Basic Italian Words & Phrases for Travelers

Basic Italian Words & Phrases for Travelers

Italian 101 – More Common Basic Words and Phrases Level 1

YouTube is an excellent resource for learning Italian basics for free.  Experienced instructors will show you phrases then pronounce the words for you to imitate.

Learning the Basics

Knowing a few basic Italian words and phrases will make your trip to Italy even more enjoyable. Going to a country where your native language is not the primary language can be intimidating and a little bit scary.

Basic Italian Words & Phrases

Even the most experienced travelers can get a little panicky knowing they will not be hearing their language spoken for the next week or two. Not to worry, there are a number of easy things you can do to make sure you are understood in a foreign country, speaking louder is not one of them.

Another YouTube Video of Basic Italian Phrases

Here are 10 basic Italian words and phrases

Basic Italian Phrases

Basic Italian Phrases & Words

Good Morning = Buongiorno = bwon jorno
Good Evening = Buonasera = bwona sayra
Do you speak English? = Parla inglese? = parla eengglaysay
I do not speak Italian = Non parlo italiano = non parlo eetaleeaano
Thank you = Grazie = grahtsyeh NOT grat-zee
Please = Per favore = pehr favoray
Please write it down = Lo scriva, per piacere = lo skreeva pehr peeachayray
Where is = Dov’è? = doveh (Dov’è la toeletta? Where is the bathroom?)
How much is that? = Quanto costa? = kwanto kosta
I’d like = Vorrei = vorrehee (used when ordering in a restaurant i.e. vorrei un caffè per favore, I would like a coffee please)

Want to learn more? Click here for our Italian medical emergency phrases that are helpful.

 Use Italian Written Words To Your Advantage

Keep in mind that it is easier to understand what people are saying when they write it down. This is especially true when you are asking for directions or need street names, but be reasonable, don’t expect someone to write out a full conversation.

I always keep an index card with important information: the name and address of my hotel and serious health conditions and allergies.

Travel Tip – Carry Index Cards for Italian Allergy Phrases

I happen to be allergic to penicillin, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets. I would have no idea how to say that in a foreign language especially if I was about to go into anaphylactic shock.

If you are traveling with a child who is allergic to peanuts have a native speaker write that on two cards. You keep one card and keep the other card with your child, especially if they are very young. Show the card every time you order a meal so the restaurant can assure you that there are no peanuts in the food. Click here for our food allergy phrases.

Travel Tip – Google Translate App Can Be Your Best Friend

In the “good old days” your best option for quick translation was to buy a travel translator gadget like the Franklin translator.  You would type a phrase in English and see the Italian phrase.   Franklin translator used to be very expensive but their prices have come down.

Recently technology has improved by light years.  In the above YouTube video, Wall Street Journal reviews the Google Translate app.  The app is available on Androids and iPhones.

With the Google Translate App, you can speak into your phone or tablet and the app will translate your words in Italian almost immediately. This app allows you to have conversations and learn Italian for free.

For free written translations, you can use Google translate. With Google translate, you can type into the translation box and Google will provide the Italian translation.  You can even paste whole pages and website addresses for translation.

Neither Google translation tool is perfect but Google comes fairly close.  In Italy, your best bet would be to use these tools in free wireless hotspots to save expensive data fees.

Be Polite to Italians

English is spoken in many places in Italy, but not everyone will speak English. It is rude to assume that someone speaks your language, so always ask. Remember you are a guest in their country. Important places like hospitals and hotels will have someone who speaks English and can help you out.

Be forewarned, Italians will often say they do not speak English very well and then proceed to speak beautifully. Knowing a few basic Italian words and phrases will make your trip more enjoyable.

You Will Get An “A” for Effort For Trying to Speak Italian

Most importantly have fun with the language. Italians will appreciate whatever effort you put forth in trying to speak their language. You don’t need to speak in full sentences; a word here and there will generally get you what you need.


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