100 useful Italian expressions and words to know if you travel to Italy
It is always a good idea to learn a few words and phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting. It’s not something hard to do and it could be really helpful. Besides, locals will appreciate the fact that you took the time to learn a few words in their language, even if it’s just a phrase as simple as “Thank you”.
Finding people who speak English fluently in Italy can be hit and miss, which is true for many other countries as a matter of fact. For this reason, knowing how to salute, express gratitude, or ask for directions in Italian can come in really handy. And yes, Google translate does do a good job as well, but I’d suggest saving it for more complicated conversations.
I also made a pdf with all the words and phrases listed in the blog post, that you can save on your phone to use offline during your trip or you can even print it out.
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You don’t have to learn all the Italian expressions and words listed in this article, just choose the ones that you find most useful. And don’t worry about the pronunciation too much, people will know that you’re a tourist and they will not expect you to speak perfectly. Besides, it’s not as difficult as you might think: Italian mostly sounds to how it is written.
However, you can use Google Translate’s “Learn to pronounce” feature to practice saying the words if you want.
Basic Italian phrases and words
Here are some of the most basic and simple phrases in Italian. While these won’t get you out from a pickle (for example if you got lost or you are trying to find the train station you won’t solve anything by knowing how to say “Yes” in Italian), but they will show the locals your appreciation for their country, culture, and language.
|Ok||Va bene||vah beh-neh|
|Please||Per favore||pehr fah-voh-reh|
|Thank you very much/Thanks a lot||Molte grazie/Grazie mille||mohl-teh grah-tzee-eh/ grah-tzee-yeh meel-leh|
|You’re welcome||Prego or Di niente which also means “It’s nothing”||preh-goh/dee nee-ehn-teh|
|Excuse me (for attention)||Scusi (formal) or Scusa (informal)||skoo-zee/skoo-za|
|Excuse me (to pass by)||Permesso||pair-meh-soh|
|I’m sorry||Mi dispiace||mee dees-pee-yah-cheh|
|Do you speak English?||Parla Inglese?||parh-la een-glay-zeh|
|I speak just a few words of Italian||Conosco solo poche parole in italiano||koh-nohs-koh soh-loh poh-keh pah-roh-leh een ee-tah-lyah-noh|
|I don’t speak Italian||Non parlo italiano||non parh-lo ee-tah-lyah-noh|
|I don’t understand||Non capisco||non kah-pee-skoh|
|Good morning||Buon giorno||bwohn jor-noh|
|Good evening||Buona sera||bwoh-nah sair-rah|
|Good night||Buona notte||bwoh-nah noht-teh|
Useful words in Italian for a traveler
You don’t really need to know how to form whole sentences or strike a full-on conversation to find out where exactly is that museum you’ve been searching for the last 10 minutes or the train station. In many cases just by saying a word, will probably be enough for people to understand your need. So here are a few words in Italian that can be very useful to a tourist.
If you want to buy a one-way transportation ticket, you can ask for a “biglietto di sola andata“, while a return one translates to “biglietto di andata e ritorno“.
Useful phrases when going out
This next set of Italian phrases will come in handy if you go out to a restaurant or a bar because you will learn how to ask for the menu, the bill, or where the toilet is, as well as inform the waiter if you have an allergy.
|A table for one person/two people, please||Un tavolo per uno/due, per favore||oon tah-voh-loh pehr oo-noh/ dweh, pehr fah-voh-reh|
|Can I see the menu, please?||Il menu, per favore||eel men-oo pehr fah-voh-reh|
|Sparkling/natural water||L’acqua frizzante/naturale||lahk-kwah free-dzahn-teh /na-too-ra-lay|
|House wine||Vino della casa||vee-no del-la ka-za|
|Red/white wine||Vino rosso/bianco||vee-noh rohs-soh/byahn-koh|
|I’m allergic to Gluten/Dairy/Fish||Sono allergica/o a glutine/lattecini/pesce||o-no al-ler-jee-ko/ka a gloo-teen-ay/lah-tay-cheen-ee/pesh-ay|
|I’m a vegetarian||Sono vegetariano/a||soh-noh veh-jeh-tah-ryah-noh/ ah|
|I only eat kosher food||Mangio solamente cibo kosher||mahn-joh soh-lah-mehn-teh chee-boh koh-shehr|
|I would like (the name of the dish) …||Prendo …||pren-do|
|Enjoy your food!||Buon appetito!||bwon a-pe-tee-to|
|I’m finished||Ho finito||oh fee-nee-toh|
|It was delicious||Era squisito||eh skwee-zee-toh|
|The check, please||Il conto, per favore!||eel kon-to, pehr fah-voh-reh|
|Can I pay by card?||Posso pagare con la carta?||pohs-soh pah-gah-reh kon la cahr-tah?|
|Where’s the bathroom?||Dov’è il bagno?||doh-veh eel bahn-yoh?|
Useful phrases when visiting attractions in Italy
Here are a few words and phrases you might find useful to know when visiting a museum or another attraction in Italy.
|When does it open/close?||Quando si apri/chiude?||kwan-doh see ah-preh key-you-day|
|Two adults/one child||Due adulti/un bambino||doo-way ah-dool-tee/oon bahm-bee-noh|
|One/two ticket/s||Un biglietto/due bigliettoi||oon beel-yet-toh/doo-way beel-yet–tee|
|One senior||Un pensionato||oon pen-seyoh-nah-toh|
|One student||Uno studente||oo-noh stu-den-teh|
|Where is the bag storage?||Dov’è la guardaroba?||doh-veh lah gard-ah-robe-ah?|
How to ask for directions in Italian
“Who needs Google maps? This is easy!” or so you thought until you realized that the Trevi fountain is not right around the corner like you expected it to be and that you are actually lost. For times like this, it comes in handy to know how to ask and understand basic directions in Italian. Here are a few useful words and phrases.
|Where is … ?||Dov’è … ?||dohv-eh …?|
|I am looking for …||Cerco …||chehr-koh …|
|How do I get to … ?||Come arrivo a … ?||koh-meh ahr-ree-voh ah …?|
|Turn||Giri (formal)/Gira (informal) a||jee-ree ah/ jee-rah ah|
|Behind||Dietro a||dee-yeh-troh ah|
|Close to, near, or nearby||Vicino a||vee-chee-noh ah|
|Can you show me on the map, please?||Potrebbe mostrarmelo sulla mappa, per favore?||poh-trehb-beh mohs-trahr-meh-loh sool-lah mahp-pa pehr fah-voh-reh?|
|City center||Il centro||eel chehn-troh|
|How much does it cost to get to … ?||Quanto costa andare a … ?||kwahn-toh kohs-tah ahn-dah-reh ah … ?|
Shopping related words and phrases
If you intend to do some shopping while in Italy, here are a few useful words and phrases that you might need.
|How much is this?||Quanto costa?||kwan-toh koh-stah|
|I’ll take it||Lo compro||o kom-proh|
|Can I have a bag?||Posso avere una borsa/un sacchetto?||pohs-soh aveh-reh oo-nah boos-tah?|
|Where is an ATM?||Dove posso trovare uno sportello Bancomat?||doh-veh pohs-soh troh-vah-reh oon bahn-koh-maht?|
How to ask for help in Italian
Hopefully, you’ll never need to ask for help, but just in case, here’s how.
|I need a doctor||Ho bisogno di un dottore||o bee-zon-yo dee oon dot-to-reh|
|Call the police||Chiami la polizia||kee-a-me|
|Call an ambulance||Chiamate un’ambulanza||kee-a-me oon am-boo-lant-sa|
|I feel ill||Mi sento male||mee sen-to ma-lay|
|I lost my passport||Ho perso il mio passaporto||oh per-so eel mee-yo pas-sa-por-to|
|I lost my wallet||Ho perso il mio portafoglio||oh pehr-soh eel myoh pohr-tah-foh-lyoh|
|Can I use your phone?||Posso usare il suo telefono?||pos-soh oo-zah-reh eel soo-oh teh-leh-foh-noh?|
With the hope that you found this collection of Italian words and phrases helpful, I wish you a wonderful trip! And before you go, don’t forget to also check the rest of my Italy blog posts for more tips and information like how to spend a day in Pisa.