Speak Italian

 

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Take advantage of this collection of some of the most important words and phrases that you will need when you are in Italy. Fortunately, the Italians are known to be welcoming and cordial - especially if one makes an effort to make oneself understood. Any well-intentioned effort in this context is usually rewarded with big smiles and recognition of your efforts. Should the result not be entirely accurate, there is always body language, gestures and hand signals to supplement your speech.

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Beyond the purely linguistic challenges, there are also cultural differences to take into consideration, so you should know for example that bars and cafes have different prices depending on whether you are standing at the bar to drink your coffee or sitting at a table. Another thing is if you want to choose an ice cream from the ice bar and/or a coffee from the café, then you often have to pay for the coffee at the checkout before you ask for the ice cream. Also you should know that most restaurants charge a cover charge per person (coperto) on top of the price of food and wine.

Courtesy / useful phrases

Good morning Buongiorno
Good day Buongiorno
Good afternoon / evening Buonasera
Goodnight Buonanotte
Goodbye Arrivederci
Can you call me a taxi please? Mi chiami un taxi, per favore?
Thanks for your help Grazie per l’aiuto
Thanks a million Mille grazie
Many thanks Tante grazie
yes, thanks Sì, grazie
No, thanks No, grazie
Excuse me Scusi
You are welcome Prego
I don't understand Non capisco
Unfortunately Purtroppo
Help Aiuto
I need ... Ho bisogno di ...
I would like Vorrei ...

Public Transport

The tickets please I biglietti, per favore
One way / to go and return solo andata / andata e ritorno
Is this space free È libero questo posto?
Yes, it's free Sì, è libero
No, it's not free No, è occupato
This is the train for? È questo il treno per…?
Is the train running late? È in ritardo il treno?
When does the train for ... leave? Quando parte il treno per…?
Do you need to change? Bisogna cambiare?
Which platform? Da quale binario?
The train for ... leaves from which platform? Il treno per… parte dal binario cinque
Where can you buys tickets for? Dove si comprano i biglietti?
How much is a ticket for? Quanto costa un biglietto per…?
Can you tell me where to get off? Mi puó dire dove devo scendere?
Departure Partenza / partenze
Arrival Arrivo / arrivi
Have a good trip Buon viaggio
The hours of opening Orario
Bus station Terminale autobus
When does the bus for ... leave? Quando parte l’autobus per…?
Ferry Traghetto
Port Porto
Stop the bus Fermata dell’autobus

On a car journey

Where can I find a petrol station / car repairs centre? Dove si trova il distributore di benzina / officina d’autoriparazioni più vicina?
Fill it up, please Il pieno, per favore
My car will not start La mia macchina non parte
There is a fault in the engine C’è un guasto al motore
When do you think the car will be ready? Quando pensa che sarà pronta la macchina?
How much does it cost? Quanto costa?
I would like ... Vorrei ...
To change the wheels Far cambiare le ruote
To change the oil Fare il cambio dell’olio
To change the spark plugs Far cambiare le candele
To change the wipers Far cambiare i tergicristalli
To clean the car Far lavare la macchina

At the pharmacy

Where can I find a pharmacy near here, please? Dove si trova la farmacia più vicina, per favore?
Do you have any medication to treat sunburn / insect bites Ha qualche farmaco per curare le scottature/le punture d’insetto
I would like a packet of pills to treat headaches Vorrei una confezione di pasticche contro il mal di testa
When can I pick up the medicine? Quando posso ritirare la medicina?
Can you recommend some analgesic (pain reliever)? Può consigliarmi qualche analgesico (antidolorifico)?
I suffer with/from Soffro di...
A cold Raffreddore
Inflammation Infiammazione
Diarrhea Diarrea
Constipation Costipazione/stitichezza
Fever Febbre
Bad stomach Mal di stomaco
Heartburn Riflusso gastrico

Emergencies

Please call Per favore chiamate...
A medic Un medico
An ambulance Un’ambulanza
The fire department I pompieri
The police La polizia
Where is the nearest hospital? Dov’è l’ospedale più vicino?
I would like to report a theft Vorrei denuncicare un furto
I have been robbed Sono stato/a derubato/a
The car was parked at/in La macchina era parcheggiata in...
My car was hit La mia macchina è stata investita

Shopping

It is too small / big / short / long È troppo piccolo / grande / corto / lungo
It is too expensive / costs too much È troppo caro / costa troppo
A good price A buon prezzo
Is there another colour? C´è di un altro colore?
This / that Questo / quello
I will take it Lo prendo
Do you accept credit cards? Accettate le carte di credito?
Where do you pay / where is the till? Dove si paga/dov’é la cassa?
I would like only to look Vorrei soltanto guardare
I would like something typically Italian Vorrei qualcosa di tipico italiano
I would like to see / buy Vorrei vedere / comprare ...
Can I have the bill please? Posso avere lo scontrino / il conto, per favore?
Can I try it? Posso provarlo?
Hand made Fatto a mano
Local crafts Artigianato locale
Book Libro
Newspaper Giornale
Magazine Rivista
Shirt Camicia
Blouse Camicetta
Trousers / skirt Pantaloni / gonna
Jacket / coat Giacca / cappotto
Shoes / mirror Scarpe / specchio
Changing rooms Cabina di prova

Dining Out

Do you have a table for .. people please? Avete un tavolo per ___ persone, per favore?
Could I book a table for 2 people at ... Potrei prenotare un tavolo per due persone alle ore…
Could you bring us the bill please? Potreste portarci Il conto, per favore?
We pay separately Paghiamo alla romana
The cover Il coperto
Waiter / waitress Cameriere/cameriera
Can I order please? Posso ordinare, per favore?
One portion divided between two Una porzione da dividere in due
What do you recommend? Che cosa mi raccomanda?
I want the best, you choose for us Desidero il meglio, scelga pure lei per noi
Do you have any vegetarian dishes? Avete qualche piatto vegetariano?
Do you have children's portions? Fate delle porzioni ridotte per bambini?
Breakfast (Prima) colazione
Lunch Pranzo
Dinner Cena
Starters Antipasto
The first course Il primo
The second course Il secondo
Side dishes Il contorno
The desserts Il dolce
Fixed price menu Il menù a prezzo fisso
Dish of the day Piatto del giorno
rare/medium/well cooked Al sangue/medio/ben cotto
Can you bring me the wine list please? Mi porti la lista dei vini, per favore?
What wine would you recommend? Quale vino consiglia?
Could you bring me the salt / the pepper please? Mi potrebbe portare il sale / il pepe, per favore?
Can we have some fizzy / still water please? Possiamo avere dell’aqua frizzante / naturale, per favore
Can we have two coffees please? Possiamo avere due caffè?

The menu

Mixed starters Antipasto misto
A type of cured meat Bresaola
Toasted bread (with tomato) Bruschetta (al pomodoro)
Artichokes in olive oil Carciofini sott’olio
Canapes with ham Crostini al prosciutto
Seafood Frutti di mare
Salad with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil Insalata caprese
Ham and melon Prosciutto e melone

Pasta dishes, rice dishes, soups

First course Primi piatti
Cannelloni - baked pasta with a filling Cannelloni
Lasagne - baked in the oven Lasagne al forno
Soup with pasta or rice Minestrone
Penne - pasta with tomatoes and chilli Penne all’arrabbiata
Rice with fish Riso alla pescatora
Rice with mushrooms Risotto coi funghi
Spaghetti with bacon, onion, cheese and tomato Spaghetti all’amatriciana
Spaghetti with clams Spaghetti alle vongole
Tortellini with butter / oil and parmesan Tortellini in bianco
Soup with scrambled eggs Stracciatelle alla romana
Soup with mussles Zuppa di cozze

Main dishes / meat

Oven roasted lamb with garlic Abbacchio al forno
Roast lamb Agnello arrosto
Roast veal Arrosto di vitello
Roast pork Arrosto di maiale
Grilled beefsteak Bistecca ai ferri
Florentine charcoal grilled steak (very large) Bistecca alla fiorentina
Pork chops Braciola di maiale
Oxtail cooked with a particular bacon, celery, white wine Coda alla vaccinara
Rabbit in a sauce / stew Coniglio in umido
Lamb chops grilled Costolette di abbacchio a scottadito
Pan grilled meat Cotoletta alla Milanese
Chicken liver Fegatini di pollo
Liver with white wine and onions Fegato alla veneziana
Cheese omelette Omelette al formaggio
Chicken breast Petto di pollo
Roast chicken Pollo arrosto
Fried frogs Rane fritte
Sausage Salsicce
Slices of veal with ham and sage fried in butter with white wine Saltimbocca alla romana
Slices of veal fried in butter with Marsala wine Scallopine al marsala
Tripe Trippa / lampredotto

Main dishes / fish

Fried baby squid Calamaretti
Mussels in white wine Cozze alla marinara
Seabass Dentice
Fried mixed fish Fritto misto
Grilled small fish with garlic and parsley Oratelle alla griglia
Perch Pesce persico
Grilled swordfish Pesce spada alla griglia
Grilled scampi Scampi alla griglia
Fried scampi Scampi fritti
Sole Sogliola

Side dishes

Asparagus Asparagi
Artichokes with garlic, parsley, mint fried in oil Carciofi alla romana
Chicory Cicoria
Haricot beans Fagiolini
Beans Fave
Fennel fried in butter Finocchi al burro
Mushrooms Funghi
Tomato salad Insalata di pomodori
Mixed salad Insalata mista
Green salad Insalata verde
Aubergine with tomatoes in the oven Parmigiana di melanzane
Baked potato Patate al forno
Chips Patate fritte
The fried peppers cut into strips with tomato sauce Peperonata
Spinach with oil and lemon Spinaci all’agro
Courgettes Zucchini

Dessert

Milk pudding with chocolate or vanilla Budino
mixed cheese Formaggi vari
Fruit of the season Frutta di stagione
Fruits of the forest Frutti di bosco
Ice cream Gelato
Fruit salad Macedonia di frutta
Ice cream cakes Semifreddi
Cake of the house Torta della casa
Egg desert with Marsala Zabaione
Cream dessert with liqueur Zuppa inglese

At the bar

Strong Italian coffee Espresso
Long coffee Caffè lungo / americano
Espresso with milk Caffè macchiato
A concentrated espresso coffee Caffè ristretto
Coffee with warm milk Caffellatte
Warm milk with a little coffee Latte macchiato
Tea / ice tea Tè / tè freddo
Croissant Brioche / cornetto
Triangle Sandwich Tramezzino
Sandwich Panino
Small pizza Pizzetta
Orange soda Aranciata
Beer / beer on tap / small / large Birra / birra alla spina / piccola / grande
Fruit juice Succo di frutta
freshly squeezed orange juice Spremuta d’arancia

Ice cream

Small cup Coppetta
Cone Cono
Strawberry Fragola
Lemon Limone
Orange Arancia
Peach Pesca
Chocolate ice cream with nut pieces Bacio
Hazlenut Nocciola
Ice cream Fior di latte
Custard Crema
Fruits of the forest Frutti di bosco
soft nougat Gianduia
Ice milk with chocolate pieces Stracciatella
Walnut Noce

Other

Smoking not permitted Vietato fumare
Where is the toilet? Dov’è il bagno?
Sir / madam Signore / signori

At the bakers

Bread Pane
Rye bread Pane di segale / pane integrale
Sandwich Panino
Pastries / cakes Paste/torte

Fruit and vegetables

100 grams / 300 grams / half a kilo / a kilo Etto / trecento grammi / mezzo chilo / un chilo
Tomatoes Pomodori
Cucumbers Cetrioli
Peppers Peperoni
Carrots Carote
Peas Piselli
Cauliflower Cavolfiore
Leeks Porro
Garlic Aglio
Onion Cipolla
Mushrooms Funghi
Truffles Tartufi
Potatoes Patate
Banana Banana
Apple / Pear Mela / pera
Strawberry Fragole
Cherries Ciliegie
Prunes Prugne
Oranges Arancia
Watermelon Cocomero / anguria
Peach Pesca
Grapes Uva
Aubergine Melanzana

Dairy products

A litre / half a litre Un litro / mezzo litro
Milk Latte
Whole milk Latte intero
Partially skimmed milk Latte parzialmente scremato
Skimmed milk Latte scremato
Buttermilk Latticello
Whipping cream Panna da montare
Cooking cream Panna da cucina
Cheese Formaggio
Bufala Mozzarella Mozzarella di bufala
Cheese Provolone
Sheeps cheese Pecorino
Hard cheese Parmigiano
Butter Burro
Egg Uova

Meat products

100 grams / 300 grams / half a kilo / a kilo Etto / trecento grammi / mezzo chilo / un chilo
A slice / 5 slices Una fetta / cinque fette
Ham / salmon Prosciutto/salame
Hare Lepre
Deer Cervo
Rabbit Coniglio
Meat Carne
Lamb Agnello
Pork meat Carne di maiale
Tongue Lingua
Sausage Salsiccia
Meat balls Polpette

Vowels

A as in the words Hare, Bank
I
U
E is pronounced two ways
As in the words for example - sera, spaghetti
As in the word Bello for example
O is pronounced two ways
As in the word Roma for example
As in the word Modena for example

Consonants

C before e and i as in Church in English, in Italian as in Cento, Cinema
C before a, o u - K sound as in Catani, Como
C before an h
G before e and i - pronounced like a J, like in English Gentle, or in Italian Genova, Gente
G before a, o and u - pronounced like a G as in Gabriele, Gomma
G before h - pronounced like a G in front of H as in ghost
GI as in Figlio
Gn Silent pronounciation as in Cognac
H Silent pronounciation as in Hanno (anno)
S in front of b, d, g, l, m, n, r and v

Numbers

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque,
6, 7, 8, 9, 10 sei, sette, otto, nove, dieci
11, 12, 13, 14, 15 undici, dodici, tredici, quattordici, quindici
16, 17, 18, 19, 20 sedici, diciasette, diciotto, dicianove, venti
21, 22, 23, 24, 25 ventuno, ventidue, ventitre, ventiquattro, venticinque
26, 27, 28, 29, ventisei, ventisette, ventotto, ventinove
30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 trenta, quaranta, cinquanta, sessanta, settanta, ottanta, novanta
100, 333, 1000, 3000, cento, trecentotrentatre, mille, tremila

Days of the week

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Holiday / Public holiday lunedì, martedì, mercoledì, giovedì, venerdì, sabato, domenica, festa/giorno festivo
 

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