101 basic Italian phrases for travel you need to know for your trip to Italy

common italian phrases for travel

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If you’re planning on visiting Italy then it’s a good idea to learn some key words and sentences. In this guide to basic Italian phrases for travel, we step you through the most useful ways to communicate on your trip to Italy. After all, language is a big part of Italian culture and you want to experience it all, am I right?

Making an effort to understand and speak Italian on your trip is not simply a matter of respect – although we think this is very important too. When you talk to people in their language they appreciate it and experiences open up to you that would not have been possible if you had been speaking English.

So let’s get started with the common Italian phrases and words that will be most useful to you on your travels.

Basic Italian phrases

useful italian phrases and words

When you visit Italy, these are the most common words and phrases that will demonstrate you have made some effort to speak the local language. Learning these useful Italian words will help you talk to all manner of people during your trip.

Note – We’ve provided a phonetic pronunciation guide after the Italian translation for each word. If you really want to get the accent right a little extra study is recommended. We’ve provided some useful resources at the end of this article.

  • Yes – SiSee

  • No – NoNoh

  • Please – Per favorePehr fah-voh-reh

  • Thank you – GrazieGrah-tsee-eh

  • You’re welcome – PregoPreh-goh

  • Cheers! (To your health) – Salute!Sah-loo-tay

  • Excuse me (for attention) – ScusiSkoohzee

  • Excuse me (to pass by) – PermessoPehr-mehs-soh

  • Do you speak English? – Parla Inglese?Parh-la een-glay-zeh

  • I don’t understand – Non capiscoNon kah-pee-skoh

  • I’m sorry – Mi dispiaceMee dees-pyah-cheh

common italian phrases

Common greetings in Italian

One thing we really love about visiting Italy is the cultural differences and norms. In Italy, saying “good morning” is not simply a throwaway line. You should always greet people wherever you go – when entering a shop or restaurant, to hotel staff, on the bus or at a cultural sight. It’s the expected thing to do.

A friendly “buon giorno!” with a smile will go a long way. So here are the most common greetings and their context so you get it right! Generally you use the formal with people you don’t know, especially older people. The informal is used between friends.

  • Good morning (formal) – Buon giornoBwohn-johr-noh

  • Good afternoon (formal) – Buona seraBwoh-nah-seh-rah

  • Good night (formal) – Buona notteBwohnahnohteh

  • Hi / Bye (informal) – Ciao!Chow 

  • Good bye (formal) – ArrivederciAhr-ree-veh-dehr-chee

  • My name is … – Mi chiamoMee kyah-moh

  • What is your name? – Come si chiama?Koh-meh see kyah-mah?

  • Pleased to meet you – PiacerePyah-cheh-reh

  • How are you? (formal) – Come sta?Koh-meh stah?

  • Good thank you – Bene grazieBeh-neh grah-tsee-eh

How to say NUMBERS IN ITALIAN

While you don’t need to be able to count to 100, a good grasp of numbers up to 12 at least (for the hours of the day) will stand you in good stead. After all, you need numbers when you’re at a restaurant – una pizza per favore! (a pizza please!); at a museum –

  • One – UnoOo-noh

  • Two – DueDoo-eh

  • Three – TreTreh

  • Four – QuattroKwah-troh 

  • Five – CinqueCheen-kweh

  • Six – Sei – Say

  • Seven – SetteSeht-tey

  • Eight – OttoOh-toh

  • Nine – NoveNoh-veh

  • Ten – DieciDee-EH-chee 

  • Eleven – UndiciOondee-chee

  • Twelve – DodiciDoh-dee-chee

To learn more about counting in Italian click here

Telling the time and days of the week

Here are the basics of telling time in Italian plus days of the week and other useful sentences for making reservations and plans. Italians generally use a 24 hour clock but also understand the 12 hour clock if you specify morning and afternoon.

  • In the morning – Di Mattina – Dee mah-teen-ah

  • In the afternoon – Di pomeriggioDee poh-meh-reed-joh

  • In the evening – Di SeraDee sehrah

  • Noon – MezzogiornoMehd-dzoh-johr-noh 

  • At what time? – A che ora?Ah kay oar-ah? 

  • Nine o’clock in the morning – Le noveLe noh-vay

  • Eight o’clock in the evening – Le otto di sera / Le ot-to dee seh-rah 

  • Monday – Lunedì – Loo-neh-dee

  • Tuesday – MartedìMahr-teh-dee 

  • Wednesday – MercoledìMehr-koh-leh-dee

  • Thursday – GiovedìJoh-veh-dee

  • Friday – VenerdìVeh-nehr-dee 

  • Saturday – SabatoSah-bah-toh

  • Sunday – DomenicaDoh-meh-nee-kah

  • Today – OggiOhd-jee

  • Yesterday – IeriYeh-ree

  • Tomorrow – DomaniDoh-mah-nee

italian useful phrases

Useful phrases at restaurants

No your Italy trip includes a plan to enjoy a few meals at restaurants. And we’re sure ordering a gelato or two is also high on your list. Let’s get you ready with these essential Italian phrases you need for ordering food or at restaurants. These may be the times that you interact with Italians the most so practise your greetings too!

  • Can I see the menu please? – Il menu, per favoreEel men-oo, pehr fah-voh-reh

  • What do you recommend? – Che cosa ci consiglia?Kay koh-za chee kon-seel-ya?

  • I’m allergic to… – Sono allergica/o a...Son-oh ah-ler-gee-koh / kah ah

  • Gluten / Dairy / Fish – Glutine / Lattecini / Pesce – Gloo-teen-ay /  Lah-tay-cheen-ee / Pesh-ay 

  • House wine – Vino della casaVee-noh del-lah car-sah

  • Red / white wine – Vino rosso / biancoVeenoh ross-oh /  bee-ahn-koh

  • A glass / bottle – Una bicchiere / una bottigliaOO-nah beek-kyeh-reh / boht-tee-lyah

  • Appetizer – Antipasto – Ahn-tee-pah-stoh

  • First course – PrimoPree-moh

  • Second course – SecondoSek-kon-doh

  • Dessert – DolciDoll-chee

  • Two flavors please – Due gusti, per favore – Doo-eh goo-stee, pehr fah-voh-reh

  • Where’s the bathroom? – Dov’è il bagno? – Doh-veh eel bahn-yoh?

  • The check (bill) please – Il conto, per favoreEel kon-toh, pehr fah-voh-reh

  • Can I pay by card? – Posso pagare con la carta?Pohs-soh pah-gah-reh kon la cahr-tah?

Words to know when you are visiting museums

Visiting museums and attractions is a big part of many Italian itineraries. In this section we’ve given you some useful phrases in Italian to help you buy tickets and ask common questions.

  • When does it open / close? – Quando si apri / chiude? – Kwahn-doh see ah-pree / chee-oo-deh?

  • Two adults / one child – Due adulti / un bambino – Doo-eh ah-dool-tee / oon  bahm-bee-noh

  • One / two ticket/s – Un / due biglietto/i – Oon beel-yet-toh / tee

  • One senior – Un pensionato – Oon pen-seyoh-nah-toh

  • One student – Uno studenteOoh-noh stoo-den-teh

  • Where is the bag store / cloak room? – Dov’è la guardaroba?Doh-veh lah gard-ah-robe-ah?

Asking for directions in Italian

If you get lost or need help with directions, these helpful words in Italian will come in handy.

  • Where is… ? – Dov’è…? – Doh-veh … ?

  • Entrance – Entrata – En-trah-tah

  • Exit – Uscita – Ooh-shee-tah

  • Left – Sinistra – Seenee-stra

  • Right – DestraDeh-stra

  • Right – Uno studenteOoh-noh stoo-den-teh

  • Straight ahead – DrittoDree-toh

  • Forward – Avanti – Ah-vahn-tee

  • Back – DietroDee-et-roh

basic italian sentences

Useful words for transport and getting around

Most visitors to Italy will need to take a train or bus, or ride in a taxi. These phrases will be useful in these situations when it is likely you may need to ask for help to reach the right platform or bus stop.

  • Where is the train station? – Dov’è la stazione?Doh-veh lah stah-tzee-oh-neh?

  • Where is the bus stop? – Dov’è la fermata Doh-veh lah fur-mah-tah?

  • One / two ticket/s – Un / due biglietto/i – Oon beel-yet-toh / tee

  • One way – Andata – Ahndah-tah

  • Return – RitornoRee-torn-oh

  • What platform for Rome? – Da quale binario per Roma?Dah kwah-lay bin-ah-rio pehr Roh-mah?

  • Newstand (for bus tickets) – Tabacchi – Tah-back-kee

Shopping words in Italian

Time to go shopping! Make sure you’re ready with these key ph

  • I would like… – Vorrei… – Vor-ray…

  • How much is this? – Quanto costa questo?  Kwahn-toh kohs-tah kwehs-toh??

  • OK I’ll take it – Va bene, lo prendoVah beh-neh, loh prehn-doh 

  • I don’t want it – Non lo voglioNohn loh voh-lyoh

  • Can you ship to…? – Quanto costa questo?  Kwahn-toh kohs-tah kwehs-toh??

What to say if you need help in Italian

We hope you never need to use these phrases but it’s a good idea to know them “just in case”.

  • Help! – Aiuto!Ay-oo-toh!

  • I need a doctor – Ho bisogno di un dottore Ho biz-ohn-nyo dee oon dot-tor-reh

  • Call the police – Chiami la polizia – Kee-ya-mee la po-lee-zee-ah

  • Look out! – Attento! – Atten-toh

  • Go away! – Vai via! Vy vee-ah!

basic italian sentences

Want to get beyond basic Italian phrases for travel?

best way learn italian

These days there are a wealth of resources to help you learn Italian. You can use handy apps, books and podcasts to get started and we outlined some of the best of these in this article.

But, if you want to construct your own sentences and perfect your accent, a systematic approach with a proven method will help you make progress quickly. After much trial and error, we enjoy using Rocket Italian. This online course combines verbal cultural situation lessons with grammar and vocabulary to get you speaking Italian quickly. My accent also. improved significantly thanks to the voice recognition tasks.

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