Italian Phrases to Learn Before Visiting Italy

Italian Phrases to Learn Before Visiting Italy

So, you’re ready to book an Italian vacation, but you don’t know a word of Italian? No problem. Here’s a crash course from Venice Events covering Italian phrases to learn before your Italy trip. Ready?

Italian Greetings

What better place to start than with a friendly hello? Some key Italian greetings are:

  • Buongiorno (bwohn-johr-noh) This works as both hello and good morning.
  • Ciao (Chou) This one’s more informal than buongiorno and it doubles up as both hello and goodbye.
  • Buonasera (bwoh-nah-seh-rah) A more formal greeting that can work as both good afternoon and good evening.
  • Buonanotte (bwoh-nah-noht-teh) Use this one for an informal good night.Basic Conversation

After a hello, you might want to follow up with one of these Italian phrases:

  • Come Si Chiama? (koh-meh see kyah-mah) This is a formal way of saying what is your name.
  • Come Ti Chiami? (koh-me tee kyah-mee) An informal way to say what is your name.
  • Mi Chiamo (mee kyah-moh) This one means my name is.
  • Come Stai? (koh-meh stah) An informal way of asking how are you.
  • Bene, grazie (beh-neh grah-tsee-eh) This is a polite way of saying fine thank you.

Common Courtesy Phrases

When in a foreign country, it’s important to be thoughtful, considerate and respectful. Here are some key phrases to help with that:

  • Per Favore (pehr fah-voh-reh) This means please.
  • Per Piacere (pehr pyah-cheh-reh) Another way of saying please.
  • Prego (preh-goh) This means you’re welcome, and it can double up as after you too.
  • Mi Dispiace (Mee dees-pyah-cheh) This is a good way to say I’m sorry.
  • Scusa (skooh-zah) Use this one for expressing an informal excuse me.
  • Si (See) Everyone’s probably familiar with this. It means yes.
  • No (Noh) Other than the pronunciation (noh), this one works the same as in English.


Basic Questions

There will be a lot to learn on your Italian vacation. Here are some questions you’ll likely need to ask:

  • Parla Inglese? (pahr-lah een-gleh-zeh) This means do you speak English.
  • Cosa? (koh-sah) This means what.
  • Quando? (kwan-doh) Use this one to ask when.
  • Dove? (doh-veh) This means where.
  • Perche? (pehr-keh) Use this to ask why.
  • Quanto? (kwan-toh) This one means how much, a good phrase when visiting any Italian markets!

There are some more specific questions to memorise too. Here are some key phrases to practice:

  • Scusi, dove il bagno? Use this one to ask where the bathroom is.
  • Quanto dista il Colosseo? This one means how far away is the Colosseum.
  • Potrei avere un cappuccino per favore: This is a key Italian phrase, meaning could I have a cappuccino please.

Different Types of Coffee

Following on from that last Italian phrase, here’s a list of coffees you can order. Simply substitute ‘un capuccino’ for your coffee of choice:

  • Un Caffe: Simple cup of coffee, just a shot of espresso.
  • Doppio: A double espresso, two shots of Italian coffee.
  • Americano: An espresso watered down with hot water.
  • Macchiato: A cup of coffee with just a drop of milk.
  • Un Café Latte: A cappuccino but with more milk.
  • Un Genovese: A mini cappuccino, served in a small coffee cup.


Words to Use in an Emergency

You’ll need to have some words up your sleeve for use in an emergency. Here are some important ones to memorise.

  • Aiuto! (ah-yooh-toh) This means help.
  • Emergenza! (eh-mehr-jehn-tsah) Self explanatory, meaning emergency.
  • Chiamate la Polizia (chee-ah-mah-teh lah poh-lee-tsee-ah) This means call the police.
  • Chiamate un’ambulanza (chee-ah-mah-teh ooh-nahm-booh-lahn-tsah) Use this one if you need to call an ambulance.

So, there you go, a number of key words and phrases to use on your Italian vacation. From ordering a cup of coffee, to basic, polite conversation, Venice Events have you covered! If you’re still struggling with your Italian words and phrases, never fear. Simply book one of the private tours we have on offer.