Are you leaving for a trip to Italy and do not know a word of Italian?
Knowing a few useful words and phrases can transform your trip!
While English is common in Italy’s larger cities and tourist destinations (including hotspots like Florence, Rome, Venice, and the Amalfi coast), it’s not as widely spoken in smaller towns and countryside.
So, if you are planning to get away from the usual tourist circuits and travel around Italy on your own, maybe renting a car, it will be better to try to learn at least a few useful words and phrases in Italian. Such as how to order a dish at the restaurant, say the address of your hotel to the taxi driver or ask where to buy the bus tickets …and be understood!
In any case, you can count on the kindness of the people who will bend over backwards to try to understand and to help you. Italians are always very patient and friendly with foreigners.
Buongiorno: good morning. Usually said until 4 pm.
Buona sera: good evening. Usually said after 4pm.
Buonanotte: good night. Only used to say goodbye, it is usually said when parting ways after 10pm, or before going to sleep.
Ciao: hello o goodbye. A very informal greeting.
Salve: A way to say hello, in formality in between “ciao” and “buongiorno”
Arrivederci: a formal way to say goodbye.
Buona giornata: have a nice day. Usually said when parting ways until 4pm.
Buona serata: have a nice evening. Usually said when parting ways after 4pm.
OTHER COMMON WORDS AND PHRASES
Per favore/per piacere: please
Grazie: thank you. Grazie mille! literally “a thousand thanks” many thanks.
Prego: you’re welcome. After a grazie! it is always used to answer with a
Prego? Can also mean: can I help you? Or: Can you repeat?
Permesso!: excuse me!:it is used for passing people on the sidewalks or in a crowded bus. Permesso? Is also used entering a room or a private house. It si equivalent to: may I come in?
Mi chiamo…: my name is… or Sono… I am…
Non parlo italiano: I don’t speak Italian
Parla inglese?: do you speak English?
Sì: yes. Another way to say yes is: va bene : it’s fine, it’s okay.
Buon viaggio!: have a nice trip!
Buon appetito!: enjoy your meal!
Dove: where? You can use it when you ask for directions: “Dov’è Piazza San Marco?”
Mi scusi: sorry! When you accidentally bump into someone. You can also use it to ask for information: Mi scusi, dov’è via Nazionale? excuse me, where’s Nazionale Road?
Quanto costa? how much is it?
Dov’è il bagno, per favore? where is the toilet, please?
HELPFUL WORDS FOR GETTING AROUND
Macchina /auto /automobile: car
Autobus: bus. Pullmann: coach bus
Ristorante: restaurant. Trattoria / Osteria: tavern
Banca: bank Bancomat: ATM
Destra right, sinistra left, dritto straight
Vicino : close, lontano: far
AND, FINALLY, SOME WORDS YOU WILL HEAR THOUSAND TIMES
Allora, dunque, quindi: these are words that are often used to start a speech or to move from one sentence to another. Equivalent to so… well… then… therefore…
Dai! it is an exclamation that has many meanings, like come on! Or: hit it! Chin up! And also: really?
Tutto a posto? Is everything all right?
Sì, tutto a posto: Yeah, it's all right.
Have you ever been to Italy? Which was the most useful word or phrase during your trip? Let me know it in the comments!
Are you going to travel to Italy? Need to learn life-saving words and phrases for your trip? Have a look to my 5 lessons package ‘Italian for travelers'!
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