Ciao! Without even realizing it, you’ve probably long known at least one Italian word—hello. Italy is a bucket-list destination for many travel lovers, and it is easy to see why.
Boasting an enviable mixture of cosmopolitan cities and small villages, history and art, food and wine; Italy—with its sun-drenched piazzas and Tuscan hills—is one of the most popular places to visit in the world.
Perhaps you have always wanted to learn a new language like Italian. Your Italian getaway provides the perfect opportunity to learn some popular Italian words, slang words, and phrases you need to know, which will help make your trip more fun and enjoyable.
Before we start learning though, it is important to recognize a few key differences between the Italian language and English.
While English calls for a specific ordering of words in a sentence—subject, verb, object—Italian allows for some leeway in this regard. In Italian, adjectives often follow the noun, whereas in English they almost always precede it. And in Italian, the phrasing of a question is the same as a declaration, it is the way it is said that tells the listener that it’s a question.
If those differences sound a bit confusing, try not to worry too much about it. Simply pick out a few words or phrases you think will come in handy and learn them. Then when you speak to Italians, speak them with confidence.
Even if you don’t get it exactly right, they will appreciate your effort and welcome you with open arms. Also, there are many English speakers in Italy, so communication is usually a breeze, especially in tourist areas.
Popular Italian Words
- Ciao – Meaning both hello and goodbye
- Buongiorno – Good morning
- Buonaséra – Good evening
- Per favore – Please
- Grazie – Thank you
- Grazie mille – Thanks so much
- Prego – You’re welcome
- Buono or Buona – Good
- Bello or Bella – Beautiful
- Si – Yes
- No – No
- Chi? – Who?
- Che? – What?
- Dove? – Where?
- Quando? – When?
- Perche? – Why?
- Quanto? – How much?
Italian Phrases and Words You Need to Know
- Sai parlare inglese? – Do you speak English?
- Come sta? – How are you?
- Non lo so – I don’t know.
- Mi dispiace – I’m sorry.
- Mi chiamo… - My name is…
- Mi scusi – Excuse me
- Permesso – Excuse me when you are passing through a crowd.
- Dov’e…? – Where is…?
- Vorrei… - I would like… (said when ordering food or services)
- Aeroporto – Airport
- Treno – Train
- Bagagli – Luggage
- Biglietto – Ticket
- Auto a noleggio – Rental car
- Bagno – Bathroom
- Ristorante – Restaurant
- Museo – Museum
- Chiesa / Duomo – Church / Cathedral
- Negozio – Store
- Ammazza! – Amazing! (e.g., The Sistine Chapel is ammazza!)
- Meno male – Phew! (An expression of relief)
- Che figata! – How cool!
Italian Slang Phrases You Need to Know
To really get to know a language and fit in with the locals, learning a bit of slang is always a fun idea. When you wish to be a little less formal, try a few of the following Italian slang phrases.
- Scialla! – Chill!
- Figurati – No worries!
- Spacchuiso – Cool (Not the temperature)
- Boh – I don’t know
- Un botto – A lot
- Ci becchiamo dopo – See you later (no need to add the alligator)
- Avoglia! – Of course! (e.g., Would you care for a gelato? Avoglia!)
- Che cavolo – What the heck (e.g., We’re out of gelato. Che cavolo!)
Traveling to Italy with a Tour Guide
If you have ever heard Italian spoken, you understand just how beautiful the language is. Elaborate flourishes are often used to express powerful feelings. This is also what makes Italy in general such a special place.
You can embark on a beautiful journey with us on either our Bella Italia Tour, our Ultimate Greece & Italy Tour, or our Grand European Cruise & Tour. Travel ‘the boot’ from Rome and Vatican City to Florence, Venice, Tuscany, and beyond.
To join us on a tour with YMT Vacations, call your travel agent or 1-888-756-9072.