chi se ne frega, an expression meaning “Who cares?” or “Whatever.”
    • Example: Paolo non mi ha richiamato, ma chissene.
    • Translation: “Paolo didn’t call me back, but who cares?”
  • SVEGLIAAA!!11!!: Meaning “Wake up,” it’s an expression making fun of the internet users that have poor culture and believe in the most absurd conspiracy theories. It’s used with a sarcastic intent.
    • Example: La terra è piatta! SVEGLIAAAAA!!11!!
    • Translation: “The earth is flat! WAKE UP!”
  • Pancina: This means “little belly,” typically referring to a pregnant woman who uses Facebook to discuss every detail of her pregnancy, asking stupid questions and writing mushy comments.
    • Example: Da quando è incinta, Gianna è diventata una vera pancina.
    • Translation: “Since she’s pregnant, Gianna has become a real pancina.”
  • Smanettone: This is someone who’s good with computers.

2- Italian Slang Expressions Used Both Online and Offline

There are many Italian slang expressions that are used both online and offline. Some of them are:

  • Dai!: This means “Come on!” and it’s used in a variety of contexts. It can also express wonder or incredulity.
    • Example: Dai! Vieni con noi!
    • Translation: “Come on! Come with us!”
    • Example: Maria e Antonio sono tornati insieme? Ma dai! Non ci credo!
    • Translation: “Marian and Antonio are back together? Come on! I don’t believe it!”
    • Meno male: This is an expression for relief.
    • Example: Giuseppe ieri non stava bene, ma oggi è in forma. Meno male!
    • Translation: “Giuseppe wasn’t feeling well yesterday, but today he’s all right. What a relief!”
    • Example: Meno male che mi hai aiutata, non ci sarei riuscita da sola.
    • Translation: “Thank God you helped me, I couldn’t make it by myself.”
  • Grande!: This is an informal expression meaning “Great!” and is used for admiration and congratulation.
    • Example: Mi hanno detto che hai preso 30 all’esame. Grande!
    • Translation: “They told me that you got an A on the test. That’s great!”

5- English Internet Slang Also Used by Italians

Text Screen

Many English internet slang expressions have also been adopted in Italian. Some of these are:

  • LOL
  • FYI
  • Troll
  • Lurker
  • Link
  • Hacker

Some of these expressions have originated new words that are typical of the Italian internet slang:

  • Linkare: “To link”
    • Example: Ricordati di linkare questo articolo.
    • Translation: “Remember to link this article.”
  • Trollare: “To troll”
    • Example: In questo forum è vietato trollare.
    • Translation: “In this forum trolling is forbidden.”
  • Lollare: “To laugh out loud”
    • Example: Sto guardando un film comico e lollo.
    • Translation: “I’m watching a comedy and laughing out loud.”
  • Hackerare: “To hack”
    • Example: Mi hanno hackerato il computer.
    • Translation: “Someone has hacked my computer.”

4. Bonus: Free Must-have Cheat Sheets About Italian Internet Slang

Are you ready to use Italian internet slang like a real smanettone? Use our free cheat sheets to have all the most up-to-date slang expressions in your pocket! Here on ItalianPod101, we’ll teach you all you need to know about the Italian culture and language, from every point of view. Learn grammar and slang all together, to be at ease in every conversation!

5. Why You Should Learn Italian Internet Slang

If you have Italian friends on Facebook and other social media—especially if they’re young—you’re probably struggling to understand what they say to you and their friends. That’s because internet slang is very different from the formal written language you learn in traditional courses.

Being a real learner means being interested in every aspect of the language, even those that are less literary (but we LOVE Italian literature!). Internet slang is part of the life of millions of young Italians and has become a part of the language, even though some purists still turn their noses up at it.

6. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Italian

Here at ItalianPod101, we have a 360° approach to the study of Italian. We believe that our students must be aware of every aspect of the Italian language. We want to help you in every circumstance in your Italian life, from having a work conversation to chatting with friends.

Join our site by starting a free trial in four different levels—Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced—and become a part of our lively community of learners!

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Untranslatable Italian Words

Do you know what the Italian expression Boh! means? Boh! Exactly! That’s the correct answer. ;) (Don’t worry, we’ll tell you all about Boh! in a minute.)

Every language has words that don’t translate easily to other languages. We’ve all gotten a little crazy trying to translate them or just understand what they mean: They are the dreaded untranslatable words! There are many untranslatable Italian words, and we’ve selected the ten most-used by Italians to share with you. Because, let’s face it, you’re always bound to come across untranslatable words in learning Italian.

But why do we care? Because these untranslatable expressions are exactly what make languages and cultures different and interesting. Very often, these untranslatable words come from deeply rooted cultural traits or from a specific experience in the country’s history. Often, they are impossible to avoid, so learning their meaning and how to use these untranslatable Italian words will help you become more fluent while learning about Italian culture and understanding the Italian mindset.

Of course, since we’re talking about the Italian language and culture, you can expect that many of them are related to family, food, or simply the art of enjoying life.

Let’s start learning the ten most-used Italian untranslatable words! (By the way, Boh! means “I don’t know,” but not just that. We’ll see more details below.) Ready? Let’s dive into the most common untranslatable words in Italian language learning!

Table of Contents

  1. Ti voglio bene
  2. Mamma mia!
  3. Boh!
  4. Spaghettata
  5. Pantofolaio
  6. Abbiocco
  7. Apericena
  8. Gattara
  9. Dolce far niente
  10. Menefreghista
  11. Conclusion

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1. Ti voglio bene (tvb)

Ti voglio bene means “I love you,” but it’s a little more complicated than that… Literally, it translates to “I want you well,” and what it really means is a very special kind of love: one that’s usually everlasting, encompassing, and definitely not just a romantic kind of love.

Sure, lovers tell each other ti voglio bene too, but it’s more often an expression that parents, siblings, grandparents, nephews, and longtime couples share. So it’s a greater, deeper kind of love and it’s basically untranslatable in other languages.

Any situation is good to say ti voglio bene, but it’s a treasured word; you won’t hear it in public very often. It’s kept for private, intimate moments. However, you might encounter its acronym TVB used by teenagers in their typical forms of communication: in graffitis around the cities or sent via mobile phones.

Pay attention to its use, because Volersi bene is a reciprocal verb (as “loving one another”) so you always need to put the corresponding personal pronoun. Do you need to learn or revise this? No problem. Here is an easy and fun lesson for you.

You can use it simply like: Mamma, ti voglio bene! Or use one of these variations to give it more emphasis:

  • Ti voglio molto bene.
    “I love you very much.
  • Ti voglio un mondo di bene.
    “I love you the world.
  • Ti voglio un sacco di bene.
    “I love you a lot.

Note also another difference. While amare, same as “to love,” can have different objects of love (you can love a person, an object, an experience, etc.), ti voglio bene only refers to love between people. This really is one of the most beautiful untranslatable words in Italian.

Two People Hugging

2. Mamma mia!

Mamma mia! is probably one of the most common and widely used Italian expressions. The literal translation is, of course, “My mother!” but it’s used with the meaning of “Oh my God!” or “My Goodness!” But it really is untranslatable because it’s not only used to express surprise. It’s appropriate in many other situations and for other emotions: fear, awe, disgust…really any occasion is good to yell a mamma mia!

This expression is so typically Italian that it’s often used in other languages to give a quick representation of any Italian.

You pronounce it in isolation. Just saying Mamma mia! conveys all the meaning, relative to the context at hand.

  • A: Guarda la mia nuova Ferrari.
    B: Mamma mia!

    A: “Look at my new Ferrari.”
    B: “Oh God, that’s beautiful,” or “Oh God, that must have cost a fortune.”

  • A: Ti piace il mio nuovo taglio di capelli?
    B: Mamma mia!

    A: “Do you like my new haircut?”
    B: “Oh God, that’s awful.”

The fact that in English it translates to “Oh God!” goes to show the importance of the mamma for an Italian. The only meaning that Mamma mia! doesn’t have is the one of “my mother,” because in that case you would not invert the noun and the possessive. You would say instead la mia mamma (+caring) or mia madre (+formal).

3. Boh!

Boh! is the most untranslatable Italian word of all. It’s not even a word. It’s just a sound, maybe an onomatopoeia of the brain going into a loop, missing a click!

Boh! means “Who knows?” or “I don’t know,” but it also conveys the hidden messages of “I don’t really care that I don’t know,” and “It’s not that important to me.” All of this with just these three untranslatable letters!

For example, you’re next to me at the train station and you ask me if the train is late. I have no idea, so I reply Boh! and with that I am telling you that:

  1. I don’t know.
  2. Maybe nobody knows.
  3. I’m not really interested in knowing.
  4. It doesn’t matter anyway.

For example:

  • A: Scusa, sai se Il treno è in ritardo?
    A: “Do you know if the train is late?”
  • B: Boh! (See points 1, 2, 3, 4 above.)

Boh! is a sentence of its own. It doesn’t need any more explanation or words to convey its strong meaning of total uncertainty. And after just a few days in Italy, you’ll surely master the specific set of gestures that always go with a Boh!: a raise of the shoulders, the lift of your eyebrow, and the protruding of your lips.

Man Shrugging
Typical Boh! face.

4. Spaghettata

If you’re with a group of Italian friends in Italy or anywhere else in the world, you’re bound to be invited to a spaghettata at some point. But what is it exactly? Is it a dish? Is it a recipe? Is it a party? Is it an event? It’s actually all of this combined!

Literally, a spaghettata is simply a quick dish of spaghetti. But it’s also one of those Italian words that are untranslatable because it has a broader meaning, which includes a late-night get-together with friends to prepare a quick something to eat to end the night out.


A: Ci facciamo una spaghettata?
A: “What about a spaghettata?

Note the reciprocal form of the verb fare >> farsi una spaghettata.

Usually, it’s spaghetti aglio e olio (“Spaghetti with garlic sauce”). This is just because it’s what everybody always has in their kitchen, but it could be any kind of pasta and any kind of sauce. Because the only really necessary ingredient for a perfect spaghettata is the company of friends!

5. Pantofolaio

Have you ever had the feeling of just wanting to stay home and relax, wearing comfortable clothes and slippers on your feet, and just do…nothing? Then, on those occasions, you were a pantofolaio.

This Italian untranslatable word literally means “someone wearing slippers” and is the equivalent of a “couch potato,” although it’s not limited to sitting on the couch with the remote. The pantofolaio is also someone who prefers the quiet of the home, doesn’t like the fast life of parties and going out, and would rather have friends over than go out.

Sunday is the perfect day for the pantofolaio. You get up late, have a long breakfast and lunch, and can stay comfortably at home reading, watching TV, surfing the internet, or talking to friends on the phone. You could even watch some foreign shows to help yourself learn!

So if one day you tell your Italian friend that you would rather do a spaghettata at home (see point 4. above) than going out to a Pizzeria with the gang, don’t be surprised if you’re called a pantofolaio:

    A: Non vuoi uscire? Che pantofolaio!
    A: “You don’t want to go out? You’re such a couch potato!”

6. Abbiocco

Abbiocco is one of those untranslatable Italian words that simply doesn’t exist in other languages because it comes from the specific drowsiness that takes hold of you after an Italian lunch. The word comes from the position of a hen hatching its eggs.

You can easily picture the scene: You’re sitting down, comfortable and warm, your eyes slowly begin to shut, and your head starts bobbing forward or sideways…

It could be translated as “food-coma” or just “drowsiness” but the translation doesn’t do it justice at all, as abbiocco is much more gentle. It’s an inviting drowsiness that you just surrender to.

The danger of the abbiocco is definitely always around the corner after the lunch break at work. So, beware of lasagna, polpettone, tiramisù… They are the perfect equation resulting in a colossal abbiocco. And then the only thing to do is to give in to it for at least a half an hour.

  • Che abbiocco!
    “What a drowsiness!”
  • Dopo il pranzo mi è venuto l’abbiocco…
    “After lunch I got so drowsy…”
  • Il vino a pranzo mi fa venire l’abbiocco.
    “Wine at lunch makes me drowsy.”

Related to the abbiocco, is the habit of taking a short nap, a pennichella or a pisolino, which is a typical Mediterranean (and healthy) habit, especially common during the summer months.

7. Apericena

This word is the combination of Aperitivo, a late afternoon drink and light snacks, and cena, the Italian word for “dinner.” The result is the untranslatable Apericena which you can consider to be a very sumptuous aperitif with a variety of snacks and little dishes, or a light dinner that you eat standing up.

The Apericena fashion (as many other trends) originated in Milan in the 90s. Young people started to meet regularly after work for a quick drink and a little bite to eat. Very soon it became so popular that bars started offering real buffets and lots of different foods to attract clients. The food was so delicious and abundant that the Aperitif ended up substituting dinner. Or rather it became a dinner—or an apericena, in fact.

Now it’s very popular in all the big Italian cities. So, next time you’re in Italy, if around six or seven o’clock in the afternoon on a Thursday or Friday you’re invited to an apericena, you can gladly accept because you already know the meaning of this untranslatable Italian word!

Friends, a drink, and delicious food. That’s an apericena!

  • Vieni stasera all’apericena?
    “Do you come to the apericena?”
  • Ci vediamo all’apericena.
    “Let’s meet at the apericena.”
  • Facciamo un’apericena prima del cinema.
    “We do an apericena before going to the movies.”

8. Gattara

Everybody loves cats. Just notice how many cute cat videos go around on the internet. But the gattare love them the most! A gattara is literally a “cat lady” and she is a kind of superhero, although she definitely doesn’t wear a black vinyl suit!

Gattara is an untranslatable word in Italian that defines the (old) lady that takes care of cats.

We all know at least one: It’s that woman who loves cats so much that she takes care of lots of them at home, or the one that we see in every big city bringing food to all the stray cats in the neighborhood.

The term originated in Rome, a city with a lifelong love for cats, from the Imperial times to today. One of the places where you’ll find many gatti (“cats”) and gattare is the archaeological area in Largo Argentina, the ideal place for cats who want to find refuge from the chaos of the city, and a mythical place full of history where the stabbing of Caesar occurred.

Woman Kissing Cat

  • Ha 12 gatti. È una gattara!
    “She has 12 cats! She’s a gattara!
  • La gattara porta da mangiare ai gatti del quartiere.
    “The gattara brings food to all the cats of the neighborhood.”

9. Dolce far niente

Dolce far niente… (“Sweet doing nothing…”) The literal translation already says it all. It’s a feeling that combines leisure, idleness, and laziness all at once.

To understand the meaning of this untranslatable expression, just imagine yourself on a sweet spring afternoon; you’re sitting outside, and you just enjoy being there, doing nothing. That can be so sweet!

The expression Dolce far niente is commonly used alone, often in combination with a sigh or a stretching of the limbs. Ah… dolce far niente!

The concept was first encountered in a letter written in a Roman villa around the year 100 A.C. A girl wrote to a friend (in Latin) remembering… illud iucundum nihil agere, translated in Italian as quel dolce far niente, “that sweet doing nothing.” And for the next two-thousand years, Italians have continued mastering that sweet art!

10. Menefreghista

The last word on our list of the ten most untranslatable Italian words and expressions in Italian is menefreghista.

Literally, it means “someone that doesn’t care.” The original expression derives from a sentence issued by a famous poet around the WWI years. His Me ne frego (“I don’t care”) was referred to soldierly courage, and to not care about dying in battle.

The expression continued to be popularly used among Italians, but the meaning of menefreghista (“someone that doesn’t care”) shifted to describe somebody who couldn’t care less, usually about the community, social or political themes, or anything that others consider important.

  • Non vota mai, è un menefreghista!
    “He never votes, he’s a menefreghista!
  • Non viene alle riunioni, che menefreghista!
    “She doesn’t come to meetings, what a menefreghista!

11. Conclusion

Are you ready to dive into the deepest mysteries of the Italian language now? Did you grasp the basics of these Italian untranslatable words?

We truly hope this list of 10 untranslatable Italian words proved helpful to you. Now go out and practice these untranslatable words in Italian. You’ll be a pro in no time!

In the meantime, can help you with those and much more to fully understand all the nuances of the beautiful Italian language.

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)
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How to Introduce Yourself in Italian

Do you want to make a good first impression on your new Italian friends or colleagues? Learning how to introduce yourself in Italian is definitely the very first skill that you’ll need in order to master that important first impression and to make new Italian friends.

So, let’s start with the very basic phrases you’ll need in order to introduce yourself in the Italian language.

  • Ciao! (“Hello!”)
  • Mi chiamo… (Literally “I’m called…”)
  • Piacere di conoscerti! (“Nice to meet you”)

Introducing yourself in Italian is more than learning how to say correctly in Italian “Hello, my name is…” (Ciao, mi chiamo…). Of course, talking about your name in Italian is the very first stone upon which you build the entire self-introduction conversation.

But in order to establish a good rapport, you should master the typical Italian introduction phrases, and understand how to adapt the tone and content of the introduction according to the person you’re meeting, whether it’s a social or a professional encounter, a formal or informal setting.

Any time you meet an Italian for the first time at a party, a business meeting, a job interview, or a date, you’ll need to know how to say who you are and where you come from, as well as give information about yourself that’s relevant to the context you’re in.

Now, there are different ways to introduce yourself in Italian based on context and who you’re speaking to.

Table of Contents

  1. Formal vs. Informal Introduction
  2. Common Phrases to Introduce Yourself in Italian
  3. What Gestures Go with an Introduction?
  4. Italian Etiquette to Introduce Yourself
  5. Ask Questions and Describe Yourself in Italian
  6. Making Friends: How to Introduce Someone in Italian
  7. How to Talk About Yourself in Italian
  8. How to Introduce Yourself During a Business Meeting
  9. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Italian


1. Formal vs. Informal Introduction:

The very first step is to know whether to use the formal address (dare del Lei) or the informal address (dare del tu). So, what’s the basic rule of thumb to know when to use one or the other? Basically, you use the formal phrase with people that you don’t know, people who are older than you, people in a hierarchical higher position than you (a teacher, a policeman, a judge), etc.

How does it work?

Action Informal Formal
Greeting Ciao! Buongiorno/Buonasera!
Gesture Kiss Handshake
Pronoun Tu Lei (3rd person feminine)
Verb Piacere di conoscerti Piacere di conoscerla

While in the past these rules were rather strict, and no one dared to use the informal tu unless it was with close friends and family, nowadays it’s more and more common to use the informal phrase among young people and those who aren’t so young. In certain professional environments, for example in new economy firms, tech industries, fashion, etc., it’s also becoming quite common to use the informal tu right away.

When in Doubt…

When in doubt, start with the formal. Also, a good practice is to ask beforehand if it’s okay to use the informal address:

  • Posso darti del tu? “Can I use informal address?”
  • Possiamo darci del tu? “Can we use informal address?”

And don’t worry, Italians are aware that the formal way of addressing people is a bit complicated for foreigners, so they always accept the use of tu with no grudges… ;)

2. Common Phrases to Introduce Yourself in Italian

To introduce yourself in Italian, you’ll need to know the basic phrases, always keeping in mind the difference between formal and informal as well as the difference between social and professional contexts. So…

1- Start with a Greeting:

Normally, you start introducing yourself by greeting the other person with an informal “hello” (ciao) or with “nice day/nice night” (buongiorno/buonasera). Wait… when do you say each of these Italian greeting phrases? There’s no written rule, but you should use buongiorno until the middle of the afternoon, and buonasera from when it starts to get dark. And note that buongiorno/buonasera can actually be used both in formal and informal introductions.

Ciao! The Most Famous Italian Greeting

2- Say Your Name:

Talking about your name in Italian is a skill you really can’t get around learning—it’s vital, as in any language. There are a few ways to tell who you are and what your name is in Italian. Let’s see them together:

  • Mi chiamo Maria Rizzo (literally, “I am called…”)
  • Sono Maria Rizzo (“I am…”)
  • Maria Rizzo (Simply state your name)

Depending on the context, Italians introduce themselves by saying simply their first name or saying their first name and last name. For example, if you’re at a party, or among a group of young people, it’s okay to just say your first name. However, in more formal settings such as during a business meeting, Italians expect you to say your last name.

These three are all perfectly acceptable ways to say your name in Italian. In some situations, you might want to specify who you are in that context. For example:

  • At a wedding, you can add: Sono Maria Rizzo, un’amica della sposa (“I am a friend of the spouse”).
  • In formal professional environments, you just say your last name (cognome) and your function or area: Rizzo, Responsabile Creativo (“Rizzo, I’m in charge of creation”).

And let’s not forget to ask everybody else’s name too:

  • E tu come ti chiami? (“What is your name?”)
  • E Lei come si chiama? (“What is your name?”) [Formal]

3- Express Pleasure to Meet Them:

After you’ve told everyone what your name is in Italian and have collected their name too, it’s expected that you express how happy you are to meet them. To do so, you want to use one of the following common expressions:

  • Piacere/Molto piacere! (“My pleasure!”)
  • Piacere di conoscerti (“Pleasure to meet you”)
  • Piacere di conoscerla (“Pleasure to meet you”) [Formal]
  • Molto lieto (“Very glad”)
  • Lieto di conoscerla (“Glad to meet you”)

They all basically mean the same thing, except the last two phrases which sound just a bit old-school.

3. What Gestures Go with an Introduction?

Shaking Hands

Introducing yourself in Italian is about more than words and grammar. Gestures are very important for Italians, so when you’re introducing yourself in Italian to a friend or a colleague, it’s common to show through your gestures that you’re glad to meet them and that you want to show closeness. So, you can start by showing a nice smile (un bel sorriso). Make eye contact and give a firm handshake (una stretta di mano) to show that you’re genuinely interested in meeting with them.

Sometimes when introducing themselves, Italians might offer a kiss on the cheek (un bacio sulla guancia), one or two, but only in very informal settings. And sometimes a simple nod of the head will show that you acknowledge the other person and that you’re happy to make their acquaintance.

4. Italian Etiquette to Introduce yourself

According to the Galateo (the Rules of Polite Behavior published in Florence in 1558), there’s a proper etiquette to introduce yourself which include, among others, taking your hat off and doing a baciamano (a very light kiss on the hand) if you’re a man, remaining seated if you’re a woman, taking off your gloves to shake hands, and, generally, wait for someone else to introduce you.

Needless to say, many things have changed from the Renaissance and nowadays it’s very uncommon to receive a baciamano, and men don’t wear hats very often. But some basic rules still apply and they can help you when you want to introduce yourself to an Italian.

Old Style Baciamano

5. Ask Questions and Describe Yourself in Italian

Okay, now you have the basics covered: You already have said “Hello, my name is…” (Ciao, mi chiamo…), and you’ve shaken hands, smiled, nodded, and expressed happiness about meeting your new Italian friend or colleague. Now it’s time to describe yourself in Italian. You might want to start by saying where you’re from and where you live.

1- Di dove sei? (“Where are you from?”)

When meeting with a foreigner, usually one of the first questions you’ll ask is where they’re from. So, they might ask you:

  • Di dove sei? (“Where are you from?”)
  • Di che città/paese sei? (“What city/country are you from?”).

Good answers include:

  • Sono di... (“I am from…”)
  • Vengo da Londra/dall’Inghilterra (“I come from London/England”)
  • Sono Inglese (“I am English”)

At this point, to know more about the other person, you want to ask what Italian city your new friend is from. Remember that, although Italy is a fairly small country, because of its cultural richness, every city has distinctive peculiarities and Italians are very fond of their local heritage! So, go ahead and ask:

  • E tu, di che città sei? [Informal] or E lei, di che città è? [Formal] (“And you, what city are you from?”)
  • Dove vivi? [Informal] or Dove vive? [Formal] (“Where do you live?”)

Ciao, sono italiana e vivo a Roma

2- Da quanto tempo? (“How long…?”)

If you’ve been living in a city, studying Italian, or traveling through Europe, these are all interesting pieces of information to share when you’re introducing yourself in Italian. And you might want to specify for how long you’ve been doing it. Here are a couple of examples of introducing yourself in Italian by asking/answering this question:

  • Da quanto tempo vivi a Roma? (“How long have you been living in Rome?”)
  • Vivo a Roma da 4 settimane. (“I have been living in Rome for four weeks.”)


  • Da quanto tempo studi l’italiano? (“How long have you been studying Italian?”)
  • Studio l’Italiano con ItalianPod101 da 6 mesi! (“I have been studying with ItalianPod101 for six months!”)

3- Quanti anni hai? (“How Old are You?”) — Use with Caution

Now, this is a question you don’t want to ask older people or to Italian women, and it’s generally not asked during introductions. The only acceptable scenario in which to ask about someone’s age is among teenagers when a few years makes a lot of difference in social status! ;)

And if you’re in a professional setting, asking an Italian their age is even considered discriminatory in some cases. So it’s a big no-no. But you can always volunteer your age, and your friends will probably do the same: Ho 38 anni. E tu? (“I am thirty-eight. And you?”).

A smooth way to introduce the age factor in a conversation is to compare ages with phrases like these:

  • Abbiamo più o meno la stessa età. (“We are more or less the same age.”)
  • Sei più giovane di me, vero? (“You’re younger than me, right?”)
  • Io sono sicuramente più grande di te. (“I am definitely older than you.”)

4- Di cosa ti occupi? (“What do you do?”)

Until the past century, it wasn’t considered polite to talk about jobs and professions when meeting socially. Now, this has definitely changed, and it’s more and more common nowadays during Italian introductions to ask about each other’s profession. Especially if it’s a social encounter where people are doing networking.When talking about your job in Italian, these are a few useful phrases to know:

  • Di cosa ti occupi? (“What is your area?”)
  • Che lavoro fai? (“What is your job?”)
  • Che cosa fai? (“What do you do?”)

And to answer these questions with your profession, you just need to say Sono… (“I am…”) and your profession. Very simple:

  • Sono insegnante. (“I am a teacher.”)
  • Sono operaio. (“I am a factory worker.”)
  • Sono dottore. (“I am a doctor.”)

But whatever you do, don’t ever ask about money. It’s considered vulgar and rude. ;)

6. Making Friends: How to Introduce Someone in Italian

Imagine a scenario where you’re with your friends and you meet an Italian acquaintance. At this point, you already know the basics of introducing yourself in Italian and you’re ready to try and introduce your friends. Here are some simple phrases to do it:

  • Ti presento Gabriele. (“I introduce you to Gabriele.”)
  • Posso presentarti Anna? (“May I introduce you to Anna?”)
  • Lui/Lei è… (“He/She is…”)
  • Conosci Marco? (“Do you know Marco?”)

Introducing your Friends in Italian

7. How to Talk about Yourself in Italian

After the basic introduction is when you really start getting to know each other and becoming friends. So now it’s time to talk more about you, your family, your pets, your hobbies, and much more.

If you’re a student, you want to specify what your areas of study are, for example: Sono studente, studio letteratura (“I am a student, I study literature”).

And don’t be shy, you also want to add something about your personality, such as:

  • Sono timido (“I am shy”)
  • Sono allegra (“I am happy”)
  • Sono sportivo (“I like sports”)
  • Sono ottimista (“I am an optimist”)

Here are some phrases for talking about your family in Italian:

  • Ho due fratelli (“I have two brothers”)
  • Non ho sorelle (“I have no sisters”)
  • Sono figlia unica (“I am an only child”)

Then you can start talking about your hobbies in Italian and what you like to do in your spare time:

  • Mi piace giocare a calcio (“I like to play soccer”)
  • Mi piace leggere (“I like to read”)
  • Mi piace cucinare (“I like to cook”)

Your new friends are probably also interested in knowing if you have any pets. Here are some phrases for talking about your pets in Italian:

  • Hai animali domestici? (“Do you have any pets?”)
  • Ho un gatto (“I have a cat”)
  • Ho un cane che si chiama Ugo (“I have a dog called Ugo”)
  • Ho un acquario (“I have a fish tank”)

And finally, you can ask about spoken languages:

  • Che lingue parli? (“What languages do you speak?”)
  • Parlo Inglese, Francese, Italiano e Korean (“I speak English, French, Italian, and Korean”)

8. How to Introduce Yourself During a Business Meeting

Most of the previous information applies rather to a social gathering and they’re not very appropriate in the case of an introduction in a professional setting or in a job interview. Throughout the article, you’ve already learned various tips about introducing yourself in a professional setting, but it’s important to go deeper into them here:

  • Use the formal way of addressing (Lei) unless someone proposes dare del tu.
  • A smile, a nod, and a handshake. No kisses.
  • Use first name and last name to introduce yourself. Or just the last name.
  • Say where you’re from, your nationality, what languages you speak, what you’ve studied and where, and what your area of expertise is.

9. How ItalianPod101 can Help You Learn More Italian

We hope that you’ve learned by now how to introduce yourself in Italian and start a simple conversation with your new Italian friends and colleagues. You should also take a look at this ItalianPod101 lesson: here you’ll be able to listen to the audio and practice your pronunciation of the top ten Italian phrases that you’ll definitely need for introducing yourself in Italian. So, now you’re ready to make new Italian friends and to talk about yourself in Italian.

Thank you, and keep having fun learning Italian! Hopefully this lesson on introducing yourself in Italian proved very helpful to you. :)


The 10 Best Italian Movies to Learn Italian (with Quotes)

Watching Italian movies is a great way to improve your learning while at the same time having fun and living your passion for cinema. Similar to TV series, Italian films allow you to dive deep into the language and culture of this wonderful country, without having to face grammar exercises or difficult orthography rules. You can literally just chill and relax on your couch, while learning Italian!

That’s why we at ItalianPod101 have created this up-to-date and comprehensive list of the eight best Italian movies to learn Italian. Together with every movie’s plot and info, you’ll find some of its most unforgettable quotes. You certainly won’t be lacking in cultural education or true engagement when you choose to learn Italian through films! Here are some tips to improve your pronunciation while watching movies in Italian.

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

  1. How to Learn Italian with Italian Movies
  2. How You Can Watch Italian Movies Wherever You Are
  3. Our List of the 10 Best Italian Movies to Learn Italian
  4. Some Examples of Expressions Originated by Italian Movies
  5. Bonus: Free Must-have Articles and Guides about Italian Movies
  6. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Italian

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1. How to Learn Italian with Italian Movies

Movie genres

You’re tired of books, courses, and dictionaries, and you want to try something more entertaining to learn Italian. Or maybe you’re just not the kind of student that spends hours and hours doing exercises and translations. Or you’re exactly that kind of student, but you’re also a cinephile that watches film after film and spends every weekend glued to his/her favorite seat in the best cinema in town. Whatever the case is, you’ll love our list of the best Italian films to learn Italian.

While watching a great movie, you can internalize rules, verbs, and lexicon with less effort than you can with a classical learning strategy. Following a story gives strong motivation to understand dialogues, and you study, strive, and learn without even noticing. Moreover, you’ll know more about the history of Italian cinema and Italian culture in general.

Italy is a country made up of twenty very different regions with thousands of cities, towns, and villages each with their own identity, traditions, and dialect. Many films portray a specific territory, and students have the chance to see and come to understand Italy from many different points of view. This is helpful in breaking out of the many entrenched stereotypes that surround this complex country.

2. How You Can Watch Italian Movies Wherever You Are

You can use different means to watch our recommended Italian movies:

  • DVD: Buying or renting a DVD is an easy way to watch the most famous Italian movies of the past and present. You can switch the language and find the original version with subtitles. If your local library has a DVD section, you can probably find something there too.
  • Netflix: You can find a very nice selection of Italian movies on Netflix, including some of the most interesting recent titles.
  • The website of the Italian public TV service offers thousands of hours of super-interesting videos. There’s also a movie section, which includes some of the best Italian films. If you’re accessing the site from abroad, you’ll probably need to use a VPN proxy service.
  • Satellite TV: There are many Italian TV channels that broadcast films 24/7. While not all of the movies are Italian—American cinema is also quite popular—many of them are. Rai Movie, Iris, Sky Cinema channels, and Premium Cinema channels are some of the channels where films are broadcasted night and day.

Here are the most common Italian vocabulary that you may find in the movies.

Top verbs

3. Our List of the 10 Best Italian Movies to Learn Italian

Here is our list of the ten best Italian movies for students seeking to learn Italian through films.

1- Italian Classic Movies

1. La Dolce Vita

Probably the most famous Italian film of all times, La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini is a melancholic yet vibrant portrayal of Rome’s cultural milieu during the Italian economic boom. The main character, Marcello, is a restless reporter living three love affairs: the heiress Maddalena, the American movie star Sylvia, and Emma, his official girlfriend, who attempts suicide at the beginning of the film. When Anita Ekberg—alias Sylvia—dives into the Trevi fountain is one of the most unforgettable scenes of all times.

Marcello [to Sylvia]: Tu sei tutto, Sylvia! Ma lo sai che sei tutto, eh? You are everything… everything! Tu sei la prima donna del primo giorno della Creazione. Sei la madre, la sorella, l’amante, l’amica, l’angelo, il diavolo, la terra, la casa… Ah, ecco cosa sei: la casa!

Marcello [to Sylvia]: You are everything… everything! You are the first woman on the first day of creation. You are mother, sister, lover, friend, angel, devil, earth, home. Ah, here’s what you are: the home!

Steiner:Non credere che la salvezza sia chiudersi in casa. Non fare come me, Marcello! Io sono troppo serio per essere un dilettante, ma non abbastanza per diventare un professionista. Ecco, è meglio la vita più miserabile, credimi, che l’esistenza protetta da una società organizzata in cui tutto sia previsto, tutto perfetto.

Steiner: Don’t be like me. Salvation doesn’t lie within four walls. I’m too serious to be a dilettante and too much a dabbler to be a professional. Even the most miserable life is better than a sheltered existence in an organized society where everything is calculated and perfected.


  • Tutto (“Everything”)
  • Donna (“Woman”)
  • Sorella (“Sister”)
  • Amante (“Lover”)
  • Terra (“Earth”)
  • Chiudersi in casa (“Lie within four walls”)
  • Serio (“Serious”)
  • Miserabile (“Miserable”)
  • Protetto (“Sheltered”)
  • Società (“Society”)

2. Rome, Open City (Roma Città Aperta)

Neorealism was an Italian film movement willing to portray the conditions of the working class and the poor right after the Second World War. It had an enormous influence on all the world and it often put both great and non-professional actors together on the scene. Roma Città Aperta by Roberto Rossellini was the first film of this new era. Shot right after the end of the war in the streets of Rome, with ruins and destroyed buildings still there, it takes place just a few months earlier, during the Nazi occupation. The SS chase the Resistance leader, who tries to escape with the help of a priest and a pregnant woman, through the most horrible dangers. When looking for an impactful Italian classic movie, be sure to give this one a try as you pursue the language and culture.

Don Pietro: Non è difficile morire bene. Difficile è vivere bene.

Don Pietro: It’s not hard to die well. The hard thing is to live well.


  • Difficile (“Hard”)
  • Morire (“Die”)
  • Vivere (“Live”)

2- Italian Mafia Movies

1. One Hundred Steps (I Cento Passi)

Non-Italians sometimes have a romanticized idea of the mafia due to beautiful films such as The Godfather. Italian directors and their audience, though, have more realistic opinions. I Cento Passi by Marco Tullio Giordana tells the real story of Peppino Impastato, a Sicilian communist militant who founded a free radio in the ‘70s. He hated the mafia, for it had killed his uncle—an important local boss—when he was a boy, and decided to fight it for the rest of his life. A life that was, indeed, short. He was killed at only 30 years old. This Italian mafia movie is a must-watch for those interested in both the beauty and darkness of Italy’s culture.

Peppino: La mafia è una montagna di merda!

Peppino: Mafia is a mountain of shit!


  • Montagna (“Mountain”)
  • Merda (“Shit”)

2. Suburra

Many Italian gangster movies and TV series of the last few years have turned to a very dark and violent aesthetic, inspired by American cinema. Suburra, by Stefano Sollima, is one of them. The plot takes place in a rainy, disturbing Rome, where politics and organized crime intertwine and there’s no sign of redemption. The actors do play with a strong Roman accent, so this film is not suited for beginners.

Malgradi: Senti, sai che c’è? C’è che, ora come ora, in questo paese uno come me, uno che sta dove sto io, uno che è arrivato dove sono arrivato io, se ne fotte della magistratura! Io sono un parlamentare della Repubblica italiana!

Malgradi: You know what? Than right now, in this country someone like me, someone that is where I am, one that has arrived where I’ve arrived, doesn’t give a shit of the magistrature! I’m a Member of Parliament of the Italian Republic!


  • Ora come ora (“Right now”)
  • Paese (“Country”)
  • Magistratura (“Magistrature”)
  • Parlamentare (“Member of Parliament”)

3- Italian Horror Movies

1. The House with Laughing Windows (La Casa Dalle Finestre Che Ridono)

In a little village in the plain countryside surrounding Ferrara, a painter commits suicide right after finishing a frightening fresco. When a local painter is appointed to restore it, many people around him die. What’s the mystery behind the painting, hiding in the sleepy Padan landscape? A cult Italian horror movie for all horror lovers in Italy and abroad.

Solo un grande artista può dare un senso così… così vero alla morte.

Only a great artist can give a sense that’s so…so true to death.


  • Artista (“Artist”)
  • Dare (“To give”)
  • Vero (“True”)

2. Deep Red (Profondo Rosso)

You can’t make a list of Italian horror movies without Dario Argento. Deep Red is probably his most famous and scariest film. A dark killer is slaughtering people under the influence of a disturbing lullaby. And the murderer is not who you’d expect.

Helga Ulmann: Sono entrata in contatto con una mente perversa. I suoi pensieri sono pensieri di morte […] Tu hai già ucciso e sento che ucciderai ancora.

Helga Ulmann: I’m in contact with a depraved mind. Its thoughts are deadly thoughts […] You’ve already killed and I feel that you’ll kill again.


  • Mente (“Mind”)
  • Perversa (“Depraved”)
  • Uccidere (“To kill”)
  • Ancora (“Again”)

4- Italian Romance Movies

1. The Last Kiss (L’ultimo Bacio)

Responsibilities and fatherhood scare Carlo, whose girlfriend has just told him she’s pregnant. At a wedding, he meets the beautiful 18-year-old Francesca and has the chance to live one last youthful adventure.

Carlo: Ho bisogno che ogni giorno succeda qualcosa di nuovo, per sentire che la mia vita va avanti.

Carlo: I need that everyday there’s something new happening, to feel that my life is going on.


  • Ogni giorno (“Everyday”)
  • Succedere (“To happen”)
  • Nuovo (“New”)

2. Three Steps Over Heaven (Tre Metri Sopra il Cielo)

Stefano and Roberta both come from rich Roman families, but they couldn’t be more different. She’s a good girl and student; he’s angry and troubled. But, nevertheless, they fall in love. An Italian romance movie for young boys and girls.

DJ: Stamattina ho visto un graffito… una bella donna diceva: “Ci sono solo 2 giorni a cui io non penso mai… ieri e domani!”

DJ: This morning I saw a graffito… a beautiful woman was saying: “There are only 2 days I never think about…yesterday and tomorrow!”


  • Stamattina (“This morning”)
  • Vedere (“To see”)
  • Ieri (“Yesterday”)
  • Domani (“Tomorrow”)

5- Italian Comedy Movies

1. Fantozzi

Fantozzi is a clerk played by Paolo Villaggio in a series of successful comedies.This 1975 film is the first of the series and probably the best. It’s a bitter comedy about being a lower-middle-class worker with a miserable, frustrating life, in a big Italian city.

Fantozzi: Com’è umano, lei!

Fantozzi: You’re so human, sir!


  • Umano (“Human”)
  • Lei (Feminine third person singular, to express respect)

2. Johnny Stecchino

Dante is a bus driver who looks exactly like the mafioso Johnny Stecchino, who is wanted by Sicilian mobsters. When he meets Stecchino’s wife, Maria, she tries to make Dante pass as Johnny, for the mobsters to kill him. Both Dante and Johnny are played by Roberto Benigni, at the beginning of his great success. Check out this great Italian comedy movie to get a better grasp of the language, laughing all the while.

Maria: Questa, questa è l’immagine di te che io voglio sempre tenere con me. Con questo vestito… con questo neo… con quello stecchino… Johnny… Stecchino.

Maria: This, this is the image of you that I always want to keep with me. With this suit…with this mole…with that toothpick…Johnny…Toothpick.


  • Sempre (“Always”)
  • Tenere (“To keep”)
  • Vestito (“Suit”)
  • Stecchino (“Toothpick”)

4. Some Examples of Expressions Originated by Italian Movies

Some Italian movies have become so famous that they’ve grown roots into the Italian culture. They’ve even entered the Italian language, originating words and expressions. Here are some examples:

  • Paparazzo: Paparazzo was the surname of a photographer in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and it’s now a word of common use the world over.
  • La nuvoletta di Fantozzi: He’s so unlucky that when he leaves on a holiday, a little cloud (nuvoletta) full of heavy rain never stops following him.
  • E io pago!: This is a famous expression used by the comic Totò meaning “And I pay!” It’s now used in Italian when someone pays while others benefit.

5. Bonus: Free Must-have Articles and Guides about Italian Movies

Learn more about Italian movies and cinema with ItalianPod101 guides and articles. Become a real master of the Italian language while having fun with the best Italian films of all times.

6. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Italian

Here at we have a different, innovative idea of learning Italian: we think that you should learn while having fun. That’s why we’ve created an amazing system that will guide you through this wonderful language and culture, with apps, videos, articles and a vibrant community where you can discuss your progresses or clarify your doubts. Don’t you want to try?

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Republic Day in Italy: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier & More

Do you know that when Italy was founded in 1861, monarchy prevailed in the country? It remained this way until the June of 1946, when Italians decided to ditch the monarchy government system and become a republic instead. Not long after, the Italian Constitution was made in 1948.

Each year, Italians celebrate Republic Day in commemoration of their newfound republic status.

In learning about Festa della Repubblica (Republic Day in Italy), you’re allowing yourself a broader understanding of Italian culture and its history. As any language learner can tell you, this is a vital step in language mastery.

At, we hope to make it both fun and informative! Learn about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Italian parades, and the Italian Constitution with us, as we delve into the Republic Day of Italy!

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1. What is Republic Day in Italy?

Italy was originally a monarchy; in fact, its unification was commissioned by the Savoia family, a noble family of Piemontesi origin. From 1861, for nearly ninety years in Italy, both the king and the parliament co-existed.

Unfortunately, the Savoia family was not much loved by the Italians, especially because they never opposed the fascist dictatorship, and during the Second World War, they left the army and the people without any guidance. In 1946, not only the monarchy was abolished, but the Savoia were also sent into exile outside Italy, until 2002.

2. When is Republic Day in Italy?

Someone Holding Paper in Front of Italian Flag

After World War II ended, there were elections and the Italians decided to abolish the monarchy and became a republic. That day was June 2, 1946 and today it is the Republic Day.

3. Reading Practice: How is Italy’s Republic Day Celebrated?

A Parade

On Republic Day, Italy observes a few fascinating traditions and celebrations. Read the Italian text below to find out, and then read the English translation directly below it.

Anche il 2 giugno, come il 25 aprile, si festeggia con una cerimonia a Roma presso l’Altare della Patria, a cui partecipa il Presidente della Repubblica. Con questa festa si ricorda anche il cosidetto “miracolo economico italiano,” cioè la veloce ripresa economica dell’Italia dopo i cinque lunghi anni della guerra mondiale. Anche se l’Italia aveva perso la guerra e molte città erano state distrutte dai bombardamenti aerei, tutto cambiò velocemente e il tenore di vita migliorò in poco tempo.

Un evento particolarmente interessante del 2 giugno è l’apertura speciale del Palazzo del Quirinale a Roma. Il Palazzo del Quirinale è uno dei monumenti piu’ belli di Roma, ma e’ anche la casa del Presidente della Repubblica. E’ un palazzo del sedicesimo secolo e fu il palazzo del re fino al 1945, le sue sale e i suoi giardini sono bellissimi e chi riesce a visitarli è molto fortunato.

June 2, like April 25, is celebrated with a ceremony in Rome at the Altar of the Fatherland, which is attended by the President of Italy. With this festival, people also remember the so-called “Italian economic miracle,” the recovery of the economy of Italy after the five long years of World War II. Although Italy had lost the war and many cities were destroyed by aerial bombings, everything changed quickly and the standard of living improved in a short span of time.

A particularly interesting event of June 2 is the special opening of the Quirinale Palace in Rome. The Quirinale Palace is one of the most beautiful monuments in Rome, but also serves as the residence of the President. It is a building from the sixteenth century and was the king’s palace until 1945; its rooms and gardens are very beautiful, and those who manage to see them are considered very lucky.

4. Additional Republic Day Celebrations & Traditions

1- Tri-color Air Show

One of the most beautiful events of this day is definitely that of the Tricolor Air Show, which is when some Italian army aircraft create the Italian flag in the sky with amazing aerobatics and colored smoke.

In the same vein, do you know in which city the “tricolor,” the national flag of Italy was created?

The “tricolor,” green-white-red, was created in Reggio Emilia in 1797, long before Italy was unified.

2- What is The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

While the Tomb of the Unknown soldier didn’t originate in Italy, it is one of a few countries to have a tomb dedicated to soldiers lost in war who were unidentified.

In Italy, this tomb is called the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, mentioned above, and it’s a significant aspect of the Italian National Day (as it is for numerous other important Italian holidays). In a sense, it represents Italy’s struggle to reaching its republic status as a country. It also embodies all of the losses before and after.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Italy’s Republic Day

Tricolor Arrows

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Republic Day in Italy!

  • Roma — “Rome”
  • Repubblica — “Republic”
  • Costituzione — “Constitution”
  • Parata — “Parade”
  • Tomba del Milite Ignoto — “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”
  • Tricolore — “Tricolor”
  • Promulgare — “Promulgate”
  • Frecce Tricolori — “Tricolor Arrows”
  • Altare della Patria — “Altar of the Fatherland”
  • Rendere omaggio — “Pay homage”
  • Ghirlanda d’alloro — “Laurel garland”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Italian Republic Day vocabulary list. Here, each word is listed alongside an audio file of its pronunciation.


What do you think of Italy’s Republic Day and its celebrations? How does your country celebrate its Republic Day? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Italian culture and the language, visit us at and see all we have to offer the Italian learner, regardless of their current level. Read more insightful blog posts like this one, hone your word knowledge with our free vocabulary lists, and discuss lessons with fellow students on our community forums! You can also upgrade to a Premium Plus account to take advantage of our MyTeacher program, and learn Italian with your own personal teacher.

Know that your determination will pay off, and you’ll be speaking Italian like a native before you know it! Best wishes!

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Top 10 Italian TV Shows to Boost Your Italian

Millions of learners all around the world agree: watching TV shows is a great way to learn a new language. You can boost your skills in many different contexts according to the show’s genre (drama, crime, comedy, sci-fi, cooking, nature, etc…), while at the same time having a great deal of fun. And this is why Italian TV shows are a big help for every learner, from beginners to those who are more advanced. Here at ItalianPod101 we’ll give you a complete guide to the best Italian TV shows for learners.

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Study Italian with TV Shows
  2. How You Can Watch the Most Popular Italian TV Shows
  3. The Top Italian TV Shows
  4. Bonus: Free Must-have Articles and Guides About Italian TV Shows
  5. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Italian

1. How to Study Italian with TV Shows

Learning the Italian grammar, verbs, orthography, vocabulary, and so on, is hard enough. This gorgeous language was created through centuries from the ancient Latin, with many influences from a variety of other cultures. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, not even the fastest learner can pretend to master Italian in a couple of weeks. But you can certainly learn a lot quicker and more effectively with the right tools: in this case, a great Italian course and the best Italian TV shows.

You can learn Italian with a TV show simply by watching something you like. Without even noticing, you’ll end up understanding the spoken language a lot better, improving your pronunciation, and knowing the grammar rules “by instinct,” simply because you’ve gained familiarity with the Italian language as a whole. That’s worth trying, don’t you think? Keep on reading to discover how you can watch the most popular Italian television shows from wherever you are in the world.

2. How You Can Watch the Most Popular Italian TV Shows

There are several different ways to watch Italian TV shows from wherever you are:

  • Satellite TV: You can get a subscription to Sky Italia or to Mediaset Premium and watch many of the most interesting Italian television shows on your TV.
  • Netflix: The streaming giant is also very popular in Italy and it offers many local shows and movies for viewing. But keep in mind that you can’t watch them from your country, because Netflix localizes the content according to the rights it owns.
  • You can find many of the most famous Italian TV shows online on the Rai (the Italian public TV company) website. Just go to and select the show you’d like to watch.
  • Other streaming channels: Some other Italian TV channels have content (at least part of it) online for streaming. For example, DMAX or Cielo.
  • YouTube: You can find some amazing Italian TV shows on YouTube, especially those from the past. You can even find some bits of the most recent ones.
  • DVD: You can buy the DVDs of some of the most successful Italian TV shows on Amazon Prime and other online stores.

3. The Top Italian TV Shows

Below is a list of Italian TV shows for learners of different levels. Make some popcorn, sit back on your couch, and enjoy!

1- Italian TV Shows for Beginners

1. Provaci Ancora Prof!

Provaci Ancora Prof

Among the most popular Italian TV programs produced by Rai, Provaci Ancora Prof! was broadcast from 2005 to 2017. The main character is an Italian literature high school professor, who is also an amateur detective helping the police with some delicate cases. This show can be found on

Gaetano: Ma non ti arrendi mai!
Camilla: No! Soprattutto se è per difendere una persona a cui voglio bene.
Gaetano: E a me mi difenderesti?
Camilla: “A me mi” non si dice.

Gaetano: You never give up!
Camilla: No! Especially if it’s to protect someone I love.
Gaetano: And would you protect to me?
Camilla: [Correcting a grammar error] You don’t say protect to me.


  • Arrendersi (“Give up”)
  • Soprattutto (“Especially”)
  • Difendere (“Protect”)
  • Voler bene (“Love; care”)
  • A me mi (A common grammar mistake in Italian)

2. Ulisse, Il Piacere Della Scoperta

Ulisse, Il Piacere Della Scoperta

There’s certainly no lack of Italian TV shows for beginners who love culture and history, and this is the most famous one. Also produced by Rai and available on, this television show is hosted by the star of the Italian educational show, Alberto Angela, who is the son of the initiator Piero Angela.


Bisogna dire che quando ci si affaccia su Roma si rimane sorpresi dalla quantità di capolavori, di architetture, di palazzi, di verde anche—è una delle città più verdi che si conoscano. Ma tutto quello che vedete è frutto di una stratificazione della storia, per così dire.


“We must say that when you overlook Rome you’re surprised by the amount of masterpieces, architectures, palaces, green spaces too—it’s one of the greenest cities. But everything you see is the result of the stratification of history, so to speak.”


  • Affacciarsi (“Overlook”)
  • Sorpreso (“Surprised”)
  • Capolavoro (“Masterpiece”)
  • Storia (“History”)
  • Per così dire (“So to speak”)

2- Italian TV Shows for Intermediate Learners

1. Don Matteo

Don Matteo

A crime series with a light approach and an unusual protagonist, this show follows the priest Don Matteo. It’s set in the beautiful countryside of Umbria (the first 8 seasons in Gubbio, the newest ones in Spoleto), where Don Matteo travels by bike to help the local Carabinieri marshal solve the most complicated cases. It can be found on


1. Non c’è croce senza resurrezione. Noi cristiani spesso ce lo dimentichiamo.

2. Ricordati che Dio ha perdonato gli uomini che gli hanno ucciso il figlio!


1. “There is no cross without resurrection. We Christians often forget it.”

2. “Remember that God forgave the men that killed his son!”


  • Croce (“Cross”)
  • Resurrezione (“Resurrection”)
  • Dimenticare (“Forget”)
  • Ricordare (“Remember”)
  • Perdonare (“Forgive”)

2. Tutto Può Succedere

2. Tutto Può Succedere

This is a family story inspired by the American TV series Parenthood. Set next to Rome, it’s a portrait of the Italian contemporary multicultural society. It’s available on


- È arrivato un messaggino! Finalmente. Ha lasciato il locale. Così tutto è chiaro. Gli scrivo di mandarmene uno quando arriva a casa.
- Sara, stai un po’ tranquilla, che Dennis ha la testa sulle spalle.
- Sì, ma le sue spalle sono ancora piccole.


  • Messaggino (“SMS”)
  • Locale (“Club”)
  • Avere la testa sulle spalle (“To have a head on your shoulders”)

3- Italian TV Shows for Advanced Learners

1. Boris


Available on Netflix, this extremely funny but also bitterly sarcastic series takes place—strangely enough—on a TV series set. This show is like a summary of Italian society’s worst flaws. Nepotism, corruption, and servility are depicted in the most frank and yet amusing way, with much thanks to its excellent actors. It’s one of the most viewed Italian TV series on Netflix, despite the fact that its last season was released in 2010.


1. Mi sembra che l’unico tra noi due che sta facendo uno sforzo per evitare che io ti meni sono sempre io, la stessa persona che poi, prima o poi, ti menerà.

2. Io considero Kubrick un incapace! […] È uno che affrontava un genere, falliva e passava a un altro genere. Poi anni e anni da un film a un altro. Anni e anni di che cosa? Di profondo imbarazzo per il film precedente!


1. “It looks like the only one that is struggling to avoid that I beat you is me, the same person that, sooner or later, will beat you.”

2. “I consider Kubrick an incompetent! […] He took on a genre, he failed and moved to another genre. Then years and years from one film to the other. Years and years of what? Of deep embarrassment for the last film!”


  • Fare uno sforzo (“To struggle”)
  • Evitare (“To avoid”)
  • Menare (“To beat” [colloquial])
  • Prima o poi (“Sooner or later”)
  • Incapace (“Incompetent”)
  • Imbarazzo (“Embarrassment”)

2. Il Commissario Montalbano

Il Commissario Montalbano

This is the most famous recent Italian television show, viewed all over the world. Created by the writer Andrea Camilleri, it’s the story of the Sicilian police commissioner Salvo Montalbano. Smart and skilled, but also surly and lover of good food (that he vigorously eats in complete silence), he’s a complex and fascinating character. Moreover, he lives in the beautiful imaginary Sicilian coast town of Vigata—in reality, Porto Empedocle, next to Agrigento. The best way to watch this series is with satellite TV (it’s periodically broadcast on Rai channels) or DVDs. Disclaimer: He speaks with an amazing mix of Italian and Sicilian dialect.


1. Un autentico cretino, difficile a trovarsi in questi tempi in cui i cretini si camuffano da intelligenti.

2. Insomma ci sono uomini di qualità che, messi in certi posti, risultano inadatti proprio per le loro qualità all’occhi di gente che qualità non ne ha, ma in compenso fa politica.


1. “A real idiot, hard to find in times like these, when idiots disguise themselves as smart.”

2. “In conclusion, there are high-quality men that, put in some places, prove themselves inappropriate because of their qualities in front of people without qualities, but who on the other hand are in politics.”


  • Cretino (“Idiot”)
  • Cammuffarsi (“Disguise yourself”)
  • Insomma (“So; in conclusion”)
  • Risultare (“To prove”)
  • In compenso (“On the other hand”)

4- Italian Reality TV Shows

1. L’isola Dei Famosi

L’isola Dei Famosi

Italian reality TV shows aren’t usually very original, and they’re often a local version of an international program. That’s the case with this one, which is the Italian version of the American show Survivor. In this show, a group of celebrities (usually in decline) are thrown on a tropical island to starve and endure difficult trials. If you like trash TV, you’ll love it. You can watch it on Mediaset TV channels.


Volevo dire che Cecilia ha un carattere molto difficile, però volevo spezzare una piccola lancia a suo favore perché effettivamente nel gruppo di prima un po’ era presa eccessivamente di mira, secondo me. Detto questo, però, non mi si può imputare un pisolino davanti al fuoco!


“I’d like to say that Cecilia has a very bad temper, but I’d want to strike a blow for her because in the previous group she actually was, I think, excessively targeted. That said, though, you can not accuse me of taking a nap in front of the fire!”


  • Carattere (“Temper”)
  • Spezzare una lancia in favore di qualcuno (“To strike a blow for someone”)
  • Prendere di mira (“To target”)
  • Imputare (“To accuse”)
  • Pisolino (“Nap”)

2. Grande Fratello

Grande Fratello

This one is the Italian version of The Big Brother show, with all its flaws and virtues. Entertaining, though often vulgar, it can certainly help you get familiar with all the different Italian accents and dialects, since participants come from all over the country. It’s broadcast on Mediaset TV channels.


Ho due o tre… quattro concetti in cui credo: rispetto, lealtà, coerenza. Magari non li seguo sempre…


“I have two or three…four concepts I believe in: respect, loyalty, consistency. Maybe I don’t always follow them…”


  • Concetto (“Concept”)
  • Credere (“Believe”)
  • Lealtà (“Loyalty”)
  • Coerenza (“Consistency”)

5- Italian Cooking Shows

1. Masterchef Italia

Masterchef Italia

The British forefather Masterchef has generated descendents all over the planet, including the most famous of Italian cooking shows. It’s a hard competition to win 100.000 € and the chance to publish a cookbook. The participants are severely judged by a group of famous Italian chefs and restaurant owners, including Antonino Cannavacciuolo and Joe Bastianich. You can watch it on Sky and Cielo channels, or on


1. La cucina non è fashion, la cucina è cultura.

2. La tua arroganza sarà il bastone tra le tue ruote.


1. “Cooking is not fashion, cooking is culture.”

2. “Your arrogance will be the stick in your wheels.”


  • Cucina (“Cooking”)
  • Cultura (“Culture”)
  • Bastone tra le ruote (“Stick in your wheels; something that blocks you”)

2. Camionisti in Trattoria

Camionisti in Trattoria

If you like working-class restaurants with excellent food and low prices, this show is for you. The famous Chef Rubio will ride all over Italy with Italian truck drivers to discover the places where they eat. This show is also a great way to find new food destinations outside tourist guides, to live the real—and cheap—Italian life. You can watch it online on Dplay.


Eh sì, sono meravigliosi i ristoranti pettinati. Quelli con quella bella cucina sperimental-concettuale. Quelli dove ordini dei piatti che sembrano mobili svedesi. Infatti per mangiarli servono le istruzioni. Quelli con gli chef che fanno porzioni da villaggio degli gnomi, ma pe’ paga’ er conto, te devi aprì un mutuo. Ecco, no. È ora de partì per un viaggio. Destinazione? La cucina vera, di sostanza e della tradizione. E c’è solo un tipo di persona che conosce bene quello che cerco: i camionisti.


“Oh yes, chic restaurants are wonderful. Those with that gorgeous conceptual experimental cuisine. Those where you order dishes that look like Swedish furniture. As a matter of fact, you need instructions to eat them. Those with chefs that make gnome’s village’s portions, but in order to pay the check you need to get a mortgage. Okay, no. It’s time to leave for a journey. Destination? The real, rich, traditional cooking. And there’s just one kind of person who knows what I’m looking for: truck drivers.”


  • Pettinato (“Chic” [pejorative])
  • Piatto (“Dish”)
  • Mobile (“Furniture”)
  • Pe’ paga’ er conto (Roman dialect version for Per pagare il conto [“to pay the check”])
  • De partì (Roman dialect version for Di partire [“to leave”])
  • Di sostanza (“Rich in nutrients”)
  • Camionista (“Truck driver”)

6- Great Italian TV Shows of the Past

1. Le Avventure di Pinocchio

Le Avventure di Pinocchio

This wonderful five-episode series by Luigi Comencini was first broadcast in 1972 and is a masterpiece of Italian television. The cast includes great actors, including Nino Manfredi, Gina Lollobrigida, Vittorio De Sica, Franco Franchi, Ciccio Ingrassia, and Andrea Balestri. You can watch it on


Non fidarti mai di chi ti sembra buono e ricordarti che c’è sempre del buono in chi ti sembra cattivo.


“Don’t ever trust someone who looks good and remember that there’s always some good in someone who looks bad.”


  • Fidarsi (“To trust”)
  • Buono (“Good”)
  • Cattivo (“Bad”)

2. Sandokan


Probably the greatest Italian TV series of all time, Sandokan is based on Emilio Salgari’s adventure novels and stars Kabir Bedi as the main character, a charming Malaysian pirate looking for revenge after his family was massacred by the British. This six-episode series was directed by the cult director Sergio Sollima and broadcast for the first time in 1976. You can find this series on, as well.


Voglio che i Dayaki imparino a difendersi ed a governarsi, perché chi non sa proteggere la propria libertà, non è degno di essere libero.


“I want the Dayaki to learn to defend and to rule themselves, because those who can’t protect their freedom are not worthy of being free.”


  • Imparare (“To learn”)
  • Governare (“To rule”)
  • Libertà (“Freedom”)
  • Degno (“Worthy”)

4. Bonus: Free Must-have Articles and Guides About Italian TV Shows

Do you want to know more about the best Italian TV shows to learn Italian, and how they can help you improve your talking and listening skills? Then you can use our free guides and articles. Here on ItalianPod101 you’ll have everything you need to boost your Italian in the most effective and fun way.

5. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Italian

Our Italian TV shows list is here to provide you with some excellent advice to find the most interesting programs for you, but to have a complete knowledge of this beautiful language you must also have some solid bases. We at ItalianPod101 are offering you the most efficient tools—articles, apps, guides, and video lessons—to achieve your goal in the fastest and most entertaining way. Give us a try and the results will speak for themselves!

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La Pasquetta: Easter Monday in Italy

Have you ever received a chocolate egg as a gift? For Italians, the chocolate egg is a symbol of Easter, which is the most important festival in Christianity. The Monday after Easter (Easter Monday), in particular, is a holiday of celebration on a grand scale. In this lesson, we’ll go over Italian Easter traditions and more facts about Easter in Italy.

At, we hope to make learning about Italian culture both fun and informative!

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1. What is Easter Monday in Italy?

Easter Monday celebrates the resurrection of Christ three days after his death, and is one of the most significant Christian holidays. As we’ll see in this lesson, Easter is very important in Italy. It’s also a national holiday and corresponds with the spring holidays.

2. When is it?

Easter Eggs and Flowers

The date of Easter Monday in Italy varies from year to year. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: April 22
  • 2020: April 13
  • 2021: April 5
  • 2022: April 18
  • 2023: April 10
  • 2024: April 1
  • 2025: April 21
  • 2026: April 6
  • 2027: March 29
  • 2028: April 17

3. Reading Practice: How is Easter in Italy Celebrated?

Family Having a Picnic Together

How is Easter celebrated in Italy? Find out by reading the French text below (you can find the English translation directly below it).

Nella maggior parte delle case italiane il giorno di Pasqua si organizza un grande pranzo con amici e parenti. Secondo la tradizione con la Pasqua finisce un lungo periodo di digiuno, quindi ogni piatto è particolarmente ricco, come la pizza di Pasqua, che è una grossa torta al formaggio dell’Italia centrale o l’agnello al forno con le patate e i carciofi. Ovviamente non bisogna dimenticare le uova di Pasqua, le uova sono un simbolo di vita e rinascita; oggi sono fatte di cioccolato, ma in passato venivano usate uova vere, con il guscio decorato.

Il giorno dopo la Pasqua è detto il Lunedì di Pasqua, detto anche Pasquetta, e anche questo è un giorno di vacanza nazionale. Per tutti gli Italiani il Lunedì di Pasqua è un’ottima occasione per uscire di casa e andare a fare un picnic in campagna o andare a visitare qualche famosa città d’arte. Per esempio uno dei luoghi più belli in cui molti italiani si recano per fare il picnic è il bosco di San Francesco, in Umbria, ad Assisi.

In Italia quando qualcuno fa delle grandi pulizie si dice che fa le “pulizie di Pasqua” - infatti tradizionalmente prima della Pasqua, in rispetto di Cristo e per accogliere la nuova stagione, bisognava pulire la casa da cima a fondo.

In most Italian homes, a grand lunch is organized with family and friends on Easter Day. According to traditions, Easter marks the end of a long period of fasting, so every dish is very rich, such as the Easter pizza, which is a large cheese pie from central Italy, or roast lamb with potatoes and artichokes. Of course, we must not forget the Easter eggs, because eggs are a symbol of life and rebirth. Today they are made of chocolate, but in the past, real eggs with decorated shells were used.

The day after Easter is called Easter Monday, or Little Easter, and it is also a national holiday. For all Italians, Easter Monday is an excellent opportunity to leave their homes and go out for a picnic in the countryside or visit some famous cities of art. For example, one of the most beautiful places Italians go for picnics is the forest of St. Francis, in Assisi, Umbria.

In Italy, when someone does a lot of cleaning, they call it “spring-cleaning”; in fact, in the past it was traditional to respect Christ and to welcome the new season by cleaning the house before Easter.

4. Easter Symbols in Italy: Olive Tree

Do you know which tree symbolizes Easter in Italy?

It’s the olive tree, which is usually distributed to Catholic churches on Palm Sunday, a week before Easter, as a symbol of peace.

5. Must-know Vocab

Easter Dove Cake

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Easter Monday in Italy!

  • Picnic — “Picnic”
  • Grigliata — “Barbeque”
  • Lunedì dell’Angelo — “Angel Monday”
  • Gita all’aria aperta — “Open-air day trip”
  • Campagna — “Countryside”
  • Scampagnata — “Countryside excursion
  • Fuori porta — “Out-of-town”
  • Colomba di Pasqua — “Easter Dove cake”
  • Frittata — “Omelet”
  • Asparagi — “Asparagus”

To hear each word pronounced, check out our Italian Easter Monday vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.


What do you think of Easter in Italy? Are Easter celebrations similar (or different) in your country? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Italian culture and the language, visit us at We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community where you can discuss lessons with other Italian learners. By creating a Premium Plus account, you can also take advantage of our MyTeacher program, and learn Italian with your own personal Italian teacher!

All of your determination and hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Italian like a native. will be here with effective learning materials—and tons of support—throughout your language-learning journey.

Best wishes, and Buona Pasqua (Happy Easter in Italian)! Enjoy some Italian Easter cookies, Italian Easter bread, and Italian Easter pie for us! ;)

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