What are the best phrases to learn when travelling to Italy?

Planning a holiday in Italy? As they say, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do,’ which includes speaking Italian! Let us help with these useful phrases…

Regardless of whether you’re only stopping in for a day two, or perhaps a month-long escapade, learning some basic Italian phrases is essential. While you’ll find plenty of English speakers in the majority of Italy, it’s important you show your respect by at least attempting to speak the native tongue, as this can make a great impression on the locals. 

  • Greetings

    Like all languages, Italian has both an informal and formal way of speaking. Compared to English, with our word choice during informal and formal situations varying, Italians have quite straightforward procedures. The type of greeting uttered will be determined to who you are addressing. The main reason for these two ways of greeting is due to courtesy and social graces, with the formal phrases utter to those who deserve respect. For when you are addressing elders, strangers, teachers, or acquaintances, you utter the formal greetings. This is Buongiorno for Hello and Arrivederci for goodbye. For family and friends, an informal Ciao or Salve (meaning either hello and goodbye) is fine. 

  • Courtesy’s

    Please, Thank you, and Excuse me

    When asking for directions, ordering off the menu, or simply pushing through a crowd, being polite is always considerate. Courtesy phrases are some of the most important words to learn when visiting a new country, listed at the top of most common sayings passed around. ‘Per favour’ is the phrase for please and is great to put on after questions or requests. Even if you are struggling with full Italian sentences, simply pointing to your choice in gelato and uttering a please can help. ‘Grazie’ is thank you and can aid you in getting better service and more smiles. Lastly, ‘Scusa’ translates to excuse me, and can be used in busy crowds and when approaching strangers.  

  • Basic Questions

    How are you, I am good thank you, Where is?

    Simply learning some practical questions in Italian can help in your daily happenings. Doing some light small talk can help an enormous amount in forming bonds and getting help. How are you? translates to ‘Come sta?’ and if asked this question, a simple ‘Bein, Grazie’ (good, thank you) will do. ‘Come si chiama? means what is your name. As well as ‘Dove’ meaning where, and can be attached to locations, making it quite handy for directions. For example, if looking for the museum, the phrase would be ‘Dov’è il Museo.’

  • Classic Menu phrases

    Learning the simple things before entering a restaurant or café may help you from ordering a large bowl of mushroom risotto when all you wanted was small coffee. If you are looking for a breakfast meal, follow the menu under the word ‘Colazione,’ for lunch, ‘Pranzo’, and dinner is ‘Cena’. After that, a lot of recipe and flavours are spelt very similar to English, so working out which pizza topping you want isn’t going to be rocket science. However, asking for your meal instead of merely pointing to the menu and be a regarding task to achieve. Saying the phrase ‘Un pizza, per favore’, or inserting whatever is you want, is a simple as it gets. When your belly is filled to the brim, you can utter a clear ‘Ci fa il conto, per favore?’ for the bill.

  • Useful words for travellers

    Travellers always need the same things regardless of any city; Public transport, Hotels, shops, and bathrooms. Learning the words for these can shorten your questioning times and bring a clear expression to the confused local your asking on the street. For the transport, the airport equals Aeroporto, the train station is ’stazione ferroviaria’, and the bus is ’autobus’. For your hotel, simply stating the word Albergo followed by the name your hotel will do the trick. Shops can always depend on what you’re looking for, with ‘Negozio’ meaning store doing the trick in most cases, or Ristorante (restaurant) when you’re a bit peckish. The bathroom is undoubtedly the easiest to remember, being a simple ‘Bagno’ works wonders.

  • Useful phrases for travellers

    Ready to whip out a sentence? Those of us walking through museums, down dark streets, or scanning a map in desperation might find saying these questions can help you turn your frustrating day into a great one. First off, guaranteeing to be the most needed phrase to learn is ‘Dov’è il bagno?’ meaning where is the bathroom?  Always good to have in your back pocket, especially those who are travelling with kids with tiny bladders. How much does it cost? Now that’s a great phrase to know, and it makes it a lot less confusing when you get your change after buying one of the many goodies scattered about Italy. What better thing to say when you are going around in circles? ‘Mi sono perso’ for I am lost, and aren’t we all when travelling?

  • Emergency Phrases

    Not to jinx anything, but in case of an emergency when you are in a foreign country, its always best to prepare for the worst. Therefore, a quick phrase to lock in your memory can help you in dire need. The simplest; Aiuto, meaning help! If you are having some really bad luck and need emergency services, state ‘Chiamate un’ambulanza’ meaning call the ambulance. If you only need the police, change it to ‘la polizia’.

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