Are you planning a trip to Italy and looking for Italian phrases to learn? It will be an unforgettable experience. To make the journey even more fun, learn some basic Italian phrases and words that can be used while traveling. Here’s a list of essential Italian basics with their English translations, perfect for you to check!
How do Italians communicate?
It’s no secret that Italians are well known for their passionate and animated way of communicating with others. A key characteristic of their communication style is the extensive use of hand gestures. Not only do they share information through words, but they also express feelings and emotions through these expressive movements.
Italians tend to express their feelings through body language, facial expressions, and the tone they use when speaking. That means how you say something can be just as important as what you say. Italians also use hand gestures to emphasize their point of view or express emotions. It can range from light finger-pointing to broad arm movements and everything in between. Hand gestures are a great way to relate to others and can express sympathy, understanding, or agreement. So, start learning a few simple phrases and start compering hotels to book the best vacation ever!
1. Ciao – Hello/Goodbye
When an Italian says “Ciao,” it can mean different things depending on the context and tone of voice. A friendly and cheerful “Ciao” could be a greeting and a goodbye. It could also be used as a way to express understanding and sympathy. On the other hand, a more stern “Ciao” could be used to convey disapproval or to reprimand someone. However, no matter how it’s said – with a smile or frown – it is still a friendly expression meant to show respect.
2. Grazie – Thank you
In Italy, the most common way to say “thank you” is Grazie. Pronounce it as graht-see-eh. In Italian culture, saying Grazie is essential to showing respect and gratitude for someone who has done something for you. A simple “Grazie” can go a long way in expressing your appreciation.
3. Per favore – Please
It is commonly used to show politeness and respect in social situations. It can be translated as “please” or “if you please, ” but it has a much stronger connotation than these literal translations suggest. Italians use this phrase to express appreciation for any service or help, no matter how small. For instance, when ordering something in a restaurant, saying “Per favore” is polite when requesting the item.
Similarly, if someone does you a favor, it’s customary to say “Grazie mille per il tuo aiuto” (“Thanks a million for your help”) and “Per favore” as a way of expressing your gratitude. Additionally, it’s also important to remember that in Italy, it’s common to say per favore when saying goodbye or thanking someone for something they did.
4. Buongiorno – Good morning
In Italy, when people meet, they often greet one another with the phrase “Buongiorno,” which translates to “Good day” in English. It is a formal way of greeting someone.
5. Buonasera – Good evening
This phrase is useful when you meet someone late afternoon or early evening, usually from 4 pm to around 8 pm. You can also use it to say goodbye in the same time frame.
6. Prego – You’re Welcome
Unlike in English, where “you’re welcome” is generally the only response to “thank you,” the Italians have a variety of expressions they can use to show appreciation. It can be used as a polite way to say “you’re welcome” when someone says “thank you” or as a greeting similar to “hello.” Prego also matches when offering something to someone, either a literal object or an opportunity to do something. The expression Prego can be used to politely invite someone to join you for dinner, for example.
7. Mi dispiace – I’m sorry
The Italian phrase Mi dispiace is for you to express sympathy and regret. Its translation means “I’m sorry” or “I feel bad.” The term is commonly used when someone wants to apologize for something they have done accidentally or on purpose.
8. Scusami – Excuse me
It is used to express remorse, regret, or apology for something done wrong. Many people also use scusami to politely ask someone to repeat themselves or clarify what was just said.
9. Dove sono le toilette? – Where are the toilets?
Do not worry; you can use this phrase in informal and formal settings. However, it’s important to note that this phrase should only be used when asking for public restrooms instead of a private home or office.
10. Quanto costa?- How much is it?
This question can be used when inquiring about the price of a product or service. It is typically asked in stores, restaurants, and other commercial establishments where goods and services are offered for purchase. If you don’t know how to say the numbers in Italian, a simple reply is “non lo so,” which means “I don’t know.” You can also say “Parla lentamente,” which means “speak slowly” and learn numbers before traveling.
11. Mi piacerebbe – I would like
In Italian, Mi piacerebbe means “I would like it” or “I’d like that.” It is used to respond to invitations, offers, requests, and suggestions. For instance, if someone invites you to dinner, you could respond with Mi piacerebbe! Similarly, when presented with an opportunity or suggestion, you could reply with Mi piacerebbe to show your interest in participating. The expression is also used as a polite way of expressing one’s desire for something.
With these 11 Italian phrases, you’ll be well-prepared for your trip and confidently experience the incredible Italian culture. Buon Viaggio! (Have a nice trip!)
Linda Ritter has been working as an editor for Rated By Students. She is an experienced freelance writer and blogger interested in writing about technology, social media, work, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. Linda is also keen on playing the guitar and helping homeless animals.