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Wait a Minute… Do You Know How to Tell Time in Italian?

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How often do you need to check the time every day? Telling the time is part of everyday life, so if you’re making plans for a specific time and date while traveling or studying in Italy, it’s essential that you master this conversation skill as soon as possible. 

In this article, I’ll be going over everything from how to say “hour” in Italian to asking for the time and making plans in Italian. Let’s get started.
Che ore sono? è ora di iniziare a divertirsi con ItalianPod101.com! (“What time is it? It’s time to start having fun with ItalianPod101.com!”)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Italian Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask for the Time in Italian
  2. Italian Hours
  3. Give Me a Minute…
  4. How to Divide Hours into Minutes in Italian
  5. General Time References of the Day in Italian
  6. Top Italian Time Adverbs
  7. Italian Proverbs and Sayings about Time
  8. Conclusion

1. How to Ask for the Time in Italian

Man Checking Watch

To start, let’s see the very first basic phrases you can use to ask for and say the time in Italian:

  • Che ore sono? / Che ora è? 


These literally translate to “What hours are they?” and “What hour it is?” respectively. They both mean “What time is it?”

This is the easiest way to ask the time in Italian. With this phrase, you don’t have to worry too much about using formal vs. informal speech, as adding scusi (“excuse me” – formal) or scusa (“excuse me” – informal) at the beginning of the sentence can make it more formal or informal.

  • Potrebbe/Potresti dirmi l’ora? 


This translates to “Could you (formal/informal) tell me the time?” 

This is a more complex form of asking for the time in Italian. It can be used both formally and informally as long as you change the person (2nd vs. 3rd) of the subject accordingly.

  • A che ora è…? /A che ora comincia…? 


These translate to “At what time is…” and “At what time starts …?” respectively. This is the Italian formula for asking when something (a meeting, a show, etc.) is going to start.

Did you notice that in Italian we say ore, literally meaning “hours,” when we talk about time? If you look up ora (“hour” in the singular) in an Italian dictionary, you’ll find that it means both “hour” and “now.” While the literal translation of “time” is tempo, in Italian, we use this word just in the sense of the concept of time—never to represent the passing of time on a clock. Interesting, right?

Che ore sono? Uffa*… il tempo non passa mai… (“What time is it? Geez…time never passes…”)

*Uffa is an untranslatable word that makes life so much more interesting! Depending on the context, it can be translated as “geez/gosh!”, “damn” (angry), “come on!” (impatient), “phew” (generic), or “oh, hum” (bored).

2. Italian Hours

When you say the time in Italian, it’s more common to use the twelve-hour clock, unless it’s in written official communication. In order to avoid confusion or ambiguity, you’ll often hear Italians say the time with the twelve-hour clock, adding di mattina, del pomeriggio, di sera, or di notte (“in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, at night”).

Hourglass

Una vecchia clessidra (“An old hourglass”)

There’s no equivalent for “o’clock” in Italian. You simply say the time, and if you want to be very precise, you add in punto. You’ll only use this if you want to remark that it just turned exactly that time: Ci vediamo alle tre in punto! (“We meet at three o’clock (sharp)!”).

To state what time it is, you use the verb essere (“to be”), in the singular è, for midnight (mezzanotte), midday (mezzogiorno), and one o’clock (l’una). The rest of the time, you use the plural sono and the number  equivalent to the hour.
But if you want to say what time something happens, you use a/alle and the time, like this: a mezzanotte (“At midnight”), alle tre (“at three”). Remember that alle = a + le. Do you need to brush up on compound prepositions? Follow me!

È mezzanotte / A mezzanotte “It’s midnight” / “At midnight”
È l’una (di notte) / All’una (di notte) “It’s one AM” / “At one AM”
Sono le due (di notte) / Allle due (di notte) “It’s two AM” / “At two AM”
Sono le tre (di notte) / Alle tre (di notte) “It’s three AM” / “At three AM”
Sono le quattro (di notte) / Alle quattro (di notte) “It’s four AM” / “At four AM”
Sono le cinque (di mattina) / Alle cinque (di mattina) “It’s five AM” / “At five AM”
Sono le sei (di mattina) / Alle sei (di mattina) “It’s six AM” / “At six AM”
Sono le sette (di mattina) / Alle sette (di mattina) “It’s seven AM” / “At seven AM”
Sono le otto (di mattina) / Alle otto (di mattina) “It’s eight AM” / “At eight AM”
Sono le nove (di mattina) / Alle nove (di mattina) “It’s nine AM” / “At nine AM”
Sono le dieci (di mattina) / Alle dieci (di mattina) “It’s ten AM” / “At ten AM”`
Sono le undici (di mattina) / Alle undici (di mattina) “It’s eleven AM” / “At eleven AM”
È mezzogiorno / A mezzogiorno “It’s noon” / “At noon”
È l’una / All’una “It’s one PM” / “At one PM”
Sono le due (di pomeriggio) / Alle due (di pomeriggio) “It’s two PM” / “At two PM”
Sono le tre (di pomeriggio) / Alle tre (di pomeriggio) “It’s three PM” / “At three PM”
Sono le quattro (di pomeriggio) / Alle quattro (di pomeriggio) “It’s four PM” / “At four PM”
Sono le cinque (di pomeriggio) / Alle cinque (di pomeriggio) “It’s five PM” / “At five PM”
Sono le sei (di pomeriggio) / Alle sei (di pomeriggio) “It’s six PM” / “At six PM”
Sono le sette (di sera) / Alle sette (di sera) “It’s seven PM” / “At seven PM”
Sono le otto (di sera) / Alle otto (di sera) “It’s eight PM” / “At eight PM”
Sono le nove (di sera) / Alle nove (di sera) “It’s nine PM” / “At nine PM”
Sono le dieci (di sera) / Alle dieci (di sera) “It’s ten PM” / “At ten PM”
Sono le undici (di sera) / Alle undici (di sera) “It’s eleven PM” / “At eleven PM”

Naturally, it’s another matter to know how to write the time in Italian…. Here’s a hint: right now, it’s 11:33.

Impatient Boy at Table Holding Cutlery

È ora di pranzo! (“It’s lunchtime!”)

You’ll often find Italians referring to noon or one PM as l’ora di pranzo, meaning “lunchtime.” When it’s time to eat, it’s a sacred time for Italians. So, just a word of advice: avoid planning a meeting around that time unless you’re making plans for a lunch or dinner. Also, remember that the typical time for meals changes according to the region in Italy. Generally, people in the north have lunch around noon, while the more south you go, the later lunchtime (or dinnertime) is, especially in the summer. 

3. Give Me a Minute…

Time

A minute isn’t much, but we use the word all the time, both as a reference to sixty seconds and a more generic “little time.”

Kids will always tell you un minuto… cinque minuti… (“one minute… five minutes… “) when you ask them to get out of bed or clean their room, don’t they?

  • Sono le otto, alzati! “It’s eight o’clock, get up!”
  • Ho sonno… ancora cinque minuti… “I’m sleepy…five more minutes….”

It’s also the typical excuse for the chronic latecomer…

  • Ciao, sei pronto? “Hello, are you ready?”
  • Ehm…. Quasi… cinque minuti e arrivo… “Ehm…almost…five minutes and I’ll be there…”

Here are a few more useful formulas. Notice how the verb is in the imperative mood. You can practice with these phrases:

Dammi un minuto… “Give me a minute…”

Aspetta un minuto… “Wait a minute…”

The same formulas can be used with secondo, meaning “second.”

But in fact, apart from when we talk about cinque minuti or dieci minuti (“five minutes” or “ten minutes”), we rarely use the word “minute” in a sentence. See how it works in the case of 6:05 PM:

  • Che ore sono? (“What time is it?”)
  • Sono le sei e cinque. (“It’s five past six.”) 

We’ll look at this more in the following chapter.

Clock Spiral

Ore e minuti (“Hours and minutes”)

4. How to Divide Hours into Minutes in Italian

When the digital watches came around, a lot of people started telling time like robots:

  • Che ore sono? (“What time is it?”)
  • Sono le 17 e 27. (“It’s 17: 27.”)

But luckily, people soon realized it was too ugly and stopped doing that. The normal behavior now is to round up the minutes to halves, quarters, and fives. Much better!

  • mezz’ora (“half an hour”) 

Notice how in front of ora, the word mezza drops the last letter, a, and adds an apostrophe (‘), becoming mezz’ora. But whenever you need to put it after the hour, to mean “half past…” then you use the complete word, either mezzo or mezza.

  • … e mezza/mezzo  (“half past…”)

In this case, telling time in Italian is much simpler than in English. You just need to put together the hour and the half hour with the conjunction e. Notice how both mezzo and mezza are correct.

  • un quarto d’ora (“a quarter of an hour”)

Notice how here, too, we drop a letter and add an apostrophe, so that un quarto di ora becomes much nicer to hear and pronounce: un quarto d’ora.

  • e un quarto (“a quarter past …”)

To add just a quarter of an hour, you also need to put the conjunction e + un (indefinite article).

  • Just like in English, an easy way to tell time is by fractions of five minutes, as in:
  • le … e cinque (“five past …” or “… oh five”)
  • le … e dieci (“ten past …” or “… ten”)
  • le … e quindici (“fifteen past …” or “… fifteen”)

le … e venti (“twenty past …” or “… twenty”)

  • le … e venticinque (“twenty-five past …” or “… twenty-five”)
  • le … e trenta (“thirty past …” or “… thirty”)
  • le … e trentacinque (“thirty-five past …” or “… thirty-five”)
  • le … e quaranta (“forty past …” or “… forty”)
  • le … e quarantacinque (“forty-five past …” or “… forty-five”)
  • le … e cinquanta (“fifty past …” or “… fifty”)
  • le … e cinquantacinque (“fifty-five past …” or “… fifty-five”)
  • meno… 

After half past thirty-five, normally in Italian you start saying the following hour “minus” the minutes needed to get to the top of the hour. For example: 

  • 10:40 = le undici meno venti (literally “eleven minus twenty”)  
  • 11:45 = le dodici/mezzogiorno meno un quarto (“twelve/noon minus a quarter”)
  • 15:50 = le quattro meno dieci (“four minus ten”)
  • 19:55 = le otto meno cinque  (“eight minus five”)

5. General Time References of the Day in Italian

Telling the exact time, or being able to read a clock, is important. But since prehistoric times, people have talked about time by referring to the different stages of the day. So, if you want to have a more natural Italian conversation, here are the most common ways to give the general time of day in Italian.

Let’s remember that AM / PM isn’t commonly used in Italian. Instead, to avoid ambiguity or confusion, you’ll hear people mention di mattina, del pomeriggio, di sera, and di notte (“in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, at night”) after the time. These are the four basic stages of the day, but below is a more complete list of phrases using all the different parts of the day.

Sun Low Over the Horizon

Dall’alba al tramonto (“from dawn to dusk”)

Sono uscita di mattina presto.“I left early in the morning.
Faccio colazione a metà mattinata.“I have breakfast mid-morning.”
Mi sveglio sempre all’alba.“I always wake up at dawn.”
Ci vediamo a mezzogiorno (ad ora di pranzo).“See you at noon (at lunchtime).”
Ti chiamo nel primo pomeriggio.“I’ll call you in the early afternoon.”
La festa comincia nel tardo pomeriggio.“The party starts in the late afternoon.”
Com’è bella la montagna al tramonto!“How beautiful the mountain is at sunset!
Non esco mai di sera tardi.“I never go out late at night.”
È ora di cena.“It’s dinner time.”
Non si può fare rumore a notte fonda.“No noise can be made in the middle of the night.
Ho sentito un rumore nel cuore della notte.“I heard a noise in the dead of night.
È tardi: ora di dormire!“It’s late: time for bed (nap time)!”

6. Top Italian Time Adverbs

Improve Listening

Once you’ve mastered how to say the time, how to talk about all the stages of the day and night, you still need some other little words that help you indicate when something happens. When talking about time in Italian, these adverbs of time will be immensely helpful:

  • adesso/ora (“now”)


Il treno parte ora. (“The train leaves now.”)

  • al momento (“at the moment”)


Al momento non abbiamo tavoli liberi. (“At the moment, we don’t have free tables.”)

  • nel frattempo (“in the meantime”)


Nel frattempo preparo il pranzo. (“In the meantime, I’ll prepare lunch.”)

  • prima/dopo (“before/after”)


Ci vediamo prima di cena o dopo cena? (“Shall we meet before dinner or after dinner?”)

  • presto/tardi (“early/late”)


Per favore, arriva presto. Non fare tardi come al solito. (“Please, be there early. Don’t you be late as usual.”)

  • tra un po’ (“In a while”)

Pay attention to the apostrophe (‘). It’s there to indicate that it was originally a longer word (poco) that dropped the last syllable.


Ora non ho voglia. Lo faccio tra un po’. (“Now I don’t want to. I’ll do it in a while.”)

  • per molto/poco tempo (“for a long/short time”)


Per molto tempo ho creduto a Babbo Natale. (“For a long time, I believed in Santa Claus.”)

  • sempre/mai (“always/never”)
  • Vai sempre in palestra? (“Do you always go to the gym?”)
  • No, non ci vado mai. (“No, I never go.”)
  • il prima possibile (“as soon as possible”)


Ho bisogno della relazione il prima possibile. (“I need the report as soon as possible.”)

  • in qualsiasi momento (“at any time”)


Può succedere in qualsiasi momento. (“It can happen at any time.”)

  • di tanto in tanto (“from time to time”)


È bene fare una pausa di tanto in tanto. (“From time to time, it’s good to take a break.”)

7. Italian Proverbs and Sayings about Time

Time is such a universal and primordial concept that in all cultures, you’ll find many proverbs and sayings about it. Here are some of the most common proverbs and sayings about time in Italian.

Sundial
Il tempo è denaro.“Time is money.”
Il tempo vola.“Time flies.”
Chi ha tempo non aspetti tempo.“Those who have time do not wait for time.”

Meaning: Basically, it’s an invitation to act immediately without hesitation.
La notte porta consiglio.“The night brings counsel.”

Meaning: The best decisions must be made with a clear mind, better if after a long sleep.
Dare tempo al tempo.“Give time to time.”

Meaning: Allow things to fall into place by waiting for the right moment.
Il tempo è galantuomo.“Time is a gentleman.”

Meaning: Time restores the truth, repairs all wrongs, and heals everything. Therefore, we must learn to wait.
Ora di punta.“Rush hour.”

Meaning: This literally means “peak hour” because it refers to a peak in a diagram.
Fare le ore piccole.Literally “to make the small hours.”

Meaning: It means to stay up or out until very late (one, two, or three).
Non vedo l’ora (che succeda…).“I can’t wait (for something to happen).”

8. Conclusion

Basic Questions

I bet time flew while learning to tell time in Italian and more. Now you can practice telling time: make plans with your Italian friends, ask strangers for the time, or find out what time the movie starts.

But most importantly, don’t stop now! Go on and keep learning Italian with fun lessons and tons of podcasts and videos on ItalianPod101.com. We’ll help you improve quickly. 

Before you go, practice telling time in Italian by dropping us a comment with the current time in Italian! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Directions in Italian: Learn “Right” in Italian & More!



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Are you traveling through Italy? Do you need to get to the Colosseum? Are you taking art classes in Florence?

If you’re in Italy and you want to enjoy getting around and exploring new places, get ready to ask for directions in Italian with this quick and easy guide. No need for maps or GPS if you can get a little help from locals and practice your Italian in the process.

In this article, I’ll be going over direction phrases in Italian, and will teach you words like “right” in Italian and much more!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Italian

Table of Contents
  1. On the Map: Cardinal Directions in Italian
  2. On the Road: Street Directions in Italian
  3. Directions in Italian Using Landmarks
  4. Italian Phrases for Asking (Politely) for Directions
  5. Must-know Italian Phrases for Giving Directions
  6. If You Get Lost
  7. Streets, Squares, and More (Much More!)
  8. Conclusion


1. On the Map: Cardinal Directions in Italian


Whether you’re old-school and like to rely on paper maps, or you’re more into new gadgets and like to get around with GPS apps, one of the first things to learn is how to ask for compass directions in Italian when planning your trip on a map.

Map of Rome Tutte le strade portano a Roma. (“All roads lead to Rome.”)

  • Nord — “North”
  • Sud — “South”
  • Est — “East”
  • Ovest — “West”

These (and their combinations nord-est, sud-ovest, etc.) are the essential words you need to learn to find your way around a map of the country. Other than that, Italians don’t have the habit of referring to cardinal points when giving directions, and they’re mainly used to indicating the parts and areas of Italy.

When talking about directions in English, it’s very common to say things like “go north on Second Street” (prosegui a nord su Second Street). Instead, Italians almost never use directions when giving directions. Italians mostly mention the directions when describing geographical features.

    – Milano è nel nord d’Italia.
    “Milan is in the north of Italy.”

    – Napoli e Palermo sono le maggiori città del sud d’Italia.
    “Naples and Palermo are the major cities in the south of Italy.”

    – Pompei si trova a sud di Napoli.
    Pompeii is located south of Naples.”


Compass Hai perso la bussola? (Literally, “Did you lose your compass?” meaning also “Are you lost? Out of your mind?”)

In Italy, you’ll never hear someone talking about the north part of the city. Instead, almost every city can be divided into il centro storico, or “the historical center,” historically the old part of town, and la periferia or “the outskirts”/”the suburbs,” which are the newer parts of the town.

2. On the Road: Street Directions in Italian


Asking Directions

For road directions in Italian, you’ll need a series of relative indicators that will help you easily find where to go. Here are the most important ones:

a destra; a sinistra “to the right”; “to the left”
davanti; dietro “in front”; “behind”
vicino; lontano“near”; “far”
accanto a “next to”
all’angolo; dietro l’angolo “at the corner”; “around the corner”
da questo lato; dall’altro lato “on this side”; “on the other side”
a [due minuti] di distanza “it’s [two minutes] away”


Notice to say “right” in Italian we say destra, but just in the sense of left and right. If you mean “right” as in “correct,” you’ll have to say giusto. Giusto?

    A: È vicino il Duomo?
    “Is the Duomo near?”

    B: Saranno 5 minuti a piedi.
    “It’s probably a five-minute walk.”

    B: Prendi la prima a sinistra, poi la seconda a destra. Il Duomo è dietro l’angolo.
    “You turn left at the first intersection, then turn right at the second intersection. The Duomo is around the corner.”


3. Directions in Italian Using Landmarks


When you’re traveling, there are so many landmarks that you’ll go to or pass by. So it’s important to know the names of the main public buildings and of all the places of tourist interest in a particular city. When asking for directions, make sure you know the following words and phrases:

Around the City


l’aeroporto“the airport”
la stazione (dei treni, degli autobus)“the (train, bus) station”
l’accesso alla metro“the access to the subway”
la fermata dell’autobus “the bus stop”
il centro“downtown”
il centro commerciale“the shopping center”
il parco“the park”
l’albergo; l’hotel; l’ostello“the hotel”; “the hostel”
l’ospedale“the hospital”
la banca; il bancomat“the bank”; “the cash machine”
l’ufficio postale“the post office”
il parcheggio dei taxi“the taxi parking”
il museo; il teatro; il cinema“the museum”; “the theater”; “the cinema”
la chiesa“the church”
il ristorante; la trattoria; la pizzeria“the restaurant”; “the tavern”; “the pizzeria”
il bar; la gelateria“the coffee bar”; “the ice cream shop”
il supermercato; il mercato“the supermarket”; “the market”
l’edicola“the newsstand”
la farmacia“the pharmacy”
la scuola“the school”
il benzinaio; il distributore di benzina“the gas station”


Bus Stop Sign La fermata dell’autobus. (“The bus stop.”)

    – La farmacia è di fronte all’ospedale.
    “The pharmacy is in front of the hospital.”

    – Per andare al supermercato, vai sempre dritto fino al benzinaio, gira a destra, poi continua fino al secondo semaforo e infine gira a sinistra.
    “To go to the supermarket, go straight to the gas station, turn right, then continue to the second traffic light and then turn left.”


On the Street


l’incrocio“the intersection”
il semaforo (verde, rosso, giallo) [link to colors]“the traffic light” (green, red, yellow)
le strisce pedonali (le strisce)“the pedestrian crossing”
il marciapiede“the sidewalk”


    – La fermata dell’autobus è a duecento metri dal semaforo.
    “The bus stop is two-hundred meters from the traffic light.”

    – Quando arrivi all’incrocio, attraversa sulle strisce pedonali e aspettami sul marciapiede.
    “When you reach the intersection, cross on the pedestrian crossing and wait for me on the sidewalk.”


Inside a Building


il bagno“the toilet” (or bathroom)
l’ascensore“the elevator”
le scale“the stairs”
la porta; il portone; il cancello“the door”; “the main door”; “the gate”
l’entrata; l’uscita“the entry”; “the exit”
il parcheggio (la cassa per pagare il parcheggio)“the parking” (the cash desk to pay the parking)


    – Dov’è il bagno?
    “Where is the bathroom?”

    – Per favore, potrebbe indicarmi l’uscita?
    “Can you show me the exit, please?”


Bathroom Sign Scusi, dov’è il bagno? (“Excuse me, where is the bathroom?”)

4. Italian Phrases for Asking (Politely) for Directions


If you want to make sure that you’re given the best directions to the place you want to go, you might want to master a few must-know phrases that will allow you to ask politely and make a great first impression on the person you’re asking. Italians are usually very happy to help a tourist, especially a foreign one, but courtesy always goes a long way.

Scusi…


The first and most important phrase when asking directions in Italian is Scusi (scusa for informal) which literally means “may you excuse,” but basically just serves to catch the attention of the other person. (If you need a quick refresher on when we use formal/informal in Italian, check out this video.) Whenever you ask for directions, make sure you always start with that.

    – Ciao, scusa, dov’è la scuola?
    “Hi, excuse me, where is the school?”

    – Scusi, dove prendo l’autobus per il centro?
    “Excuse me, where do I take the bus downtown?”

    – Scusi, potrebbe darmi un’indicazione?
    “Excuse me, could you give me an indication?”


Did you notice that often when we ask politely, we end up using the conditional tense? So now is a very good opportunity to check out uses and conjugations, don’t you agree?

Dov’è…?


When you want to know where a certain place is, you have a few different ways of saying it:

Dov’è / dove si trova / come si va (“where it is” / “where is located” / “how do you go”). They can all be used to ask directions to a specific place.

    – Scusi, dov’è il supermercato più vicino?
    “Excuse me, where is the closest market?”

    – Scusi, dove si trova il bagno delle donne?
    “Excuse me, where is the lady’s bathroom?”

    – Come si va a Pompei?
    “How do I go to Pompeii?”


Per favore


Kindness is never too much, especially when you’re asking a favor from a stranger, so you might want to add a few “please”s with your question. And how do you say “please” in Italian? Per favore, of course. And can you guess what favore literally means? A favor? Please…

    – Scusi, potrebbe dirmi per favore come si arriva al Duomo?
    “Excuse me, can you please tell me how to get to the Duomo?”


Woman Holding a Map

Quanto dista?


Not only do you need to get to your destination, but you also need to know how far/long it is to get there. You have many different ways to ask that:

  • Quanto dista?
    “How far is it?”
    Literally: “How much it is distant?”


  • È lontano?
    “Is it far?”


  • Quanto ci vuole?
    “How long does it take?”
    Literally: “How much [time] it’s necessary to get there?”


Grazie mille!


Once you have all the information you need, make sure you know how to properly thank the nice person who helped you get where you needed to. Grazie! (“Thanks!”) is obviously the basic appreciation, but if you want to get a bit fancier, you have a few more options:

  • Grazie.
    “Thank you.”


  • Grazie mille. or Mille grazie.
    “Thank you very much.”
    Literally: “Thank you a thousand.”


  • Grazie tante. or Tante grazie.
    “Many thanks.”


  • Molto gentile.
    “Very kind.”


  • La ringrazio. / Ti ringrazio. (formal / informal)
    “Thank you.”
    Literally: “I thank you.”


5. Must-know Italian Phrases for Giving Directions


Directions

Are you familiar enough with your whereabouts that you feel confident giving directions to other people? Well done! Here’s how to give directions in Italian with a few simple phrases. And always remember the basic rule: if you know the person you’re talking to, go ahead and use the tu (2nd person – informal); otherwise, stick to Lei (3rd person – formal).

On the Street


  • vai — “go”
  • continua/prosegui — “keep going”
  • Dritto — “straight”
  • torna indietro — “go back”
  • fai un’inversione (a U) — “make a U-turn”
  • gira / svolta — “turn”
  • a destra / a sinistra — “to the right” / “to the left”


  • – Per il Colosseo, continua dritto.
    “To the Colosseum, keep going straight.”

    – La strada è interrotta, fai una inversione a U e torna indietro.
    “The street is blocked, make a U-turn and go back.”


On the Stairs


  • al ventesimo piano — “on the twentieth floor”
  • primo, secondo, ecc., ultimo piano — “first, second, etc., last floor”
  • prendere le scale — “take the stairs”
  • prendere l’ascensore — “take the elevator”
  • salire / scendere — “go up” / “go down”
  • a che piano va(i)? — “What floor?”


  • – L’ufficio postale è al secondo piano.
    “The post office is on the second floor.”

    – Di solito prendo le scale, ma oggi vado all’ultimo piano e prenderò l’ascensore.
    “I usually take the stairs, but today I will go to the top floor and will take the elevator.”


Person Pressing Elevator Button A che piano va? (“What floor?”)

To a Driver


When giving suggestions to your driver, unless he/she is a friend of yours giving you a ride, you should address the driver using the formal Lei. Here are some useful taxi directions in Italian:

  • continui — “go on”; “keep going”
  • può fermarsi? — “Can you stop?”
  • può andare più veloce? — “Can you go faster?”
  • ho fretta, sono in ritardo — “I’m in a hurry, I am late.”
  • può andare più piano? — “Can you go slower?”
  • Non ho fretta, questa non è la formula 1… — “I’m not in a hurry, this is not the Formula 1…”


  • – Può fermarsi in Piazza San Marco?
    “Could you stop in San Marco square?”

    – Devo prendere il treno, può andare più veloce?
    “I have to take the train, can you go faster?”


6. If You Get Lost


Even if you know all the vocabulary and all the must-know Italian phrases, even with maps and GPS and written-down directions, getting a little lost is common when you travel in a foreign country. So, get prepared for that possibility.

But don’t worry about it because, first of all, Italians are a generous and helping people and they’ll love to help you find your way back. And second, getting lost and just wandering around for a bit isn’t such a bad thing after all. Don’t you agree?

  • Mi sono perso/a. — “I got lost.”
  • Non trovo… — “I can’t find…”
  • Non so come arrivare… — “I don’t know how to get to…”
  • Mi potresti/potrebbe aiutare? — “Could you help me?”


  • – Dove vado? Non so come arrivare in centro…
    “Where do I go? I don’t know how to get to the center…”

    – Penso di essermi persa. Mi potrebbe aiutare ad arrivare in Via Roma?
    “I think I got lost. Could you help me to get to Roma street?”


Couple Riding on a Vespa In Vespa per i vicoli di Roma. (“Riding a Vespa through Rome narrow streets.”)

7. Streets, Squares, and More (Much More!)


Surely you won’t have any problem giving or understanding directions in English. But when people give you directions in Italy, they might use unfamiliar names to refer to places around the cities, especially the more historical ones. Here’s a useful list for you:

Via“Street”
Viale“Avenue”
Vialetto“Alley” (usually leading to a house)
VicoloVicolo
Vicolo cieco“Cul-de-sac” (also metaphorically)
Strada statale / strada provinciale“State highway” / “provincial road”
Autostrada“Highway”
Svincolo“Junction”; “exit” (on a highway)
Casello (per il pedaggio)“Toll gate”
Stazione di servizio“Service station”
Piazza“Square”
Rotonda, rotatoria“Roundabout”


In Italian, you can always use the diminutive form of a noun or an adjective to give it a slightly different meaning. And we do it all the time! So, don’t worry if you hear people telling you about vicoletti, stradine, cancelletti, portoncini, and porticine (“tiny alleys, narrow streets, mini-gates, and cute little doors”). If you still have some doubts, just check out how diminutive and other fun suffixes work.

Il centro di Napoli è pieno di vicoletti e stradine.
“Downtown Naples is full of tiny alleys and narrow streets.”

Cappuccetto Rosso vive in una casetta nel bosco.
“Little Red Riding Hood lives in a small house in the woods.”

8. Conclusion


Basic Questions

Do you better understand directions in Italian now? Can you easily find your way around Florence, the Colosseum, Torre di Pisa, and the train to Pompei?

Good job! Now just keep going straight ahead (sempre dritto) to ItalianPod101.com for more fun and useful lessons to get you exactly where you need to be with your knowledge of Italian!

Happy learning!

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Life Event Messages: Happy Birthday in Italian & More

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Being part of your family’s, friends’, and colleagues’ life events is important in having a loving and caring relationship with them. That’s why we at ItalianPod101 have listed the most important messages for life events in Italy: In this article, you’ll learn how to say Happy Birthday in Italian, Italian Christmas greetings, messages you can use in case of funerals or marriages, and much more.

With our guide to life event messages in Italian culture, you’ll always know what to say.

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Table of Contents

  1. The Best Messages for Life Events in Italy
  2. Speak and Behave Like a Real Italian with ItalianPod101

1. The Best Messages for Life Events in Italy

1- How Do You Say Happy Birthday in Italian?

Happy Birthday

Birthdays are very important for Italians, especially for the children (and their parents), and the elderly. To wish someone you know a happy birthday will make them happy, and make them feel like you care for them.

Some people—especially middle-aged men and women—are very private about their birthday, and prefer not to celebrate it. But you’ll never be considered impolite if, without knowing their attitude, you wish them happy birthday. They’ll simply tell you that they don’t like birthdays and you’ll just have to avoid mentioning it next year.

Here’s our answer to the question “How do you say happy birthday in Italian?”: It depends on the occasion. Some examples are:

  • Buon compleanno – “Happy birthday.” Suitable for both formal and informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.
  • Felice compleanno – “Happy birthday.” Suitable for both formal and informal situations, and for both speaking and writing. Less common than Buon compleanno.
  • Tanti auguri di buon compleanno – “Many wishes of a happy birthday.” Suitable for both formal and informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.

How Do You Say Happy Birthday in Italian

2- What to Say in Case of Pregnancy & Birth

Baby showers aren’t common in Italy, but you should send your best wishes when someone’s pregnant or when a baby is born. Here’s a list of Italian greetings for life events full of joy, like pregnancy or birth.

In case of a pregnancy, here’s how you can offer congratulations in Italian:

  • Congratulazioni per la bellissima notizia. – “Congratulations for the wonderful news.” Suitable for both formal and informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.
  • Auguri per l’attesa più dolce che ci sia. – “My best wishes for the sweetest expectation.” Suitable for both formal and informal situations. Mostly used in writing.

In case of a newborn:

  • Benvenuto/benvenuta… (name of the baby) – “Welcome…” Suitable for both formal and informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.
  • I miei/nostri auguri di tanta felicità a… (name of the baby) – “My/our wishes of a happy life for…” Suitable for both formal and informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.

italian Greeting for Life Events

3- What to Say for a Graduation

A graduation is always something to celebrate, and Italy is no exception. As always, how to greet a new graduate depends on your relationship with that person:

  • Congratulazioni, dottore/dottoressa. – “Congratulations, graduate.” Suitable for informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.
  • Auguri per la tua laurea. – “My best wishes for your graduation.” Suitable for informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.
  • Congratulazioni e tanti auguri per i futuri successi. – “Congratulations and my best wishes for your future success.” Suitable for both formal and informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.

Fun fact: In many Italian university cities, graduations are often celebrated in a pretty extreme way. The newly graduated are ordered to drink, dress in a fun way, and forced to walk around the city while their friends make fun of them, play jokes, and read rhymed verses talking about them in an often vulgar way.

4- What to Say in Case of a New Job or Promotion

A new job is a new opportunity, and it’s always something to celebrate, especially in times of crisis. Here are a few Italian phrases of congratulations for this occasion:

  • Congratulazioni per il tuo nuovo lavoro. – “Congratulations on your new job.” Suitable for informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.
  • Congratulazioni per la sua nuova posizione lavorativa. – “Congratulations on your new job position.” Suitable for formal situations, and for both speaking and writing.
  • Congratulazioni per il nuovo lavoro, ti auguro che ti dia tante soddisfazioni. – “Congratulations on your new job, I wish that you receive great satisfaction from it.” Suitable for informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.

New Job

5- What to Say When Someone Retires

Retirement is an important—and often a most-desired—step in everyone’s life. Like everywhere in the world, not everyone is happy about it, but most people are.

Nice things to say in case of retirement are:

  • Congratulazioni, ma sappi che al lavoro ci mancherai tanto! – “Congratulations, but remember that we’ll miss you so much at work.” Informal, for speaking and writing, when addressing a colleague who has just retired.
  • Congratulazioni e ora goditi il tuo tempo libero! – “Congratulations, and enjoy your free time now!” Informal, for speaking and writing.
  • Dopo una vita di successi, congratulazioni per il suo pensionamento. – “After a life of successes, congratulations on your retirement.” Formal, for speaking and writing.

6- Italian Congratulations: Weddings & Engagements

Marriage Proposal

Even if more and more Italians choose to live together without marrying, marriage is still considered an important step. Celebrations vary and depend on the couple’s desires and wealth. Some just do a little toast with their closest friends and relatives, while others invite hundreds of people to a huge lunch or dinner party. Anyway, friends, relatives, and simple acquaintances should wish well to the couple.

Some things that you may say to the newlyweds are:

  • Vi auguro una vita di felicità. – “I wish you a life of happiness.” Suitable for both formal and informal situations, and for both speaking and writing.
  • Felicitazioni per il vostro matrimonio. – “Congratulations for your wedding.” Formal, for writing.
  • Auguri e felicità ai novelli sposi. – “My best wishes and happiness to the newlyweds.” Suitable for both formal and informal situations, mainly for writing.

Greetings for Life Events in Italy

7- Messages in Case of a Death/Funeral

When a loved person dies, it’s important to be there for their family and make them feel that you’re close. Most Italians do a Christian funeral a few days after the departure of their loved one. The day or night before the funeral, relatives, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances usually come to visit (at home or at the funeral home), and gather around him/her to pray.

Some Italian phrases for condolences include:

  • Condoglianze a te e alla tua famiglia. – “Condolences to you and your family.” Informal, for speaking and writing.
  • Le mie più sentite condoglianze a lei e alla sua famiglia. – “My most heartfelt condolences to you and your family.” Formal, for speaking and writing.
  • Vicini nel dolore, porgiamo sentite condoglianze. – “We are close to you in your pain and we give you our heartfelt condolences.” Formal, for writing.

8- What to Say in Case of Bad News

Basic Questions

It can be tricky to know how to react properly when someone from another culture tells you they just had bad news. Some good examples are:

  • Mi dispiace tanto. – “I’m so sorry.” Informal, for speaking and writing.
  • Ti sono vicino/vicina. Se hai bisogno conta su di me. – “I’m close to you. If you need anything, count on me.” Informal, for speaking and writing.
  • Mi dispiace della brutta notizia, se ha bisogno di aiuto la prego di farmelo sapere – “I’m sorry for the bad news, if you need any help please let me know.” Formal, for speaking and writing.

9- What to Say When Someone’s Injured or Sick

When someone’s injured or sick, it’s common courtesy to wish them to get well soon. Here’s how:

  • Riposati e torna in forma al più presto. – “Rest and get well soon.” Informal, for speaking and writing.
  • Le auguro una pronta guarigione. – “I wish you a quick healing.” Formal, for speaking and writing.
  • Prenditi cura di te e torna presto. – “Take care of yourself and come back soon.” Informal, for speaking and writing.

10- Greetings for the Most Important Holidays in Italy

How do you say Merry Christmas in Italian? What are the most popular Italian Easter greetings?

Holiday greetings are one of the most important life event messages in Italian family culture. Life event messages in Italian are seen as a way to show your affection to others, especially within the family.

Christmas is the most important holiday in Italy, and when it approaches, you’re supposed to visit your family or at least call to give your best wishes.

Let’s see the best ways to wish a Merry Christmas in Italian, and other Italian holiday greetings:

  • Buon Natale. – “Merry Christmas.” Formal and informal, for speaking and writing.
  • Buon anno. – “Happy New Year.” Formal and informal, for speaking and writing.
  • Buon natale e felice anno nuovo. – “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” Formal and informal, for speaking and writing.
  • Buona Pasqua. – “Happy Easter.” Formal and informal, for speaking and writing.
  • Buone vacanze. – “Happy holidays.” Formal and informal, for speaking and writing.

Merry Christmas in Italian

2. Speak and Behave Like a Real Italian with ItalianPod101

So, reader, what did you think about this article? Do you feel more confident about giving life event messages in Italian now, or are there still life event messages you want to know about? Let us know in the comments!

ItalianPod101 can give you 360° knowledge of the Italian language and culture. Our lessons cover a vast range of topics regarding grammar and vocabulary, as well as culture, good manners, and other important things to improve your relationship with your Italian family, friends, and colleagues. And our apps make your learning easier than ever!

With your hard work and our fun, effective learning tools, you’ll be speaking Italian like a native before you know it!

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Everything You Should Know about Italian Customs and Etiquette

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. How to Talk about Etiquette in Italian

Bad Phrases

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

1- Dovere

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

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

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

2- The Imperative Verb

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dining

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

Thank You

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

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

Sign

4. The Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings

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

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

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

Hygiene

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

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

Etiquette

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

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

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

7. The Do’s and Don’ts for Business

Business Phrases

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

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

Doing

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

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

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

9. Learn Everything about Italian Culture and Customs with ItalianPod101

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

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

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

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

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How to Find a Job in Italy: Work in Italy in No Time

Italy is best known as a holiday destination. With its 7.500 kilometres of coast (much of which consists of beaches), majestic mountains, amazing cities, and stunning countryside, it’s by definition a place to spend some time doing nothing but enjoying it all. And let’s not start talking about the food and wine!

Well, for some people all of these are also good reasons to move to Italy and start a new life there. Especially if they also have an Italian significant other. But how can you work in Italy as a foreigner? Where should you start looking for a job?

Here on ItalianPod101, we’ll explain how to move to Italy and get a job. So, if you’re planning to start your own Dolce Vita, just keep on reading to learn about finding jobs in Italy.

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Table of Contents

  1. What Do I Need to Work in Italy?
  2. What You Should Know Before Starting to Work in Italy
  3. What are the Most Sought-after Jobs in Italy?
  4. Where Can I Find the Best Job Opportunities?
  5. How to Look for a Job in Italy
  6. Some More Advice
  7. ItalianPod101: Learn with Us and Build Your New Life in Italy!

1. What Do I Need to Work in Italy?

In order to work in Italy as a foreigner, you must act according to the Italian immigration laws, which vary depending on your nationality:

  • EU citizens: EU citizens have very few requirements in order to find a job in Italy and start their life there.
  • Non-EU citizens: For non-EU citizens, things are harder, since they need a work permit.

In both cases, since many Italians, especially the older ones, don’t speak English or any other language except their own (and maybe a dialect), it’s better for you to learn Italian, at least to an intermediate level, before starting to look for a job there. Highly specialized jobs in a few scientific and engineering fields may be an exception, as English might be accepted as a language in the workplace.

1- How to Work in Italy as a EU Citizen

Holding a Red Pen

All EU citizens have the right to free movement within all the EU countries, which are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, United Kingdom, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Czech Republic, Sweden.

This means that EU citizens have the right to move and to work in Italy without a special permit. Though they still need to deal with a bit of bureaucracy. In order to be hired in Italy, they need:

  • A valid ID document (passport or identity card).
  • A codice fiscale (“fiscal code”), which is a unique identifier based on full name, place of birth, and birthday. It’s used for a great number of things, from submitting a residency request to getting a library card. Requesting this codice fiscale is pretty simple, especially compared to any other bureaucratic operation in Italy and—good news!—it’s also completely free.

You just have to go to your local Agenzia delle Entrate and issue a request. You’ll immediately receive your code. There are even sites where you can calculate your fiscal code in advance, in case you’re curious.

EU citizens have the right to free movement, as we said, but they still need to apply for residency in Italy if they plan to live in the country for more than three months.

2- How to Work in Italy as a Non-EU Citizen

Things get harsher for non-EU citizens. This said, working in Italy as an American is a lot easier than working there as a person from Asia or Africa, due to the different ways non-EU immigrants are generally treated, according to their nationality.

Anyway, this is what they all need:

  • Visa: A Visa is issued for a specific purpose and therefore there are different kinds—tourist visa, student visa, employment visa, and so on. It has an expiry date and it establishes for how long you’ll be allowed to stay in the country. If you have a visa for the Schengen area, you don’t need another one to enter Italy.
  • Residence permit (permesso di soggiorno): Within eight days of entering Italy, you must apply for a residence permit, which is the most important document for a non-EU citizen in Italy. The permit will reflect your visa (so you’ll receive a student permit if you have a student visa, an employment permit if you have an employment visa, and so on) and must be requested to the local Police Headquarters (Questura).

Depending on the kind of permit you need, you have to make a request at the post office or directly at the Questura. Since the matter is complicated, we advise you to seek out more information at a local union office or association. The times for the release of the residence permit can vary greatly, from a few weeks to several months. In the meantime, you must keep the receipt they give you.

2. What You Should Know Before Starting to Work in Italy

Italy’s one of the most developed countries in the world. However, it’s facing a hard economic crisis that’s still far from being resolved. This means that it has a less-vital job market in comparison to other EU countries and a higher unemployment rate (which is 9.7% as of summer 2018). Moreover, undeclared employment is pretty common, regarding at least 3.3-million workers in Italy.

The Italian laws grant equal rights for every person in the job market. There are many different kinds of contracts that an employer can offer you. These are the most used:

  • Permanent contract (contratto a tempo indeterminato): A contract without an expiry date. It can be part-time or full-time.
  • Fixed-term contract (contratto a tempo determinato): A contract with an expiry date, after which it can be renewed or not, according to the employer’s and the employee’s will. It can be part-time or full-time.
  • Interim supply contract (contratto di somministrazione): A contract made between the worker and an agency (agenzia interinale) supplying workers to companies for a short period of time.
  • On-call contract (contratto a chiamata): A contract without a fixed number of hours. The employer can request the employee to work according to the company needs with short notice.
  • Apprenticeship contract (contratto di apprendistato): If you’re younger than 29 years old, you can be hired as an apprentice to learn a job. This kind of contract usually lasts between six months and three years.

3. What are the Most Sought-after Jobs in Italy?

Is it hard to find a job in Italy?

If you have highly valued skills and a good knowledge of Italian and English, you probably won’t have any issue finding a job in Italy.

For example, it’s pretty easy to find marketing jobs in Italy if you have experience in this field. It’s the same for engineering, IT, management, and so on. You’ll also find good opportunities if you’re a qualified factory worker. For example, there are many jobs in Modena, Italy if you have skills and experience that can be useful in the mechanic industry.

Jobs in Italy for English speakers include language teachers, interpreters, or jobs in the tourism industry. There can also be good jobs for Americans in Italy in companies working with American clients or seeking to expand in the USA.

4. Where Can I Find the Best Job Opportunities?

There is a strong wealth gap between Northern and Southern Italy. So, if you’re willing to work in industry, marketing, fashion, IT, technology, and so on, you’ll probably have better chances of finding good jobs in Milan, and in the North in general. You can also happen to find IT jobs in Rome, Italy, but the real economic capital of the country is Milan.

Jobs in Rome are mostly in the tourism field, or in anything related to university and the public administration. It’s pretty much the same for jobs in Florence, Italy, except for the fact that in Tuscany there is also a strong and lively textile industry. Jobs in Calabria, Italy or in basically any other Southern region are harder to find.

That said, what’s the best way to find jobs in Italy?

5. How to Look for a Job in Italy

There are many ways to look for a job in Italy:

  • Sites: Indeed Italia, LinkedIn, Infojobs, Trovalavoro, and others can be useful for finding job offers.
  • Agencies: The aforementioned agenzie interinali (“supply agencies”) can be a good way to find temporary jobs, especially in fields such as manufacturing, tourism, and food.
  • Centro per l’impiego: The public job center. It can help you have an idea of the opportunities in your city and province.
  • Relations: This is by far the best way to find a job in Italy. Try to meet new people working in your field, by going to expos, congresses, and so on.

6. Some More Advice

1- How to Work as a Language Teacher in Italy

Woman holding a chalk

Wondering how to find a job in Italy for English speakers? Being a language teacher is among the most common jobs in Italy for American citizens, or for people from the UK and Australia. As for how to find a job teaching English in Italy, you can start by introducing yourself to language schools and universities, or place some ads on message boards by universities and schools, or put yourself out there online.

2- How to Work as a Blue-collar in Italy

To work as a blue-collar, you’ll need to know the Italian grammar and written language. Moreover, it could take some time to get used to the Italian bureaucracy.

3- How to Work in the Healthcare Field in Italy

Blood Pressure Test

In order to work in the healthcare field in Italy, you must have a recognized degree or diploma, and know the Italian medical terms.

7. ItalianPod101: Learn with Us and Build Your New Life in Italy!

Start building the foundation of your new life in Italy with ItalianPod101.com! Learn the Italian language according to your current level and improve everyday, in a fun, engaging platform that will both teach and entertain you. Discuss with the other members of our community on our forum and learn everywhere you are with our amazing mobile apps! Finally, you can find out everything you need about working and living in Italy with our articles and guides!

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Carnevale: How to Celebrate the Carnival Season in Italy

In Italian, it is said that “anything goes during Carnival.”

Some countries simply feast to their heart’s content during Carnival, the holiday just before the Lent period of fasting. Others participate in lots of dancing. Some countries hold to more religious celebrations.

But in Italy, this is a time of Masquerades and rule-breaking—in addition to feasting and other merry activities.

Let ItalianPod101.com show you all the unique facets of Italy’s Carnevale!

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1. What is Italian Carnival?

Many aspects of the the content and nature of the current Carnival—such as Saturnalia—can be easily traced back to their ancient Roman origins. As for the etymology of the word Carnival, it most likely derives from the Latin expression carne levare, which means “eliminate the meat.” This makes reference to the religious practice of abstaining from meat during the period of Lent.

During the Carnival, Italy allows everyone to eat at will, and above all, break the rules, while wearing a mask (maschera). The Italy Carnival season is truly a unique feature of the country’s culture, and in this article you’ll learn how Carnival is celebrated in Italy.

2. Italian Carnevale Date

Single Mask

The date of Carnival in Italy varies each year, as it depends on the date of Easter. For your convenience, here’s this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: March 4
  • 2020: February 24
  • 2021: February 15
  • 2022: January 31
  • 2023: February 20
  • 2024: February 12
  • 2025: March 3
  • 2026: February 16
  • 2027: February 8
  • 2028: February 28

3. How is it Celebrated?

Clown Float

Today in Italy, this holiday is primarily a festival for children, but Carnival in Italy’s history
was a festival especially for adults. The rule of the Carnival is that you have to break the rules and do everything that is normally prohibited during the year. This is where the custom of masquerade originates—so that those who break the rules cannot be recognized.

The typical dishes of Carnival are sweets, one of the most popular being the chiacchiere made of sugar-coated fried pastry.

In Italy, there are various mask traditions that began many centuries ago and are well-known all over the world today.

Among the most famous is Harlequin, a mask from Bergamo, and Pulcinella, a typical mask of Naples. Both Harlequin and Punchinello represent clever servants, always ready to play a joke on their master. Both of these masked men are the symbols of the revenge of the servants on their masters.

Even though the Carnival takes place in winter, there are many events that are held outdoors. Italians, both adults and children, are very fond of attending the parades of the allegorical wagons, which are huge papier-mâché wagons representing traditional masked men or famous public figures in an ironic manner.

However, the Carnival of Venice may be the most famous of the Italy Carnevales, because of its particular beauty and the sophistication of its masked men, of which everyone has seen a picture at least once.

4. Reading Practice: Oranges!

Read the Italian text below to learn about another fascinating aspect of Carnevale in Italy (you can find the English translation directly below it).

—–

Sapete perche’ a Carnevale piu’ di duecentocinquantamila chili di arance vengono portati nella citta’ di Ivrea, in provincia di Torino?

Perche’ tra i riti del Carnevale c’e’ anche la battaglia delle arance, durante la quale i partecipanti si tirano le arance addosso.

—–
Do you know why, during Carnival, more than 250 kilos of oranges are brought into the city of Ivrea, in the province of Turin?
It’s because one of the rituals of the Carnival is the battle of the oranges, during which the participants throw oranges at each other.

5. Must-know Vocab

Harlequin Costume

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

  • Carnevale — “Carnival”
  • Maschera — “Mask”
  • Costume — “Costume”
  • Scherzo — “Joke”
  • Festa — “Celebration”
  • Mascherarsi — “Cloak”
  • Arlecchino — “Harlequin”
  • Chiacchiere — “Chiacchiere”
  • Carro allegorico — “Float”
  • Sfilata — “Parade”
  • Quaresima — “Lent”

If you want to hear each word’s pronunciation, visit our Italian Carnival vocabulary list. Here you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think about Carnevale (and Italy’s Carnival masks)? Do you celebrate Carnival in your own country, or a similar holiday? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Italian culture and the language, visit us at ItalianPod101.com! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Italian learners. You can also check out our MyTeacher program if you’re interested in a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Italian teacher!

We hope you enjoyed learning about Carnival season in Italy with us. Continue delving into Italy’s culture and practicing your language skills, and you’ll be speaking like a native in no time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From ItalianPod101.com!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at ItalianPod101.com! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn Italian together!

And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study Italian with ItalianPod101.com!

Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

From the ItalianPod101.com team!