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Travel tips

Italian phrases to know before you go

May 15, 2015 by Courtney Keller

Dreaming of your trip to Italy? (Let’s be honest, who isn’t?) Getting a few Italian words under your belt is one great way to prep for your trip. Knowing some key phrases will not only help you find your way around, it also shows locals that you’re interested in learning about their culture. Read on for some basic Italian phrases to brush up on before you go. Andiamo!

Key Italian phrases

Ciao (pronounced: tchow) An informal way to say both hi and bye. The more formal way to say hello is salve.

Grazie (pronounced: GRAHTS-yeh) Use this to say thank you. To say thank you very much, simply say grazie mille!

Prego (pronounced: PRAY-goh)_This is how to say you’re welcome.

Buon giorno! _(pronounced: bwon JOHR-noh) This greeting means good day! You can use it in the morning and afternoon.

Mi chiamo (pronounced: mee kee-AH-moh) Use this phrase, which means my name is followed by your name to introduce yourself to new people.

Mi scusi (pronounced: mee SKOO-zee) This phrase, which translates to excuse me or pardon me, comes in handy on busy sidewalks in cities like Rome.

Come stai? (pronounced: koh-meh STAI) An informal way to ask how are you? Reply with bene, grazie to say you’re doing fine, thanks.

Per favore (pronounced: PEHR fah-VOH-reh) You’ll use this phrase often to say please.

Parli inglese? (pronounced: PAHR-lee een-GLEH-zeh?) Do you speak English? If the answer is (yes), then you can continue speaking in English. If it’s no, you can ask your Tour Director for help translating.

Il conto per favore (pronounced: eel KOHN-toh, pehr fah-VOH-reh) The check please! This is important, and you may need to ask a few times because servers don’t want to rush your service or push you out—it’s considered rude to do so in Italian culture.

Aperto/chiuso (pronounced: _ah-PEHR-toh and _KYOO-soh) Look for these words, which mean open and closed, on signage for stores and restaurants.

Uscita (pronounced: oo-SHEE-tah) Translated to exit, this word is a common one you’ll see on signs.

There are many free apps available, such as Google Translate, that can help you look up specific words on the fly once you’re on tour in Italy.

What would you add to this list? Let us know what phrases you’ve found helpful to know while traveling in Italy!


Know before you go
About the author | Courtney Keller
A lover of travel since studying in France, Courtney strives to inspire others to get out and see the world. When she’s not writing, she’s trying new restaurants, reading, doing yoga, baking, walking her rescue pup, or planning her next trip.