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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
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.
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.
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 –
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.
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!
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.
Asking for directions in Italian
If you get lost or need help with directions, these helpful words in Italian will come in handy.
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.
Shopping words in Italian
Time to go shopping! Make sure you’re ready with these key ph
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”.
Want to get beyond basic Italian phrases for travel?
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.