24 Essential Italian Phrases Every Traveler Should Learn

So you’re getting ready for your next trip to Rome but you don’t know any words in Italian. Nessun problema (no problem)! With this list of easy essential Italian phrases, you’ll be ready for your trip to Italy in no time.  

When you are traveling to any country, including popular Italian destinations like VeniceCinque Terre, and Milan, it is helpful to know some basic phrases and words to make communication easier and to show respect for the local culture. It will also allow you to interact with locals and maybe even make new friends. 

Learning a new language is not only a useful skill, but it is also fun. In this article, we’ll cover 

  • A few facts about world language
  • Why travelers should learn basic words and phrases
  • Best ways to learn a new language
  • The most common Italian phrases

World Language Facts

Essential italian phrases
Sourced from Visual Capitalist
  • There are 7,102 known languages in the world.
  • 23 languages are the mother (native) tongue of 4.1 billion people.
  • English is the most popular language learned around the world and is spoken in 110 countries.
  • There are more native Mandarin Chinese speakers than native English speakers.
  • English is the most common language used on the internet (60.4% of top 10 million websites), but only 16.2% of the world population speak the language.

It’s no surprise that English is becoming the most spoken language around the world.

Don’t forget to celebrate Language Day on February 21st!

Why Learn a New Language

Explore Cultures

Language learning is an incredibly rewarding experience that enables you to communicate with people all over the world. In addition to exploring new cultures, you can better understand another culture through its film, local Italian foods, and music.  

When you learn Italian phrases before traveling to Italy, it shows your enthusiasm for immersing yourself in the local culture and making genuine connections with the people you meet. By taking the time to learn some basic Italian phrases, you’ll be able to navigate the country more easily and engage in light conversations.

Career Opportunities

Many Americans are learning another language, like Spanish, to boost their career prospects. Learning another language also helps to increase student opportunities for studying abroad. So why not add some Italian phrases to your arsenal of communications.

Personal Growth

They also help build your confidence and improve your memory. Learning a new language allows you to not only understand but also empathize with others. The better you understand someone, the more you can put yourself in their shoes.  

Tips for Learning a New Language

My journey of learning Italian started two years ago. After weighing a few learning options, trying a few apps, and speaking with polyglots, these are some of the best tips shared with me by seasoned language learners.

Focus on the Sounds

When possible, find a language partner who is a native Italian to help you with pronunciation. The language is highly phonic, and every letter must be pronounced. 

Think of it this way. In English, the words ‘who’, ‘how’, and ‘hoe’ have a different emphasis on the letter O. You wouldn’t what to say, “Hoe are you?” when you mean “How are you?”, that would be awkward.

It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint

Learning a new language takes time. There will be high and low periods of learning, but don’t give up. Balance your language learning across writing, reading, speaking, and listening. When you are exhausted from reading, focus on another area. 

Practice, Practice Practice

While there are several ways of learning a new language, all methods require practice. Apps like DuoLingo help you learn at your own pace, while Hello Talk and Tandem will connect you with native speakers of any language. You can also use iTalki to sign up for lessons with native speakers. 

Another tip is to speak to yourself. While having an Italian breakfast, say what you are eating (in your new language)! 

Basic Italian Words and Phrases for Travel

Need a free resource? Listen online for free to learn the sounds and pronunciations!

Looking to learn more Italian phrases? Rick Steves has an Italian phrase book and dictionary that will come in handy while traveling.

Good morning


Good afternoon

Good evening

Good night



Buon pomeriggio

Buona sera

Buona notte

Use until noon


Use until 5pm

Use until midnight

Use when you are going to bed

Thank you


Thank you very much



Grazie mille

Gratitude goes a long way!
You’re Welcome


Go ahead

Come In

PregoUse in response to thank you


Use to allow someone to go before you at an entrance

Use to welcome someone in

I’m Sorry


I feel sorry

Scusa (informal)


Scusi (formal)

Use with people you know well


Use at work, university, shops, restaurants

How are you?Come stai? (informal)


Come Sta? (formal)

Use with people you know well


Use with people you don’t know

I am good, thanks.Sto bene, grazie.


Sto benissimo!

Sto alla grande!

A response to ‘how are you?’


I am very well!

I am great!

PleasePer favore


Per piacere

In English, it literally means ‘for favor’ and ‘for pleasure’; they are interchangeable.
What is your name?


My name is (+ name)

Come ti chiami?


Mi chiamo (+ nome)

Example: Mi chiamo Lisa.
Where are you from?


I am from (+city)

Di dove sei?


Sono di (+città)

Example: Sono di Los Angeles.
Where is (+ place)Dov’è (+ il posto)Add the place on the end. For example,
Dov’è il bagno (the bathroom)
How much is it?


How much is it?

Quanto costa?



Use when you want the price of an item


Use when you want the total cost – learn Italian numbers!

I’ll take (+item)


I would like (+item)

Prendo (+articolo)


Vorrei (+articolo)

In English, we say I will have, but Italians say I will take. For example, Prendo un caffè (I’ll take a coffee). Don’t forget to add please and thank you!

Final Thoughts on Essential Italian Phrases Every Traveler Should Know

Learning some common Italian phrases can greatly enhance your travel experience in Italy. As well as helping you to communicate more effectively with locals, you will also gain a better understanding of the local culture.

If you learn a few key phrases, you can feel more comfortable and confident when ordering food, asking for directions, or simply greeting someone.

Was this helpful? Please like, share, and follow.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. This is a great guide on the best Italian phrases every traveler should learn! We love Italy and would love to return.

    1. Tanya Taylor says:

      I think foreigners appreciate it when you try to speak their native language, even though it’s not perfect. I think Americans feel the same when foreigners try to speak English 🙂

  2. Sarah | Travel for a Living says:

    Very helpful. I usually do my best to at least learn a few phrases in the local language. Even if it is only ‘hello’ and ‘sorry, I don’t speak your language, do you speak English?’ Usually people are more than happy to help out in English, once they see you make the effort of communicating in their language.

    1. Tanya Taylor says:

      Yes, at the very least all terms that show good manners are an excellent start!

  3. Great guide! I feel like stumbling across this post is a sign that I should be planning a trip to Italy, right? haha

    1. Tanya Taylor says:

      Yes, you should (take me with you)!

  4. I love those language facts at the beginning! So interesting. This is a great guide! I knew a few of these when we visited Italy a few years ago, but I wish I would have had this table with me so I could have learned a few more 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  5. This guide will come in very handy when I go to Italy. I didn’t know any Italian words.

    1. Tanya Taylor says:

      You will have a wonderful time in Italy! Let me know if you need a plus one 🙂