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Common Italian Words and Phrases for Travelers

Updated on May 5, 2016
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Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures, experiences, and makes the world a better, more tolerant place.

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When traveling in Italy it can be a frustrating experience not knowing the language. For most of us learning a new language, while it sounds like a great idea, is just not practical. But, with a few key phrases and words under your belt you can travel with ease in Italy and greatly enhance your experience.

For the most part Italians are a warm and friendly people. If they see you trying to speak their language they are more apt to engage you and try to assist you.

The English language is also becoming more widespread in Italy especially in the tourist areas so many Italians will understand some of your English. While you’re there don’t be afraid to try to converse with the locals. If you have a few Italian words and phrases in your vocabulary they will figure out what you are asking.

Italy
Italy | Source

I love the language, it sounds as if it should be writ on satin with syllables which breathe of the sweet South.

— George Gordon Noel Byron

Greetings

Greetings are very important to learn as they set the tone for your interaction with the locals. These common greetings will help to break the ice and engage with the locals.

Good morning => Buon giorno (bwon gee-orno)

Good evening => Bouna sera (bwon-uh say-ruh)

Good night => Bouna notte (bwon-uh no-te)

Thank You => Grazie (grah-tseeay)

Your Welcome => Prego (pray-go)

Hello/Goodbye => Ciao (chow)

Goodbye (formal) => Arrivederci (ah-ree-vay-der-chee)

Welcome ==> Benvenuto/Benvenuta (female)

How are you? => Come Sta? (koh-may stah)

My name is ==> il mio nome e'

What is your name? ==> Come si chiama? (koh-meh see kee-ah-mah)

Excuse me => Mi Scusi (mee skoo-zee)

Pleased to meet you =>Piacere di conoscerti


Our new friend.
Our new friend. | Source
This gentleman spoke no English but still invited us into his home.  With a few key Italian words and phrases we were able to converse with him.
This gentleman spoke no English but still invited us into his home. With a few key Italian words and phrases we were able to converse with him. | Source
Very nice Italian gentleman.  What a great experience we had  communicating with him.
Very nice Italian gentleman. What a great experience we had communicating with him. | Source

Common Questions/Phrases

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Here are some common questions and phrases that you may want to ask.

How much does it cost? => Quanto costa?

How many? ==> Quanti?

Where is the bathroom/toilet? => Dov'è il bagno or Dov'è la toilette?

Do you speak English? ==> Parla Inglese?

Do you understand? ==> Capisce?

I don't understand ==> Non capisco

Can you help me? => mi potete aiutare?

What is your name? ==> Come si chiama?

Is there Internet connection? => c'è connessione ad internet

Where is? => dov'è

The check please = > Il conto, per favore

Happy birthday ==> Buon compleanno

Very well ==> Molto bene

Source
Knowing a little Italian goes a long way in conversing with the locals.
Knowing a little Italian goes a long way in conversing with the locals. | Source

Taxi => Taxi

Hotel => Albergo

B&B => B&B

Restaurant => Ristorante

Cafe/Diner => Trattoria

Police => Polizia / Carabinieri

Doctor => Medico

Water ==> Acqua

Wine ==> Vino

Beer ==> Birra

Common Words

Yes => sì

No => no

Airport => Aeroporto

Train station => Stazione

Pharmacy => Farmacia

Ticket => Biglietto

Museum => Museo

Help ==> Aiuto

Fine ==> Benissimo

Just a few words and phrases goes a long way toward making some new friends.
Just a few words and phrases goes a long way toward making some new friends. | Source
Source

Days of the Week

Sunday => domenica

Monday => lunedì

Tuesday => martedì

Wednesday => mercoledì

Thursday => giovedì

Friday => venerdì

Saturday => sabato

Learn your Italian numbers, it will come in handy.
Learn your Italian numbers, it will come in handy.

Numbers

1 => uno

2 => due

3 => tre

4 => quattro

5 => cinque

6 => sei

7 => sette

8 => otto

9 => nove

10 => dieci

20 => venti

50 => cinquanta

100 => cento

A few weeks before you travel to Italy you should be periodically reviewing your list of words and phrases and practicing them. If you get them all down add a few new ones.

Try and make this a fun exercise as opposed to a task. Make flash cards and quiz each other. Try carrying around with you a little cheat sheet with these key words and phrases so you can practice. And be sure to take this with you on your trip to Italy.

It will also help to take a small translation book with you just in case you need a word or phrase that you don’t know. There are many good English to Italian translation books available out there. You will find that with just a few of the basic words and phrases that you will be able to travel with ease and converse with the locals. What better way to have some fun as you anxiously look forward to a trip to Italy. Your experience while there will be greatly enhanced with just a little preparation.

© 2012 Bill De Giulio

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    • profile image

      MUKESH 8 months ago

      Very good... Article

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're welcome Bill. You too!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 22 months ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Kristen. Had a lot of fun with the Italian. Hopefully it helps travelers heading to Italy who don't speak the language. Have a great weekend.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, this was very useful for those who aren't fluent in Italian. It's very well planned and thought out. Voted up!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Suja, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have a great trip and don't be afraid to converse with the locals. I'm sure you'll come back with some great and interesting stories. Have a great trip.

      Ciao!

    • profile image

      Suja 2 years ago

      Thank you ; your list seems to cover everything we need. Going for a trip to Italy next month. I'll post my experience afterwards

      Thank you

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Linda. You are most welcome. Hopefully you get to use your new skills in Italy some day if you haven't already been. Grazie mille. Ciao.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Audrey. Yes, we just got back from our third trip. It is an amazing country to visit, you will love it. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you for my language lesson of the day. That was exciting. Ciao for now. Happy lunedì!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      I think Italy will be on my next trip--probably a couple of years from now--so great to see the number of hubs you have on Italy--have you gone more than once???

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi EuroNinila. Thanks for the read and nice comments. I find that it is always a better travel experience if I can at least make an attempt to converse with the locals. Often times they simply get a kick out of our feeble attempt. You are correct in that Italian and Spanish are similar. Hopefully this comes in handy when I travel to Spain someday. Thanks again, have a great day.

    • EuroNinila profile image

      Fotinoula Gypsyy 4 years ago from NYC BABY

      Great hub, I took Italian back in 6th grade and I remember I was in Greece and in my village there was a woman marrying an italian guy, so his whole family came to my village from Italy. We spoke to each other using the little italian I knew how to speak, it was interesting and we were able to converse and understand each other. Now that I also know Spanish, it amazes me how similar the Italian language is to Spanish. Thanks for sharing!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Thelma. It certainly does come in handy. We just returned from Sicily and although the dialect there is different it helped greatly being able to communicate a little with the locals. Grazie, Ciao.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Buon Giorno bdegiulio! You remind me of my 1 year Italian language course in Germany. It was fun! I studied the language to be able to communicate with the Italians when I spent my holiday in Rome for just a week. It was worth it because I still use what I have learned when talking to my Italian friends in Germany. Voted up and useful. Ciao, bello;-)

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Grazie mille kerlynb, glad you liked it. This has helped a lot on our trips to Italy, plus it's just fun to learn something new. Appreciate the comments and vote up.

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      Ciao! Come sta? Congratulations for this hub! It is quite useful. You covered a lot here actually. I also like the way you used your pics. Well illustrated! Voting this hub up, useful and beautiful :)

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank You Nicole. Yes there are many similarities between Spanish and Italian. Hopefully someday I'll get to test that out in Spain. Ciao!

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 5 years ago from Minnesota

      I had no idea that Italian was so close to Spanish! Although there are many differences, I noticed many similarities! Very neat idea for a hub, I enjoyed it!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks American_Choices. Hopefully you get there soon. The only thing better than going to Italy is being able to interact with the locals while you're there. Keep practicing that Italian.

    • American_Choices profile image

      American_Choices 5 years ago from USA

      I will be traveling more in my car and you reminded me I invested in the Italian cd's - I really must practice again as Itay is on my radar for traveling.

      I have bookmarked this for future reference. Voted up!

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