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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)


Useful phrases for Italy

Italian is a beautiful language and relatively easy to learn. Don't be worried if you're staying in a rural region and don't really understand what the locals are saying amongst themselves - they're probably talking in a regional dialect.

All Italians speak standard Italian and are likely to respond enthusiastically if you try a few phrases out when speaking to them. The language is musical and you'll make yourself more easily understood if you try to pronounce every syllable very clearly – as the Italians do.

Common Italian phrases

Hello/Goodbye - Ciao! (Chow!)
Goodbye - Arrivederci (Aree-ved-erchee)
Good morning - Buon Giorno (Bwon jaw-no )
Good evening - Buona Sera (Bwona say-ra)
Good Night - Buona notte (Bwona notay)
How are you? - Come sta? (singular) (Comay sty?)
Do you speak English? - Parla Inglese? (Parla Inglese)
I'm English - Sono Inglese (So-know een-glay-say)
I don't understand - Non capisco (Non ka-peesk-koh)
Thank You - Grazie (Graz-ee-ay)
Please - Prego (Pray-go)
If you please - Per favore (Pair fav-aw-ray)
Excuse - Mi scusi / Scusi (Me Scoo-see)
Today - Oggi (Ohj-jee)
How much does it cost? - Quanto costa? (Cwanta costa?)
Where is ...? - Dov'è ....? (Do-vey)
Lavatory/Toilet - Gabinetto/Bagno (Gab-in-ettoh)
Where is the ...? - Dove si trova...? (Do-vey see trova)
Restaurant - Ristorante (Ri-stor-antey)
My name is - Mi chiamo (Mee key-amo)


One - Uno (Oonoh)
Two - Due (Du-eh)
Three - Tre (Tray)
Four - Quattro (Kwat-roh)
Five - Cinque (Chin-kwey)
Six - Sei (Say)
Seven - Sette (Seh-teh)
Eight - Otto (Oh-toe)
Nine - Nove (Noh-veh)
Ten - Dieci (Dee-eh-chi)

Out and about

Stamp - Francobollo (Francoh-bollo)
Postcard - Cartolina (Cartoh-lina)
Where is the station? - Dov'è la stazione? (Doh-veh lah stah-tsyoh-neh?)
How far is..? - Quanto dista? (Kwahn-toh dees-tah....?)
How do you get to...? - Come si arriva in....? (Koh-meh see ahr-ree-va....?)
The museum - Il museo (Eel moo-ZAY-yo)
...the church - La chiesa (Lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral - Il duomo [or] La cattedrale (Eel duo-mo [or] Lah cah-the-drahle)
When is it open? - Quando é aperto? (Kwan-doh ay ah-Pair-toh)
When does it close? - Quando si chiude? (Kwan-doh see key-YOU-day)
Ticket - Biglietto (Beel-YET-toh)
Two adults - Due adulti (Doo-way ah-Dool-tee)
One child - Un bambino (Oon bahm-bee-no)
One student - Uno studente (Oo-noh stu-dent-ay)

Eating out

A cappuccino, please - Un cappuccino, per favore (Oohn kahp-pooh-chee-noh pehr fah-voh-reh)
A glass of ...... - Un bicchiere di ..... (Oohn bee-kyeh-reh dee...)
A glass of water, please - Un bicchiere di acqua minerale per favore (Oohn bee-kyeh-reh dee ahk-wah meen-eh-rah-leh perh fah-voh-reh)
What flavours? - Quali gusti? (Kwah-lee goohs-tee?)
I would like - Vorrei... (Voar-ray)
...Some (of) - Un pó (di) (Oon po (dee))
I would like to reserve... - Vorrei prenotare... (Voar-ray -pray-note-are-eh
A table for two - Una tavola per due (Oo-nah tah-voal-lah pair doo-way)
I am vegetarian - Sono vegetariano (So-no veg-eh-tair-ee-yah-no)
Have a good meal - Bon appetito (Bwan apeteetoh)
How much does it cost? - Quanto viene? (Kwahn-toh vyeh-neh)
The bill - Il conto (Eel contoh)
Is service included? - É incluso il servizio? (Ay een-clou-so eel sair-veet-zee-yo)

Food and Drink terms

Meals often start with a mixture of salads, cold hams and cheeses, followed by pasta dishes. The main course is usually meat or fish with a side dish of vegetables.

Mixed starters - Antipasti (Ahn-tee-pahst-ee)
Ham - Prosciutto (Pro-shoot-toh)
Seafood - Fruiti di mare (Fruity-dee-mar-eh)
Pudding/sweet - Dolci (Dolchee)
Soup - Zuppa (Zoopah)
Pasta Bolognese - Spaghetti Bolognese (Pahstah Boh-loh-nyeh-zeh)
Pasta and beans - Pasta e fagioli (Pasta eh fah-JOH-lee)
Ice cream - Un gelato (Oohn geh-lah-toh)
Steak - Bistecca (Beestayka)
Fish - Pesce (Pesheh)
Wine - Vino (Veeno)