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Non Solo “Ciao”- 6 Great Italian Phrases for Beginners

November 6, 2017 Alec Spencer No Comments

Italians are certainly no strangers to tourists- over 52 million visited in 2016 alone! While Italians’ strong sense of hospitality ensures that every visitor feels welcome, being able to speak a little bit of Italian makes getting around easier and earns the deep gratitude of locals. Maybe you already know some of the basics- ciao, grazie, buongiorno. Here are a few more phrases to make the traveling in Italy smoother, while impressing your fellow travelers in the meantime!

1. “Mi scusi, dov’è il bagno?”

Translation: “Excuse me, where is the bathroom?”

Knowing this phrase won’t improve the lack of public bathrooms in Italy, but it will save you from running around and yelling in English until you find one! The phrase dov’è means “where is,” and can also help you find your way to la stazione, l’aeroporto, and anywhere else you need!

2. “Possiamo sedere fuori/dentro?”

Translation: “Can we sit outside/inside?”

Maybe you want to people watch while basking in the sights and smells of a lively piazza, or maybe you’d rather bask in a little aria condizionatta. If you want to enjoy your meal in the perfect atmosphere, it never hurts to ask!

3. “Vorrei un caffé americano, per favore.”

Translation: “I’d like an American coffee, please.”

For travelers who’d rather drink something less intense than a classic espresso, the Americano is a lighter coffee made with espresso and hot water. If you want to sweeten things up, don’t be afraid to request a little zucchero- just be sure to say per favore (please)!

4. “Posso avere il conto, per favore?”

Translation: “Can I have the check, please?”

Meals in Italy are rarely a short event, and servers share the firmly held belief that good food and friendly conversation should never be rushed. When you’ve decided you’ve had enough, or more likely are too full to handle another bite, get your server’s attention so they know you’re ready to pay!

5. “Devo fare un prenotazione?”

Translation: “Do I need to make a reservation?”

Nothing would be more of a letdown than wasting valuable time waiting in line when you could be exploring Roman ruins or enjoying the tranquility of an ancient church. For many of Italy’s countless must-see sights, it’s essential to book ahead!

6. “Io mi chiamo _____. Come ti chiami?”

Translation: “My name is ____. What’s your name?”

Because who wouldn’t want to try and make a few new friends while in Roma or Firenze?

What other phrases do you teach your students before they travel to Italy for the first time?


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Alec Spencer

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