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Italian Adjectives List: The Top 100 Adjectives

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Adjectives, in any language, are what we use to better describe what we’re talking about. They give color and meaning to our words. So, learning the top 100 Italian adjectives right away will help you quickly improve your conversation skills.

If you check an Italian grammar book or website, you’ll find out that there are many types of them:

  • Demonstratives: questo; quello — “this; that”
  • Qualificatives: bello; brutto — “nice; ugly”
  • Possessives: mio; tuo — “my; your”

And there are many others!

Try and memorize a big list of Italian adjectives and their opposites. Let’s have fun with easy grammar lessons and exercises on how to use Italian adjectives with ItalianPod101.com. Andiamo! (Let’s go!)

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Table of Contents

  1. Italian Adjectives Rules: How Do You Use Italian Adjectives?
  2. Italian Adjectives List of the Top 100+ Italian Adjectives
  3. Conclusion


1. Italian Adjectives Rules: How Do You Use Italian Adjectives?

First things first: Do Italian adjectives agree?

Yes, they need to agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to (and with the verbs, too!). So, when you’re speaking or writing, pay attention to the noun and note if it’s singular or plural, and masculine or feminine. And then, don’t forget to make the ending of the adjective and the noun agree, as in: una bella casa or “a nice house.”

Now, do adjectives come before or after nouns in Italian? In terms of position, the Italian adjective generally follows the noun. Yes, this is the opposite of what an anglophone is used to, so you’ll have to pay special attention to remember where to place the adjective in a sentence.

But, as you know, Italian grammar can have quite a few exceptions, and some adjectives can appear either before or after the noun, with a slightly different meaning.

This is the case with some of the most common Italian adjectives, the ones that you’ll find yourself using all the time. There isn’t a fixed rule for when you can invert the order, but here’s a tip: The adjective put after the noun is denotative (the meaning is literal). The adjective put before the noun is connotative (the meaning is figurative).

That’s why it’s very important to practice, practice, practice…can you guess the difference between the phrases listed below? If not, check this lesson!

bello* “beautiful; nice” Un bel giorno / un giorno bello
“A nice day”
buono** “good; tasty” Un buon amico / un amico buono
“A good friend”
bravo “good; able” Una brava ragazza / una ragazza brava
“A good girl”
brutto “ugly; bad” Un brutto film / un film brutto
“A bad movie”
caro “dear; expensive” Una cara amica / una amica cara
“A good friend”
cattivo “bad” Un esempio cattivo / un cattivo esempio
“A bad example”
giovane “young” Un giovane attore / un attore giovane
“A young actor”
grande “large; great” Una grande montagna / una montagna grande
“A big mountain”
lungo “long” Un viaggio lungo / un lungo viaggio
“A long trip”
nuovo “new” Un nuovo libro / un libro nuovo
“A new book”
piccolo “small; little” Una piccola casa / una casa piccola
“A small house”
stesso “same” Il giorno stesso / lo stesso giorno
“The same day”
vecchio “old” Un vecchio palazzo / un palazzo vecchio
“An old building”
vero “true” Un vero amore / un amore vero
“A true love”

*This adjective follows the same rule as the definite articles il, lo, i, gli, la le, so it changes its form according to the noun that follows, as in these examples:

  • Un bel libro, as in il libro
    “A nice book”
  • Un bello sport (lo sport)
    “A nice sport”
  • Che begli occhi! (gli occhi)
    “What beautiful eyes!”
  • Dei bei ragazzi (i ragazzi)
    “Some good-looking boys”

This irregular adjectives rule does not apply if you place the adjective after the noun, as in un libro bello (a nice book).

Venice

Una bella giornata a Venezia (“A beautiful day in Venice”)

**The adjective buono (good; tasty) follows the same rule as the indefinite articles un, uno, un’, una, so it changes its form according to the noun that follows, as in these examples:

  • Un buon amico, as in un amico
    “A good friend”
  • Una buona scuola (una scuola)
    “A good school”
  • Sei una buon’amica (un’amica)
    “You are a good friend.”

This irregular adjectives form does not apply if you place the adjective after the noun, as in un amico buono (but in this case, the meaning is a little different as it means “a good-hearted friend”).

Other irregular Italian adjectives are grande and santo (”big” and “saint” respectively). In front of a masculine noun starting with a consonant, they change into gran and san:

  • Tuo papà è un gran signore
    “Your dad is a great gentleman.”
  • Quella è la statua di San Tommaso
    “That is Saint Thomas statue.”

A very common use of adjectives is with the auxiliary verb essere (”to be”), in simple sentences such as: il mio gatto è bello (”My cat is nice.”).

In the case of demonstrative, indefinite, or possessive adjectives, as in most other languages, they always come before the noun:

  • Il mio gatto
    “My cat”
  • Questo gatto
    “This cat”
  • Alcuni gatti
    “Some cats”


2. Italian Adjectives List of the Top 100+ Italian Adjectives

Improve Pronunciation

Ready to learn Italian adjectives? Here’s our list of the most common Italian adjectives you should know, with their meanings and example sentences!

1- Describing dimensions, sizes, distance, number, and frequency

Among the most common and useful Italian adjectives are those that we use to describe how things are, relative to dimensions, distance, frequency, etc.

The best way to learn adjectives and memorize their meaning is to pair them up with their opposites:

  • grande / piccolo — “big” / “small”

    These can also be used in the sense of “older” / “younger”: Quando ero piccolo volevo fare l’astronauta or “When I was young, I wanted to be an astronaut.”

  • largo / stretto — “wide” / “narrow”

    These adjectives are used in Italian both for physical description, such as a for a street, or they can be used to mean “large” / “tight” as in clothes:

    La strada era molto larga.
    “The road was very wide.”

    Questi pantaloni sono un po’ stretti.
    “These pants are a bit tight.”

  • alto / basso — “tall” / “short” or “high” / “low”

    These opposite adjectives are also used to describe two different kinds of qualities, as they can refer to the height of something like a person or mountain, to volume, or even to moral qualities:

    Mia sorella è più bassa di me.
    “My sister is shorter than me.”

    Il volume della musica è troppo alto.
    “The music volume is too high.”

  • pesante / leggero — “heavy” / “light”

    Ho il sonno molto leggero.
    “I have a very light sleep.”

  • vicino / lontano — “close” / “far”

    Non ti sento, sei troppo lontano
    “I can’t hear you, you are too far.”

When we’re describing quantities, we can’t do without indefinite adjectives, which are used to talk in general terms without being too specific about the exact amount (of things, people, etc.). That’s why they’re called “indefinite.” There are many indefinite adjectives in Italian, but the most commonly used are:

  • Alcuni — “some” [always plural]

    Alcuni bambini piangono sempre.
    “Some children cry all the time.”

  • Poco — “little” / “few”

    Pochi giorni fa
    “A few days ago”

  • Molto — “many”

    A Firenze ho visitato molti musei
    “In Florence I visited many museums.”

  • Ogni — “each” [invariable + singular]

    Vado in Italia ogni anno
    “I go to Italy every year.”

  • Qualche — “some” / “a few” [invariable + singular]

    Ho qualche idea.
    “I have a few ideas.”

Indefinite adjectives, like possessive adjectives, can become adverbs if they’re used alone without a noun. You might want to check the rules on them.

2- Describing value

Whenever we talk, we’re always prone to judge the people or things around us. These useful Italian adjectives describe what we think about their value, and will help us in our conversations about them.

  • buono / cattivo — “good” / “bad”

    As in English, this adjective has a double meaning, both moral and relative to taste.

    Pinocchio è diventato un bambino buono.
    “Pinocchio became a good boy.”

    Questo gelato è molto buono.
    “This ice cream is very good.”

  • bello / brutto — “beautiful” / “nice” and “ugly” / “bad”

    Ho fatto un brutto sogno.
    “I had a bad dream.”

  • fantastico / terribile — “amazing” / “awful”

    Oggi è una giornata fantastica.
    “Today is an amazing day.”

3- Describing feelings & senses

Italian adjectives for sensations and feelings, or for physical descriptions, are often used around the kitchen. These, for example, are the progression of adjectives linked to temperature:

  • Gelato — “icy” / “frozen”

    Vado a pattinare sul lago gelato.
    “I go swimming on the frozen lake.”

  • Freddo — “cold”

    La zuppa è diventata fredda.
    “The soup got cold.”

  • Tiepido — “warm”

    La sera bevo del latte tiepido.
    “At night I drink warm milk.”

  • Caldo — “hot”

    Preferisco il té caldo.
    “I prefer hot tea.”

  • Bollente — “scalding”

    Attenzione, l’acqua è bollente!
    “Watch out, the water is scalding.”

Two Cones of Chocolate Ice Cream

Did you know that Gelato means “frozen”?

Other adjectives refer to the sense of touch, such as:

  • morbido / duro — “soft” / “hard”

    Questo letto è molto duro.
    “This bed is very hard.”

  • liscio / ruvido — “smooth” / “rough”

    Hai una pelle incredibilmente liscia!
    “You have incredibly smooth skin!”

  • piacevole / doloroso — “pleasant” / “painful”

    È un ricordo doloroso.
    “It is a painful memory.”

4- Describing personalities, human behaviors, and feelings

The range of people’s personalities, behaviors, and feelings are countless. And Italians definitely belong to one of those cultures that like to show their feelings and have no problem exposing their personalities in public! Let’s see the most common Italian adjectives to describe people. Try a little exercise to describe yourself!

Positive words :)

  • Gentile — “kind”

    Sei molto gentile.
    “So kind of you.”

  • Aperto — “open-minded”

    Giulia ha una mentalità aperta.
    “Giulia is open-minded.”

  • Divertente — “fun”

    Questo viaggio è stato divertente.
    “This trip was fun.”

  • Comico — “funny”

    È comico: mi fa proprio ridere.
    “He is funny: he makes me laugh a lot.”

  • Felice — “happy”

    Sono felice di vederti.
    “I am happy to see you.”

  • Contento — “glad” / “pleased”

    Anch’io sono contenta che tu sia qui.
    “I am also glad that you are here.”

  • Negative words 🙁

  • Triste — “sad”

    Non essere triste!
    “Don’t be sad!”

  • Solo — “lonely” / “alone”

    Oggi mi sento solo.
    “Today I felt lonely.”

  • Notice how the verbs such as “I feel” (mi sento) are reflexive in Italian, and need to be conjugated with the reflexive pronouns.

  • Arrabbiato — “angry” / “mad”

    La mia amica è arrabbiata con me.
    “My friend is angry at me.”

  • Matto / pazzo — “crazy”

    Sto diventando matto…
    “I am going crazy…”

5- Describing speed, difficulty, importance, etc.

Snail On a Table

Sei veloce come un fulmine, o lento come una lumaca? (“Fast as a lightning or slow as a snail?”)

  • rapido-veloce / lento — “fast” / “slow”

    Il treno veloce va da Milano a Roma in 3 ore.
    “The fast train goes from Milan to Rome in 3 hours.”

  • facile / difficile — “easy” / “hard”

    Sarà difficile da dimenticare.
    “It will be hard to forget.”

  • importante / inutile — “important” / “useless”

    Non mi piacciono le riunioni inutili.
    “I don’t like useless meetings.

6- Describing colors

What would the world be without colors? We definitely need them in our lives, and we’ll need to know all the colors in Italian:

  • Rosso — “red”

    Bevo solo vino rosso.
    “I only drink red wine.”

  • Verde — “green”

    Vorrei indossare le scarpe verdi.
    “I’d like to wear the green shoes.”

  • Bianco — “white”

    Mi sposerò con il vestito bianco.
    “I’ll get married wearing the white dress.”

  • Nero — “black”

    Compila il modulo con una penna nera.
    “Fill out the form with a black pen.”

  • Giallo — “yellow”

    L’arbitro ha estratto il cartellino giallo.
    “The referee pulled out the yellow card.”

  • Marrone — “brown”

    Ho gli occhi marroni.
    “I have brown eyes.”

  • Arancione — “orange”

    C’è una macchina arancione nel parcheggio.
    “There is an orange car in the parking lot.”

Note that while most of the colors are adjectives that need to show agreement with the noun they refer to, a few of them are invariable and don’t change into masculine or feminine, singular or plural:

  • Rosa — “pink”

    Perché le bambine si vestono di rosa?
    “Why do all the little girls wear pink?”

  • Viola — “purple”

    Il Colore Viola è un bellissimo film
    “The Color Purple is a great movie.”

  • Blu — “blue”

A Rainbow in a Field

Rosso, giallo, verde… li sai i colori dell’arcobaleno? (“Red, yellow, green… do you know all the rainbow colors?”)

And finally, colors come in all kinds of shades, so it’s important to be familiar with chiaro (light) and scuro (dark).

For even more information on colors, check out our Italian colors vocabulary list!

7- Describing shapes

Adjectives that describe shapes are not only useful when we’re studying geometry, but will also help us with describing objects in everyday life.

  • Rotondo — “round”

    Il tavolo rotondo
    “The round table”

  • Circolare — “circular”

    Una economia circolare
    “A circular economy”

  • Quadrato — “square”

    Una cornice quadrata
    “A square frame”

  • Rettangolare — “rectangular”

    Un campo rettangolare
    “A rectangular field”

  • Sferico — “spherical”

    La palla è un oggetto sferico.
    “The ball is a spherical object.”

8- Describing weather

The weather is one of the most common conversation topics of all time. So, it’s no wonder that there are a great number of adjectives to describe the weather. Some of the most common are:

  • caldo / freddo — “hot” / “cold”

    Quest’anno ci sarà un inverno freddo.
    “This year, there will be a cold winter.”

  • soleggiato / nuvoloso — “sunny” / “cloudy”

    Domani sarà una giornata nuvolosa.
    “Tomorrow it will be a cloudy day.”

  • umido / afoso — “humid” / “muggy”

    Odio le estati umide.
    “I hate humid summers.”

  • piovoso / nevoso / ventoso — “rainy” / “snowy” / “windy”

    L’autunno in Italia è molto piovoso.
    “The fall in Italy is very rainy.”

Weather Documents

Piovoso? Soleggiato…? (“Will it be rainy? Will it be sunny?”)

For more weather words in Italian, check out our fun and useful weather article!

9- Describing taste

Not only are Italians notoriously into eating good food…but they also love to talk about food. All the time! So if you want to participate in these conversations around the table, you better start practicing with essential Italian adjectives for describing tastes:

  • buono / saporito / gustoso — These are all synonyms to use when something tastes good!

    Questa pizza è molto buona / saporita / gustosa.
    “This pizza is very good.”

  • Dolce — “sweet”

    Quest’uva è molto dolce.
    “These grapes are very sweet.”

  • Salato — “salty”

    Mangiare cibo salato non fa bene.
    “Salty food is not good for you.”

  • Aspro — “sour” as a lemon
  • Acerbo — “sour” / “unripe” as not ripe
  • Acido — “acidic” / “sour” as yogurt would be
  • Amaro — “bitter” (can also mean “unsweetened” )

    Non mi piace il caffè amaro (senza zucchero).
    “I don’t like coffee with no sugar in it.”

  • piccante / pepato

    Do you prefer your food with “red pepper” (piccante) or “black pepper” (pepato)? In both cases, note that these adjectives are also used to mean the “sexy” kind of spicy!

Woman Biting a Lemon

Aspro come un limone (“Sour as a lemon”)

10- Describing situations

Adjectives describing situations will help you tell your Italian friends about what happened to you or to people you know. They are also going to be particularly helpful when describing a movie, a book or an event:

  • Divertente — “fun”

    Imparare l’italiano con ItalianPod101 è divertente!
    “Learning Italian with ItalianPod101.com is fun!”

  • Pericoloso — “dangerous”

    Questa è una strada pericolosa.
    “This is a dangerous road.”

  • Interessante — “interesting”

    Ho visto un documentario interessante.
    “I saw an interesting documentary.”

  • Noioso — “boring”

    Durante il film mi sono addormentata: era proprio noioso!
    “During the movie I fell asleep: it was really boring!”

  • Comico — “funny”

    Totò era un attore comico.
    “Totò was a funny comedian.”

Do you want to practice? Try this little exercise: describe with as many adjectives as you can the last Italian movie you saw.

11- Describing physical traits or physical conditions

Let’s finish this guide of the top 100 (and more) common Italian adjectives with a little pettegolezzo (gossip). It’s just human to notice and comment on traits and conditions of our friends and acquaintances. Nothing wrong with physical descriptions, as long as we keep it respectful. So, let’s have a little fun commenting on how people look, behave, and are dressed. What do you think…?

  • forte / debole — “strong” / “weak”

    Va sempre in palestra e adesso è molto forte.
    “He goes to the gym all the time and now he’s very strong.”

  • malato / in forma — “sick” / “healthy”
  • ricco / povero — “rich” / “poor”

    È una famiglia molto povera
    “It’s a very poor family.”

  • ordinato / disordinato — “neat” / “messy”

    La tua stanza è disordinata?
    “Is your room messy?”

  • Carino — “cute” / “pretty”

    Mi piace quel ragazzo, è molto carino.
    “I like that guy, he’s very cute.”

  • grasso / magro — “fat” / “thin”

    I miei amici sono tutti magri… come fanno?
    “My friends are all thin…how do they do it?”

  • elegante / malvestito — “elegant” / “sloppy”

    Tua madre è una donna elegante
    “Your mother is an elegant woman.”


3. Conclusion

Reading

When talking to your Italian friends, your family, or colleagues at work, adjectives will enrich your Italian conversation and make you sound like a pro! But don’t stop here. To improve even more, visit our site, or check out our apps and blog. And keep having fun learning with ItalianPod101! You’ll be speaking like a native before you know it!

Before you go, drop us a comment using some of these Italian adjectives in a paragraph! You choose the topic. ;)

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Most Important Coordinating Conjunctions in Italian and More

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Without conjunctions, we would be talking like robots, putting together a sequence of detached sentences. You might not realize this, but conjunctions are a very important part of our language. They have the important job of coordinating and linking phrases.

So, let’s discover and practice the most commonly used conjunctions in Italian (including coordinating conjunctions in Italian), because these little bricks in your sentences will help you connect your Italian phrases and make your Italian conversation flow. And this is exactly what you’ll need to speak Italian like a pro! (See how I used conjunctions to link the last three sentences?) :)
As you can see, even the most simple Italian conjunctions can make a huge difference.

But before learning Italian conjunctions, let’s take a more detailed look at what a conjunction is.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is a Conjunction?
  2. Italian Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts
  3. Italian Conjunctions to Express Condition
  4. Italian Conjunctions to Express Cause
  5. Italian Conjunctions to Express Opposition
  6. Italian Conjunctions to Express Purpose
  7. Italian Conjunctions to Express Time
  8. Italian Conjunctions to Explain
  9. Italian Conjunctions to Express a Conclusion
  10. ItalianPod101: Your Guide to Italian Grammar & Culture


1. What is a Conjunction?

Sentence Patterns

Conjunctions serve as connectors to link together two or more sentences or groups of words. They are invariable, meaning that they don’t change—and this is good, because you won’t have to worry about the agreement of feminine, masculine, singular, or plural.

There are two types of Italian conjunctions:

  • Italian coordinating conjunctions, which put together two or more elements of the same importance
  • Italian subordinating conjunctions, which put together two or more elements establishing a dependence

For example, take Vado in pizzeria e poi al cinema (meaning “I go to a pizzeria and then to the movies,” when translated). In this sentence, e poi (and then) are two coordinating conjunctions.

But if I say, Vado in pizzeria perché ho fame (or “I go to the pizzeria because I am hungry,” when translated), this is a subordinative conjunction, because going to the pizzeria depends on the fact that I am hungry (in this case, it’s the cause).

Now, are you ready to learn Italian conjunctions? We thought so! Without further ado, here’s our Italian conjunctions list!


2. Italian Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts

Let’s start with some basic Italian conjunctions: those that correlate similar thoughts.

E: This is the very first conjunction you’ll learn when you start studying Italian. E means “and,” and it’s impossible to do without because you use it to link two or more words in a sentence:

“I eat bread and cheese.” (Mangio pane e formaggio.)

It can also link two sentences/verbs:

“I went to the movies and I saw a nice Italian film.” (Sono andato al cinema e ho visto un bel film italiano.)

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Pane e formaggio. (“Bread and cheese.”): it also means two people that really get along!

Whenever you write in Italian, pay attention to the difference between e to connect parts of your phrases and the third person verb è (it is) that needs the accent. This is a very common mistake that many young Italian students make, and nonetheless it’s a red pen mistake! To help you remember, here’s a little filastrocca (nursery rhyme):

E senza accento lega,
È con accento spiega.

E with no accent binds,
È with an accent explains.”

Take a look at this Italian conjunctions chart to see how other common and useful correlative Italian conjunctions work:

Italian Conjunction English Equivalent
anche also Vado al cinema e viene anche Marco. “I go to the movies, and Marco will also go.”
inoltre besides Oggi non esco, inoltre piove. “I won’t go out today, besides it rains.”
nor Non so ballare cantare. “I can neither dance nor sing.”
o/oppure (synonyms) or Vuoi la torta o/oppure il gelato? “Do you want ice cream or cake?”
nemmeno
neanche
neppure
(synonyms)
not even Non esco nemmeno/neppure/neanche per un minuto. “I won’t go out, not even for a minute.”
nemmeno
neanche
neppure
(synonyms)
neither Non esci? Nemmeno/neanche/neppure io! “You don’t want to go out?
Neither do I!”


3. Italian Conjunctions to Express Condition

Se non piove, vado al mare. (If it doesn’t rain, I’ll go to the beach.)

This is a very common sentence structure that you’ll often need when you want to talk about a hypothetical situation. To do so, you’ll need to use another one of the most common Italian conjunctions, se (if), which is used to introduce a hypothetical sentence.

What does “hypothetical” mean? Simply that you’re stating a doubt, or a possibility (either realistic or impossible) that could occur. The difference between being realistic or not is actually very important in Italian, since what tenses you’ll use in your sentence depend on this.

Woman Thinking
Ipoteticamente, se fossi italiana userei sempre il congiuntivo! (Hypothetically, if I were Italian I would use the subjunctive all the time!)

Look at the example in the table to see the difference. Do you want to know more about Italian verbs and tenses?

Italian Hypothetical Phrase English Equivalent Situation What tenses?
Se non piove, vado al mare. If it doesn’t rain, I’ll go to the beach.” Very realistic possibility Present - Present
Se fossi un pesce vivrei nel mare. If I were a fish, I would live in the sea.” Highly improbable Past Subjunctive - Conditional


4. Italian Conjunctions to Express Cause

Oggi vado al mare perché c’è il sole (Today I go to the beach since it is sunny.)

Perché (since; because) is one of the most useful Italian conjunctions to know and use, because it explains the reason or the cause behind some action.

Other conjunctions to express cause are poiché, siccome, and visto che. They are synonyms of perché and also mean “since.” Notice how, unlike perché, they can be at the beginning of a sentence.

  • Poiché non mi chiami, vado da sola. (Since you didn’t call me, I’ll go by myself.)
  • Siccome piove, non vado al mare. (Since it’s raining, I won’t go to the beach.)
  • Visto che sei italiano, devi sapere fare la pizza! (Since you’re Italian, you must know how to make pizza!)

Man Sleeping Next to Pizza Boxes

Sono Italiano ma non so fare la pizza! La mangio solamente… (I’m Italian, but I can’t make pizza. I only eat it… )

Another difference is that perché is also used to ask a question: Perché non vai al mare? (Why don’t you go to the beach?).

So you see that while in English there are two separate words for it (why and because), depending on whether it’s a question or an answer/explanation, in Italian, they’re the same word: perché. And don’t forget to put the acute accent on the é at the end of perché!

Perché? Perché sì! (Why? Just because!)


5. Italian Conjunctions to Express Opposition

Sentence Patterns

These conjunctions in Italian are the perfect tool when you want to make an excuse for some action. So obviously, they’re very useful to help you politely decline an invitation, an opinion you don’t agree with, or a second helping of lasagna from your friend’s grandma…

The most common conjunctions to express opposition are ma or però (both mean “but” when translated):

  • Mi piacerebbe andare al mare, ma oggi devo studiare. (I would love to go to the beach, but today I have to study.)
  • Capisco il tuo punto di vista, però non sono d’accordo. (I understand your point of view, but I don’t agree.)
  • La lasagna è buonissima, ma sono proprio sazio! (The lasagna is fantastic, but I am really full!)


6. Italian Conjunctions to Express Purpose

Improve Listening Part 2

Affinché, così, and perché all mean “so that.”

Whenever you want to express the purpose of an action that you stated in the main sentence, use conjunctions such as per, affinché, cosí, or perché, which all mean “so that.” For most of these, you need to pay extra attention because they require the use of the congiuntivo (the subjunctive tense).

  • Ti chiamo perché tu capisca la situazione. (I’m calling you so that you understand the situation.)
  • Scrivo l’esercizio affinché tu possa correggerlo. (I’ll write down the exercise so that you can correct it.)
  • Lo spiego di nuovo cosí che voi comprendiate. (I’ll explain it again so that you’ll all understand.)

When the two sentences (main and subordinate) have the same subject, you can use the simpler conjunction per without the subjunctive. I bet you loved that…!

Ti chiamo (io) per spiegarti (io) la situazione. (I call you to explain the situation.)

If you want to know more about this type of sentence, check out this lesson on our website.


7. Italian Conjunctions to Express Time

Quando? and Per quanto tempo? mean “When?” and “For how long?” respectively. Whenever you need to answer those questions, you’ll be using conjunctions to express time.

Hourglass

Guardo la clessidra mentre il tempo passa (I watch the hourglass, while time goes by).

The most common of Italian conjunction words for this is definitely quando (when). And you must have heard the old and very famous Italian song ‘60 Quando, Quando, Quando by Tony Renis. Can you sing along?

  • Mentre (While)
    Non parlare mentre mangi. (Don’t talk while you eat.)
  • Quando (When)
    Esco sempre quando nevica. (I always go out when it’s snowing.)
  • Appena/Non appena (As soon as)
    Ti chiamo (non) appena ho finito. (I’ll call you as soon as I’m done.)
    Notice how appena/non appena have exactly the same meaning.
  • Prima di/che (Before)
    Bevo un bicchiere d’acqua prima di dormire. (I drink a glass of water before I go to sleep.)
    Ti voglio parlare prima che tu esca. (I want to talk to you before you leave.)
  • Dopo di/che (After)
    Esco solo dopo avere finito i compiti. (I only go out after I finish my homework.)
    Esco solo dopo che hai finito i compiti. (I only go out after you finish your homework.)


8. Italian Conjunctions to Explain

How many times have you said something in Italian and then realized your idea wasn’t clear enough? In that case, these conjunctions to explain will come in quite handy! The most common in Italian are cioè (that is) and infatti (in fact).

  • Mi piace l’entomologia, cioè lo studio degli insetti. “I like entomology, that is the study of insects.)
  • Ha nevicato tutta la notte, infatti stamattina fuori è tutto bianco! (It snowed all night, in fact this morning it was all white outside!)

Have you noticed how much young Italians say cioè (that is)? Since the 70s, it’s become very common in spoken Italian as a way to take time to think about what you want to say. This is similar to “well…” in English at the start of a sentence. Some younger kids use it all the time! In fact, Cioè has even become the name of a very famous Italian teen magazine!

Cioè… non ho capito la domanda. (Well… I didn’t get the question.)

You might have also noticed how often Italians answer a question with infatti (in fact). In this case, it’s not used to explain the previous sentence, but simply to answer a question. It’s a way to reinforce your (yes), as in “Yes, absolutely/That’s right!”

          - C’é un bel sole, non ho voglia di stare a casa!
          - Infatti!

          - “It’s nice and sunny, I don’t feel like staying home.”
          - “That’s right!”

Group of Friends

Cioè… Allora… Quindi… (That is… So…). You’ll hear these words a lot from young Italians!


9. Italian Conjunctions to Express a Conclusion

And finally, to conclude, what could be more appropriate than talking about conjunctions to express a conclusion? So here we go. The most common Italian conjunctions to express a conclusion are allora (then), quindi (so), and dunque (therefore).

  • Non vuoi andare al cinema, allora cosa vuoi fare? (You don’t want to go to the movies, then what do you want to do?)
  • Sono tornata a casa tardi, quindi mia madre si è preoccupata. (I came home late, so my mom got worried.)
  • Voglio imparare l’Italiano, dunque studio con ItalianPod101.com! (I want to learn Italian, therefore I study with ItalianPod101.com!)

Even though these conjunctions serve mainly to conclude a sentence, you’ll often hear Italians start their sentences with them. In this case, they have the same function as cioè… (that is). They merely earn you some time while you think of what you’re about to say.


10. ItalianPod101: Your Guide to Italian Grammar & Culture

You’ll have lots of fun playing with Italian conjunctions because they’re the glue that allows you to bring your Italian conversation and writing to the next level. In Italian grammar, conjunctions really are that essential! So, try and use these conjunctions as much as possible, and keep having fun with ItalianPod101.com.

Which of these conjunctions do you plan on putting to use soon? Are there any you’re struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

Until next time, keep practicing, because your hard work is going to pay off and you’ll be speaking Italian like a native before you know it!

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Everything You Should Know about Italian Customs and Etiquette

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Every culture in the world have their own customs and etiquette regarding the most important aspects of social life: from dining to celebrations, from greetings to traveling, and so on. For someone coming from a different culture, they can be hard to understand and adopt, but they’re indeed an important element in communicating with the local population and learning their culture.

In order to help you with this, ItalianPod101 has written a guide to the Italian customs and etiquette. With our Italian etiquette tips under your belt, you have no reason to be nervous when an Italian friend invites you to dinner or when you’re going to travel to Italy for business reasons. Everyone will remember you as the educated, nice foreigner who surprised them by perfectly knowing the Italian customs. For tourists, knowing even a small bit of Italian etiquette can go a long way!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Talk about Etiquette in Italian
  2. Italian Dining Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts for Dining in Italy
  3. The Do’s and Don’ts for Sightseeing
  4. The Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings
  5. The Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting a House in Italy
  6. The Do’s and Don’ts When Riding Public Means of Transportation
  7. The Do’s and Don’ts for Business
  8. The Do’s and Don’ts for Celebrations
  9. Learn Everything about Italian Culture and Customs with ItalianPod101

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Italian


1. How to Talk about Etiquette in Italian

Bad Phrases

First of all, a super-short language lesson. Let’s say, for example, that you find yourself in a new situation and you’d like to know the Italian culture customs regarding the circumstance. You’d like to ask an Italian friend or colleague, but how? What are the verbs and sentences to talk about etiquette in Italian? How do you know about proper Italian etiquette for your current situation?

1- Dovere

When talking about customs and etiquette, you usually use the modal verb dovere and/or the imperative form. Dovere means “to have to,” and can also mean “should” and “must.” Let’s see a couple of examples:

Example: Quando ti presenti a qualcuno, devi stringergli la mano.
Translation: “When you introduce yourself to someone, you should shake their hands.”

Example: Quando saluti una persona giovane, devi dire ‘ciao.’
Translation: “When you say hello to a young person, you should say ‘ciao.’

2- The Imperative Verb

ItalianPod101 has prepared a couple of great lessons on the affirmative imperative and the negative imperative.You can check them out to know everything about this form. But for the purpose of this article, here’s a couple of examples regarding Italian etiquette:

Example: Mangia con la bocca chiusa.
Translation: “Eat with a closed mouth.”

Example: Non toglierti le scarpe quando entri in una casa.
Translation: “Don’t take your shoes off when you go into a house.”


2. Italian Dining Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts for Dining in Italy

Here’s some Italian etiquette for tourists willing to explore the universe of Italian food and wine. The most important rules of Italian dining etiquette are:

  • Wait for everyone to be served before starting to eat: In some cultures, eating together is more about sitting at a table together than it is about actually consuming the food. The Italian culture is not one of them. Before starting to eat, make sure that everyone is served and ready to start. Not waiting for everyone to start at the same time is considered very rude.
  • Always say Buon appetito!: This is another key rule of Italian dining etiquette. Before starting to eat, you should always say Buon appetito! to your tablemates. Literally, this expression means “Good appetite,” but it really means, in context, “Enjoy your meal.”
  • Always serve your tablemates before yourself: When helping yourself with food or wine, always start with the others at your table and serve yourself last. Don’t worry; you don’t need to serve thirty people if you’re at a big dinner, just focus on serving the guests next to you. Kindness and generosity are highly appreciated at Italian tables.
  • Make a toast before starting to drink alcohol: Like the Buon appetito! is mandatory before starting to eat, so is a toast before starting to drink. Raise your glass and say Salute! or Cin cin!, then wait for your guests to join the toast.
  • Don’t talk with your mouth full: Italians really don’t like to see how the food looks in your mouth.
  • Don’t burp: In some countries, for example in India, burping is a sign of satisfaction and satiety. But in Italy, it’s unacceptable. Basically, you should avoid every loud sound—slurping is another good example.
  • When eating in the streets, beware of municipal rules: This isn’t properly about etiquette, but more about local laws. Given the huge number of tourists and the current boom of street food, some Italian municipalities have forbidden eating on the street. You should ask your host or tourist office about this to avoid expensive fines.
  • You’re allowed to use your bread to clean the plate as long as you’re NOT holding the bread with your hands! Make sure to cut the bread into bite-sized pieces, and to hold it with your fork to clean the plate. That’s a delicious rule.

Dining


3. The Do’s and Don’ts for Sightseeing

Thank You

Some tourists don’t really know how to behave when visiting a foreign country. And as Italy is a very popular destination, this becomes clear. Follow this list of Italian etiquette do’s and don’ts for tourists to be the visitor every Italian likes. Also note that specific Italian culture customs come into play here.

  • Talk with a low voice in churches and other holy places: Holy places are usually very quiet in Italy, and everyone visiting them is requested to respect this silence. You’re allowed to talk, but only with a low voice.
  • Turn your mobile phone off or on silent in churches and other holy places: People that don’t do this are considered very disrespectful.
  • Don’t go where people are praying: People who are praying need calmness and respect. Don’t go next to them, and be quiet when you pass near them. This includes the “clicks” of your camera or cell phone. Some churches, especially the most-visited ones, have an area only for prayers. Don’t go there.
  • Don’t point to people: Italians don’t like people pointing to them with their fingers. It makes them feel like animals at a zoo.
  • Ask for permission before photographing someone: For the same reason, you should always ask their permission before taking a photo of someone.
  • Be sensible with selfies: Selfies are a fun habit but also a curse of the current era, because they make us behave stupidly sometimes. We think about the people that will look at our photo on social media, and not about those around us. So, be sensible. Before taking a selfie, make sure that you’re not acting disrespectfully. For example, if you’re taking a selfie in front of a monument for the victims of WWII, this is considered disrespectful.

Sign


4. The Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings

We’ve already written a super interesting guide about greetings in Italy, but here are a few Italian etiquette tips.

  • Smile: Italians communicate a lot with their facial expressions and body language, and have a really hard time with people who don’t. If you don’t smile to someone when greeting or introducing yourself to them, they’ll think you’re rude or hate them.
  • Shake hands: Shaking hands is a key part of Italian etiquette when you meet someone new or when you greet a business contact. It’s also common among acquaintances, especially among men.
  • Kiss your friends and relatives twice on their cheeks: Italians do kiss, a lot. Not as much as the French do, but almost. You should kiss your friends and relatives twice on their cheeks when saying hello and goodbye. All of them. Yes, it’s a lot of kissing and they love it.
  • Don’t be too formal: Italians tend to be warmer in their manners than many other populations, and generally don’t like formalities too much. Just try to adapt to the level of formality they use toward you.


5. The Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting a House in Italy

Hygiene

Here are Italian etiquette rules for being a good guest in an Italian house. These simple tips for etiquette in Italy for tourists can go a long way toward impressing your host and leaving a good impression on potential friends.

  • Don’t take your shoes off: In many parts of the world, you have to take your shoes off to show your respect in someone else’s house. In Italy, it’s the opposite. So, if you’re not asked to, don’t ever take your shoes off.
  • Don’t wander around alone: Moving freely around someone else’s home is considered rude and inappropriate.
  • Accept something they offer: Leaving a house without having a coffee, a piece of cake, or even just a glass of water might disappoint your host. Let them welcome you.

Etiquette


6. The Do’s and Don’ts When Riding Public Means of Transportation

Busses and trains are often crowded and stressful, which is why you should be super kind when riding them. These are the basic rules of etiquette in Italy for tourists using public transportation:

  • Give your seat to old people, the disabled, pregnant women, and children.
  • Don’t speak too loud, especially on the phone, and don’t listen to music without headphones.
  • Say Permesso when you need to pass: This is the magic word that shows kindness to those traveling with you, like “excuse me” in English.


7. The Do’s and Don’ts for Business

Business Phrases

Knowing the Italian etiquette is especially crucial when doing business with Italians. Here’s some good advice when it comes to Italian customs in business.

  • Don’t talk about money right away: Yes, it’s weird, but money is a delicate issue for Italians. Don’t forget that for many centuries, the Church called it “the devil’s poo,” and even in today’s more secular century, there’s still something dirty about it. Don’t start talking about it at the beginning of a conversation, especially if it’s a large amount. It’s better to spend a few minutes talking about other aspects of the business before discussing the financial side.
  • Appreciate other people’s work: Be sure to show appreciation toward other people’s work, even if you won’t close any deal. You’ll leave a good impression and be able to build a good reputation.
  • Shake hands: After you’ve reached a business deal, shake hands.

Doing


8. The Do’s and Don’ts for Celebrations

What if you’re invited to a wedding or, unfortunately, you have to attend a funeral? Check out our advice here.

  • Don’t dress in bright colors at a funeral: Instead, dress soberly, using dark colors.
  • Say Condoglianze to offer condolences.
  • Don’t eat at a funeral: In Italy, mourning isn’t considered an occasion to eat together. Instead, eating at funerals is almost a taboo. People at funerals just gather together and remember the deceased.
  • Say Congratulazioni to offer congratulations: For example, you can say this at a wedding, a baptism, a graduation, etc.


9. Learn Everything about Italian Culture and Customs with ItalianPod101

What do you think about Italian customs and etiquette? Does your country have similar expectations? Let us know in the comments!

ItalianPod101 isn’t simply a place to learn the Italian language. It’s also a hub of information covering Italian culture and customs from many different points of view. Care to know more about how friendship works in Italy? You got it! Or do you want to move there to work? We got you covered!

And with our apps and tools, you’ll learn faster and in a fun, entertaining way, like you’ve never experienced before! Let us be your ladder to success as you master the Italian language!

Still don’t feel like you know everything you need about Italian etiquette and customs? Check out our in-depth articles and guides, like the ones we linked to throughout this article.

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Italian Dates: Days of the Week in Italian and Much More

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Do you need to plan a date with an Italian friend? Or do you simply need to confirm the day of your next Italian lesson? Maybe you’re reading an important letter or document, but don’t know how to read dates in Italian. You’ll need to be able to talk about time and dates in Italian to communicate on a daily basis.

Days, weeks, months, years. They go so fast…but don’t worry! You’ll learn how to say the days of the week in Italian, the months of the year, and all the other tricks of the Italian calendar with this simple guide on how to talk about dates in Italian. You’ll be saying dates in Italian and making appointments before you know it!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Write and Read Dates in Italian
  2. How to Say the Years in Italian
  3. How to Say the Months in Italian
  4. How to Say the Days
  5. How to Say the Days of the Week
  6. What Would You Say to Fix the Date of an Appointment?
  7. Must-Know Phrases to Talk about Dates
  8. Italian Dates You Should Know
  9. You Don’t Need to Study Einstein…
  10. Conclusion: How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Master Italian

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1. How to Write and Read Dates in Italian

Numbers

The first step is learning how to write dates in Italian.

Dates in Italian follow the same order that they do in all European countries: giorno-mese-anno (or “day-month-year” in English). In other words, you start with the day, then the month, and you put the year at the end. So, if you’re writing dates in Italian in a letter or filling out a form on February 18, dates in Italian format will look like this:

18/02/2019.

If, instead of writing, you need to know how to say dates in Italian, you read it by adding the article: Oggi è il 18 febbraio 2019 (duemila diciannove) which translates to “Today is the 18th of February, 2019.”

Knowing how to say months and dates in Italian comes in handy when you’re asked your date of birth. Do you know how to say that?

          Sono nato/a il 3 maggio del 1983.
          ”I was born May 3, 1983.”

Another way of saying it, of course, would be:

          Il mio compleanno è il 3 maggio.
          ”My birthday is May 3.”

Once your birthday comes around, be ready to receive Tanti auguri! from your friends (literally “Many wishes” in English) or Buon compleanno! (or “Happy birthday!” in English).

Old Women Celebrating

Tanti auguri, nonna! (Happy birthday, granma!)


2. How to Say the Years in Italian

The next important step in learning how to express dates in Italian is the years. Talking about the years in Italian can be a bit challenging as they’re very big numbers. These are the basics:

In Italian, you have to read the thousands first (1000 = mille), then the hundreds (900 = novecento) and finally tens and units (99 = novantanove).

Or, for a more recent date: duemila diciannove (2019). In this case, there are no hundreds, so we skip directly to the tens and units.

Do you want to know more (big and small) about numbers? Check out this comprehensive article!


3. How to Say the Months in Italian

Months

To help you out with your agenda and your birthday schedule, here’s a list of all Italian months. As you can see, the names of Italian months aren’t too different from the English ones.

I mesi in Italiano Months in English
gennaio January
febbraio February
marzo March
aprile April
maggio May
giugno June
luglio July
agosto August
settembre September
ottobre October
novembre November
dicembre December

Notice how the names of the months in Italian don’t need to be capitalized, unless they’re at the beginning of a sentence. As in:

  • Dicembre è un mese freddo, mentre agosto è un mese caldo.
    “December is a cold month, while August is a hot month.”

You might need to practice the pronunciation of some of the Italian months. Giugno (June) and luglio (July) are the two most difficult ones, as they contain two digraphs that you find only in Italian: gl and gn. You can practice those the next time you plan a summer trip to the Italian coastline, as those are the perfect months to enjoy the beaches!

Friends Burying Someone in Sand at the Beach

Una bella giornata di giugno al mare (A nice June day at the beach)

And if you’re writing down the months in Italian, don’t forget the doppie, meaning “double consonants,” in gennaio, febbraio, maggio, settembre, and ottobre (January, February, May, September, and October). (link to pronunciation)

Maybe it won’t be this year, but every four years something very special happens: we have an anno bisestile (or “a leap year” in English). This is when February has 29 days instead of 28.


4. How to Say the Days

Weekdays

In Italian, when we say the days of the month, we always use the cardinal number, preceded by the correct masculine, singular, definite article. For example:

  • Oggi è il 18 (diciotto) febbraio.
    “Today is February 18.”

The only exception is the first day of the month, when we can also use the ordinal number for “one.”

  • Il primo maggio è festa. or L’uno maggio è festa.
    “May first is a holiday.”

Notice how you can say either il primo giugno or il primo di giugno (both meaning “June 1″ in English).

All other dates of the month in Italian follow the general rule that they’re written and pronounced as cardinal numbers. So, here they go:

l’uno (il primo)           1
il due           2
il tre           3
il quattro           4
il cinque           5
il sei           6
il sette           7
l’otto           8
il nove           9
il dieci           10
l’undici           11
il dodici           12
il tredici           13
il quattordici           14
il quindici           15
il sedici           16
il diciassette           17
il diciotto           18
il diciannove           19
il venti           20
il ventuno           21
il ventidue           22
il ventitré           23
il ventiquattro           24
il venticinque           25
il ventisei           26
il ventisette           27
il ventotto           28
il ventinove           29
il trenta           30
il trentuno           31

If you’re not sure how many days are in a specific month, here’s a traditional Italian nursery rhyme that you can learn to help you memorize the days of every month.

Calendar with Flipping Pages

Trenta giorni ha novembre
con april, giugno e settembre.
Di ventotto ce n’è uno,
tutti gli altri ne han trentuno.

“Thirty days has November
With April, June, and September.
Twenty-eight there is just one,
All the others have thirty-one.”

Do you want to try it?


5. How to Say the Days of the Week

Now that you have a good idea of how to say the dates in Italian, you should know how to talk about the days of the week in Italian. Like the names of the months, these aren’t capitalized. Here’s a list of the days of the week in Italian:

lunedì           Monday
martedì           Tuesday
mercoledì           Wednesday
giovedì           Thursday
venerdì           Friday
sabato           Saturday
domenica           Sunday

Don’t forget the accent on the final ì of the first five days of the week. The ending - means “day” (from the Latin word for “day,” dies), and you can still find it in poetry or in certain words such as buondì or mezzodì, instead of buongiorno (good morning) or mezzogiorno (noon).

Monday through Friday are giorni lavorativi (or “weekdays” in English) because they’re the days of the week “when people go to work.” Remember that like all the other Italian words that end with an accent, they’re invariable, meaning that they don’t change in the plural. However, sabato and domenica, which are giorni feriali, meaning “weekends,” can have regular plurals (sabati, domeniche).

For example:

  • Tutti i sabati e tutte le domeniche dormo fino a tardi.
    “All Saturdays and Sundays I sleep late.”

The Moon

Lunedì è il giorno della luna. (Monday is the day of the moon.)

Like all romance languages, which are the languages derived from Latin, the names of the days of the week in Italian originate from the names of the planets, which in turn come from the names of the ancient gods. This was a system devised by the Greeks and then perfected by the Romans. The good news is that once you learn the days of the week in Italian, you’ll easily master the skies too:

Day of the Week           Planet/God           English equivalent
Lunedì           Luna           Moon
Martedì           Marte           Mars
Mercoledì           Mercurio           Mercury
Giovedì           Giove           Jupiter
Venerdì           Venere           Venus

Sabato (Saturday) and domenica (Sunday) have a different religious origin, as sabato comes from the Hebrew Sabbath—the day of rest—and domenica means “Day of the Lord.”


6. What Would You Say to Fix the Date of an Appointment?

Now that you’ve mastered how to say the dates, the days, the months, and the years in Italian, it’s time to make some plans! Nothing is more fun than meeting with new and old friends, and organizing a night out or a weekend away.

Conersation with Friends

Ci vediamo sabato per un caffè? (Shall we meet on Saturday for a coffee?)

Here are some simple phrases to start doing just that.

Cosa fai il primo marzo?  ”What are you doing on March first?”
Hai programmi per domenica? “Do you have plans for Sunday?”
Sei libero/a questo fine settimana? “Are you free this weekend?”
Ci vediamo il dodici alle tre. “Let’s meet on the 12th at three.”


7. Must-Know Phrases to Talk about Dates

If you’re traveling or are on vacation, it’s very easy to lose track of the time. So it’s important to know how to ask “What day is today?” in Italian. There are actually two different ways to tell today’s date:

Oggi è il 25.
Oggi ne abbiamo 25.

Both sentences mean “Today’s the 25th.”

If you want to ask “What day is today?” you can either ask Che giorno è oggi? or Quanti ne abbiamo oggi? But be aware that if you ask the first question, you might be answered: è martedì or è il 15 (meaning “It’s Tuesday,” or “It’s the 15th,” respectively). If you ask the second question, the answer will be more precise, and you’ll be told the exact day of the month: il 15 (meaning “It’s the 15th” in English).

And do you know what ne stands for in the sentence Quanti ne abbiamo? It substitutes “of/about + this, these, that, those,” and refers to the number of days that have passed in a month.

Other useful phrases to ask about dates in Italian are:

Quando/Che giorno inizia il corso? “When/What day does the course start?”
Quando/Che giorno finisce il corso? “When/What day does the course end?”
Di che giorno cade Pasqua? “What day is Easter?”
(Literally: “In what day does Easter fall?” translated)

And if you want to know about somebody’s birthday, there are three different ways of asking “When is your birthday?”:

Quand’è il tuo compleanno?
Quando fai il compleanno?
Quando compi gli anni?


8. Italian Dates You Should Know

A Christmas Tree

Natale (Christmas)

The most important (and best) Italian holidays are usually the ones related to family and food. So you don’t want to miss the opportunity to experience this next time you travel to Italy. To help you schedule your next trip, here are the dates you should always keep in mind:

  • Quest’anno Pasqua cade il 15 aprile.
    “This year, Easter is April 15th.”
  • Pasquetta, il lunedì dopo Pasqua, è un giorno di festa in Italia.
    “Pasquetta, the Monday after Easter, is a holiday in Italy.”
  • Il Venerdì Santo si mangiano pesce e verdure.
    “On Good Friday, you eat fish and vegetables.”
  • Carnevale è sempre 40 giorni prima di Pasqua.
    “Carnival is always 40 days before Easter.”
  • Natale è il 25 dicembre.
    “Christmas is on December 25th.”

And to underline the importance of family gatherings for Christmas, Italians have created this popular saying: Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi. This means: “Christmas with your family, Easter with whoever you want.”

There are also many other local holidays that are celebrated only in specific cities or villages. Usually, these are holidays celebrating the patron saint that protects the city.


9. You Don’t Need to Study Einstein…

… to know that time is relative to your point of view and to a particular moment in time. Talking about time often has to do with something that happened before or that will happen after a specific time.

So, especially when you need to set up an appointment, make plans, or talk about things that happened in the past, you need to learn a few more words about time.

Check out this sequence:

-2 -1 0 +1 +2
l’altro ieri ieri oggi domani dopodomani
the day before yesterday yesterday today tomorrow the day after tomorrow

With these words, you’ll be able to express concepts up to two days before or after today.

But what if you want to go beyond that? In this case, you’ll have to use fa (ago) or fra/tra (in). By the way, notice how tra and fra are absolutely synonyms!

  • Tre giorni fa. “Three days ago.”
  • Fra tre giorni. “In three days.”

The same works for weeks, months, years, etc.

  • Sono tornata un mese fa. “I came back one month ago.”
  • Vado in Italia fra due settimane. “I travel to Italy in two weeks.”
  • Dove sarai tra 10 anni? “Where will you be in 10 years?”

Another relative term when we talk about time is la vigilia, which is, in general, the day that precedes an important event, such as a wedding, an important exam, a very big holiday, etc.

  • La vigilia di Natale è il giorno che precede il Natale.
    “Christmas Eve is the night before Christmas.”
  • Dormo sempre poco alla vigilia degli esami.
    “I always get little sleep the day before the exams.”
  • La sposa è scappata alla vigilia delle nozze.
    “The bride ran away the day before the wedding.”


10. Conclusion: How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Master Italian

Cosa fai oggi? (What is your plan today?)

If you plan to improve your Italian and to be able to travel, meet friends, and learn about an extraordinary country and culture, you’re in the right place. Keep improving and having fun with ItalianPod101!

We provide an array of learning tools for Italian learners at every level, from insightful blog posts like this one to free vocabulary lists so you can improve your language knowledge! For additional convenience, be sure to download our mobile apps to learn Italian anywhere, on your own time!

Learning a language isn’t easy, but your hard work and determination, combined with our constant support, ensures that you can master Italian before you know it!

Before you go, let’s practice. How are dates written in Italian? Write today’s date in the comments section. ;)
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The Essential Italian Phrases for Travel

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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

Preparing for Travel

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

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

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


2. Do Italians Speak English?

Airplane Phrases

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

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

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

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


3. The Essential Italian Phrases for Travel

Survival Phrases

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

1- Useful Italian Travel Phrases for Good Manners

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

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

2- Essential Italian Travel Phrases for Transportation

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

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

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

Italian

3- Italian Phrases for Accomodation

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

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

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

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

4- Italian Phrases for Visiting

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

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

5- Italian Phrases for Shopping

Basic Questions

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

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

6- Italian Phrases for Emergencies

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

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

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

Check out these Italian phrases for tourists experiencing an emergency:

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

Italian

7- Italian Phrases for the Restaurant

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Your Guide to Italian Numbers

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Numbers are one of the first things we learn when we’re kids. They seem really simple, right? But while numbers are written the same way in every (Western) language, they’re not only pronounced differently, but also used differently from country to country.

Buying groceries, telling your age, giving your phone number, or letting someone know your home address in Italy. To do any of these basic actions, you’ll need to master Italian numbers. Numbers are everywhere, so you better start practicing them. Don’t forget to check out ItalianPod101.com for a complete lesson on how to master Italian numbers to learn Italian more completely. You can also find complementary info for the numbers in Italian courses.

In the meantime, here’s our numbers in Italian lesson! Learn how to say numbers in Italian and more!

Table of Contents

  1. Italian Basic Numbers: 0-9
  2. Italian Numbers 10-99
  3. Italian Numbers 100-999
  4. Very Big Italian Numbers. From 1000, Up and Beyond…
  5. How to Give Your Phone Number in Italian
  6. Shopping - Saying Prices
  7. Telling Your Age
  8. Talking About the Years
  9. Numbers in Proverbs
  10. Math Operations
  11. Conclusion

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1. Italian Basic Numbers: 0-9

Italian Numbers

Let’s start easy. How do you say and pronounce Italian numbers from zero to nine? Here we’ll show you the basic Italian numbers with English translations.

0 - Zero: “Zero”

The spelling “zero” in Italian is the same as in English, but the sound is quite different because the Italian “Z” has a harder sound, more like the sound ds or ts.

Besides its very important use in math operations, the zero is extremely useful for Italian phone numbers, and we’ll see that in a bit.

It’s also useful in some particular expressions, such as Sei uno zero. Watch out, because this isn’t a very nice thing to say to somebody as it literally means “You are a zero,” meaning that the person is nothing, null, or worthless. There’s even a numeric way to say sei uno zero, can you guess how? (You’ll find the answer at the end of the article.)

Note that this is also the name of an Italian comedy radio program.

1 - Uno: “One”

The peculiarity about uno (“one”) is that it’s also an indefinite article, and as such it’s necessary to follow the agreement F/M and change it into un, uno, una when necessary. The rest of the numbers are just straightforward:

2- Due “Two”
3- Tre “Three”
4- Quattro “Four”
5- Cinque “Five”
6- Sei “Six”
7- Sette “Seven”
8- Otto “Eight”
9- Nove “Nine”

Counting in Italian is Facile (Easy)!


2. Italian Numbers 10-99

The Italian numbers from 10 to 19 can be a little tricky to remember because, in order to compose the number, you need to follow two different patterns. Let’s see how these Italian numbers in writing look.

From 10 to 16 the pattern is number + dici, as follows:

11- Undici (uno+dici) “Eleven”
12- Dodici (due+dici) “Twelve”
13- Tredici (tre+dici) “Thirteen”
14- Quattordici (quattro+dici) “Fourteen”
15- Quindici (cinque+dici) “Fifteen”
16- Sedici (sei+dici) “Sixteen”

From 17 to 19 the pattern inverts, and it’s dici + number, as follows:

17- Diciassette (dici+sette) “Seventeen”
18- Diciotto (dici+otto) “Eighteen”
19- Diciannove (dici+nove) “Nineteen”

But there’s no need to worry, because from 20 on, it becomes much simpler. You just put the numbers together with the tens. No spaces and no hyphens.

2- Venti “Twenty”
3- Trenta “Thirty”
4- Quaranta “Forty”
5- Cinquanta “Fifty”
6- Sessanta “Sixty”
7- Settanta “Seventy”
8- Ottanta “Eighty”
9- Novanta “Ninety”

So, for example, for the Italian number 64, we write sessantaquattro (“sixty-four”), 99 is novantanove (“ninety-nine”), etc.

There are just two small rules to keep in mind: 1.) Drop the last vowel in the tens when pairing it with uno (“one”) and otto (“eight”). For example, quarantuno (“forty-one”) and quarantotto (“forty-eight”); 2.) Put an acute accent on the last syllable when pairing any tens with tre (“three”). For example, quarantatré (“forty-three”).

Note that from 40 on, there’s a pattern and the tens always end in -anta. For this reason, when talking about age, it’s common in Italy to say that somebody has “entered, passed, or is in the -anta,” meaning that they’ve passed 40 years of age and have entered the years of maturity. ;)
Oggi entro negli -anta. “Today I am forty.”


3. Italian Numbers 100-999

And finally, we get to 100, cento (“one-hundred”). Note how “one-hundred” is just cento, without the need of un in front. While starting from 200, you just put the number before, and leave cento unvaried. For example:

200- duecento “two-hundred”
300- trecento “three-hundred”
423- trecentoventitrè “three-hundred twenty-three”
518- cinquecentodiciotto “five-hundred and eighteen”

And so on…

Perhaps the most widely known Italian number is 500, because of the legendary car Cinquecento (“Five hundred”). Everybody knows the little rounded car made by FIAT in the ‘60s… But do you actually know why it’s called 500? Two reasons: It had around 500cc of engine capacity and it cost just around 500.000 lire (that is, the Italian currency before the Euro).


4. Very Big Italian Numbers. From 1000, Up and Beyond…

Similar to cento (“one-hundred”) is the behavior of 1000. In Italian, you don’t need to add “one” in front of it. It’s simply mille (“one-thousand”). But note how from 2000 upward, mille becomes mila. This is how it works:

1000- mille “one-thousand”
2000- duemila “two-thousand”
3000- tremila “three-thousand”
4006- quattromila e sei “four-thousand and six”
50.000- cinquanta mila “fifty-thousand”
200.000- duecento mila “two-hundred thousand”

And finally you have the very big numbers:
1.000.000- un milione “one-million”
2.000.000 due milioni “two-millions”
1.000.000.000 un miliardo “one-billion”
3.000.000.000 tre miliardi “three-billions”

And so on…

By now it should be fairly easy to know how to say and write Italian numbers, but there are still a few little differences from English.

For example, while in English for 1100 or 1200 you can say “eleven-hundred” and “twelve-hundred” respectively, in Italian there’s no equivalent for it. Instead, you can only say millecento (“one-thousand one-hundred”) and mille e duecento (“one-thousand and two-hundred”).

Another difference is how Italians say tens, hundreds, and thousands. Here are these Italian numbers in English and Italian.

  • Decine “Tens”
  • Centinaia “Hundreds”
  • Migliaia “Thousands”

C’erano centinaia di persone al Colosseo. “There were hundreds of people at the Colosseum.”


5. How to Give Your Phone Number in Italian

Now that you know the basics of Italian numbers, you can talk to Italians and dive into a few activities that require the use of numbers. For example, exchanging phone numbers. You know, without our phones we are nobody! So you want to be able to give your phone number to Italians and to understand other people’s numbers.

Italians Exchanging Phone Numbers.

If you’re in Italy, you need to learn about prefisso. This could either be the “area code” or the “international dialing code.”

  • Il prefisso dell’Inghilterra è +44. “UK dialing code is +44.”
  • Qual è il prefisso di Roma? 06. “What is Rome’s area code? 06.”

Note that only for landlines you need to put the city area code in front of it. And this area code always starts with 0. If you’re calling a mobile phone anywhere in Italy, you don’t need the area code.


6. Shopping - Saying Prices

One of the pleasures of traveling is that of going shopping to buy souvenirs or food. And if you’re in Italy, you can’t miss the experience of walking around a mercatino, a “little market.” In these neighborhood markets, you find delicious fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and much more! They usually appear once a week, early in the morning, and you should ask around about when and where the mercatino near you is.

And now, are you ready to shop? Here are a few useful phrases:

  • Quanto costa? Quant’è? “What’s the price? How much is it?”
  • Le fragole costano due euro e dieci. “Strawberries cost two euros and ten.”
  • Costa/è/viene… these are all synonyms to say “it costs/it’s…”

If saying the numbers in Italian seems complicated, think about how it was before the Euro substituted the Italian Lira. Prices now are much easier to say because they’re not as large as before. Just imagine that a single coffee used to cost around mille lire (“one thousand lira”)! Can you imagine how much a pizza would cost in Lire? And what about a Ferrari?

Al mercato (“At the market”)


7. Telling Your Age

In Italian, to say your age, you say that you have a certain number of years. So, for example:

Ho 24 anni, literally means that you “have 24 years” and not “I’m 24 years old.” To talk about relative age instead, you say that you have more/less years than someone else. Ho due anni più/meno di te literally means “I have two years more/less than you,” meaning that “you are two years younger/older.”


8. Talking About the Years

During a conversation with Italians, you’ll often have to talk about the years. The year we’re on, the year you or somebody else was born, or the year when some specific event occurred. In Italy, you’ll often find yourself involved in a conversation about history and art. So, learning how to talk about the years will be very handy.

Let’s start with the millennium and the year we’re in.

  • Siamo nel 2018 “We’re in 2018.” Remember that in Italian you pronounce it duemilae diciotto.
  • Era il 2001/Era il duemila e uno. “It was 2001.”

When you want to talk about a decade of the last century in general, you would say gli anni settanta, and you write it this way: gli anni ‘60 (“the sixties”).

  • Amo la musica anni ‘80. “I love eighties music.”
  • Sono nata negli anni ‘60 . “I was born in the sixties.”

Or, if you want to talk about a specific year, let’s say 1984, you can shorten it and just say ‘84, l’ottantaquattro.

  • Ci siamo conosciuti nell’ottantaquattro. “We first met in ‘84.”
  • Il ‘96 è stata un’ottima annata per il vino. “‘96 was a very good year for wine.”

And if you want to go back in time, even more, you’ll need to know how to talk about centuries. For this, you need to review ordinal and Roman numbers as this is used to count centuries. (Italian numbers in letters? Yup!)

Roman Numerals On a Watch

Ordinal Roman Alternative
il ventunesimo secolo XXI “Twenty-first century” 2001-2100
Il ventesimo secolo XX Il Novecento “Twentieth century” 1901-2000
Il diciannovesimo secolo XIX l’Ottocento “Nineteenth century” 1801-1900
Il diciottesimo secolo XVIII Il Settecento “Eighteenth century” 1701-1800
Il diciassettesimo secolo XVII Il Seicento “Seventeenth century” 1601-1700
Il sedicesimo secolo XVI Il Cinquecento “Sixteenth century” 1501-1600
etc…


9. Numbers in Proverbs

Numbers are everywhere in our daily lives and it’s no wonder that they also have a big space in Italian proverbs and common sayings. Here are some of the most common and meaningful:

Sayings with Numbers Literal Meaning Real Meaning
Non c’è due senza tre “There’s no two without three” Good or bad things always come in threes
Dare i numeri “Giving numbers” Being crazy or confused
Costa 4 soldi “It costs 4 coins” Being really cheap
Sparare a zero “Shoot to zero” Insulting or badmouthing somebody
Sudare sette camicie “Sweat seven shirts” To make a tremendous effort


10. Math Operations

And last but definitely not least, you’ll need to practice how to talk about simple math operations in Italian.

+ più 2 più 2 uguale 4 “2 plus 2 equals 4”
- meno 5 meno 2 fa 3 “5 minus 2 equals 3”
x per 3 per 2 uguale 6 “3 times 2 is 6”
: diviso 6 diviso 3 uguale 2 “6 divided by 3 equals 2”

When you’re writing numbers in Italian, there are some other little differences, particularly relative to periods and commas. Italian numbers use the period with thousands and the comma for decimals. For example:

  • 1.000 mille “one-thousand” (in English you would write 1,000)
  • 1,5 uno virgola cinque “one dot five” (in English you would write 1.5)

And now, as promised… here’s the answer on how to say sei uno zero in numbers: 610 (sei [6] uno [1] zero [0]). Clever, right?


11. Conclusion

Have you enjoyed discovering all about Italian numbers? I’m sure that you’re now ready to tackle phone numbers, addresses, prices, and numbers up to a miliardo (”billion”). Hopefully you’ve also learned a little bit about numbers in Italian grammar.

But if you want to keep having fun learning Italian, don’t miss out on all the material available on ItalianPod101.com.

This includes helpful, relevant, and free vocabulary lists, as well as our MyTeacher program, which allows you to have one-on-one guidance as you delve into the Italian language and culture.

You deserve to have the best Italian-learning experience, and ItalianPod101.com has your back!

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How to Say “I’m Sorry” in Italian

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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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Translation:
- “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.

Examples:

  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.

Translation:

  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.

Examples:

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

Translation:

  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.

Examples:

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

Translation:

  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 ItalianPod101.com, 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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How to Say I Love You in Italian - Romantic Word List

Do you often feel lonely and sad? Do you long for romance and are willing to do whatever it takes to meet that special person? Speaking another language could revolutionize your love life! So, why wait? Learning how to say ‘love’ in Italian could be just what you need to find it.

Or perhaps you were lucky, and have found your Italian partner already. Fantastic! Yet, a cross-cultural relationship comes with unique challenges. Learning how to speak your lover’s language will greatly improve your communication and enhance the relationship. At ItalianPod101, our team will teach you all the words, quotes and phrases you need to woo your Italian lover with excellence! Our tutors provide personal assistance, with plenty of extra material available to make Italian dating easy for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date
  2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date
  3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
  4. Italian Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  5. Italian Quotes about Love
  6. Marriage Proposal Lines
  7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
  8. Will Falling in Love Help You Learn Italian Faster?

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1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date

So, you have met your Italian love interest. Congratulations! Who knows where this could take you…?! However, the two of you have just met and you’re not ready to say the Italian word for love just yet. Great, it is better to get to know him/her first. Wow your prospective love by using these Italian date phrases to set up a spectacular first date.

Italian Date Phrases

Would you like to go out to dinner with me?

  • Ti piacerebbe andare a cena con me?

The important question! In most cultures, this phrase indicates: ‘I’m romantically interested in you’. Flirting in Italian is no different, so don’t take your date to Mcdonald’s!

Are you free this weekend?

  • Sei libero questo fine settimana?

This is a preamble to asking your love interest on a date. If you get an immediate ‘Yes’, that’s good news!

Would you like to hang out with me?

  • Vuoi uscire con me?

You like her/him, but you’re not sure if there’s chemistry. Ask them to hang out first to see if a dinner date is next.

What time shall we meet tomorrow?

  • A che ora ci vediamo domani?

Set a time, and be sure to arrive early! Nothing spoils a potential relationship more than a tardy date.

Where shall we meet?

  • Dove ci vediamo?

You can ask this, but also suggest a place.

You look great.

  • Stai benissimo.

A wonderful ice breaker! This phrase will help them relax a bit - they probably took great care to look their best just for you.

You are so cute.

  • Sei così carino.

If the two of you are getting on really well, this is a fun, flirtatious phrase to use.

What do you think of this place?

  • Cosa ne pensi di questo posto?

This another good conversation starter. Show off your Italian language skills!

Can I see you again?

  • Posso vederti ancora?

So the date went really well - don’t waste time! Make sure you will see each other again.

Shall we go somewhere else?

  • Vogliamo andare da qualche altra parte?

If the place you meet at is not great, you can suggest going elsewhere. It is also a good question to follow the previous one. Variety is the spice of life!

I know a good place.

  • Conosco un bel posto.

Use this with the previous question. However, don’t say if you don’t know a good place!

I will drive you home.

  • Ti riaccompagnerò in macchina a casa.

If your date doesn’t have transport, this is a polite, considerate offer. However, don’t be offended if she/he turns you down on the first date. Especially a woman might not feel comfortable letting you drive her home when the two of you are still basically strangers.

That was a great evening.

  • E’ stata una serata fantastica.

This is a good phrase to end the evening with.

When can I see you again?

  • Quando posso rivederti?

If he/she replied ‘Yes’ to ‘Can I see you again?’, this is the next important question.

I’ll call you.

  • Ti chiamerò.

Say this only if you really mean to do it. In many cultures, this could imply that you’re keeping the proverbial backdoor open.

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2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date

You learned all the Italian phrases to make a date - congratulations! Now you have to decide where to meet, which can be tricky. Discuss these options with your lover to gauge whether you like the same things. Check out romantic date ideas in Italian below!

Date Ideas in Italian

museum

  • museo

If you’re looking for unique date ideas that are fun but won’t break the bank, museums are the perfect spot! You won’t be running out of things to say in the conversations.

candlelit dinner

  • cena a lume di candela

A candlelit dinner is perhaps best to reserve for when the relationship is getting serious. It’s very intimate, and says: “Romance!” It’s a fantastic choice if you’re sure you and your date are in love with each other!

go to the zoo

  • andare allo zoo

This is a good choice for shy lovers who want to get the conversation going. Just make sure your date likes zoos, as some people dislike them. Maybe not for the first date, but this is also a great choice if your lover has children - you’ll win his/her adoration for inviting them along!

go for a long walk

  • andare a fare una lunga passeggiata

Need to talk about serious stuff, or just want to relax with your date? Walking together is soothing, and a habit you can keep up together always! Just make sure it’s a beautiful walk that’s not too strenuous.

go to the opera

  • andare all’opera

This type of date should only be attempted if both of you love the opera. It can be a special treat, followed by a candlelit dinner!

go to the aquarium

  • andare all’acquario

Going to the aquarium is another good idea if you need topics for conversation, or if you need to impress your lover’s kids! Make sure your date doesn’t have a problem with aquariums.

walk on the beach

  • camminare sulla spiaggia

This can be a very romantic stroll, especially at night! The sea is often associated with romance and beauty.

have a picnic

  • fare un picnic

If you and your date need to get more comfortable together, this can be a fantastic date. Spending time in nature is soothing and calms the nerves.

cook a meal together

  • preparare da mangiare insieme

If you want to get an idea of your date’s true character in one go, this is an excellent date! You will quickly see if the two of you can work together in a confined space. If it works, it will be fantastic for the relationship and create a sense of intimacy. If not, you will probably part ways!

have dinner and see a movie

  • cenare e vedere un film

This is traditional date choice works perfectly well. Just make sure you and your date like the same kind of movies!

3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary

Valentine's Day Words in Italian

Expressing your feelings honestly is very important in any relationship all year round. Yet, on Valentine’s Day you really want to shine. Impress your lover this Valentine’s with your excellent vocabulary, and make his/her day! We teach you, in fun, effective ways, the meanings of the words and how to pronounce them. You can also copy the characters and learn how to write ‘I love you’ in Italian - think how impressed your date will be!

4. Italian Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

So, you now have the basic Valentine’s Day vocabulary under your belt. Well done! But, do you know how to say ‘I love you’ in Italian yet? Or perhaps you are still only friends. So, do you know how to say ‘I like you’ or ‘I have a crush on you’ in Italian? No? Don’t worry, here are all the love phrases you need to bowl over your Italian love on this special day!

Valentine's Day Words in Italian

I love you.

  • Ti amo.

Saying ‘I love you’ in Italian carries the same weight as in all languages. Use this only if you’re sure and sincere about your feelings for your partner/friend.

You mean so much to me.

  • Sei così importante per me.

This is a beautiful expression of gratitude that will enhance any relationship! It makes the receiver feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

Will you be my Valentine?

  • Vuoi essere il mio Valentino?

With these words, you are taking your relationship to the next level! Or, if you have been a couple for a while, it shows that you still feel the romance. So, go for it!

You’re so beautiful.

  • Sei così bella.

If you don’t know how to say ‘You’re pretty’ in Italian, this is a good substitute, gentlemen!

I think of you as more than a friend.

  • Penso a te come a più di un amico.

Say this if you are not yet sure that your romantic feelings are reciprocated. It is also a safe go-to if you’re unsure about the Italian dating culture.

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

  • Un centinaio di cuori sarebbero troppo pochi per racchiudere tutto il mio amore per te.

You romantic you…! When your heart overflows with love, this would be the best phrase to use.

Love is just love. It can never be explained.

  • L’amore è solo amore. Non può mai essere spiegato.

If you fell in love unexpectedly or inexplicably, this one’s for you.

You’re so handsome.

  • Sei così bello.

Ladies, this phrase lets your Italian love know how much you appreciate his looks! Don’t be shy to use it; men like compliments too.

I’ve got a crush on you.

  • Ho una cotta per te.

If you like someone, but you’re unsure about starting a relationship, it would be prudent to say this. It simply means that you like someone very, very much and think they’re amazing.

You make me want to be a better man.

  • Mi fai venire voglia di essere un uomo migliore.

Gentlemen, don’t claim this phrase as your own! It hails from the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, but it is sure to make your Italian girlfriend feel very special. Let her know that she inspires you!

Let all that you do be done in love.

  • Lasciate che tutte le vostre cose siano fatte con amore.

We hope.

You are my sunshine, my love.

  • Tu sei il mio sole, il mio amore.

A compliment that lets your lover know they bring a special quality to your life. Really nice!

Words can’t describe my love for you.

  • Le parole non possono descrivere il mio amore per te.

Better say this when you’re feeling serious about the relationship! It means that your feelings are very intense.

We were meant to be together.

  • Siamo fatti per stare insieme.

This is a loving affirmation that shows you see a future together, and that you feel a special bond with your partner.

If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

  • Se stavate pensando a qualcuno durante la lettura, siete sicuramente innamorati.

Here’s something fun to tease your lover with. And hope he/she was thinking of you!

5. Italian Quotes about Love

Italian Love Quotes

You’re a love champ! You and your Italian lover are getting along fantastically, your dates are awesome, your Valentine’s Day together was spectacular, and you’re very much in love. Good for you! Here are some beautiful phrases of endearment in Italian that will remind him/her who is in your thoughts all the time.

6. Marriage Proposal Lines

Italian Marriage Proposal Lines

Wow. Your Italian lover is indeed the love of your life - congratulations! And may only happiness follow the two of you! In most traditions, the man asks the woman to marry; this is also the Italian custom. Here are a few sincere and romantic lines that will help you to ask your lady-love for her hand in marriage.

7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines

Italian Break-Up Lines

Instead of moving towards marriage or a long-term relationship, you find that the spark is not there for you. That is a pity! But even though breaking up is never easy, continuing a bad or unfulfilling relationship would be even harder. Remember to be kind to the person you are going to say goodbye to; respect and sensitivity cost nothing. Here are some phrases to help you break up gently.

  • We need to talk.
    • Dobbiamo parlare.

    This is not really a break-up line, but it is a good conversation opener with a serious tone.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

    • Non sei tu. Sono io.

    As long as you mean it, this can be a kind thing to say. It means that there’s nothing wrong with your Italian lover as a person, but that you need something different from a relationship.

    I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship.

    • È solo che non sono pronto per questo tipo di rapporto.

    Things moved a bit fast and got too intense, too soon? Painful as it is, honesty is often the best way to break up with somebody.

    Let’s just be friends.

    • Restiamo solo amici.

    If the relationship was very intense, and you have sent many ‘i love u’ texts in Italian, this would not be a good breakup line. Feelings need to calm down before you can be friends, if ever. If the relationship has not really developed yet, a friendship would be possible.

    I think we need a break.

    • Penso che abbiamo bisogno di una pausa.

    This is again honest, and to the point. No need to play with someone’s emotions by not letting them know how you feel. However, this could imply that you may fall in love with him/her again after a period of time, so use with discretion.

    You deserve better.

    • Tu meriti di meglio.

    Yes, he/she probably deserves a better relationship if your own feelings have cooled down.

    We should start seeing other people.

    • Dovremmo iniziare a vedere altre persone.

    This is probably the least gentle break-up phrase, so reserve it for a lover that doesn’t get the message!

    I need my space.

    • Ho bisogno del mio spazio.

    When a person is too clingy or demanding, this would be an suitable break-up phrase. It is another good go-to for that lover who doesn’t get the message!

    I think we’re moving too fast.

    • Penso che ci stiamo muovendo troppo velocemente.

    Say this if you want to keep the relationship, but need to slow down its progress a bit. It is also good if you feel things are getting too intense for your liking. However, it is not really a break-up line, so be careful not to mislead.

    I need to focus on my career.

    • Ho bisogno di concentrarmi sulla mia carriera.

    If you feel that you will not be able to give 100% in a relationship due to career demands, this is the phrase to use. It’s also good if you are unwilling to give up your career for a relationship.

    I’m not good enough for you.

    • Io non sono alla tua altezza.

    Say this only if you really believe it, or you’ll end up sounding false. Break-ups are usually hard for the receiving party, so don’t insult him/her with an insincere comment.

    I just don’t love you anymore.

    • È solo che non ti amo più.

    This harsh line is sometimes the best one to use if you are struggling to get through to a stubborn, clingy lover who won’t accept your break up. Use it as a last resort. Then switch your phone off and block their emails!

    We’re just not right for each other.

    • Semplicemente non siamo fatti l’uno per l’altro.

    If this is how you truly feel, you need to say it. Be kind, gentle and polite.

    It’s for the best.

    • È la cosa migliore.

    This phrase is called for if circumstances are difficult and the relationship is not progressing well. Love should enhance one’s life, not burden it!

    We’ve grown apart.

    • Ci siamo allontanati.

    Cross-cultural relationships are often long-distance ones, and it is easy to grow apart over time.

  • 8. Will Falling in Love help you Learn Italian faster?

    Most people will agree that the above statement is a no-brainer - of course it will! Your body will be flooded with feel-good hormones, which are superb motivators for anything. ItalianPod101 is one of the best portals to help help make this a reality, so don’t hesitate to enroll now! Let’s quickly look at the reasons why falling in love will speed up your learning of the Italian language.

    Three Reasons Why Having a Lover will Help you Learn Italian Faster!

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    1- Being in a love relationship with your Italian speaking partner will immerse you in the culture
    ItalianPod101 uses immersive methods and tools to teach you Italian, but having a relationship with a native speaker will be a very valuable addition to your learning experience! You will gain exposure to their world, realtime and vividly, which will make the language come alive even more for you. The experience is likely to expand your world-view, which should motivate you to learn Italian even faster.

    2- Having your Italian romantic partner will mean more opportunity to practice speaking
    Nothing beats continuous practice when learning a new language. Your partner will probably be very willing to assist you in this, as your enhanced Italian language skills will enhance the relationship. Communication is, after all, one of the most important pillars of a good partnership. Also, you will get to impress your lover with the knowledge gained through your studies - a win/win situation!

    3- A supportive Italian lover is likely to make a gentle, patient teacher and study aid!
    With his/her heart filled with love and goodwill for you, your Italian partner is likely to patiently and gently correct your mistakes when you speak. This goes not only for grammar, but also for accent and meaning. With his/her help, you could sound like a native in no time!

    Three Reasons Why ItalianPod101 helps you learn Italian Even Faster when you’re In Love

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    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
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    How to Say Hello in Italian - Guide to Italian Greetings

    How to Say Hello in Italian

    There’s no doubt about it: Italians like to greet. It’s a warm, smiling country, where communicating happiness and hospitality is crucial. To many non-Italians, especially from Northern countries, Italian greetings can appear to be over-the-top or even a bit unpleasant if you have a very strong sense of personal space. Often, you don’t just say hello in Italian, but you hug, kiss, and hold hands, even with people you’ve just met.

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    Body language is, indeed, as important as spoken language, but can be harder to understand and interpret. That’s why we at ItalianPod101 are providing you with a complete guide to Italian greetings, including gestures and body language. If you’re asking yourself, “How do you say hello in Italian?”, you’ll find the answer here for every possible context. And next time you meet your Italian friends, relatives, or even complete strangers, you’ll know exactly how to behave. So, let’s get started so that you can know all about Italian greetings!

    1. Dictionary of Italian Greetings

    How Italians greet each other varies according to the occasion (formal or informal), the age of the person they’re talking to, the time of the day/night, and if they’re just arriving or leaving. Here you have a dictionary of the Italian words and gestures for “hello” and other forms of greeting:

    • Ciao (“Hello,” informal)
    • A presto (“See you soon”)
    • A dopo (“See you later”)
    • Alla prossima (“See you next time”)
    • Buongiorno (“Good morning,” for arrival)
    • Buonasera (“Good evening,” used after four o’clock pm for arrival)
    • Buon pomeriggio (“Good afternoon,” used only until four o’clock pm and mostly for departure)
    • Buona giornata (“Have a nice day,” used only in the morning for departure)
    • Buona serata (“Have a nice evening,” used after four o’clock pm for departure)
    • Buona notte (“Good night,” for departure)
    • Salve (“Hello,” general, for arrival and departure)
    • Arrivederci (“Goodbye,” for departure)
    • Come stai? (“How are you?” informal)
    • Come va? (“How are you?” informal)
    • Come sta? (“How are you?” formal or older person)
    • Piacere di conoscerti (“Nice to meet you,” informal)
    • Piacere di conoscerla (“Nice to meet you,” formal or older person)

    Italian Greetings

    2. An Italian Hello for Every Occasion

    1- How to Say Hello in Italian to a Friend

    Among friends, formalities are banned. Italian casual greetings for friends include hugs, kisses, holding hands, and exchanging nice words. You usually say, “Hello, how are you?” in Italian and ask about a loved person of your friend, such as a girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, son, daughter, etc.

    The Italian “hello” for friends is, of course, Ciao.

    Example:
    A: Ciao! Come stai?
    B: Ciao! Tutto bene, grazie. E tu?
    A: Tutto bene, grazie. E come sta Marta? (friend’s wife)
    B: Sta bene, ti saluta.

    Translation:
    A: “Hello! How are you?”
    B: “Hello! I’m alright, thanks. And you?”
    A: “I’m alright, thanks. And how is Marta?”
    B: “She’s fine, she says hello.”

    Meanwhile, friends do usually kiss twice on the cheeks, or hug. Men friends sometimes only shake hands or pat each other’s backs. In Southern Italy, they kiss more often than in the North.

    When you say goodbye to a friend, you should kiss them twice again—or hug, shake hands, etc.—and then say something like A presto (“See you soon”) or A dopo (“See you later”), or a general Alla prossima (“See you next time”). A simple Ciao is also okay.

    2- How to Say Hello in Italian to an Older Person

    When you talk to an older person, you’re usually expected to use the Lei form. This means that you talk to them using the feminine third-person singular. You won’t use the word Ciao, but you’ll say “Good morning” in Italian, or other terms depending on the time of the day/night. And how do you say “Good morning” in Italian? Buongiorno.

    As you’ve already seen in the dictionary, these more formal kinds of greetings have a form for the arrival and a form for the departure. Let’s have a short overview of the different greetings for older persons:

    • Buongiorno (“Good morning,” for arrival)
    • Buonasera (“Good evening,” used after four o’clock pm for arrival)
    • Buon pomeriggio (“Good afternoon,” used only until four o’clock pm and mostly for departure)
    • Buona giornata (“Have a nice day,” used only in the morning for departure)
    • Buona serata (“Have a nice evening,” used after four o’clock pm for departure)
    • Buona notte (“Good night,” for departure)
    • Salve (“Hello,” general, for arrival and departure)
    • Arrivederci (“Goodbye,” for departure)

    Does it sound complicated? It isn’t, actually. When you don’t know what to say, you can simply use Salve and Arrivederci, and you’ll be polite and correct in any circumstance.

    Regarding body language, you’re expected to kiss an older person in your family, especially women. Sometimes men don’t kiss each other and prefer to shake hands. If you don’t know what to do, just follow their lead.

    Example:
    A: Buongiorno, come sta?
    B: Buongiorno, sto bene, grazie. E lei?
    A: Tutto bene, grazie. In famiglia stanno tutti bene?
    B: Tutti bene. E i suoi?

    Translation:
    A: “Good morning, how are you?”
    B: “Good morning, I’m fine, thanks. And you?”
    A: “I’m fine, thanks. Is everyone in your family fine?”
    B: “They are all fine. And what about yours?”

    3- How to Say Hello in Italian for a Formal Occasion

    Shake Hands

    Italian formal greetings—such as in a business meeting, for example—are similar to those used for older persons, although you should avoid Salve, which is perceived as too familiar. Regarding body language, you should not kiss anyone. Instead, you have to shake hands.

    You should use the person’s title and the Lei form to them, and avoid asking “How are you?” which is too direct. Instead, you can ask something like “How was your journey?” or compliment the person for a job well done or a proud accomplishment.

    Example:
    A: Buongiorno, Professore. Ha fatto buon viaggio?
    B: Buongiorno, Dottore. Molto buono, grazie.
    A: Volevo complimentarmi con lei per il suo ultimo libro.
    B: Grazie.

    Translation:
    A: “Good morning, Professor. Did you have a nice journey?”
    B: “Good morning, Doctor. Very good, thank you.”
    A: “I’d like to compliment you for your latest book.”
    B: “Thank you.”

    4- How to Say Hello to the Pope

    Well, this is something that won’t happen to most of you, but who knows? And if you happen to meet the Pope, it’s better to know what to do! After all, this wouldn’t be a complete Italian greetings guide without some info on how to greet the Pope!

    When the Pope enters into a room, when he stands, and when he walks, you should stand up as a sign of respect. If he talks to you directly, you should bow and shake his hand. Or, if you’re a Catholic, you may kiss his ring. When talking to him, you should use the Lei form and call him Santo Padre (“Saint Father”).

    Now you’re ready to meet the Pope!

    4- Greetings in Street Lingo

    Just like everywhere else, Italian street lingo is different from the common language and varies from city to city. Some of the most common expressions are:

    • Bella lì (“Hi”)
    • Bella zio (“Hi”)
    • Ciao, fra (“Hi, bro”)
    • Come butta? (“What’s up” in Italian)

    Example:
    A: Bella zio, come butta?
    B: Bella lì, tutto ok. E a te?
    A: Tutto ok.

    Translation:
    A: “Hi, what’s up?”
    B: “Hi, it’s ok. What’s up?”
    A: “It’s ok.”

    2. Greetings and Body Language in Italian

    Hug

    Italian greetings and introductions go far beyond words, and into body language. As you already know, body language in Italian is as important as the spoken language. As in the classic stereotype, Italians talk with their hands. But not only that: they also talk with their arms, head, shoulders, and eyes.

    Let’s have a quick recap of the most common body language signs for greetings:

    • Two kisses on the cheeks, with friends and relatives.
    • Hold hands, with friends and relatives.
    • Hugs, with friends and relatives.
    • Shake hands, when you meet someone, in formal occasions or—especially in Northern Italy—among men relatives and friends.

    3. How to Say Hello in Italian on the Phone

    Phone Call

    Maybe you’re telling yourself: “Greetings are very interesting, but I just want to know how to say hello in Italian on the phone!” Here you have the answer to answering the phone in Italian.

    The Italian “hello” on the phone is pronto, a word that, weirdly enough, means “ready.”

    Example:
    A: Pronto?
    B: Ciao Marta, sono la zia Antonia.
    A: Ciao zia! Come stai?

    Translation:
    A: “Hello?”
    B: “Hi Marta, it’s Aunt Antonia.”
    A: “Hi aunt! How are you?”

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    How to Celebrate April Fools’ Day in Italian

    How to Celebrate April Fools' Day in Italian!

    Most everyone is familiar with this day, as it is celebrated nearly everywhere the world. Yet, when exactly is April Fools’ Day? And where did April Fools come from? April Fools’ Day is observed on April 1st every year. This day of jokes and pranks is believed to have stemmed from the 16th-century calendar change in France, when New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. This action was taken due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

    However, a few people were resistant to the calendar change, so they continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1st, rather than the new date. They were referred to as the “April Fools”, and others started playing mocking tricks on them. This custom endured, and is practiced to this day around the world!

    Table of Contents

    1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day
    2. Italian Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day
    3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody
    4. How Can ItalianPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?
    5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Italian - Testing New Technology

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    1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day

    Do you want to know how to say April Fools’ Day in Italian? Well, there are millions of ways and words, but here are the top one million Italian words you really need to know! Simply click this link. Here are some of them you will find useful:

    1. joke - scherzare
    2. funny - buffo
    3. April 1st - Pesce D’aprile
    4. prank - scherzo
    5. lie - mentire
    6. sneaky - subdolo
    7. prankster - burlone
    8. play a joke - fare uno scherzo
    9. humor - umorismo
    10. fool - buffone
    11. deceptive - ingannevole
    12. surprise - sorprendere

    2. Italian Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day

    Italian Phrases for April Fools' Day

    Don’t limit yourself to practical jokes - use these April Fools’ phrases in Italian to prank your favorite Italian friend or colleague!

    1. I learned Italian in 1 month.
      • Ho imparato l’italiano in 1 mese.
    2. All classes for today got canceled.
      • Tutte le lezioni di oggi sono state cancellate.
    3. I’m sorry, but I’ve just broken your favorite pair of glasses.
      • Mi dispiace, ma ho appena rotto il tuo paio di occhiali preferito.
    4. Someone has just hit your car.
      • Qualcuno ha appena urtato la tua auto.
    5. I’m getting married.
      • Sto per sposarmi.
    6. You won a free ticket.
      • Hai vinto un biglietto gratuito.
    7. I saw your car being towed.
      • Ho visto la tua macchina che veniva trainata.
    8. They’re giving away free gift cards in front of the building.
      • Stanno distribuendo buoni regalo gratuiti di fronte all’edificio.
    9. A handsome guy is waiting for you outside.
      • Un bel ragazzo ti sta aspettando fuori.
    10. A beautiful lady asked me to give this phone number to you.
      • Una bella signora mi ha chiesto di darti questo numero di telefono.
    11. Can you come downstairs? I have something special for you.
      • Puoi venire giù? Ho qualcosa di speciale per te.
    12. Thank you for your love letter this morning. I never could have guessed your feelings.
      • Grazie per la tua lettera d’amore stamattina. Non avrei mai potuto immaginare i tuoi sentimenti.

    Choose your victims carefully, though; the idea is to get them to laugh with you, not to hurt their feelings or humiliate them in front of others. Be extra careful if you choose to play a prank on your boss - you don’t want to antagonize them with an inappropriate joke.

    3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody

    Choose Bad or Good

    Right, now that you know the top million April Fools’ words in Italian, let’s look at some super pranks and tricks to play on friends, colleagues and family. Some April Fools ideas never grow old, while new ones are born every year.

    Never joke in such a way that it hurts anyone, or humiliates them badly in front of others - the idea is for everybody to laugh and enjoy the fun! Respect is still key, no matter what day of the year it is.

    Cockroach prank

    1- Infestation

    This trick is so simple, yet so creepy, it’s almost unbelievable. Take black paper, cut out the silhouette of a giant cockroach, a spider or another insect, and stick it inside the lampshade of a table lamp. When the lamp is switched on, it will look like a monstrous insect is sitting inside the lampshade. Or, get a whole lot of realistic-looking plastic insects, and spread them over a colleague’s desk and chair, or, at home, over the kids’ beds etc. Creep-factor: stellar.

    2- Which One Doesn’t Fit?

    Put the photo of a celebrity or a notorious politician in a frame, and take it to work on April Fools’ Day. Hang the photo on the staff picture wall, and wait. You’ll be surprised how long it can take for people to notice that one picture doesn’t fit.

    3- Something Weird in the Restroom

    At work, replace the air freshener in the restroom with something noxious like insect killer, oven cleaner or your own odious mixture in a spray bottle. Be sure to cover the bottle’s body so no one suspects a swap.

    Or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, and leave it at the hand wash basin. It will not lather.

    Or, if your workplace’s restroom has partitioned toilets with short doors, arrange jeans or trousers and shoes on all but one of the toilet covers, so it looks like every stall is occupied. Now wait for complaints, and see how long it takes for someone to figure out the April Fools’ Day prank. You’ll probably wish you had a camera inside the restroom. But, unless you don’t mind getting fired, don’t put your own recording device in there!

    Funny Face

    4- Call Me Funny

    Prepare and print out a few posters with the following instructions: Lion Roar Challenge! Call this number - 123-456-7890 - and leave your best lion’s roar as voicemail! Best roarer will be announced April 10 in the cafeteria. Prize: $100. (Lion’s roar is just an example; you can use any animal call, or even a movie character’s unique sound, such as Chewbacca from Star Wars. The weirder, the funnier. Obviously!) Put the posters up in the office where most of the staff is likely to see them. Now wait for the owner of the number to visit you with murderous intent. Have a conciliatory gift ready that’s not a prank.

    5- Minty Cookies

    This is another simple but hugely effective prank - simply separate iced cookies, scrape off the icing, and replace it with toothpaste. Serve during lunch or tea break at work, or put in your family’s lunch boxes. Be sure to take photos of your victim’s faces when they first bite into your April Fools’ cookies.

    6- Wild Shopping

    At your local grocer, place a realistic-looking plastic snake or spider among the fresh vegetables. Now wait around the corner for the first yell.

    7- The Oldest Trick in the Book

    Don’t forget probably the oldest, yet very effective April Fools’ joke in the book - smearing hand cream or Vaseline on a door handle that most staff, family or friends are likely to use. Yuck to the max!

    8- Sneeze On Me

    Another golden oldie is also gross, yet harmless and utterly satisfying as a prank. Fill a small spray bottle that you can easily conceal with water. Walk past a friend, colleague or one of your kids, and fake a sneeze while simultaneously spraying them with a bit of water. Expect to be called a totally disgusting person. Add a drop of lovely smelling essential oil to the water for extra confusion.

    9- Word Play Repairs

    Put a fresh leek in the hand wash basin at home or work, and then tell your housemates or colleagues this: “There’s a huge leak in the restroom/bathroom basin, it’s really serious. Please can someone go have a look?!” Expect exasperation and smiles all around. Note that this prank is only likely to work where people understand English well.

    10- Scary Face

    Print out a very scary face on an A4 sheet of paper, and place it in a colleague’s, or one of your kid’s drawers, so it’s the first thing they see when they open the drawer. You may not be very popular for a while.

    11- Wake Up To Madness

    Put foamy shaving cream, or real whipped cream on your hand, and wake your kid up by tickling their nose with it. As long as they get the joke, this could be a wonderful and fun way to start April Fools’ Day.

    Computer Prank

    12- Computer Prank

    This one’s fabulous, if you have a bit of time to fiddle with a colleague, friend or your kid’s computer. It is most effective on a computer where most of the icons they use are on the desktop background itself (as opposed to on the bottom task bar).

    Take and save a screenshot of their desktop with the icons. Set this screenshot as their background image. Now delete all the working icons. When they return to their computer, wait for the curses when no amount of clicking on the icons works.

    13- Monster Under the Cup

    This one will also work well anywhere people meet. Take a paper cup, and write the following on it in black pen: “Danger! Don’t lift, big spider underneath.” Place it upside-down on prominent flat surface, such as a kitchen counter, a colleague’s desk or a restaurant table. Expect some truly interesting responses.

    Door Prank

    14- Prank Door

    Write in large letters on a large and noticeable piece of paper: PUSH. Tape this notice on a door that should be pulled to open, and watch the hilarious struggle of those clever souls who actually read signs.

    4. How Can ItalianPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?

    If you happen to visit Italy, or if you work for any Italian company, knowing the above Italian prankster phrases can really lighten up your day. Showing you have a sense of humor can go a long way to cement good relationships in any situation. These phrases are at your disposal for free, as well as are these 100 core Italian words, which you will learn how to pronounce perfectly.

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    Also, don’t stop at learning April Fools’ phrases in Italian - bone up your Italian language skills with these FREE key phrases. Yes, ItalianPod101 doesn’t joke when it comes to effective, fun and easy learning.

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    5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Italian - testing new technology

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