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 = Sì
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