Italian prepositions of place are essential elements of the Italian language.
This article covers the different Italian place prepositions and provides usage examples to help us comprehend how things, places, and people are placed in relation to one another.
The prepositions can be used alone or in conjunction with articles to make ‘preposizioni articolate’.
When referring to a location as a point, we use the preposition A.
Use the preposition ‘A‘ with names of towns/cities and small islands.
Ex.: Abito / vivo / lavoro / vado a Milano (I live / I Work / I go to Milan)
(io) vivo/abito a Roma
(vivere/abitare + a + city)
When it comes to island names, it might be difficult to decide when to use in or a. Size is usually a primary consideration.
Ex.: Abito a Taiwan / a Capri / a Ischia (I live in Taiwan /in Capri /in Ischia)
Some names of places in cities:
- al supermercato (at the supermarket)
- al bar (at the bar)
- a scuola (at school)
- al cinema (at the cinema)
- al parco (at the park)
- a teatro (at the theatre)
- al ristorante (at the restaurant)
When using nouns in the singular, ‘a’ is mostly used without an article.
Use the preposition ‘in’ with names of countries, regions, continents, and large islands.
Names of country
Ex.: Abito in Italia / in Spagna / in Giappone (I live in Italy /Spain /in Japan)
Names of regions
(io) vivo in Italia
(vivere + in + country)
Ex.: In Sardegna il mare è bellissimo (In Sardinia the sea is beautiful)
Ho passato una bellissima vacanza in Sicilia. (I spent a beautiful holiday in Sicily.)
Names of continents
Ex.: Ho fatto un lungo viaggio in Asia / in Europa (I made a long trip to Asia / in Europe)
Names referring to the house
in bagno (in the bathroom)
in cucina (in the kitchen)
in giardino (in the garden)
in camera (in the room)
Some names of places in cities
- in piazza (in the square)
- in negozio (in the shop)
- in banca (at the bank)
- in ospedale (in the hospital)
- in birreria (in the brewery)
- in panetteria (in the bakery)
- in ufficio (At the office)
People use this preposition to indicate the origin of an object or person.
Vengo da Milano. (I come from Milan.)
(io) vengo da Napoli
(venire + da + città)
Da is used when the “place” is a specific person.
Federica è / va:
Ex.: Federica è / va da Carla (Federica is / goes to Carla)
(io) vado da Anna
(andare + da + person)
- dal meccanico (at the mechanic’s)
- dal barbiere (to the barber)
- dalla mamma (by mom)
- dal mio amico (by my friend)
It is common to use the preposition ‘di’ in Italian as a preposition of place to indicate the location or position of something.
When using ‘di’ as a preposition of place in Italian, it usually indicates the place of origin.
Gianni: Di dove sei?
Antonio: Sono di Napoli.
(io) sono di Napoli
(essere + di + città)
Use Per with verb PARTIRE
(io) parto per Napoli
(partire + per + nome di luogo)
Domani parto per Londra in aereo.
Lunedì partirò per la Spagna in treno.
Let’s see how to use these prepositions with more examples:
Di dove’è? di dove sei?/ Dove vive/abita? Dove vivi/abiti?
Mario è romano. Mario è di Roma.
Nelson abita in Africa
Claudio vive a Parigi in Francia
Pablo vive in Brasile a San Paolo
Vivo a Roma ma ora sono a Milano.
Sono a Milano
Vivo a Roma
“Sono a Milano” means “I am in Milan” and it indicates the speaker’s physical location or presence in the city at that moment.
“Vivo a Roma” means “I live in Rome” and it indicates that the speaker’s permanent residence is in Rome. This sentence doesn’t provide information on the speaker’s current physical location, but rather on their usual place of residence.
So, the main difference between “sono a Roma” and “vivo a Roma” is that the former indicates a temporary physical presence in Rome, while the latter indicates a permanent residence in Rome.
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