useful Italian expressions to know

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.

famous Italian cities: Venice
Venice

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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Pronunciation

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.

EnglishItalianPronunciation
YesSisee
NoNonoh
OkVa benevah beh-neh
PleasePer favorepehr fah-voh-reh
Thank youGraziegrah-tzee-yeh
Thank you very much/Thanks a lotMolte grazie/Grazie millemohl-teh grah-tzee-eh/ grah-tzee-yeh meel-leh
You’re welcomePrego 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)Permessopair-meh-soh
I’m sorryMi dispiacemee dees-pee-yah-cheh
Do you speak English?Parla Inglese?parh-la een-glay-zeh
I speak just a few words of ItalianConosco solo poche parole in italianokoh-nohs-koh soh-loh poh-keh pah-roh-leh een ee-tah-lyah-noh
I don’t speak ItalianNon parlo italianonon parh-lo ee-tah-lyah-noh
I don’t understandNon capisconon kah-pee-skoh
Hello/ByeCiao (informal)chow
Good morningBuon giornobwohn jor-noh
Good eveningBuona serabwoh-nah sair-rah
Good nightBuona nottebwoh-nah noht-teh
Good byeArrivederciah-ree-vah-dair-chee
trulli in Alberobello, Italy
Alberobello

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.

EnglishItalianPronunciation
AirportL’aeroportolah-eh-roh-poor-toh
TrainTrenotray-no
Train stationStazionestah-tzee-oh-neh
PlatformBinariobin-ah-rio
TicketBiglettobil-yetti
One wayAndataan-da-ta
ReturnRitornori-tor-no
BathroomBagnobah-yno
RestaurantRistoranterees-toh-rahn-tee
MuseumMuseomoo-say-oh
Church/CathedralChiesa/Duomokee-ess-ah/doo-oh-moh
BeachSpiaggiaspee-ah-jah
SupermarketSupermercatosu-pehr-mehr-ka-toh

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“.

Rome, Italy
Rome

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.

EnglishItalianPronunciation
A table for one person/two people, pleaseUn tavolo per uno/due, per favoreoon tah-voh-loh pehr oo-noh/ dweh, pehr fah-voh-reh
Can I see the menu, please?Il menu, per favoreeel men-oo pehr fah-voh-reh
Sparkling/natural waterL’acqua frizzante/naturalelahk-kwah free-dzahn-teh /na-too-ra-lay
BeerBirrabeer-rah
House wineVino della casavee-no del-la ka-za
Red/white wineVino rosso/bianco vee-noh rohs-soh/byahn-koh
JuiceSuccosook-koh
CoffeeCaffèkahf-feh
I’m allergic to Gluten/Dairy/FishSono allergica/o a glutine/lattecini/pesceo-no al-ler-jee-ko/ka a gloo-teen-ay/lah-tay-cheen-ee/pesh-ay
I’m a vegetarianSono vegetariano/asoh-noh veh-jeh-tah-ryah-noh/ ah
I only eat kosher foodMangio solamente cibo koshermahn-joh soh-lah-mehn-teh chee-boh koh-shehr
I would like (the name of the dish) …Prendopren-do
BreakfastColazione koh-lah-tsyoh-neh
LunchPranzoprahn-dzoh
SupperCenacheh-nah
SaltSalesah-leh
Black pepperPepepeh-peh
AppetizerAntipastoahn-tee-pah-stoh
DessertDolcidoll-chee
BreadPanepah-neh
Enjoy your food!Buon appetito!bwon a-pe-tee-to
I’m finishedHo finitooh fee-nee-toh
It was deliciousEra squisitoeh skwee-zee-toh
The check, pleaseIl 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.

EnglishItalianPronunciation
When does it open/close?Quando si apri/chiude?kwan-doh see ah-preh key-you-day
EntranceEntrataen-trah-tah
ExitUscitaooh-shee-tah
Two adults/one childDue adulti/un bambinodoo-way ah-dool-tee/oon bahm-bee-noh
One/two ticket/sUn biglietto/due bigliettoioon beel-yet-toh/doo-way beel-yettee
One seniorUn pensionatooon pen-seyoh-nah-toh
One studentUno studenteoo-noh stu-den-teh
Where is the bag storage?Dov’è la guardaroba?doh-veh lah gard-ah-robe-ah?
famous Trevi fountain in Rome, Italy
Trevi fountain

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.

EnglishItalianPronunciation
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) ajee-ree ah/ jee-rah ah
LeftSinistraseen-ees-strah
RightDestradeh-strah
Straight aheadDrittodreet-toh
BehindDietro adee-yeh-troh ah
ForwardAvantiah-vahn-tee
Close to, near, or nearbyVicino avee-chee-noh ah
FarLontanolohn-tah-no
IntersectionIncrocioeen-kroh-choh
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 centerIl centro eel chehn-troh
StreetStradastrah-dah
NorthNordnohrd
SouthSudsood
EastEstehst
WestOvest oh-vehst
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.

EnglishItalianPronunciation
PricePrezzoprehd-zoh
How much is this?Quanto costa?kwan-toh koh-stah
I’ll take itLo comproo 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?
Santa Maria della Spina in Pisa
Santa Maria della Spina, Pisa

How to ask for help in Italian

Hopefully, you’ll never need to ask for help, but just in case, here’s how.

EnglishItalianPronunciation
Help!Aiuto!ay-oo-to
I need a doctorHo bisogno di un dottoreo bee-zon-yo dee oon dot-to-reh
Call the policeChiami la poliziakee-a-me
HospitalOspedalela po-leet-zee-ya
Call an ambulanceChiamate un’ambulanzakee-a-me oon am-boo-lant-sa
I feel illMi sento malemee sen-to ma-lay
I lost my passportHo perso il mio passaportooh per-so eel mee-yo pas-sa-por-to
I lost my walletHo perso il mio portafogliooh 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.

Happy travels~

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