Basic Italian Words and Phrases for Your Trip to Italy

Speaking Italian in Italy

As a traveler with Italian roots, I’m admittedly a little biased — but there is something special about the Italian language. Whether it’s a casual conversation, a heated argument, or an artfully composed aria, everything just sounds better in Italian.

That being said, it can be daunting to blurt out a butchered Italian phrase when the locals around you are stringing gorgeous words together as effortlessly as a pastaio folds up perfect tortellini or a gondoliere glides through a Venice canal.

But if you’re traveling to Italy, you really should try to learn a few common Italian phrases and words before you go. While you’ll find plenty of English speakers in any of Italy’s major cities, most Italians will appreciate you trying their language; you may even be surprised how many new friends it makes you as you mingle at aperitivo or linger in a bustling piazza.

OK, pronto? Ready? Here are a few basic Italian words and phrases to get you started. (All phrases are formal unless noted.)

Basic Italian Words

Hello: Ciao (informal); Salve (formal)

Goodbye: Ciao (informal); Arrivederci (formal)

Good morning: Buongiorno

Good evening: Buonasera

Goodnight: Buonanotte (use this when you’re going to bed)

Please: Per favore; per piacere

Thank you: Grazie

Thanks so much: Grazie mille

You’re welcome: Prego; Di niente

Beautiful: Bello (masculine); Bella (feminine)

Good: Buono (masculine); Buona (feminine)

Friend: Amico (masculine); Amica (feminine)

Family: Famiglia

Well: Bene

Bad: Male

Yes: Sì

No: No

Who?: Chi?

What?: Che?; Cosa?

Where?: Dove?

When?: Quando?

Why?: Perché?

How much?: Quanto?

Common Italian Phrases

I love you: Ti amo (romantic); Ti voglio bene (family, friends)

How are you?: Come sta?

How’s it going?: Come va?

I miss you: Mi manchi

I don’t know: Non lo so

All’s well: Tutto bene

I’m sorry: Mi dispiace

What is your name?: Come si chiama?

My name is…: Mi chiamo…

OK: Va bene

Excuse me: Mi scusi

Excuse me (passing through a crowd): Permesso

Basic Italian Travel Words and Phrases

I would like… (ordering food or buying a ticket): Vorrei…

Check, please: Il conto, per favore

Where is…?: Dov'è…?

Tourist: Turista

Airport: Aeroporto

Airplane: Aereo

Luggage: Bagagli

Suitcase: Valigia

Train: Treno

Ticket: Bigletto

Rental car: Auto a noleggio

Bathroom: Bagno

Restaurant: Ristorante

Museum: Museo

Church/Cathedral: Chiesa/Duomo

Beach: Spiaggia

Store: Negozio

How to Order in Italian

Italian Slang Words

Dope!: Che figata!

Of course!: Avoglia!

A lot: Un botto

See you later: Ci becchiamo dopo

What the heck: Che cavolo

Chill!: Scialla!

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