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Archive for the 'Italian Words' Category

Learn All the Terms for Family in Italian

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Family is a vital institution everywhere in the world, but particularly in Italy. It’s not a cliche: Italians love their family, A LOT. And even if things have changed over the last few decades and huge, extended families aren’t as common as before, Italians still feel a connection toward their family members that’s hard to find in other Western countries.

But then, who doesn’t love their mom and dad, their grannies or little children, and doesn’t feel the need to talk about them with friends? As stated before, Italian extended families are greatly valued in Italian society, so knowing how to talk about them is essential. That’s why we’ve written this guide on how to talk about family in Italian.

Here at ItalianPod101, you’ll learn the basic Italian for family members, read through some Italian family phrases for reference, and discover some very interesting Italian quotes for family. But first, a little information on the average Italian family unit and Italian family roles.

Table of Contents

  1. Italian Family Culture: What are Italian Families Like?
  2. Dictionary of Terms about Family in Italian
  3. Respect Terms vs. Endearment Terms in Italian
  4. Italian Quotes and Proverbs about Family
  5. ItalianPod101: Learn Italian in the Blink of an Eye with Our Great Tools

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1. Italian Family Culture: What are Italian Families Like?

Family Quotes

As mentioned above, Italian families have changed a lot in recent history. Until the Fifties, Italy had a largely agricultural economy, with extended, strongly patriarchal families working on lands that they often didn’t own. Then, the economic boom and industrial development happened, with millions of people quickly moving from the poor and undeveloped countryside to the rapidly growing cities. As a consequence, the nuclear family—living in an apartment and raising a small number of children—became the norm.

Nevertheless, uncles, aunts, and cousins are still very important in Italy, probably more so than in other European countries. Cousins are the best game buddies of almost every Italian child, while uncles and aunts are teachers, baby sitters, supports, and examples.

Italian Cousins

And what about grandparents? Well, they’re simply one of the key figures of every Italian. Since the country doesn’t have a strong enough network of kindergartens, little Italian children spend a lot of their time with their grandparents while their parents are at work.

Growing up with Italian family values certainly has some great pros. As for Italian family traditions, Sunday isn’t simply a day off, but a family meeting with tons of delicious food and loud chats. And there’s always a cousin living in some small Southern city with amazing beaches, who’s very happy to host you during summer holidays.

But there are also some cons. For example, the amoral familism studied by the political scientist Edward C. Banfield in 1955 still somehow survives. That’s to say that Italians often see the interest of their family as more important than the interest of society, even when it damages collective goods.

Many of the Italian family qualities have changed over time, especially since the Italian society is now multicultural. Moreover, a growing number of young people leave the country to look for better opportunities abroad. As a consequence, families are becoming more and more the product of different cultures and experiences.

But enough with history and social sciences. Now that you know a little more about the meaning of family in Italy, let’s dive into our guide of terms about family in Italian!


2. Dictionary of Terms about Family in Italian

Italian Family

Do you want to know how to say “father” in Italian? And what about “mother,” “grandmother,” “aunt,” and all the other Italian family members term that every good family guy must know? Check out our dictionary.

But before that, let’s learn how to say “family” and “my family” in Italian, the root of every family-based conversation.

The Italian word for “family” is famiglia, which is similar in many other European languages. That’s because this word comes from the latin familia, which has an even more ancient origin: faama, meaning “house” in the Oscan language. Fascinating, isn’t it?

So, let’s see some examples of use:

  • Example: La mia famiglia è originaria dell’Italia Centrale.
  • Translation: “My family comes from Central Italy.”
  • Example: Ieri sono andata a trovare la famiglia di Marco.
  • Translation: “Yesterday I went to visit Marco’s family.”
  • Example: Ho una famiglia molto numerosa.
  • Translation: “I have a very big family.”

1- Italian Terms for Parents

  • Madre: “Mother”
    • Example: Mia madre è medico e lavora all’ospedale.
    • Translation: “My mother is a doctor and she works at the hospital.”
  • Padre: “Father”
    • Example: Il padre di Andrea è molto simpatico.
    • Translation: “Andrea’s father is very nice.”

Mother in Italian

2- Italian Terms for One’s Children

  • Figlio: “Son”
    • Example: Giovanna ha un figlio di tre anni.
    • Translation: “Giovanna has a three-year-old son.”
  • Figlia: “Daughter”
    • Example: Mia figlia va molto bene a scuola.
    • Translation: “My daughter is very good at school.”

3- Italian Terms for Siblings

  • Fratello: “Brother”
    • Example: Io e mio fratello non andiamo d’accordo.
    • Translation: “My brother and I don’t get along.”
  • Sorella: “Sister”
    • Example: Mia sorella si è trasferita a Londra per studiare.
    • Translation: “My sister has moved to London to study.”

4- Italian Terms for Grandparents

  • Nonno: “Grandfather”
    • Example: Mio nonno è stato importantissimo per me.
    • Translation: “My grandfather was very important to me.”
  • Nonna: “Grandmother”
    • Example: Questo piatto è una ricetta che mi ha insegnato mia nonna.
    • Translation: “This dish is a recipe my grandmother taught me.”

Italian Grandmother

5- Italian Terms for Grandchildren, Nephews, and Nieces

  • Nipote: “Grandchild” (m. and f.), “nephew,” and “niece”
    • Example: Mia nipote adora la pallavolo.
    • Translation: “My granddaughter loves volleyball.”
    • Example: Hai già conosciuto mio nipote, Matteo?
    • Translation: “Have you already met my grandson, Matteo?”
    • Example: Quanti anni ha tua nipote, la figlia di tuo fratello?
    • Translation: “How old is your niece, the daughter of your brother?”

6- Italian Terms for Aunts and Uncles

  • Zio: “Uncle”
    • Example: Lo zio di Marta vive negli Stati Uniti.
    • Translation: “Marta’s uncle lives in the United States.”
  • Zia: “Aunt”
    • Example: La zia di Luca è molto giovane: ha solo 30 anni.
    • Translation: “Luca’s aunt is very young, she’s only 30 years old.”

7- Italian Terms for Cousins

  • Cugino: “Cousin” (male)
    • Example: Hai chiamato tuo cugino?
    • Translation: “Did you call your cousin?”
  • Cugina: “Cousin” (female)
    • Example: Ieri ho incontrato tua cugina al concerto.
    • Translation: “Yesterday I saw your cousin at the concert.”

Italian Terms for Family

8- Italian Terms for Family Members as a Married Person

  • Marito: “Husband”
    • Example: Il marito di Lucia è appassionato di trekking.
    • Translation: “Lucia’s husband is a trekking enthusiast.”
  • Moglie: “Wife”
    • Example: No, mia moglie non è in casa.
    • Translation: “No, my wife isn’t at home.”
  • Suocero: “Father-in-law”
    • Example: Mio suocero era un pittore e poeta.
    • Translation: “My father-in-law was a painter and a poet.”
  • Suocera: “Mother-in-law”
    • Example: Mia suocera purtroppo è morta prima che mio figlio nascesse.
    • Translation: “Unfortunately, my mother-in-law died before my son was born.”
  • Genero: “Son-in-law”
    • Example: L’uomo vestito di blu è il genero di GIuliano.
    • Translation: “The man dressed in blue is Giuliano’s son-in-law.”
  • Nuora: “Daughter-in-law”
    • Example: Io e mia nuora siamo molto legate.
    • Translation: “My daughter-in-law and I are very close.”
  • Cognato: “Brother-in-law”
    • Example: Io e mio cognato siamo amici d’infanzia.
    • Translation: “My brother-in-law and I are childhood friends.”
  • Cognata: “Sister-in-law”
    • Example: Andavo a scuola con tua cognata, alle elementari.
    • Translation: “I went to school with your sister-in-law, at primary school.”


3. Respect Terms vs. Endearment Terms in Italian

Phrases Parents Say

The terms for family in Italian are both common terms and respectful terms. Unlike in other languages, Japanese for example, Italian doesn’t have specific respectful expressions when talking about a third party.

When addressing someone older than you whom you’re not familiar with, or in a formal relationship, you’re expected to use the third person lei formula. But in a family, you don’t usually do this; you simply address everyone with the second person tu. Although, if you’re about to meet your parents-in-law and they’re old, it can be polite to start with lei. Afterwards, they’ll most certainly ask you to switch to the more familiar tu.

And what about endearment terms? You’re expected to only use them in a family context, and they are:

  • Papà: “Dad”
  • Babbo: “Dad “in Central Italy
  • Mamma: “Mom”
  • Nonnina: “Granny”
  • Nonnino: “Grandpa”


4. Italian Quotes and Proverbs about Famil

There are so many Italian quotes about family and local proverbs, that it’s really hard to choose which ones to include. We’ve collected a few of the most famous Italian family quotes for you below:

  • Mogli e buoi dei paesi tuoi.
    “When you choose a wife or a cow, it’s better to go to your own village.”
  • Il frutto non cade mai lontano dall’albero.
    “A fruit always falls next to its tree.”
    Note: This phrase means that a bad person always comes from a bad family or environment.
  • Parenti serpenti.
    “Relatives are like snakes.”
    Note: This phrase means that relatives are dangerous and traitors.
  • Tale padre, tale figlio.
    “Like father, like son.”


5. ItalianPod101: Learn Italian in the Blink of an Eye with Our Great Tools

Are you eager to start talking to your Italian family like you’d grown up with them? Then we can help you. Here at ItalianPod101, we’ve created a series of amazing tools to help you learn Italian in a heartbeat, while having fun! For example, our super-efficient apps, that allow you to learn everywhere you are and anytime you want. And if you’re in doubt, you can always count on the advice of our friendly community.

Start now! But before you head off, let us know in the comments if there are any family terms you still want to know! We look forward to hearing from you. :)
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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!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Count to One Billion in Italian

How To Post In Perfect Italian on Social Media

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You’re learning to speak Italian, and it’s going well. Your confidence is growing! So much so that you feel ready to share your experiences on social media—in Italian.

At Learn Italian, we make this easy for you to get it right the first time. Post like a boss with these phrases and guidelines, and get to practice your Italian in the process.

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

1. Talking about Your Restaurant Visit in Italian

Eating out is fun, and often an experience you’d like to share. Take a pic, and start a conversation on social media in Italian. Your friend will be amazed by your language skills…and perhaps your taste in restaurants!

Matteo eats at a restaurant with his friends, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

POST

Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

Ottimo cibo e ottima compagnia!
“Great food and great company!”

1- Ottimo cibo

First is an expression meaning “Great food.”
This expression means that the food is extremely good. Italian adjectives change according to the noun they’re referring to. In this sentence, it takes the singular masculine form.

2- e ottima compagnia

Then comes the phrase - “and great company.”
And here you can see the feminine singular form of the adjective meaning “great.”

COMMENTS

In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

1- Buon appetito!

His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Enjoy your meal!”
This is a commonly-used, well known comment, good for any post involving eating.

2- Wow, che ristorante è?

His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Wow, which restaurant is that?”
Asking a question is a very good way to keep conversation going.

3- Salutami i tuoi amici.

His girlfriend, Giulia, uses an expression meaning - “Say hi to your friends for me.”
A friendly, warm comment!

4- Non spendere troppo!

His girlfriend’s nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “Don’t spend too much!”
Francesco is obviously the worripot or realist in the family. A friendly admonition to not overspend.

VOCABULARY

Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • ottimo: “great, excellent, very good”
  • appetito: “appetite”
  • ristorante: “restaurant”
  • amici: “friends”
  • spendere: “to spend”
  • troppo: “too much”
  • So, let’s practice a bit. If a friend posted something about having dinner with friends, which phrase would you use?

    Now go visit an Italian restaurant, and wow the staff with your language skills!

    2. Post about Your Mall Visit in Italian

    Another super topic for social media is shopping—everybody does it, most everybody loves it, and your friends on social media are probably curious about your shopping sprees! Share these Italian phrases in posts when you visit a mall.

    Giulia shop with her sister at the mall, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    In giro per negozi con mia sorella.
    “Around the shops with my sister.”

    1- In giro per negozi

    First is an expression meaning “Around the shops.”
    In Italian social media, it’s pretty common to omit verbs, as long as the meaning is clear. In this expression, for example, you could say both “walking around the shops,” or just “around the shops.”

    2- con mia sorella

    Then comes the phrase - “with my sister.”
    Remember that Italian possessives must agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify. “Sister” is feminine and singular. Therefore, the possessive will also have to be feminine and singular.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Adoro lo shopping.

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “I love shopping!”
    This is a friendly, optimistic opinion to share.

    2- Fateci vedere cosa comprate!

    Her friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Show us what you bought!”
    Alice is curious and wants more information about the shopping spree. A request like this is another excellent way to keep a thread going.

    3- Buoni acquisti!

    Her neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Happy shopping!”
    Laura wants to be part of the conversation and does this by wishing the shoppers well.

    4- Siete bellissime, ragazze.

    Her boyfriend’s college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “You’re beautiful, Girls.”
    Davide is appreciative of the girls’ looks and pays them a compliment with his comment. Wonder if Matteo is a jealous kind of boyfriend…?!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • negozio: “shop”
  • shopping: “shopping”
  • comprare: “to buy”
  • acquisto: “purchase”
  • bellissimo: “beautiful”
  • So, if a friend posted something about going shopping, which phrase would you use?

    3. Talking about a Sport Day in Italian

    Sports events, whether you’re the spectator or the sports person, offer fantastic opportunity for great social media posts. Learn some handy phrases and vocabulary to start a sport-on-the-beach conversation in Italian.

    Matteo plays with his friends at the beach, posts an image of the game, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Solo una partitina a beach volley con gli amici.
    “Just a round of beach volleyball with my friends.”

    1- Solo una partitina

    First is an expression meaning “Just a round.”
    This is an informal expression meaning “match, round, game.” The Italian word used for “match” here is a modified noun. The suffix tells you that it’s something small, so you could translate it literally as “little game.” Modified nouns are very common in social media.

    2- a beach volley con gli amici

    Then comes the phrase - “of beach volleyball with my friends.”
    In Italian, some sports keep the English names, but sometimes they are shortened. So it’s “beach volley” instead of “beach volleyball. “Another example is basketball, which in Italian is “basket.”

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Anch’io vorrei essere in spiaggia.

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “I’d like to be at the beach too.”
    Use this friendly comment if you wish you were part of the fun.

    2- Che bella squadra!

    His girlfriends’ neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “What a great team!”
    Laura compliments the team.

    3- Proprio come ai vecchi tempi.

    His supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “Just like (in) the old times.”
    Roberto reminisces about days gone by with this nostalgic post.

    4- Che fortuna!

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Lucky you!”
    Alice is also yearning to be on the beach and part of the fun, rather.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • partitina: “round”
  • spiaggia: “beach”
  • squadra: “team”
  • proprio: “really, actually”
  • tempo: “time, weather, tense”
  • fortuna: “luck”
  • Which phrase would you use if a friend posted something about sports?

    But sport is not the only thing you can play! Play some music, and share it on social media.

    4. Share a Song on Social Media in Italian

    Music is the language of the soul, they say. So, don’t hold back—share what touches your soul with your friends!

    Giulia shares a song she just heard at a party, posts an image of the artist, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Vi piace questa canzone?
    “Do you like this song?”

    1- Vi piace

    First is an expression meaning “Do you like.”
    This phrase literally means “it’s pleasing to you.” In Italian, the verb meaning “to like” is always in the third person (either singular or plural), as the subject is the object, not the person who likes it. You can use this phrase anytime you want to address a similar question to your friends.

    2- questa canzone?

    Then comes the phrase - “this song?.”
    Notice how the tone of voice raises when you ask a question in Italian. The order of the words doesn’t usually change.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Chi la canta?

    Her boyfriend, Matteo, uses an expression meaning - “Who sings it?”
    Mateo requests some more info - a good way to keep a conversation going.

    2- È molto orecchiabile.

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “It’s very catchy.”
    Sara shares an appreciative opinion about the song.

    3- Mi piace il ritmo.

    Her boyfriend’s college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “I like the rhythm.”
    Davide does the same as Sara, which is to share a positive opinion. Both are showing that they actually listened to the song. Showing real interest in friends’ posts on social media is a great way to connect!

    4- Mm, non è il mio genere.

    Her nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “Mmh, it’s not my style.”
    But not everyone will like your taste in music. That’s no problem, and Francesco should be commended for his honesty. His comment is respectful, even if it’s negative, so that’s OK.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • canzone: “song”
  • cantare: “to sing, chant”
  • orecchiabile: “catchy”
  • ritmo: “rhythm”
  • genere: “style”
  • piacere: “to like”
  • Which song would you share? And what would you say to a friend who posted something about sharing music or videos?

    Now you know how to start a conversation about a song or a video on social media!

    5. Italian Social Media Comments about a Concert

    Still on the theme of music—visiting live concerts and shows just have to be shared with your friends. Here are some handy phrases and vocab to wow your followers in Italian!

    Matteo goes to a concert, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Ce l’ho fatta! Sono al concerto dei Negramaro!
    “I did it! I’m at Negramaro’s concert!”

    1- Ce l’ho fatta!

    First is an expression meaning: “I did it!”
    This is what you say when you have achieved something good.

    2- Sono al concerto dei Negramaro.

    Then comes the phrase - “I’m at Negramaro’s concert..”
    To express possessives in Italian, you have to combine the preposition “of” and the correct definite article. This is an example of the masculine plural article.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Che invidia!

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “I’m so jealous!”
    Alice is showing his appreciation for what Matteo is doing and clearly wishes he was joining in the fun.

    2- Come hai fatto ad avere i biglietti?

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “How did you manage to get the tickets?”
    Francesco is expressing amazement here, which could be construed in more than one way. Is he being negative and sarcastic here because he’s jealous, or positively amazed because the tickets are difficult to come by?

    3- Divertiti alla grande!

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Have a blast!”
    Davide is happy for his friend and wishes him well.

    4- Grande, uno dei miei gruppi preferiti!

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “Cool, one of my favorite groups!”
    Sara shares a personal opinion that adds positively to the conversation.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • concerto: “concert”
  • invidia: “envy”
  • biglietto: “ticket, note, card, banknote”
  • divertirsi: “to have fun, enjoy oneself”
  • gruppo: “group, band”
  • preferito: “favorite”
  • If a friend posted something about a concert , which phrase would you use?

    6. Talking about an Unfortunate Accident in Italian

    Oh dear. You broke something by accident. Use these Italian phrases to start a thread on social media. Or maybe just to let your friends know why you are not contacting them!

    Giulia accidentally breaks her mobile phone, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Tragedia! Ho rotto il cellulare!
    “Disaster! I broke my (mobile) phone!”

    1- Tragedia!

    First is an expression meaning “Tragedy!.”
    You can use this expression to comment on an unfortunate event. Although it literally means “tragedy,” it’s often used in a humorous or melodramatic way.

    2- Ho rotto il cellulare!

    Then comes the phrase - “I broke my mobile phone!.”
    In this sentence the word for mobile phone literally translated means “cellular.”

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Com’è successo?

    Her neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “How did it happen?”
    Laura could be expressing warmhearted concern and asks for more details.

    2- Sono cose che capitano.

    Her highschool friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “These things happen.”
    Sara takes a stoic stance on her friend’s misfortune, and plays the event down with this comment.

    3- La solita sbadata!

    Her nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “Careless as usual!”
    Francesco sounds like a stern, pernickety old grandmother! Unless he has a fun relationship with Giulia and they tease each other this way.

    4- Se vuoi ti do il mio vecchio cellulare.

    Her boyfriend’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “If you want, I’ll give you my old phone.”
    What a generous guy! This type of comment is sure to get you many Likes on social media.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • cellulare: “cellphone, mobile phone”
  • succedere: “to happen”
  • cosa: “thing”
  • sbadato: “careless”
  • solito: “usual, common”
  • vecchio: “old”
  • If a friend posted something about having broken something by accident, which phrase would you use?

    So, now you know how to describe an accident in Italian. Well done!

    7. Chat about Your Boredom on Social Media in Italian

    Sometimes, we’re just bored with how life goes. And to alleviate the boredom, we write about it on social media. Add some excitement to your posts by addressing your friends and followers in Italian!

    Matteo gets bored at home, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Gente, mi annoio a morte.
    “Guys, I’m bored to death.”

    1- Gente

    First is an expression meaning “Guys.”
    On social media, you probably have both female and male friends. Using this expression, you can address both. This colloquial expression literally means “people, folks” but here it means “guys” or “everyone.”

    2- mi annoio a morte.

    Then comes the phrase - “I’m bored to death..”
    A more literal translation would be “I’m getting bored to death.” In Italian, the present is often used instead of the gerund to talk about things happening right now.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- In TV c’è un film fantastico, guardalo!

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “There’s a great movie on TV. Watch it!”
    Sara offers advice to alleviate Matteo’s boredom.

    2- Perché non esci?

    His supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “Why don’t you go out?”
    Roberto does the same as Sara, by asking a question.

    3- Ti va di fare una passeggiata?

    His girlfriend’s neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Wanna go for a walk?”
    Laura is being a friend by offering to help alleviate Matteo’s boredom. Wonder what Giulia would say about this!

    4- Chattiamo!

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s chat!”
    Davide also offers to alleviate Matteo’s boredom.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • annoiarsi: “to get bored, (lit. “to bore oneself” )”
  • a morte: “to death”
  • film: “movie”
  • uscire: “to go out”
  • passeggiata: “walk, ride”
  • chattare: “to chat”
  • If a friend posted something about being bored, which phrase would you use?

    Still bored? Share another feeling and see if you can start a conversation!

    8. Exhausted? Share It on Social Media in Italian

    Sitting in public transport after work, feeling like chatting online? Well, converse in Italian about how you feel, and let your friends join in!

    Giulia feels exhausted after a long day at work, posts an image of herself looking tired, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Mamma mia, che stanchezza! Ho lavorato troppo!
    “My goodness, so tired! I worked too much!”

    1- Mamma mia, che stanchezza!

    First is an expression meaning “My goodness, so tired!.”
    In this sentence there is a very common expression. Literally, it means “my mom,” but you can use it to express wonder or exasperation.

    2- Ho lavorato troppo!

    Then comes the phrase - “I’ve worked too much!”
    The verb “to work” is conjugated in a past tense that is similar to the English “present perfect,” even though it is used much more extensively in Italian. For example, you can use it to talk about what happened today, yesterday, or even last year.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Vai a dormire!

    Her boyfriend’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Go to sleep!”
    Alice is probably teasing here, or he’s making a good suggestion - if it’s safe to sleep on public transport!

    2- Adesso cerca di riposarti.

    Her boyfriend’s supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “Now try to get some rest.”
    Roberto is making a suggestion.

    3- Poverina!

    Her neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Poor girl!”
    Laura is showing empathy with Guilia’s predicament.

    4- Buonanotte allora.

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “Goodnight then.”
    Sara probably implies that Guilia will be going to sleep soon.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Mamma mia!: “My goodness!”
  • stanchezza: “tiredness, weariness”
  • dormire: “to sleep”
  • riposarsi: “to get rested (lit. “to rest oneself” )”
  • poverino!: “poor you!”
  • buonanotte: “goodnight”
  • If a friend posted something about being exhausted, which phrase would you use?

    Now you know how to say you’re exhausted in Italian! Well done.

    9. Talking about an Injury in Italian

    So life happens, and you manage to hurt yourself during a soccer game. Very Tweet-worthy! Here’s how to do it in Italian.

    Matteo suffers a painful injury, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Mi sono fatto male al ginocchio giocando a calcio.
    “I hurt my knee playing football.”

    1- Mi sono fatto male al ginocchio

    First is an expression meaning “I hurt my knee.”
    Use this expression to say that you suffered an injury. You can substitute the word for “knee” with another noun to indicate some other part of the body.

    2- giocando a calcio

    Then comes the phrase - “playing football.”
    The gerund is used to explain how it happened, pretty much like in English.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Sei andato dal medico?

    His girlfriend’s neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Have you been to the doctor?”
    Laura shows concern for Matteo’s wellbeing, and keeps the conversation going with a question.

    2- È rotto?

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Is it broken?”
    Davide also wants more information - all ways to express concern.

    3- Immagino sia molto doloroso.

    His supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “I suppose it’s very painful.”
    Roberto is making conversation, but this is also a way of showing concern.

    4- Fatti forza!

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Hang in there!”
    Alice chooses to encourage his friend with this comment.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • ginocchio: “knee”
  • medico: “doctor”
  • rotto: “broken”
  • immaginare: “to imagine”
  • doloroso: “painful”
  • Fatti forza!: “Hang in there!”
  • If a friend posted something about being injured, which phrase would you use?

    We love to share our fortunes and misfortunes; somehow that makes us feel connected to others.

    10. Starting a Conversation Feeling Disappointed in Italian

    Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned. Share your disappointment about this with your friends!

    Giulia feels disappointed about today’s weather, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Uffa, piove!
    “Ugh, it’s raining!”

    1- Uffa

    First is an expression meaning “Ugh.”
    This is a colloquial expression you can use when something doesn’t go the way you hoped, and you’re disappointed.

    2- piove

    Then comes the phrase - “it’s raining.”
    This is called an impersonal verb, and it doesn’t have a subject. The verb follows the third person singular. Lots of impersonal verbs are used to talk about weather conditions.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Già, che peccato.

    Her boyfriend’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Yeah, what a pity.”
    Alice seems to feel somewhat sorry for Giulia.

    2- Odio questo tempo.

    Her boyfriend’s college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “I hate this weather.”
    Davide feels very strong about this type of weather!

    3- Che sfortuna.

    Her neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Too bad.”
    Laura is making conversation with this short but slightly sympathetic comment.

    4- Speriamo che smetta.

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s hope it stops.”
    Sara shares an optimistic wish.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • piovere: “to rain”
  • peccato: “too bad”
  • odiare: “to hate, to loathe, to detest”
  • tempo: “weather”
  • sfortuna: “bad luck”
  • smettere: “to stop”
  • How would you comment in Italian when a friend is disappointed?

    Not all posts need to be about a negative feeling, though!

    11. Talking about Your Relationship Status in Italian

    Don’t just change your relationship status in Settings, talk about it!

    Matteo changes his status to “In a relationship”, posts an image of himself and Giulia, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Vi presento la mia ragazza.
    “Introducing, my girlfriend.”

    1- Vi presento

    First is an expression meaning “Introducing.”
    In English, the pronoun “you” can be both singular and plural. In Italian, on the other hand, there are two different pronouns. In this expression, the meaning is “introducing to you (plural).”

    2- la mia ragazza

    Then comes the phrase - “my girlfriend.”
    In English, you can’t use the article before a possessive, but in Italian you usually have to. So here we have article + possessive + noun.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Che bella coppia!

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “What a lovely couple!”
    A sweet comment from a good friend, Davide obviously feels good about this match.

    2- Era ora…

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “About time…”
    Francesco is either perpetually in a sour mood, or he’s using negative teasing to be playful with the couple.

    3- Io invece sono ancora single!

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “I’m still single, though!”
    Alice is sorry about his own predicament.

    4- Siete carini insieme.

    His girlfriend’s neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “You’re cute together.”
    Laura is also appreciative of the match.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • ragazza: “girlfriend”
  • coppia: “couple, pair”
  • ora: “time, hour”
  • single: “single”
  • carino: “cute”
  • insieme: “together”
  • What would you say in Italian when a friend changes their relationship status?

    Being in a good relationship with someone special is good news - don’t be shy to spread it!

    12. Post about Getting Married in Italian

    Wow, so things got serious, and you’re getting married. Congratulations! Or, your friend is getting married, so talk about this in Italian.

    Giulia is getting married to Matteo today, so she eaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Oggi è il gran giorno, mi sposo!
    “Today’s the big day. I’m getting married!”

    1- Oggi è il gran giorno

    First is an expression meaning “Today is the big day.”
    This is what you say when it’s an important occasion, such as your wedding day.

    2- mi sposo!

    Then comes the phrase - “I’m getting married!.”
    The verb “to get married” in Italian is reflexive, meaning that the subject carries out the action on itself. The short word in front of the verb is called a reflexive pronoun, and it changes based on the subject.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Congratulazioni!

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic.

    2- Evviva gli sposi!

    Her boyfriend’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Long live the newlyweds!”
    Alice is feeling optimistic and generous about this big event, and wishes the couple a long life together with this comment.

    3- Tantissimi auguri per il vostro matrimonio!

    Her supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “Best wishes on your wedding day!”
    An old-fashioned well wish that is still commonly in use.

    4- Sarai una sposa bellissima.

    Her neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “You’re going to be a beautiful bride.”
    Laura is warmhearted and complimentary towards Giulia with this comment.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • sposarsi: “to get married (lit. to marry oneself)”
  • Congratulazioni!: “Congratulations!”
  • evviva!: “Hooray!”
  • sposo: “groom”
  • matrimonio: “marriage, holy matrimony, wedding”
  • sposa: “bride”
  • How would you respond in Italian to a friend’s post about getting married?

    For the next topic, fast forward about a year into the future after the marriage…

    13. Announcing Big News in Italian

    Wow, huge stuff is happening in your life! Announce it in Italian.

    Matteo finds out he and his wife are going to have a baby, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Sto per diventare papà, fatemi gli auguri!
    “I’m going to be a dad, wish me luck!”

    1- Sto per diventare papà

    First is an expression meaning “I’m going to be a dad.”
    The verb construction in this phrase is used to express something that is about to happen, usually in the near future.

    2- fatemi gli auguri!

    Then comes the phrase - “wish me luck!.”
    This expression is commonly used before facing an important situation, such as a test or, as in this example, the arrival of a child.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Buona fortuna, preparati alle notti in bianco!

    His wife’s nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “Good luck, get ready for all-nighters!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling cynical.

    2- È una meravigliosa notizia, auguri.

    His supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “That’s wonderful news, best wishes.”
    This is a positive reaction to the news, together with a short well-wish.

    3- Sono felicissima per voi!

    His neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “I’m so happy for you!”
    Laura shares her positive feelings about the newcomer with this comment.

    4- È un maschietto o una femminuccia?

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Is it a boy or a girl?”
    Alice is curious about the baby’s gender and asks a question - a good way to keep the conversation going.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • papà: “dad”
  • notte in bianco: “sleepless night”
  • notizia: “a piece of news, news”
  • felice: “happy, glad, joyful”
  • maschietto: “baby boy”
  • femminuccia: “baby girl”
  • Which phrase would you choose when a friend announces their pregnancy on social media?

    So, talking about a pregnancy will get you a lot of traction on social media. But wait till you see the responses to babies!

    14. Posting Italian Comments about Your Baby

    Your bundle of joy is here, and you cannot keep quiet about it! Share your thoughts in Italian.

    Giulia plays with her baby, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Guardate che sorriso. Amore di mamma!
    “Look at that smile. Sweetheart!”

    1- Guardate che sorriso.

    First is an expression meaning “Look at that smile..”
    The verb “look” here is in the second person plural of the imperative form. Literally this sentence is “Look what a smile.”

    2- Amore di mamma!

    Then comes the phrase - “Sweetheart!.”
    This expression literally means “mom’s love,” but the meaning is “sweetheart, sweetie.” You can change the word for “mom” with others, such as “dad,” “aunt,” or “grandma,” depending on your relationship with the child.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Ma che carina!

    Her boyfriend’s college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “She’s so cute!”
    This is a positive observation from Davide about the baby.

    2- È tale e quale a te!

    Her boyfriend’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “She’s your spitting image!”
    Alice sees similarities between Giulia and her baby, and shares that friendly opinion.

    3- Dalle un bacetto per me!

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “Give her a peck for me!”
    Sara is feeling loving towards Giulia’s baby and obviously wants to kiss it.

    4- Davvero adorabile!

    Her neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Really adorable!”
    This is a warm-hearted, common compliment usually reserved for babies of all kinds!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • sorriso: “smile”
  • amore di mamma: “sweetheart”
  • tale e quale: “spitting image”
  • bacetto: “peck”
  • adorabile: “adorable”
  • davvero: “really, truly, indeed”
  • If your friend is a new mother or father, which phrase would you use on social media?

    Congratulations, you know the basics of chatting about a baby in Italian! But we’re not done with families yet…

    15. Italian Comments about a Family Reunion

    Family reunions - some you love, some you hate. Share about it on your feed.

    Matteo goes to a family gathering, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Pranzo della domenica dai miei.
    “Sunday lunch at my folks’ place.”

    1- Pranzo della domenica

    First is an expression meaning “Sunday lunch.”
    Many Italians visit their mothers on Sunday, and they have a big lunch, usually consisting of traditional, homemade dishes, with all the family.

    2- dai miei

    Then comes the phrase - “at my folks’ place.”
    This is a very common expression. It literally means “at mine’s.” Even though “folk’s place” is omitted, Italians understand that you’re referring to your parents.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- La cucina della mamma è sempre la migliore!

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Mom’s cooking is always the best!”
    Alice shares a universal truth about most mother’s cooking skills.

    2- Wow, quanti siete!

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Wow, so many of you!”
    Davide is making a friendly, personal observation to be part of the conversation.

    3- Auguro una buona domenica a tutti voi.

    His supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “I wish you all a good Sunday.”
    Roberto is a bit more old-fashioned in the way he expresses himself, but this well-wish works just fine.

    4- È bello stare in famiglia.

    His neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “It’s nice to be with family.”
    Laura makes a general observation that is positive and warmhearted.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • pranzo: “lunch”
  • i miei: “my parents”
  • cucina: “kitchen, cooking, food, cuisine”
  • domenica: “Sunday”
  • famiglia: “family”
  • stare: “to be, to stand, to lie, to be located, to be situated”
  • Which phrase is your favorite to comment on a friend’s photo about a family reunion?

    16. Post about Your Travel Plans in Italian

    So, the family is going on holiday. Do you know to post and leave comments in Italian about being at the airport, waiting for a flight?

    Giulia waits at the airport for her flight, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    In partenza, ma il mio volo è in ritardo…
    “I’m leaving, but my flight is delayed…”

    1- In partenza

    First is an expression meaning “I’m leaving.”
    In English you need a verb, such as “leaving” or “departing,” but in Italian you can use the word for “departure,” which is a noun.

    2- ma il mio volo è in ritardo

    Then comes the phrase - “but my flight is delayed.”
    Delays in public transportation are not uncommon in Italy. The word “flight” can be changed, for example, with “bus” or “train.”

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Buon viaggio!

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “Have a nice trip!”
    Using a very common expression, Sara wishes her friend well with the trip.

    2- Facci sapere quando arrivi.

    Her neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Let us know once you’ve arrived.”
    Laura is showing some concern here for Giulia’s travel plans.

    3- Tienici aggiornati!

    Her boyfriend’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Keep us updated!”
    Alice also wants to be reassured that all goes well, therefore he asks for an update.

    4- Ritardi…Sai che novità.

    Her nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “Delays… That’s nothing new.”
    Francesco is being cynical again…

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • volo: “flight”
  • ritardo: “delay, lateness”
  • aggiornato: “updated”
  • viaggio: “trip”
  • aggiornato: “updated”
  • novità: “newness, something new”
  • Choose and memorize your best airport phrase in Italian!

    Hopefully the rest of the trip is better!

    17. Posting about an Interesting Find in Italian

    So maybe you’re strolling around at a local market during the holidays, and find something interesting. Here are some handy Italian phrases!

    Matteo finds an unusual item at a local market, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Guardate qua. Secondo voi cos’è?
    “Look at this. What do you think it is?”

    1- Guardate qua.

    First is an expression meaning “Look at this..”
    This literally means “look here.” It’s a more generic expression than “look at this,” since you don’t have to specify the number or gender of the thing you’re talking about.

    2- Secondo voi cos’è?

    Then comes the phrase - “What do you think it is?.”
    Use this phrase to ask for somebody’s opinion. In this example the person is “you” plural, but you can change that to “you” singular, or even “they.”

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Dove l’hai trovato?

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Where did you find it?”
    Davide wants more information, so he asks this question to keep Matteo engaged.

    2- È un reperto alieno, ovviamente!

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “It’s an alien artifact, of course!”
    Alice is joking around a bit with his friend.

    3- Spero solo che non sia il mio regalo di compleanno.

    His wife’s nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “I just hope it’s not my birthday gift.”
    As said - either Francesco is as positive and pleasant as a wet rag, or this is his way of bantering with family.

    4- Potrebbe trattarsi di un oggetto antico.

    His supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “It might be an antique.”
    Roberto is the only one who ventures a serious opinion about the nature of the item.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • guardare: “to look, to watch”
  • trovare: “to find”
  • reperto: “find, archeological find”
  • alieno: “alien”
  • regalo: “present, gift”
  • oggetto antico: “antique”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s interesting find?

    Perhaps you will even learn the identity of your find! Or perhaps you’re on holiday, and visiting interesting places…

    18. Post about a Sightseeing Trip in Italian

    Let your friends know what you’re up to in Italian, especially when visiting a remarkable place! Don’t forget the photo.

    Giulia visits a famous landmark, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Saluti da questa stupenda città d’arte!
    “Greetings from this wonderful city of art!”

    1- Saluti da

    First is an expression meaning “Greetings from.”
    Italians often use this expression on postcards and social media to say where they are.

    2- questa stupenda città d’arte!

    Then comes the phrase - “this wonderful city of art!.”
    The expression “city of art” refers to cities with lots of famous monuments and museums, such as Rome, Venice, Florence, and many others. Italians love to visit such cities on long weekends or in the summer.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Mandami una cartolina!

    Her husband’s college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Send me a postcard!”
    Davide seems happy for Giulia and wants to have a momento too.

    2- La prossima volta ci andiamo insieme!

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “Next time, let’s go there together!”
    Sara expresses a wish to visit this place with her friend.

    3- Troppi turisti per i miei gusti.

    Her nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “Too many tourists for my liking.”
    Yea, trust Francesco to criticize the place.

    4- Aspettiamo tante foto!

    Her husband’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “We expect lots of photos!”
    Alice wants to also experience this via photos.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • città d’arte: “city of art”
  • mandare: “to send”
  • cartolina: “postcard”
  • insieme: “together”
  • turista: “tourist”
  • foto: “photo, picture”
  • Which phrase would you prefer when a friend posts about a famous landmark?

    Share your special places with the world. Or simply post about your relaxing experiences.

    19. Post about Relaxing Somewhere in Italian

    So you’re doing nothing yet you enjoy that too? Tell your social media friends about it in Italian!

    Matteo relaxes at a beautiful place, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Sole, mare e un po’ di meritato relax.
    “Sun, sea, and some well-deserved relaxation.”

    1- Sole, mare

    First is an expression meaning “Sun, sea.”
    Thanks to the hot summers and amazing beaches, the seaside is the most popular destination among Italian people.

    2- e un po’ di meritato relax.

    Then comes the phrase - “and some well-deserved relaxation..”
    This phrase is used to express that you have been working hard and now you can spend some time just relaxing.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Insomma, sei in paradiso!

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “In short, you’re in heaven!”
    Davide clearly thinks Matteo is in an enviable place.

    2- Metti la crema solare!

    Their neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Put on your sunscreen!”
    Laura is acting a bit like a mother.

    3- Scottature, meduse… Non ti invidio.

    His wife’s nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “Sunburns, jellyfish… I don’t envy you.”
    Francesco needs to be negative and different from all the others, it seems!

    4- Facciamo cambio?

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Wanna swap places?”
    Alice is clearly wishing he was sharing in the fun.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • sole: “sun”
  • mare: “sea”
  • relax: “relaxation”
  • paradiso: “paradise”
  • crema solare: “sunblock, sun cream”
  • scottatura: “sunburn”
  • medusa: “jellyfish”
  • invidiare: “to envy”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s feed?

    The break was great, but now it’s time to return home.

    20. What to Say in Italian When You’re Home Again

    And you’re back! What will you share with friends and followers?

    Giulia returns home after a vacation, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Eccomi qui, sono a casa!
    “Here I am, I’m home!”

    1- Eccomi qui

    First is an expression meaning “Here I am.”
    Say this whenever you arrive at a place where someone is waiting for you. For example, on a date, or on social media when you’ve been away for a while.

    2- sono a casa!

    Then comes the phrase - “I’m home!.”
    In Italian, you always have to use a preposition before “home”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Bentornata!

    Their neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Welcome back!”
    A commonly-used, warmhearted comment.

    2- Ci sei mancata!

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “We missed you!”
    This is a friendly sentiment to share, showing friends that they are valuable.

    3- Usciamo per un caffè così mi racconti tutto!

    Her husband’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s go out for a coffee so you can tell me everything!”
    Alice would love to hear firsthand from the family how their holiday went.

    4- Dov’è il mio souvenir?

    Her husband’s college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Where’s my souvenir?”
    Davide is making a fun, playful comment, probably hoping they did get him a souvenir!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • casa: “home, house, one’s place”
  • bentornato: “welcome back”
  • mancare: “to be lacking, missing”
  • caffè: “coffee, espresso”
  • uscire: “to go out”
  • raccontare: “to tell, recount”
  • tutto: “everything, all”
  • souvenir: “souvenir”
  • How would you welcome a friend back from a trip?

    What do you post on social media during a public commemoration day such as the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Italy?

    21. It’s Time to Celebrate in Italian

    It’s an historic day and you wish to post something about it on social media. What would you say?

    Matteo celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, posts an image of this event, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    A Ferragosto, niente di meglio di una grigliata in montagna!
    “On August 15th, (there’s) nothing better than a barbecue in the mountains!”

    1- A Ferragosto

    First is an expression meaning “On August 15th.”
    “Ferragosto” is an Italian holiday on the 15th of August celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Most businesses are closed on this day.

    2- niente di meglio di una grigliata in montagna!

    Then comes the phrase - “nothing better than a barbecue in the mountains!.”
    Mid-August is when most people are on summer vacation. On this day, it’s traditional to go on a trip to the beach or to the mountains, and enjoy some food with family and friends.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Buon Ferragosto!

    His supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “Happy 15th of August!”
    Roberto uses a common expression suitable for this day.

    2- Come fa a piacerti la montagna? Meglio il mare!

    His wife’s nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “How can you like the mountains? The sea is better!”
    Francesco is being his negative, critical self again, it seems!

    3- Salsicce! Gnam!

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Sausages! Yum!”
    Alice is commenting on the food, and clearly likes what he sees.

    4- Puoi dirlo forte!

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “That’s right!”
    Davide simply agrees with Matteo here, a suitable comment for this thread.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • grigliata: “barbeque”
  • montagna: “mountain”
  • ferragosto: “August 15th”
  • salsiccia: “sausage”
  • forte: “strong, powerful, loud, tough, heavy, severe”
  • gnam: “yum”
  • If a friend posted something about a holiday, which phrase would you use?

    Assumption of the Virgin Mary and other public commemoration days are not the only special ones to remember!

    22. Posting about a Birthday on Social Media in Italian

    Your friend or you are celebrating your birthday in an unexpected way. Be sure to share this on social media!

    Giulia goes to her birthday party, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Grazie a tutti per la meravigliosa festa!
    “Thank you all for the wonderful party!”

    1- Grazie a tutti

    First is an expression meaning “Thank you all.”
    When you want to express your gratitude to a group of people for something, use this expression.

    2- per la meravigliosa festa!

    Then comes the phrase - “for the wonderful party!.”
    The phrase that follows “for” is the thing you’re grateful for.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Buon compleanno!

    Her husband’s college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Happy birthday!”
    THe universal wish on a person’s birthday is suitable here.

    2- Ce l’hai fatta a spegnere tutte le candeline?

    Her husband’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Did you manage to blow out all the candles?”
    Alice is asking a playful question to remain part of the conversation.

    3- Giornata super!

    Her high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “Fabulous day!”
    This could be a wish or a comment on Giulia’s post.

    4- La torta era deliziosa.

    Her neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “The cake was delicious.”
    Laura was also there, obviously, and confirms Giulia’s post.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • festa: “feast, holiday, party”
  • compleanno: “birthday”
  • candelina: “candle”
  • super: “fabulous”
  • torta: “cake, tart, pie”
  • delizioso: “delightful, delicious”
  • If a friend posted something about birthday greetings, which phrase would you use?

    23. Talking about New Year on Social Media in Italian

    Impress your friend with your Italian New Year’s wishes this year. Learn the phrases easily!

    Matteo celebrates the New Year, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Buon anno a tutti!
    “Happy New Year, everyone!”

    1- Buon anno

    First is an expression meaning “Happy New Year.”
    This is the most common way to wish a happy New Year. In Italy, people say “happy New Year” even later on in January, when they meet someone again for the first time that year.

    2- a tutti

    Then comes the phrase - “everyone!.”
    On social media, use this expression to address wishes, such as “happy new year” or “merry christmas,” to everyone.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Felice anno nuovo!

    His neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Happy New Year!”
    This is the universal, commonly-used wish for New Year almost everywhere in the world. Suitable for this occasion too.

    2- Che il nuovo anno sia migliore di quello vecchio!

    His wife’s high school friend, Sara, uses an expression meaning - “May the new year be better than the last!”
    This is a sweet, optimistic wish that can be used anywhere with anyone on New Year.

    3- Cin cin!

    His friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Cheers!”
    Alice is short and sweet, saying thank you for Matteo’s wish.

    4- Hai già fatto i buoni propositi?

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “Have you already made any good resolutions?”
    Davide asks a question, perhaps to keep the conversation going.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • anno: “year”
  • felice: “happy, glad, joyful”
  • migliore: “better”
  • vecchio: “old”
  • cin cin: “cheers”
  • proposito: “resolution”
  • Which is your favorite phrase to post on social media during New Year?

    But before New Year’s Day comes another important day…

    24. What to Post on Christmas Day in Italian

    What will you say in Italian about Christmas?

    Giulia celebrates Christmas with her family, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Giulia’s post.

    Buon Natale a tutti, vi auguro di festeggiare con i vostri cari!
    “Merry Christmas, everyone, may you celebrate with your loved ones!”

    1- Buon Natale a tutti

    First is an expression meaning “Merry Christmas, everyone.”
    This is the traditional phrase to wish everyone a merry Christmas, both in person and on social media.

    2- vi auguro di festeggiare con i vostri cari!

    Then comes the phrase - “may you celebrate with your loved ones!.”
    In Italy, Christmas is the most important family holiday of the year. Christmas Eve, however, is a working day for many people. But businesses usually close early to allow people to enjoy Christmas Eve supper with their families, and they remain closed until the 26th, which is also a holiday.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Giulia’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Non vedo l’ora di aprire i regali!

    Her husband’s college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “I can’t wait to open my presents!”
    Frivolous Davide allows his inner child to be excited about the prospect of Christmas gifts.

    2- Auguro un sereno Natale a te e alla tua famiglia.

    Her supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “I wish a merry Christmas to you and your family.”
    A traditional Christmas wish, suitable for this time of year.

    3- Andateci piano col panettone!

    Her husband’s friend, Alice, uses an expression meaning - “Take it easy on the panettone!”
    Alice gives advice light-heartedly. Panettone is a traditional sweet bread loaf commonly enjoyed on this day in Italy.

    4- Odio le feste, svegliatemi quando sono finite…

    Her nephew, Francesco, uses an expression meaning - “I hate the holidays, wake me up when it’s all over…”
    Poor, pessimistic Francesco seems to be having a difficult time.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Natale: “Christmas”
  • festeggiare: “to celebrate”
  • caro: “loved one”
  • panettone: “panettone (sweet bread)”
  • svegliare: “to wake up”
  • If a friend posted something about Christmas greetings, which phrase would you use?

    So, the festive season is over! Yet, there will always be other days, besides a birthday, to wish someone well.

    25. Post about Your Anniversary in Italian

    Some things deserve to be celebrated, like wedding anniversaries. Learn which Italian phrases are meaningful and best suited for this purpose!

    Matteo celebrates his wedding anniversary with his wife, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Matteo’s post.

    Un altro anno insieme. Grazie amore!
    “Another year together. Thank you, my love!”

    1- Un altro anno insieme.

    First is an expression meaning “Another year together..”
    In Italy, couples usually do something special for their anniversary. For example, they go out to dinner or on a romantic date, and they exchange presents.

    2- Grazie amore!

    Then comes the phrase - “Thank you, my love!.”
    The Italian word for “love” is masculine, but you can use it to refer to your partner, as well.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Matteo’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Buon anniversario, ti amo!

    His wife, Giulia, uses an expression meaning - “Happy anniversary, I love you!”
    The couple clearly likes to show their affection online. This is a traditional, sweet wish suitable for the occasion.

    2- Auguri ragazzi, vi auguro molti altri anni felici.

    His neighbor, Laura, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations guys, I wish you many other years of happiness.”
    Laura is being warmhearted and positive with this well-wish for the couple.

    3- Un brindisi per voi!

    His college friend, Davide, uses an expression meaning - “A toast to you!”
    Davide also makes a short but meaningful and positive comment, toasting the couple’s marriage. A toast traditionally both celebrates an occasion, and signifies good wishes.

    4- Vi auguro di essere sempre felici come il primo giorno.

    His supervisor, Roberto, uses an expression meaning - “May you always be as happy as the first day.”
    What a sweet, positive wish for any marriage!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • amore: “love”
  • anniversario: “anniversary”
  • augurare: “to wish, bid, hope”
  • amare: “to love”
  • brindisi: “toast”
  • giorno: “day”
  • If a friend posted something about Anniversary greetings, which phrase would you use?

    Conclusion

    Learning to speak a new language will always be easier once you know key phrases that everybody uses. These would include commonly used expressions for congratulations and best wishes, etc.

    Master these in fun ways with Learn Italian! We offer a variety of tools to individualize your learning experience, including using cell phone apps, audiobooks, iBooks and many more. Never wonder again what to say on social media!

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    Giorno Dell’unità Nazionale: National Unity Day in Italy

    WWI Depiction

    Each year, Italy observes its National Unity and Armed Forces Day in commemoration of its victory in WWI while part of the Allies. While this is no longer considered a public holiday, Italy’s National Unity Day still holds some relevance to the Italian people, who continue to put on celebrations and special events.

    In this article, you’ll learn the most pertinent facts about National Unity Day and Armed Forces Day in Italy.

    At ItalianPod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative!

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    1. What is National Unity Day in Italy?

    As mentioned earlier, National Unity Day and Armed Forces Day in Italy commemorates the country’s WWI victory. Following this victory, Italy also conquered Trento and Trieste which began the process of its unification.

    Beginning in the 1970s, Italian Armed Forces and Unity Day started to fall off the radar and the Italian people no longer considered this an important day. During the 1960s, many Italians actually protested this holiday in order to draw attention to the lack of conscientious objection rights which would allow them to refuse military service.

    In spite of this holiday’s declining status and the growing stigma around it, Italians did once again start to accept it in the 2000s. This was largely due to the influence of then-President Carolo Ciampi.

    2. When is it?

    Italian Flag

    Each year, Italians commemorate their National Unity Day and Armed Forces Day on November 4.

    3.How is it Celebrated?

    Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

    On National Unity Day, Italy begins celebrations by hoisting its national flag. Italian mayors and those serving in the military are present during this ceremony, and people are able to watch weaponry and martial arts demonstrations.

    Further celebrations include solemn visits to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the wreath-laying ceremony, and Vittorio Veneto, both of which hold significant meaning to the Italian people. The Vittorio Veneto is where Italy and Austria-Hungary fought their final battle of WWI. Another popular destination for National Unity Day is the Redipuglia Memorial Monument, a place devoted to honoring the many Italians who lost their lives there.

    4. The Italian Front

    WWI Depiction

    In 1915, Italy decided to leave its Triple Alliance with the countries of Germany and Austria-Hungary, and instead joined the other side. After declaring war on Austria-Hungary, Italy officially became involved in WWI.

    The two countries fought many battles up until 1918, which were known as the Italian Front. The same year, the Armistice of Villa Gusti was signed at the prompting of Austria-Hungary, and Italians celebrate this each year.

    5. Essential National Unity and Armed Forces Day Vocabulary

    Fallen Italian Soldiers

    Here’s the essential vocabulary you should know for National Unity and Armed Forces Day in Italy!

    • Anniversario
      “Anniversary”
    • Prima Guerra Mondiale
      “World War I”
    • Giorno dell’Unità Nazionale
      “National Unity Day”
    • Giornata delle Forze Armate
      “Armed Forces Day”
    • Anniversario della fine della prima guerra mondiale
      “Anniversary of the end of World War I”
    • Milite Ignoto
      “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”
    • Celebrazione all’Altare della Patria
      “Celebration at the Altar of the Fatherland”
    • Vittoriano di Roma
      “Vittoriano in Rome”
    • Visita al Sacrario di Redipuglia
      “Visit to the Redipuglia Memorial Monument”
    • Visita a Vittorio Veneto
      “Visit to Vittorio Veneto”
    • Riconoscenza
      “Gratitude”
    • Caduti militari italiani
      “Fallen Italian soldiers”

    To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and to see each one accompanied by a relevant image, be sure to check out our Italian National Unity Day and Armed Forces Day vocabulary list!

    Parting Words

    We hope you enjoyed learning about National Unity Day and Armed Forces Day in Italy with us!

    Does your country have a similar holiday? If so, how do you celebrate it? Let us know in the comments; we always love to hear from you!

    Learning about a country’s culture may be the most exciting and enriching aspects of trying to master a language. If you want to continue delving into Italian culture, you may be interested in the following pages:

    We know that learning Italian isn’t an easy feat. But at ItalianPod101.com, we believe that you really can master the language and come to understand Italian culture. We’ll be here with you every step of the way with constant guidance and encouragement!

    Happy learning!

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    How to Say “I’m Sorry” in Italian

    Thumbnail

    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!

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    Italian Hand Gestures: Talk with Hands Like a Real Italian

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

    Italian body gestures—and, specifically, Italian hand gestures—are a complex, marvelous completion to the language, adding the emphasis Italians love so much, and sometimes even replacing the words. Body gestures in speaking Italian have the ability to add so much flair. That’s why it’s so important for everyone who loves Italy and the Italian language to learn these gestures. And we at ItalianPod101.com are here to help you master the use of the most common Italian body language and gestures!

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    Table of Contents

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

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    1. The World-Famous Italian Hand Gestures

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

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

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

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

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

    Italians Talk with Hands


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A Plate of Pasta

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

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

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

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

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

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

    5 - The “So Much” Italian Hand Gesture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    3. Other Italian Body Language Expressions

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

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


    4. The Italian Hand Gesture that Shaped Heavy Metal Music

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

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

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

    The Godfather

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

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


    5. Gesticulate Like a Real Italian with ItalianPod101

    Body gestures in learning Italian are essential, and body language is a crucial part of the way Italians communicate. But there’s a bright side: It’s so fun to learn it! Here at ItalianPod101.com, we’ll guide you through every aspect of the Italian language, from grammar to culture, from verbs to onomatopoeia. And with our courses and learning apps, you’ll behave, talk, and gesticulate like an Italian in no time!

    There’s so much more to say about Italian hand gestures alone, that we at ItalianPod101.com have decided to dedicate more articles and guides to the topic, completely free. Be sure to keep an eye out!

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

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    Ferragosto Festa Nazionale: Celebrating Ferragosto in Italy

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

    At ItalianPod101.com, we hope to make learning about the Italian Ferragosto holiday both fun and informative, as we peel back layers of Italy’s unique culture and its religious traditions. After all, this is key in truly mastering any language!

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    1. What is Ferragosto?

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

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

    2. When is Ferragosto?

    Fireworks Going Off

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

    3. Ferragosto Traditions in Italy

    Woman With Feet Out Car Window

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

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

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

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

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

    4. A Midnight Swim

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

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

    5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Ferragosto

    People swimming at Night

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

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

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

    Conclusion

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

    To continue learning about Italian culture and the language, explore ItalianPod101.com and take advantage of our many fun and practical learning tools:

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

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    The Complete Guide to Italian Internet Slang

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

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

    Table of Contents

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

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

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

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

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


    2. Italian Internet Slang Dictionary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A few examples:

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

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

    A few examples:

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

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

    Examples:

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


    3. Italian Text Slang Abbreviations

    Slang in Text Bubbles

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

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

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

    1- Italian Internet Slang Expressions

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

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

    2- Italian Slang Expressions Used Both Online and Offline

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

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

    5- English Internet Slang Also Used by Italians

    Text Screen

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

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

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

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


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

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


    5. Why You Should Learn Italian Internet Slang

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

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


    6. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Learn More Italian

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

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

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    Untranslatable Italian Words

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

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

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

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

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

    Table of Contents

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

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    1. Ti voglio bene (tvb)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Two People Hugging


    2. Mamma mia!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    3. Boh!

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

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

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

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

    For example:

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

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

    Man Shrugging
    Typical Boh! face.


    4. Spaghettata

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

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

    Example:

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

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

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


    5. Pantofolaio

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

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

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

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

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


    6. Abbiocco

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

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

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

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

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

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


    7. Apericena

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

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

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

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

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


    8. Gattara

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

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

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

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

    Woman Kissing Cat

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


    9. Dolce far niente

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

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

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

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


    10. Menefreghista

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

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

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

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


    11. Conclusion

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

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

    In the meantime, ItalianPod101.com can help you with those and much more to fully understand all the nuances of the beautiful Italian language.

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