If you’re travelling to Italy, it’s a good opportunity to know some essential phrases and sentences. We take you through the most helpful ways to communicate on your tour in our guide to basic Italian phrases for travel. And besides, language is a very important component of Italian culture, and you may think it’s a good idea to surround yourself with it. Here is a list of very useful phrases and words for Traveling in Italy.
Despite English being widely used in most tourist destinations of Italy, knowing a little Italian will help you have a positive opportunity and feel more comfortable and confident while in Italy. Even if you speak a rough kind of Italian, most Italians will appreciate your attempts to learn and speak their language.
It is easy to pronounce Italian. If you read it as it is written, it will appear close to how it sounds.
For help in spelling and pronouncing words in Italian, the simple rule is:
What you hear is what you get.
Italian is a phonetic language, which means most words are pronounced as they are written.
It’s important to note that pronunciation must be clear, with every vowel clearly enunciated, which also makes sounds simpler to grasp.
In Italian, there are two different ways of addressing people: formally and informally. To address someone formally, use the Lei form; to address someone informally, use the tu form.
Buongiorno, (good morning) is a frequent form of greeting in Italy. It may be used formally and informally with strangers or friends, at a coffee shop, at a doctor’s office, or while walking down the street. For example, when customers enter an Italian store, they are expected to say Buongiorno.
It depends on your particular sense of time, the time of year, etc. when to go from buongiorno to buon pomeriggio, buonasera, and buonanotte (good night). Since buon pomeriggio is less commonly used these days, buongiorno is used for the majority of the day, including in the afternoon. Although some native Italian speakers might use the greeting until 6:00 p.m., it is probably wise to avoid using it after 5:00 p.m.
While buonasera is used to say hello and goodbye in the evening, buona serata is only used when someone is leaving for the night. The phrase “buonanotte” is used when leaving someone with whom you have spent the evening or when you are clearly aware that someone is going to bed or returning home.
A highly popular way to greet someone is with the casual salutation “ciao,” which comes from the old Venetian dialect and means “your slave” or “at your service.” It is often only used to welcome close friends and family members—for persons one is familiar with. If you wish to show respect for older people or those you don’t know well, you just shouldn’t say “ciao” to them.
Another polite greeting that is less popular than ciao is salve. It can be used to say hello or hi, but not goodbye. When greeting someone with whom they are unsure whether to use the “tu” or the “Lei” form, some native speakers use this greeting. Therefore, it may be used both formally and informally.
Arrivederci, which means “until we see each other again,” is the Italian expression for goodbye. The extremely formal arrivederLa has been replaced by the more informal arrivederci.
This expression is casual and is usually used with acquaintances. When you already know you will meet someone soon or where you regularly meet them, you will typically use the phrases A domani! and Ci vediamo! As for the timeline, a presto! is much vaguer. A presto! is often used to send a letter or an e-mail message.
Italians are famous for making guests feel at home and welcome. Benvenuto!/Benvenuta in Italia will be used to greet you if someone is waiting for you at the airport in Italy. You will be greeted with “Benvenuto/Benvenuta nella nostra casa” if you are a guest in someone’s home. (Welcome to our home)
Scusi!/Scusa! is Italian for “Excuse me!” “I apologise for what I did!” “I sincerely apologise!” Scusi is a more formal version of scusa. Using scusi is also a nice and quick way to begin a request. To catch someone’s attention, say Scusi! before asking for directions. Then go on with the request:
Per favore, potrebbe dirmi come arrivare a Piazza Navona? (Pardon me! Could you please tell me how to go to Piazza Navona?)
This is most probably one of the first Italian phrases you should learn. The act of expressing gratitude for a nice behaviour or service is a universal feeling with which everyone can identify.
In response to grazie, Italians respond Prego! which means “You’re welcome.” Prego, like per favore and scusa/scusi, is a traditional polite expression with a versatile meaning. Prego! can also imply “Please!” as in “After you” or “Please, go ahead!” depending on the context. Prego! indicates “No problem!” when used in answer to Scusa!/Scusi!
Mi dispiace, like its English equivalent “I’m sorry,” is a highly flexible expression that takes on new meaning depending on the occasion and context.
The expression please is used to politely ask a person for a favour and/or help.
GENERAL NECESSITIES – Useful Phrases for Traveling in Italy
ON THE ROAD AND IN TOWN
If you are lost or need information, these basic Italian phrases will actually be useful.
- Dov’è (Where is …?)
- Entrata (Entrance)
- Uscita (Exit)
- Via (Street)
- Piazza (Square)
- Andare (To go)
- Camminare (To walk)
- Girare (To turn)
- Fermare (To stop)
- Diritto (dritto) (Straight)
- A destra (Right)
- A sinistra (Left)
- Nord (North)
- Sud (South)
- Ovest (West)
- Est (East)
- Vicino (Close)
- Lontano (Far)
- Il teatro (The theater)
- La stazione (The train station)
- Il supermercato (The supermarket)
- Un ristorante (A restaurant)
- Un bagno (A bathroom)
- L’aeroporto (The airport)
- Mi sono perso/a, Lei può aiutarmi? (I am lost, can you help me?)
- Cerco… (I am looking for…)
- Quant’è lontano a…? (How far is it to…)
- Dove sono i gabinetti? (Where is the bathroom? (polite way to ask in a public place)
- Dov’è il bagno? (Where is the bathroom?)
- Posso usare il bagno, per favore? (Can I use the bathroom, please?)
- Me lo può indicare sulla mappa/cartina, per favore? (Can you show me on the map, please?)
GETTING AROUND AND TRANSPORTATION
The tourists usually visiting Italy will need to use a train, bus, or cab. These words will come in handy in times when you may need to call for assistance in going to the right station or bus stop.
|Un Biglietto||One Ticket|
|Dove va…?||Where does it go?|
|Fermata dell’Autobus||Bus Stop|
GASTRONOMIC TERMS -Useful Phrases for Traveling in Italy
Let’s get you prepared with these basic Italian expressions for ordering meals or dining out.
- Vorrei … (I would like …)
- Questo (This)
- Il Conto (Check)
- Una Prenotazione (Reservation)
- Quante Persone? (How Many People?)
- Potrebbe portarmi il menu, per favore? (Could you please bring me the menu?)
- Un cappuccino ed un cornetto, per favore. (A cappuccino and a croissant, please.)
- acqua (water)
- l’acqua naturale (still water)
- l’acqua leggermente gassata (slightly sparking water)
- l’acqua gassata (sparkling water)
- il succo (juice)
- vino (wine)
- il vino rosso (red wine)
- il vino bianco (white wine)
- il vino rosé (rose wine)
- birra (beer)
- caffè (coffee)
- caffè latte (coffee with milk)
- latte (milk)
- tè (tea)
NUMBERS – Useful Phrases for Traveling in Italy
A better comprehension of numbers up to 10 will be useful.
TELLING THE TIME AND THE WEEKDAYS
Here are the essentials of telling time in Italian, as well as the days of the week and other important phrases for booking a hotel and appointments. Italians use a 24-hour clock but may comprehend a 12-hour clock if you indicate morning and afternoon.
- Oggi Today
- Ieri Yesterday
- Domani Tomorrow
- Mezzogiorno Noon –
- Mezzanotte midnight
- Di Mattina – In the morning
- Di pomeriggio n the afternoon
- Di Sera In the evening
- Le undici di mattina eleven o’clock in the morning
- Le nove di sera nine o’clock in the evening
- Lunedì Monday
- Martedì Tuesday
- Mercoledì Wednesday
- Giovedì Thursday
- Venerdì Friday
- Sabato Saturday
- Domenica Sunday
How to ask for help in Italian
Before you face an emergency, learn how to ask for help in Italian. You can save valuable time in an emergency by knowing a few easy Italian words and phrases.
- Aiuto – Help
- Ho bisogno di un dottore – I need a doctor
- Chiami la polizia – Call the police
- Dov’è l’ospedale? – Where is the hospital?
- il Pronto Soccorso – Accident and Emergency, A&E
- mi sono fatto male – I have hurt myself
Once you are able to talk to the right person, you can use the following words to explain what’s wrong.
- emergenza (emergency)
- incidente (accident)
- malata/o (illness)
- medicina (medication)
- danno (injury)
- dolore (pain)