Essential Italian Phrases You'll Need in Italy

July 27, 2006

In the larger Italian cities, you’ll come into contact with many people who speak some English. But knowing a few Italian phrases will go a long way in endearing yourself to the local people.

Even if you're not fluent or if you botch the pronunciation a bit, Italians will appreciate any attempt at speaking their language. And when you’re able to communicate, even just a little, it will make your stay much more enjoyable. You may even make a few friends.

Below are a few Italian words and phrases that will come in handy during your trip to Italy, whether you’re in a store, on a train or at the theater.

Buongiorno (bwon-jor-no) Good day. Always greet store clerks or restaurant hosts with this or the following phrase.
Buona sera (bwo-na say-rah) Good evening.
Per Favore (per fa-vo-ray)     Please.
Permesso (per-meh-soh)  Excuse me. Use it when you’re trying to pass through a group of people in places such as a crowded store or bus.
Scusi (scoo-zy) Excuse me. Use it to apologize for bumping into someone or to politely get a person’s attention.
Biglietto (bee-lye-to)   Ticket
Dov'è? (doh-vay) Where is?
Non capisco (nonn kah-pee-skoh) I don't understand.
Vorrei (vor-ray) I would like.
Quanto costa? (kwan-tow ko-stah) How much does it cost?
Che ore sono? (kay oh-reh so-no) What time is it?
Quando? (kwan-doh) When?
Grazie (gra-tziay) Thank you.
Arrivederci (ah-ree-vey-der-chee) Goodbye. Use it in formal situations or when saying bye to people you don’t know.

You may also be interested in:

A Theater Glossary for Italian words related to the theater and opera.

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