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When visiting any foreign country, the best preparation you can do, is to learn a few words in their language.  Not only is it a sign of respect, but you will have people serving you with a smile.  No, we cannot all learn a new language within a few months, but even if you struggle to pronounce a word, the people will still love you for trying.  Just the basics:  Like saying good morning or hallo and thank you, is already a big deal.  

As you can imagine there are quite a few different dialects that’s spoken around Italy.  In some parts of the country you will recognize words easily and in others, you might struggle.  Don’t let that stop you.  You’ll find that you recognize the basic words almost everywhere, and it just might help you in a difficult situation.  Like asking where the hotel is or where the bathroom is….

Let's start / Here we go: Andiamo !

Hallo / Hi / Bye:  Ciao

(The nice thing is you can use ‘Ciao’ for both Hallo and Goodbye.) 

Good morning: Buongiorno

Good evening: Buonasera

Good night:  Buona Notte  (used when saying good night before you go to bed)

Yes: Si

No: No

Please:  Per favore

Thank you:  Grazie

2 Important Italian questions when traveling

Where is…? Dov’è……?

Now going through a whole language lesson is going to take a bit more explaining, but the basics are, if you know the word ‘dov’è’, you can add almost anything and they will be able to understand what you want.   For example:  Dov’è il bagno?  means ‘Where is the bathroom’. 

But if you can only remember  Dov’è and you’re stuck, just add the place you are looking for:  E.g.  Dov’è hotel?  It should be:  dov’è l’hotel , but they will still understand.  You can ‘dov’è – anything’.  LOL

Dov’è il Colosseo? (Where is the Colosseum?)  / Dov’è il ristorante?  (Where is the restaurant?)  ….etc…

The next important phrase is:

(Going to shops in Italy you definitely need the following phrase.) 

How much does it cost?    Quanto costa?

Learning these two phrases will already help you a lot while traveling in Italy.

Extra words

  • You’re welcome: Prego 
  • Good / Nice :  Bello 
  • My name is ………….: Mi chiamo ……………
  • I don’t understand: Non capisco.
  • Do you speak English: Parla inglese?
  • I only speak English:  Parlo solo inglese.
  • One coffee please:  Un caffè per favore?
  • Two coffees please:  Due caffè per favore?
  • Water: acqua
  • WelcomeBenvenuto  ( You might see this signage / word at a hotel for instance.)
Basic Italian words to order

When learning the Italian language for longer stays in Italy,  you’ll learn more about the formal and informal way of saying things.  As well as referring to masculine and feminine and the correct pronunciation.  But the above is just the very basic words you need to help yourself in Italy so they can understand you.

Best way to learn Italian

If you’d love to learn more about the Italian language or the best phrases for travelers in Italy, I really would suggest following this YouTube channel:  Learn Italian with

Travel Tip

Having Google Translate on your phone while traveling is the best option for first time travelers.  It’s the easiest way of making sure they understand exactly what you want in any country. (It has an audio function, so you don't have to type out everything you want to say and it's free.)

Italians love to talk with their hands

What does all the hand gestures mean in Italy?

Safe to order

4 of the best Italian espresso drinks to order while in Italy:


“Caffè corretto, an Italian beverage, consists of a shot of espresso with a small amount of liquor, usually grappa, and sometimes sambuca or brandy. It is also known as an “espresso corretto”.” – Wikipedia


“Marocchino is a coffee drink created in Alessandria, Italy. It is served in a small glass and consists of a shot of espresso, cocoa powder and milk froth. In some regions of northern Italy, thick hot cocoa is added. In Alba, the home of the Italian chocolate giant Ferrero, Nutella is used.” – Wikipedia


“Italian pronunciation: [kapputˈtʃiːno]; Italian plural: cappuccini) is an espresso-based coffee drink that originated in Italy, and is traditionally prepared with steamed milk foam (microfoam).” – Wikipedia

Caffé latte

“Caffe latte is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk. The term comes from the Italian caffè e latte, caffelatte or caffellatte, which means “coffee and milk”. In English, it is often shortened to just latte; either or both words sometimes have an accent on the final e.” – Wikipedia

You can't talk about Italy without mentioning food...

Link:  Pasta Grannies

There simply is no better way to learn the fabulous 'art of Italian cooking', than learning from the Grannies ('Nonna' always knows best):  Pasta Grannies is a fabulous channel with loads of know-how and traditional authentic Italian recipes.

Link:  Eatwith Italy

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Eatwith is the host to many fabulous online cooking classes and workshops - Around the world.  Interactive, fun and fabulous.  Give it a try.  You'll love it.