Essential Italian Phrases

By: Tahiti Beaupre, FFE, 2016-17

Planning on studying in Florence and have no previous experience with Italian? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here are a few basic words and phrases that will help you fit right in!


  • Buongiorno (Good Morning)
  • Buonasera (Good Afternoon/Evening-Formal)
  • Buonanotte (Good Night-Informal)
  • Arrivederci (Goodbye-Formal)
  • Ciao (Hello & Goodbye-Informal)
  • Salve (Hello & Goodbye-Neutral)
  • Come si chiama? (What is your name-Formal)
  • Come ti chiami? (What is your name-Informal)
  • Mi Chiamo (My name is)
  • Di dov’è (Where are you from-Formal)
  • Di dove sei? (Where are you from-Informal)
  • Sono di (I am from)
  • Come sta? (How are you-Formal)
  • Come stai? (How are you-Informal)
  • Bene, grazie (Fine, thank you)

Courtesy Phrases

  • Per favore (Please)
  • Grazie (Thank you)
  • Prego (You’re welcome)
  • Mi dispiace (I’m sorry)
  • Mi scusi (Excuse me-Formal)
  • Scusa (Excuse me, I’m sorry-Informal)
  • Permesso (Excuse me-When walking through crowds)
  • Sì (Yes)
  • No (No)

Basic Question Words

  • Chi? (Who)
  • Cosa? (What)
  • Quando? (When)
  • Dove? (Where)
  • Perché? (Why)
  • Come? (How)
  • Quanto (How much)


  • Aiuto (Help)
  • Emergenza (Emergency)
  • Chiamate la polizia (Call the police)
  • Chiamate un’ambulanza (Call an ambulance)
  • Dov’è l’ospedale? (Where is the hospital)

Common Phrases

  • Non parlo italiano (I don’t speak Italian)
  • Parla inglese? (Do you speak english)
  • Non capisco (I don’t understand)
  • Vorrei qualcosa da mangiare (I would like something to eat)
  • Vorrei un cappuccino (I would like a cappuccino)
  • Il conto, per favore (Check please)
  • Che ore sono? (What time is it)

At the market, cafe, or stores

  • Quanto costa? (How much does it cost)
  • Vorrei pagare in contanti (I’d like to pay in cash)
  • Vorrei pagare con la carta di credito (I’d like to pay by credit card)
  • Accettate carte di credito? (Do you (all) accept credit cards)
  • Sto cercando (I’m looking for…)
  • Prendo (I’ll take…)
  • Da portare via (To go)
  • Questo (This)
  • Quello (That)
  • Lo scontrino (The receipt)
  • Il resto (The change)

Spoken like a true Italian

  • Allora (And then) – You’ll quickly learn that every Italian will start their conversations with this phrase.
  • Va bene (Alright or okay sometimes used as it’s alright or it’s okay)
  • Una busta? (A bag) – You’ll get asked this almost every time you’re at a grocery store, just reply with sì or no.
  • Piano Piano (Slowly slowly) – Once orientation comes, you’ll learn this phrase, but it basically means just to slow down.
  • Prego avanti (Welcome, next) – You will here this whenever you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or other shops. This means that it is the next persons turn in line.
  • Basta (Enough) – My all time favorite, you can use this when someone keeps serving your mounds and mounds of pasta and you want to let them know that’s enough. Basta to the pasta!
  • Meno male (Less bad) -This phrase is used like “thank God”. So when you find out you passed your Italian midterm you can say “meno male!”.
  • Dai (Come on) – You can use this when one of your friends is refusing to go with you somewhere, just say dai!
  • Che figata (Cool) – You can say this when something awesome happened. Hey, I just found a euro on the street, che figata!

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