A Quick Italian Lesson For The Busy Traveler

Jordyn Asakowicz

It’s always helpful to know the basics of this beautiful romance language.

Learning a new language is a daunting task, but speaking the local language can allow you to have a significantly more immersive and authentic experience while traveling. Luckily, while visiting Italy, you’ll find that most people speak English well, especially in restaurants, shops, and hotels in the large cities such as Rome and Florence. However, while visiting areas less frequented by tourists, you’ll likely encounter locals who don’t speak English at all. No matter what part of Italy you’ll be visiting, it’s always helpful to know the basics of this beautiful romance language.

You won’t always have the time (or WiFi!) to look up a translation! And don’t be shy about practicing your Italian with locals—every Italian I encountered was thrilled when I tried to use my Italian and wanted to help me learn even more. The Italian language is (mostly) phonetic, so be sure to pronounce all of the vowels, and just do your best from there! Here are some common words and phrases to get you started:

Hello/Goodbye = Ciao (informal)

Good morning/Hello = Buongiorno

Good afternoon/Good evening = Buonasera (formal) 

Goodbye = Arriverderci (formal)

Goodnight = Buonanotte (informal)

What is your name? = Come si chiama? (formal) / Come ti chiami? (informal)

My name is… = Mi chiamo… 

How are you? = Come sta? (formal) / Come stai? (informal)

Where are you from? = Di dove sei?

Yes =

No = No

And = E

Please = Per favore 

Thank you = Grazie *pronounced grah-tsee-eh not grah-tsee (this drives Italians crazy!!)

You’re welcome = Prego 

I’m sorry = Mi dispiace 

Excuse me/I’m sorry = Scusa (informal) *this is what you say if you bump into/want to pass someone while walking

Do you speak English? = Parla inglese?

I don’t speak Italian = Non parlo italiano

I don’t understand = Non capisco 

What? = Cosa?

When? = Quando?

Where? = Dove?

Why = Perché?

How? = Come? 

How much? = Quanto?

Where is the bathroom? = Dov’è il bagno?

Can I have… = Posso avere…*you’ll use this all the time when ordering food and drinks! (example: Posso avere un cappuccino.)

Sunday = domenica

Monday = lunedì

Tuesday = martedì

Wednesday = mercoledì

Thursday = giovedì

Friday = venerdì

Saturday = sabato

Today = Oggi

Tomorrow = Domani

Yesterday = Ieri

One = Uno

Two = Due

Three = Tre

Four = Quattro

Five = Cinque

Six = Sei

Seven = Sette

Eight = Otto

Nine = Nove

Ten = Dieci

Jordyn Asakowicz

Editorial Intern

Jordyn is a college student from California. She is an aspiring writer who fell in love with Italy while living there for a few months. She loves shopping and trying local foods in a new city.

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