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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

    Start with a bonus, and download the ‘How To be a Good Lover Cheat Sheet’ for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
    Falling in love with a man or woman speaking Italian is an opportunity for both of you to learn a new language! For this reason, every lesson, transcript, vocabulary list, and resource at ItalianPod101 is translated into both English and Italian. So, while your partner can help you learn Italian faster, you can potentially also help him/her learn and master English!

    2- Lessons Are Designed to Help You Understand and Engage with Italian Culture
    At ItalianPod101, our focus is to help our students learn practical vocabulary and phrases used by everyday people in Italy. This means that, from your very first lesson, you can apply what you learn immediately! So, when your Italian partner wants to go out to a restaurant, play Pokemon Go, or attend just about any social function, you have the vocabulary and phrases necessary to have a great time!

    3- Access to Special Resources Dedicated to Romantic Italian Phrases
    You now have access to ItalianPod101’s specially-developed sections and tools to teach you love words, phrases, and cultural insights to help you find and attract your Italian soul mate. A personal tutor will assist you to master these brilliantly - remember to invite him/her to your wedding!

    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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    Check out our audio and video lessons and forget the old boring way of studying. Download our free app to learn while on-the-go and discuss with our super nice and friendly community of students from all around the globe!

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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.

    Now, as a bonus, test our super-learning technology, and learn the Top 1000 most useful phrases in Italian below! But that’s not all. Read on to learn how you can be eligible for large enrollment discounts at ItalianPod101.

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

    Help us by being a language guinea pig! Listen to this video above with embedded cutting-edge, frequency-based learning technology that enables you to learn large amounts of data in record time.

    • Note: This technology is in beta-phase of development, and we invite your input for fine-tuning.
    • To participate: Watch the video for instructions, and leave a comment to rate it. Your comment will make you eligible for large enrollment-fee discounts. To watch the video, please click the play button.

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    3 Reasons Why Successful Students Learn Italian In the Car

    Not only is it possible to learn Italian in your car, there are 3 great benefits that will help you master the language faster and with less effort.

    With everyone so pressed for time these days, it might seem like a daydream to believe that you could learn Italian in your car—but it’s not! Thanks to a wide range of new technologies and resources, learning a language in your car is easier than ever. Not only is it easy to learn a language while driving, there are actually a number of benefits, especially if the lessons are part of a structured learning program like ItalianPod101. Here are three specific benefits to learning Italian or any other new language in your car.

    3 reasons why successful students learn italian in the car

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    1. Transform Downtime into Progress

    How much time do you spend commuting to and from work? Learning a language in your car transforms your commute time into tangible progress towards your dream. So instead of being stressed over how much time you are “wasting” on errands and daily commutes, you can decompress and have some fun while you learn Italian in your car!

    2. Daily Exposure Leads to Passive Learning

    Practice makes perfect and learning a new language is no different. The daily exposure you get when you learn Italian while driving helps improve listening comprehension, pronunciation, and of course helps build vocabulary and improve grammar. Don’t worry: You don’t need to memorize everything as you listen in Italian while driving. Just having continuous exposure to a foreign language helps you improve your vocabulary, learn faster, and ultimately retain more through passive learning.


    3. Learning While Driving is Fun

    Learning a new language does require a serious commitment, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! When you learn Italian in your car, you get to take some time away from the PC or smartphone and immerse yourself in the language instead of just “studying” it.

    Plus, there are a number of “fun” activities that you can do and still learn in your car, such as:
    - Singing Along with Italian Songs
    - Playing Word Games or Trivia
    - Just Listening Along and Seeing How Much You Can Pick Up and Understand

    Want to Learn How to Get Angry in Italian? Pick-Up Lines? Our Vocabulary Lists are Made for You!

    Yes, you can learn a language while driving and have loads of fun doing it. Now let’s take a look at some specific things you can listen to while driving to help you learn a new language.

    BONUS: 3 Ways to Learn Italian in Your Car

    -Listen to Podcasts: Typically designed to focus on one topic or lesson, podcasts are a great way to learn a language while driving. Unfortunately, podcasts are rarely at the same listening/comprehension level as the language learner so listeners may not get their full value. But at ItalianPod101, our podcasts are created for every skill level so you don’t waste any time on material that isn’t relevant or suited to your exact needs.

    -Sing Along to Italian Songs: Remember, just immersing yourself in a language can create passive learning and improve your pronunciation. Plus, with ItalianPod101, you can sing along and memorize the lyrics, and then look the words up and add them to your personal dictionary.

    -Playing Word Games or Trivia: There are audio games available online that you can download to any media device and listen to on your commute. Although we recommend this option for more advanced users, games are a fun and productive way to learn Italian in your car because they require listening and comprehension skills.

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    You won’t recognize or understand every word you hear in a Italian song, podcast, or game—but that’s ok. The daily repetition and immersion in the language leads to passive learning that gradually increases your knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. And the greater your foundation in grammar and vocabulary, the more you’ll understand and learn from the audio lessons, podcasts, or whatever you listen to while learning Italian in your car.

    Yes, you can learn Italian while driving because it leads to passive learning via daily immersion in the language. Although you may not understand all or even most of what you hear at first, the exposure helps improve pronunciation, vocabulary, and even grammar over time. Learning a language while driving also helps transform your commute into exciting “exotic adventures” that secretly teach you Italian in the process. Podcasts, songs, and even games can all help you learn Italian in your car while eliminating the “boring commute” in the process!

    At ItalianPod101, we have more than 2500+ HD audio lessons and podcasts for every skill level that you can download and use to learn Italian while driving!
    So don’t forget to sign up for a Free Lifetime Account on ItalianPod101.com to access tons of FREE lessons and features to become fluent in Italian!

    Do People Understand Where You’re Coming From in Italy?

    Imagine you have landed in Italy and are out and meeting people and exploring your surroundings. After you say “Ciao!” ( the equivalent to ‘Hello’ in English), your Italian friend may become more curious about you and your origins. And if your new friend asks you:
    Da dove vieni? 

    Don’t be surprised! Your friend just wants to know where you come from. Da dove vieni? (informal) or Da dove viene? (formal), translates to “Where do you
    come from?” 

    In this case, you should answer with your country of origin. For example:
    Vengo dall’Italia (I come from Italy)

    You may also hear Di dove sei?, which also means  “Where do you come from?” , with the small difference that Di dove sei? requires a more specific location, and you should answer with the name of your hometown or the most famous city you can think of that can give your Italian friend an idea of the location or environment that you come from.

    And you can be sure that there will be many different countries of origin around you. With its historical heritage and panoramic views (not to mention its world-recognized cuisine!), Italy is is a very popular destination for travelers all around the world, attracting over 4 million tourists every year!

    A Night to Remember in Italy

    The Focus of This Lesson is Italian Greetings for the Evening Buona sera. “Good Evening.”

    Good Evening

    buona sera (also written buonasera) is the perfect equivalent for “good evening” and as such you should use this term when meeting someone.

    Instead, you may use buona serata (never written buonaserata) to wish someone a nice evening. You should not use this greeting when meeting someone for the first time or upon entering a place.

    When someone is about to go to bed, buona notte (also written buonanotte) is almost exclusively the word people use.

    Do People Understand Where You’re Coming From in Italy?

    Imagine you have landed in Italy and are out and meeting people and exploring your surroundings. After you say “Ciao!” ( the equivalent to ‘Hello’ in English), your Italian friend may become more curious about you and your origins. And if your new friend asks you:

    Da dove vieni?
    Don’t be surprised! Your friend just wants to know where you come from. Da dove vieni? (informal) or Da dove viene? (formal), translates to “Where do you
    come from?”

    In this case, you should answer with your country of origin. For example:
    Vengo dall’Italia (I come from Italy)

    You may also hear Di dove sei?, which also means  “Where do you come from?” , with the small difference that Di dove sei? requires a more specific location, and you should answer with the name of your hometown or the most famous city you can think of that can give your Italian friend an idea of the location or environment that you come from.

    And you can be sure that there will be many different countries of origin around you. With its historical heritage and panoramic views (not to mention its world-recognized cuisine!), Italy is is a very popular destination for travelers all around the world, attracting over 4 million tourists every year!