Let’s face it – everything sounds 10 times more lovely in one of the romance languages. Italian has a way of flowing off the tongue beautifully in any circumstance. But then again, this makes it all the more embarrassing to walk around butchering the accent and the grammar.


You may expect to get by speaking English or some broken Italian. While this may get you through the trip, knowing some basic Italian words and sentences will go a long way! Plus, Italians will really appreciate the effort. Thanks to a smile and a few words of Italian, the gelataio may end up inviting you to Sunday’s cena.

Let’s start with the basics. First, it’s important to understand the difference between formal and informal greetings. When in doubt, use the formal option to avoid offending people or walking into a place saying the equivalent of “sup?” to the manager.

Ready? = Pronto?
Let’s go! = Andiamo!
Hello = Ciao (informal) / Salve (formal)
Goodbye = Ciao (informal) / Arrivederci (formal)
Please = Per favore / Per piacere
Thank you/Thank you so much = Grazie/Grazie mille(Literally 1,000 thanks)
You’re welcome/Nothing = Prego / Niente
Good morning = Buongiorno
Good evening(usually after 5 PM) = Buonasera
Good night(only at bedtime) = Buonanotte
How are you? = Come stai? (informal)/Come sta? (formal)
How’s it going? = Come va?
Good/Well = Bene
Bad = Male
All is well = Tutto bene
Okay = Va bene
How great = Che bello (masculine)/Che bella (feminine)
Tasty (used to describe food) = Buono (masculine)/Buona (feminine)
Who? = Chi?
What? = Che?/Cosa?
Where? = Dove?
When? = Quando?
Why? = Perché?
How much? = Quanto?
I’m sorry = Mi dispiace
What is your name? = Come si chiama? (formal)/ Come ti chiami? (informal)
My name is… = Mi chiamo…
I don’t know = Non lo so
Excuse me(used when bumping into someone) = Scusi(informal)/Scusa(formal)
Excuse me(used when making your way through a crowd) = Permesso
Where is the bathroom? = Dov’è il bagno?
Do you speak English? = Parla Inglese?
I don’t speak Italian = Non parlo Italiano
How much does it cost? = Quanto costa?
The bill, please = ll conto, per favore
Is that all? = Basta così?
Cheers = Cin cin/Salute
I would like… = Vorrei…
I like… = Mi piace…
I don’t like… = Non mi piace…
I come from… = Vengo da…
Friend = L’amico(masculine)/L’amica(feminine)
Family = La famiglia
Now that you can handle some conversational basics, let’s talk about why you really came to Italy – the food! Food culture is HUGE in Italy so be prepared to eat plenty of delicious meals and interpret menus like a pro with these basic translations!
Food = Cibo
Drink = Bibita
Breakfast = Colazione
Lunch = Pranzo
Dinner = Cena
Beer = Birra
Wine = Vino
Appetizer = Antipasto
First plates(the pasta or rice dishes) = Primi piatti
Second plates(the meat or fish) = Secondi piatti
Side dishes = Contorni
Restaurant = Ristorante
Other important words:
Help me = Aiutami
Phone = Telefono
Right = Destra
Left = Sinistra
Straight = Diritto
Street = Strada
Bathroom = Bagno
ATM = Bancomat
Bank = Banca
Ticket = Biglietto
Train = Treno
Train station = Stazione ferroviaria
Bus = Autobus
Train or bus stop = Fermata
Car = Macchina
Airport = Aeroporto
Luggage = Bagagli
Store = Negozio
Hotel = Albergo/Hotel
Police = Polizia
Hospital = Ospedale
Safe travels = Buon viaggio
Have a great holiday! = Buona vacanza!

and in case of any emergency italian smile



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