The Most Useful Basic Phrases In Italian For Tourists

How many times did you find yourself in difficult situations while on holiday, just because you couldn’t speak a word of the local language? How many embarrassing scenarios could have been avoided if only you had had a small, yet practical list of useful sentences?

With today’s post, I want to give you a list of useful words and basic phrases in Italian that might come in handy during your time in Rome (or in any other part of Italy – even Sardinia, actually). Italian is obviously the official language, but you may face some difficulties because the accent and pronunciation in Rome may be harder to understand. Furthermore, albeit fascinating, Italian is a peculiar language, and it might feel sometimes difficult to read and speak. That’s why I added an easy pronunciation guide, hoping you find it helpful.

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traveling to Rome

The Most Useful Basic Phrases In Italian

Basic Phrases in Italian for Greeting

Let’s start with the basics. Anywhere in the world you choose to go, you should at least know how to greet people and politely ask for something, right?

Good morning: Buongiorno (boo-won-djor-naw)

Good afternoon: Buon pomeriggio (boo-won paw-meh-ree-djoh)

Good evening: Buona sera (boo-won-ah seh-rah)

Good Night: Buona notte (boo-won-ah naw-teh)

Hi!/Hello!: Ciao (Cha-ow)

Nice to meet you: Piacere di conoscerti (pyah-tcheh-reh dee caw-naw-sher-tee)

Have a nice day!: Buona giornata! (bwoh-nah djee-ohr-nah-tah)

Yes: Sì (see)

No: No (naw)

Please: Per favore (pehr fah-voh-reh)

Thank you: Grazie (grah-tzyeh)

Thank you so much: Grazie mille (grah-tzyeh meel-leh)

You’re welcome: Prego (preh-goh)

I don’t understand: Non capisco (nawn cah-pees-caw)

I don’t speak Italian: Non parlo italiano (nawn pahr-law ee-tah-lyah-naw)

Do you speak English?: Parli inglese? (pahr-lee een-gleh-seh?)

I’m sorry: Mi dispiace (mee dees-pyah-cheh)

Excuse me: Mi scusi (mee scoo-see)

My name is…: Mi chiamo… (mee kyah-maw…)

Nice to meet you: Piacere di conoscerti (pyah-cheh-reh dee caw-naw-sher-tee)

Excuse me (passing through a crowd): Permesso (pehr-met-saw)

Basis Phrases in Italian for Emergencies

Finding yourself in an emergency? Don’t worry – these basic Italian phrases will help (literally!):

Help: Aiuto (ah-ee-aw-taw)

I’m lost: Mi sono perso (mee saw-naw pehr-saw)

It hurts here: Mi fa male qui (mee fah mah-leh qwee)

Stomachache: Mal di pancia (mal dee pahn-chah)

Headache: Mal di testa (mal dee teh-stah)

Cold: Raffreddore (rah-freh-daw-reh)

Flu: Influenza (een-floo-ayn-tsah)

Allergy: Allergia (ahl-lehr-gee-ah)

Food poisoning: Intossicazione alimentare (een-taw-see-kah-tsyoh-neh ah-lee-mayn-tah-reh)

I’ve been stung by a jellyfish: Mi ha punto una medusa (mee hah poon-taw oo-nah mey-doo-sah)

Fever: Febbre (feh-breh)

Throat pain: Mal di gola (mahl dee gaw-lah)

Pain: Dolore (daw-law-reh)

Call an ambulance: Chiamate un’ambulanza (kee-ah-mah-the oon ahn-boo-lahn-tsah)

Pharmacy: Farmacia (fahr-mah-chee-ah)

Doctor: Dottore (daw-taw-reh)

Medicine: Medicina (meh-dee-chee-nah)

Painkiller: Antidolorifico (ahn-tee-daw-law-ree-fee-caw)

Eye drops: collirio (caw-lee-ree-aw)

Bandaid: cerotto (cheh-raw-taw)

Tooth ache: mal di denti (mahl dee dehn-tee)

I’m not feeling good: non mi sento bene (nawn mee sehn-taw beh-neh)

Help me: Aiutatemi (ah-ee-ow-tah-the-mee)

They stole my phone/bag/wallet: Mi hanno rubato il telefono/la borsa/il portafoglio (mee han-naw roo-bah-taw eel teh-leh-faw-naw/lah bawr-sah/eel pawr-tah-faw-lee-oh)

Call the police: Chiamate la polizia (kee-ah-mah-teh lah poh-lee-tsyah)

Rome neighborhoods

Basis Italian Phrases – Numbers, Time and Days of the Week

Here’s a list of numbers (1-12 and tens), so you won’t have any trouble with clocks and time:

One: Uno (oo-noh)

Two: Due (doo-eh)

Three: Tre (treh)

Four: Quattro (qwah-troh)

Five: Cinque (cheen-qweh)

Six: Sei (say)

Seven: Sette (seh-teh)

Eight: Otto (oh-taw)

Nine: Nove (naw-veh)

Ten: Dieci (dyeh-chee)

Eleven: Undici (oon-dee-chee)

Twelve: Dodici (daw-dee-chee)

Twenty: Venti (vehn-tee)

Thirty: Trenta (trehn-tah)

Forty: Quaranta (qwah-rahn-tah)

Fifty: Cinquanta (cheen-qwahn-tah)

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And now, some more useful sentences:

What time is it?: Che ore sono? (keh aw-reh saw-naw?)

Time: Tempo (tem-paw)

Hour: Ora (aw-rah)

Minute: Minuto (mee-noo-taw)

Clock: Orologio (aw-raw-law-jaw)

Late: Tardi (tahr-dee)

Early: Presto (preh-staw)

Day: Giorno (djawr-naw)

Night: Notte (naw-teh)

Morning: Mattino (mah-tee-naw)

Evening: Sera (seh-rah)

Today: Oggi (aw-djee)

Yesterday: Ieri (yeh-ree)

Tomorrow: Domani (daw-mah-nee)

What day is it today?: Che giorno è oggi? (keh jawr-naw eh aww-djee)

Monday: Lunedì (loo-neh-dee)

Tuesday: Martedì (mahr-the-dee)

Wednesday: Mercoledì (mehr-caw-leh-dee)

Thursday: Giovedì (jaw-veh-dee)

Friday: Venerdì (veh-nehr-dee)

Saturday: Sabato (sah-bah-taw)

Sunday: Domenica (daw-meh-nee-cah)

It’s eight am: Sono le otto del mattino (saw-naw leh aw-taw dehl mah-tee-naw)

It’s noon/midnight: È mezzogiorno/mezzanotte (eh meh-dzaw-jawr-naw/meh-dzah-naw-teh)

It’s nine forty: Sono le nove e quaranta (saw-naw leh naw-veh eh qwah-rahn-tah)

It’s seven thirty: Sono le sette e trenta (saw-naw leh seh-teh eh trehn-tah)

How long until…?: Quanto manca a… (qwan-taw mahn-cah ah…)

Basis Phrases in Italian to Ask for Directions

Are you lost? These basic Italian phrases teach you how to ask for directions:

How do I get to…?: Come arrivo a… (caw-meh ah-ree-voh ah…)

Left: Sinistra (see-nees-trah)

Right: Destra (deh-strah)

Straight: Dritto (dreet-taw)

Turn: Gira (gee-rah)

Up: Su (soo)

Down: Giù (joo)

Close: Vicino (vee-chee-naw)

Far: Lontano (lawn-tah-noh)

By feet: A piedi (ah pyeh-dee)

Where is…? Dov’è…? (daw-veh…)

Church: Chiesa (kee-eh-sah)

Museum: Museo (moo-seh-aw)

Beach: Spiaggia (spee-ah-djah)

Is it close?: è vicino? (eh vee-chee-naw)

Is it far?: è lontano? (eh lawn-tah-naw)

By car: In macchina (een mah-kee-nah)

Turn left and keep walking: Gira a sinistra e continua a camminare (jee-rah ah see-nee-strah eh cawn-tee-noo-ah ah cah-mee-nah-reh)

Traffic light: Semaforo (seh-mah-faw-raw)

Turn right at the traffic light: Al semaforo gira a destra (al seh-mah-faw-raw gee-rah ah deh-strah)

Go that way: Da quella parte (dah qweh-lah pahr-teh)

Crosswalk: Strisce pedonali (stree-sheh peh-daw-nah-lee)

Ticket: Biglietto (bee-lyeh-toh)

Station: Stazione (staa-tzyeoh-neh)

Bus: Bus (boos)

Train: Treno (treh-noh)

Is there a bus/train to…?: C’è un bus/treno per…? (cheh oon boos/treh-noh pehr…)

Where is the bus/train station?: Dov’è la stazione dei bus/treni? (daw-veh lah stah-tzyeoh-neh day boos/treh-nee)

Where is the bus stop?: Dov’è la fermata dei bus? (daw-veh lah fehr-mah-tah day boos)

Shop: Negozio (neh-gaw-tzyeoh) ; Ticket shop: Negozio di biglietti (neh-gaw-tzyeoh dee bee-lyeh-tee)

Excuse me, where is the station?: Mi scusi, dov’è la stazione? (mee scoo-see, daw-veh lah staa-tzyeoh-neh?)

Excuse me, how do I go to…?: Mi scusi, come arrivo a… (mee scoo-see, caw-meh ah-ree-voh aa…)?

One ticket to…, please.: Un biglietto per…, per favore. (oon bee-lyeh-toh pehr…, pehr fah-vow-reh)

Basis Phases in Italian at the Restaurant

Finally sitting down for a drink or a meal? Use these phrases:

A table for (…), please.: Un tavolo per (…), per favore (oon tah-vaw-low pehr (…), pehr fah-vaw-reh)

Appetizer: Antipasto (ahn-tee-pah-staw)

Red wine: Vino rosso (vee-noh raw-saw)

White wine: Vino bianco (vee-noh bee-ahn-caw)

Sparkling water: acqua frizzante (ah-qwah free-tsahn-teh)

Still water: acqua naturale (ah-qwah nah-too-rah-leh)

Juice: succo (soo-kaw)

Coffee: caffè (kah-feh)

Breakfast: Colazione (caw-lah-tsioh-neh)

Lunch: Pranzo (prahn-tsaw)

Dinner: Cena (cheh-nah)

Dish: Piatto (pyah-taw)

Bowl: Ciotola (choh-taw-lah)

Fork: Forchetta (fawr-keh-tah)

Spoon: Cucchiaio (kook-kya-ee-ow)

Knife: Coltello (cawl-tehl-low)

Cup: Bicchiere (bee-kyeh-reh)

Napkin: Tovagliolo (taw-vah-lyeoh-law)

Can I see the menu, please?: Posso vedere il menu, per favore? (paw-saw veh-deh-reh eel meh-noo, pehr fah-vaw-reh?)

What would you recommend for us?: Che cosa ci consiglia? (keh caw-sah chee cawn-see-lyah)

What is the daily special?: Qual è la specialità del giorno? (qwhal eh lah speh-tchah-lee-tah dehl gee-ohr-noh)

Can we/Can I have… please?: Possiamo/Posso avere…, per favore? (paw-see-ah-moh/paw-saw ah-veh-reh…, pehr fah-vaw-reh)

Do you offer takeaway service?: Fate servizio d’asporto? (fah-tey sehr-vee-tsyoh dahs-pawr-toh)

Fish: Pesce (peh-sheh)

Meat: Carne (cahr-neh)

Cheese: Formaggio (fawr-mah-jyoh)

Prawns: Gamberi (gahn-beh-ree)

Salad: Insalata (een-sah-lah-tah)

Seafood: Frutti di mare (froot-tee dee mah-reh)

I am allergic to…: Sono allegico (M)/allergica (F) a… (saw-naw ahl-lehr-gee-caw/ahl-lehr-gee-cah ah…)

Peanuts: Arachidi (ah-rah-kee-dee)

Nuts: Noci (noh-chee)

Gluten: Glutine (gloo-tee-neh)

Eggs: Uova (oo-oh-vah)

I don’t eat…: Non mangio… (nawn mahn-joe…)

I’m vegan: Sono vegano (M)/vegana (F) (saw-naw veh-gah-noh/veh-gah-nah)

I’m vegetarian: Sono vegetariano (M)/vegetariana (F) (saw-naw veh-djeh-tah-ryah-noh/veh-djeh-tah-ryah-nah)

I’m lactose intolerant: Sono intollerante al lattosio (saw-naw een-taw-leh-rahn-teh ahl lah-taw-see-oh)

Can I/we have the bill, please?: Posso/possiamo avere il conto, per favore? (paw-saw/paw-see-ah-moh ah-veh-reh eel cawn-taw, pehr fah-vaw-reh?)

I would like to pay, please.: Vorrei pagare, per favore (voh-rey pah-gah-reh, pehr fah-voh-reh)

It was delicious: Era buonissimo (eh-rah bwoh-nee-see-maw)

It’s burnt: è bruciato (eh broo-cha-toh)

It’s not cooked enough: Non è cotto abbastanza (nawn è caw-taw ah-bah-stahn-tsah)

It’s too spicy: è troppo piccante (eh traw-paw pee-kahn-teh)

Landmarks in Rome

Other Useful Basic Phrases in Italian

Finally, some other useful sentences for all occasions:

What time does… open?: A che ora apre…? (ah keh aw-rah ah-preh…?)

What’s the best… around here?: Qual è il migliore… qui? (qwahl eh eel mee-lyoh-reh… qwee)

How much is it?: Quanto costa? (qwan-toh coh-stah)

What time does… close?: A che ora chiude…? (ah keh aw-rah kee-yoo-deh…)

Can you repeat, please?: Può ripetere, per favore? (pwoh ree-peh-the-reh, pehr fah-voh-reh)

I’m having a great time!: Mi sto divertendo tantissimo! (mee staw dee-vehr-tayn-daw than-tee-see-moh)

I like it here: Mi piace qui (mee pyah-cheh qwee)

What does this mean?: Cosa significa questo? (caw-sah see-nee-fee-kah qwes-taw)

I hope this short guide will help you spend a more relaxing time in Italy!

Further Readings

Make sure to read my other posts:

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