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The 15 Key Italian Words and Phrases that You Should Know When Traveling to Rome

Updated on October 6, 2014

If you are planning a trip to Rome and you want to enjoy the most out of it, it is better that you prepare not merely the things you should include in your backpack or perhaps the activities and sightseeing spots you want to include in your Rome itinerary but also prepare yourself for a language battle. It is better if you could understand and speak even just some of the important basic Italian words.

Here are some of the basic Italian words and phrases that you should learn prior to visiting the Eternal City.

  • First and foremost, you have to learn the Italian basic word that locals frequently use. If you mean to say hello or goodbye, you use the word CIAO. It can be articulated as chow.
  • If you are to introduce yourself, you can do so by first saying the phrase MI CHIAMO, articulated as mee key-AHM-oh, and then followed by your name.
  • Need to say please and thank you? Well, the magic words you should use are PER FAVORE and GRAZIE. The word PER FAVORE, articulated as pehr fa-VORE-ay, is used for saying please while GRAZIE, articulated as GRATS-ee-ay, is used for thank you.
  • If you are to agree or disagree on something, the quick words you can use are and NO. The basic Italian word , articulated as SEE, is used for yes while NO, articulated as NOH, is for no. You may as express yourself by shaking or nodding. It also works well in Rome.
  • If you are looking for something and you want to ask somebody about it, you may use the word DOV’È, articulated as DOH-vay. DOV’È is an Italian word for where.

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy:
Rome, Italy

get directions

  • If you are saying something that starts with “I would like…”, you can use the word VORREI, articulated as vohr-RAY. It can be handy for many situations including asking for directions or perhaps when ordering food or something. If you don’t know the name or Italian equivalent of the thing you are referring to, for instance you are ordering a gelato, you can just start by saying VORREI and then just point a finger to the gelato and that’s it. Just do not forget to add PER FAVORE at the end.
  • If you want to greet somebody a good morning, you can say BUONGIORNO, articulated as bwon jorno.
  • You may say good evening in Italian as BUONASERA, articulated as bwona sayra.
  • If you need to know the price of something, you can ask the vendor “QUANTO COSTA?”, articulated as kwanto kosta, an Italian equivalent for “How much is that?”.
  • If you can hardly understand something for instance if you are asking for a name and you are not certain about its spelling, you may just ask someone write the name for you. With this, you need to say in Italian LO SCRIVA, PER PIACERE, articulated as lo skreeva pehr peeachayray. It means please write it down.

Basic Italian words for your holiday in Rome

  • Equally important as please and thank you is the word you’re welcome. In Italian you can tell somebody “you’re welcome” by saying PREGO, articulated as PRAY-goh.
  • If you hear someone asks you VA BENE?, articulated as VAH BAY-ne, this means he or she is asking you if everything is ok or if everything is doing well. If you are indeed doing well, you can answer by saying SI, BENE!, articulated as see BEHN-nay- an Italian phrase for yes, all is doing well.
  • If you want to express your preference such as if you are asked if you like or does not like something, you can just answer the question by saying mi piace or non mi piace. MI PIACE, articulated as mee pee-AH-chay, is an Italian equivalent for I like while NON MI PIACE, articulated as non mee pee-AH-chay, means I don't like it.
  • If all the phrases above fail, you can simply tell someone you are talking with; NON PARLO ITALIANO, articulated as non parlo eetaleeaano. This is the easiest way of saying I do not speak Italian. This is also a convenient way of telling people that you are not eloquent with Italian language.
  • A great follow up phrase for NON PARLO ITALIANO is PARLA INGLESE?, articulated as non PAHR-lay een-GLAY-say. This means: Do you speak English?. This way if your new found friend or the person you are conversing with do not speak English, he or she can find someone who can speak your language.

Interesting Rome Photographs

The Colosseum
The Colosseum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Rome Landmark
Rome Landmark
St. Peter's Square
St. Peter's Square
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel


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