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If you make even the slightest effort to communicate with your Italian hosts as you enjoy their country, you will get SO MUCH MORE out of your experience than you would have otherwise. Like most native populations, Italians are proud of your language and culture, and although many of them do speak English*, and quite well, they truly appreciate when visitors learn the basics before visiting. Not only will they be more likely to smile and help you out, but you will sound so sophisticated as you order your caffe macchiato (coffe with milk) or bicchiere di vino (glass of wine)!

*A note on English: Yes, many Italians, especially those in the big cities, do speak or at least understand English quite well. Keep this in mind as you walk around, observing out loud to your fellow travelers. Already a foreign language being spoken is conspicuous and even more so when it is spoken loudly. So just bear in mind that you are probably being understood by those around you.

Question Words

How? Come? Ko-me

What? Che? Ke

When? Quando? Kwan-do

Where? Dove? Do-ve

Who? Chi? Kee


Conversation Essentials

Hello Buon giorno bwon jor-no

Goodbye Ciao (informal) chow

Arrivederci a-ree-ve-der-chee

Yes Si see

No No no

Please Per favore per fa-vo-re

Thank You Grazie grat-syay

You’re Welcome Prego pray-go

Excuse me Mi scusi me sku-zee

What is your name? Come si chiama (formal) co-may see kya-ma

Come ti chiami (informal) co-may tee kya-me

My name is… Mi chiamo me kya-mo

I (don’t) like (Non) Mi piace (non) me pya-che

Just a second Un momento oon mo-men-to


Language Difficulties

Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? Par-la een-gle-ze

How do you say … in Italian? Come si dice … in Italiano? Ko-may see dee-che … een ee-ta-lee-ah-no

What does … mean? Che vuol dire…? Ke vwol dee-re…

I (don’t) understand (Non) capisco (non) ka-pee-sko


Times and Dates

What time is it? Che ore sono? Key o-ray so-no

Today Oggi o-gee

Tomorrow Domani doh-mah-nee

Yesterday Ieri ye-ree

In the morning di mattina dee ma-tee-na

In the evening di sera dee se-ra



I would like to buy… Vorrei comprare… vo-ray kom-pra-ray

How much is it? Quanto costa? Kwon-toe co-sta

I’m just looking Sto solo dando un’occhiata stow so-lo dan-doe oon ok-ya-ta

It’s too expensive Costa troppo kos-ta tro-po

Do you accept credit cards? Acettate carte di credito? A-che-ta-te car-te dee cre-dee-toe?


Around Town

The church La chiesa lah kye-za

The city center Il centro il chen-tro

The embassy La ambasciata la am-ba-sha-ta

A Supermarket Il supermercato il soo-per-mer-ca-toe

The museum Il museo il moo-say-o

The post office La posta la po-sta

The bathroom il bagno il bahn-yo

The tourist office l’ufficio di turismo loo-fee-cho dee too-reez-mo



Help! Aiuto! Ay-oo-to

I’m lost Mi sono perso/a Me so-no per-so/sa

The Police la polizia la po-lee-zee-a


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