Learn Basic Italian Before You Travel To Italy
Italy is one of the most popular destinations for many tourists, and the Italian language is often associated with love, good food, and Opera.
Many Italians are able to speak foreign languages, especially English. However if you are traveling to Italy, it is a good idea to know some basic vocabulary, and add to your vacation some fun trying to communicate with the locals.
Let’s look at some basic Italian terms and simple sentences that you need in order to have a minimum of a conversation with Italians, from greetings, to conversational words, to the weather.
Italian Greetings = Saluti
When you meet a friend you say ciao, same thing when you leave, you can still say ciao. This is an informal way of greeting, as is salve. Ciao and salve both mean hello, but ciao means also good bye.
In a more formal situation you say buongiorno, that means good morning, to be used up to early afternoon. After that you say buonasera, which means good evening.
To wish Good Night you say buonanotte, but that’s usually when you go to sleep, you don’t say Buonanotte when you meet somebody at night. It’s more like: “Bye, have a Good Night, let’s go to bed”.
When you are leaving and you want to say “See you later” you say arrivederci. If it’s a friend you can say “ci vediamo”, it’s like “see ya”.
Italian Food Words
Knowing some food words in Italian can be very useful if you travel to Italy and want to eat, or in an Italian restaurant anywhere in the world.
Some Foods in Italian
If you want bread you ask for pane, a very important food on any Italian table.
Pizza, everybody knows that.
Pasta, it’s a given.
Bistecca means steak, it’s a generic word to describe a slice of meat, even if usually is beef.
Insalata means salad.
Panino is a sandwich, panini is the plural form.
To order meat you ask for carne.
Pesce means seafood.
Verdure are vegetables.
Formaggio is cheese – by the way Italians don’t say formaggio when the take pictures, they still say cheese.
Dolce means dessert, literally dolce means “sweet” so you can use the word as adjective as well.
Oil = Olio
Aceto = vinegar
Sale e pepe = Salt and pepper
Water is acqua
Wine is vino
Thank you = Grazie
You’re welcome = Prego
I’m sorry = Mi dispiace
Escuse me = Scusa
When you meet someone, usually the first question is “What’s your name?” = Come ti chiami?
The answer to that is “My name is…” = “Mi chiamo… “
“It’s a pleasure to meet you” = “Piacere di conoscerti”, or “Piacere” for short.
“What a beautiful name!” = “Che bel nome!”
Of course when you meet someone, especially if you know them already, you ask “How are you?” = “Come stai?”
If everything is fine they would answer Tutto bene, grazie. E tu? (and you?).
Weather Words in Italian
Most conversation move to talking about the weather, so let’s see the main weather related words in Italian.
What’s the weather like? = Che tempo fa?
It’s nice weather = E’ bel tempo
It’s sunny = C’e’ sole
It rains = Piove
It’s snowing = Nevica
It’s cloudy = E’ nuvoloso
Italian Colors = Colori
White = Bianco
Black = Nero
Blue = Blu
Pink = Rosa
Yellow = Giallo
Brown = Marrone
Green = Verde
Purple = Viola
© 2012 Robie Benve