Lady ordering food in an Italian restuarant


Talk Like A Local In Italy


If you’re looking for a really authentic Italian holiday, the best way is to find the hidden gems that only the locals know about. Learning a couple of basic Italian phrases, will help you in your quest and will not only impress your friends, but will be warmly appreciated by the locals. And with our handy guide on how to talk like a local in Italy, you’ll be one step ahead of the game! We’ve given you just enough handy words and phrases to get by in most situations on holiday below:


Beautiful sandy beach in Sicily with traditional fishing boats

Why not learn a few useful phrases for your holiday to Italy


Greetings / Saluti

Hi/Bye – Ciao [chow]
Good morning – Buongiorno [bwohn JOHR-noh]
Good evening – Buonasera [bwoh-nah-SEH-ra]
My name is “David” – Mi chiamo “David” [mee kee-AH-moh David]
What’s your name? Come ti chiami [KOH-meh tee kee-AH-mee?]
What’s your name? (polite) Come si chiama? [KOH-meh see kee-AH-mah]
Nice to meet you – Piacere [pyah-CHEH-reh]
How are you? – Come stai? [koh-meh STAI]
Very well, thank you – Benissimo, grazie [Beh-NEE-see-moh, GRAHT-tsyeh]
So-so (more or less) – Così così [koh-ZEE, koh-ZEE]
Good night – Buonanotte [bwoh-nah-NOHT-teh]
Goodbye – Arrivederci [ahr-ree-veh-DEHR-chee]
See you later – A più tardi [Ah PYOO-TAR-dee]
See you soon – A presto [Ah PRES-toh]

Polite phrases / La cortesia

Please – Per piacere, per favore [PEHR pyah-CHEH-reh], [PEHR fah-VOH-reh]
Thank you – Grazie [GRAHT-tsyeh]
Excuse me – Mi scusi [mee SKOO-zee]
I’m sorry – Mi dispiace [mee dee-SPYA-cheh]
Can I help you? – Posso aiutarla? [POH-soh a-YOO-tar-lah]
It doesn’t matter – Non fa niente [Non fah NEE-yen-teh]
With pleasure – Con piacere [Kon pyah-CHEH-reh]
You’re welcome – Prego [PREH-goh]

The essentials / I fondamentali

Miss – Signorina (Sig.ina) [See-NYOR-ree-nah]
Misses (Mrs), Madam – Signora (Sig.ra) [See-NYOR-rah]
Mister (Mr), Sir – Signor (Sig.) [See-NYOR]
No – No [Noh]
Yes – Sì [See]
OK – OK [Oh-kay]
It’s okay, it’s good – Va bene [vah BEH-neh]
Could you help me? – Potrebbe aiutarmi? [POH-trehb-beh a-YOO-tar-mee]
I don’t know – Non lo so [Non loh soh]
I would like… – Vorrei…[vohr-RAY]
Cheers! (when clinking glasses) – Salute! [SAH-loo-teh]
I’m English – Sono inglese [SOH-noh een-GLEH-zeh]
I’m American ¬– Sono americano [SOH-noh ameh-REE-kah-noh]
I love this country – Mi piace molto questo paese [Mee pyah-CHEH mol-toh KWES-toh pa-EH-seh]

Starting a conversation / Tentare di esprimersi

Do you speak English? (polite) – Parla inglese?[ PAHR-lah een-GLEH-zeh]
I speak (a little) English – Parlo (un po’) inglese [PAHR-loh (oon poh) een-GLEH-zeh]
I speak (a little) Italian – Parlo (un po’) italiano [PAHR-loh (oon poh) ee-tah-LYAH-noh]
I do not speak Italian (very well) – Non parlo (bene) italiano [Non PAHR-loh (BEH-neh) ee-tah-LYAH-noh]
I’m learning Italian – Sto imparando l’italiano [Stoh eem-PAH-ran-doh lee-tah-LYAH-noh]
I don’t understand – Non capisco [Non Kah-PEE-skoh]
Can you please speak more slowly? – Può parlare più lentamente, per favore? [pwoh pahr-LAH-reh pyoo lehn-tah-MEHN-teh, PEHR fah-VOH-reh]
Can you please repeat that? – Può ripetere, per piacere? [pwoh ree-PEH-teh-reh, PEHR pyah-CHEH-reh]
Can you write it down, please? – Può scriverlo, per favore? [pwoh scree-vehr-loh, PEHR fah-VOH-reh]
What does … mean? – Cosa significa …? [KOH-zah see-NYEE-fee-kah]
How do you say …? – Come si dice… ? [KOH-meh see dee-cheh]
How is this word pronounced? – Come si pronuncia questa parola? [KOH-meh see proh-noon-cha KWES-tah pah-ROH-lah]
What is it? – Cos’è? [koh-ZEH]


Alfresco restaurant in Italy

It is always useful to have a few basic Italian phrases up your sleeve when ordering in a restaurant


At the restaurant / Al ristorante

Can you recommend a restaurant to me? – Può raccomandarmi un ristorante? [pwoh rahk-KOH-man-dahr-mee oon ree-stoh-RAN-teh]
Where is there a good restaurant around here? – Dov’è un buon ristorante nei dintorni? [Doh-VEH oon bwohn ree-stoh-RAN-teh nay deen-TOHR-nee]
I would like to reserve a table for two for 8 o’clock – Vorrei prenotare un tavolo per due persone alle otto [vohr-RAY preh-noh-TAH-re un TAH-voh-loh perh DOO-eh PEHR-soh-neh ahl-leh OH-toh]
What would you like to eat? – Cosa desidera mangiare? [KOH-zah deh-ZEE-deh-rah MAHN-jah-reh]
What is today’s special? – Qual è il piatto del giorno? [Kwah-LEH eel PYAHT-toh dehl JOHR-noh)
What’s the house specialty? – Qual è la specialità della casa? [Kwah-LEH lah speh-chah-lee-TAH DEHL-la KAH-zah]
Is there a regional specialty? – C’è una specialità regionale? [CHEH oona speh-chah-lee-TAH reh-john-nah-leh]
Enjoy your meal! – Buon appetito! [Bwohn ah-PEH-tee-toh]
It’s very tasty – È molto buono [Eh MOHL-toh bwohn-noh]
I’m hungry – Ho fame [Oh FAH-meh]
I’m thirsty – Ho sete [Oh SEH-teh]
The bill – Il conto [eel KON-toh]
Tip – la mancia [Lah MAN-chah]
Waiter/waitress – il cameriere/la cameriera [eel kah-meh-ree-eh-reh/ lah kah-meh-ree-eh-rah]
Breakfast – la colazione [lah koh-lah-TSYOH-neh]
Lunch – il pranzo [eel PRAHN-dzoh]
Dinner – la cena [lah CHEH-nah]
Glass (to drink) – il bicchiere [eel beek-KYEH-reh]
It’s cold – È freddo [Eh FREHD-doh]
It’s hot – È caldo [Eh KAHL-doh]
Menu – il menu [eel meh-NOO]
Table – la tavola [Lah tah-VOH-lah]
Plate – il piatto [eel PYAHT-toh]
Knife – il coltello [eel Kohl-TEHL-loh]
Fork – la forchetta [lah for-KEH-tah]
Napkin – il tovagliolo [eel toh-vahl-YOH-loh]
Spoon – il cucchiaio [eel koo-KI-ai-yoh]
Teaspoon – il cucchiaino [eel koo-ki-ai-EE-noh]
Sweet – dolce [DOHL-cheh]
Spicy, hot – piccante [pee-KAN-teh]


A couple shopping in Italy

Try using some of our useful Italian phrases whilst shopping


Shopping / Fare acquisti

I’m just looking, thanks – Sto solo guardando, grazie [stoh SOH-lo gwar-DAN-doh, GRAHT-tsyeh]
I’m not interested, thank you – Non sono interessato, grazie [non soh-no in-teh-reh-SAH-toh, GRAHT-tsyeh]
I’m looking for… – Sto cercando…[stoh cher-KAN-doh]
May I see…? – Posso guardare…? [POS-soh gwar-DAR-reh]
How much does it cost? – Quanto costa? [kwan-toh kos-tah]
I’ll take it! – Lo prendo [loh pren-doh]
I would like to compare prices – Vorrei comparare i prezzi [vohr-RAY kom-pah-RAHR-reh ee pret-tsyee]
Can you convert my currency? – Può cambiarmi del denaro? [pwoh kam-BEE-ahr-mee del deh-NAR-roh]
I’ll pay with my credit card – Pago con la mia carta di credito [pah-go kon lah mia kar-tah dee KREH-dee-toh]
Where can I find an ATM? – Dove posso trovare un bancomat? [doh-veh POS-soh tro-VAR-reh oon BAN-koh-mat]
I have cash – Ho del contante [Oh del kon-TAN-teh]
I only have a ten euro note – Ho solo una banconota di dieci euro [Oh soh-lo oon ban-koh-NOH-ta dee dee-eh-chee eh-oo-roh]
Do you have change? – Ha il resto? [Ah eel res-toh]
We don’t have any change – Non abbiamo il resto [Non ab-bee-ah-moh eel res-toh]
There’s a mistake on the bill – C’è un errore nel conto [CHEH oon EH-rohr-reh nel KON-toh]
Price – il prezzo [eel pret-tso]
Coin – una moneta [oo-nah moh-NE-tah]
It’s free – È gratis [Eh GRAH-tees]
It’s very expensive – È molto caro [Eh mol-toh kah-roh]
Gift, present – il regalo [eel reh-GAH-loh]
Good deal – l’affare [LAF-far-reh]
Quality – la qualità [la kwa-lee-TAH]
Together – insieme [een-SEE-eh-meh]

Why not put your skills into practice on a villa holiday to Italy with us this summer? You’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to our beautiful villas in some of the most scenic parts of the country. Whether you choose the rolling hills of Tuscany, or the sunny shores of Sicily, you’re sure to have a holiday you won’t soon forget.


Sally is a Digital Acquisition Manager at James Villa Holidays.

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