Basic Italian phrases for your Italy villa holiday

Basic Italian phrases for your Italy villa holiday

In most places you visit in Italy, you’ll find that people can speak at the very least some basic English. In fact, in a lot of cases, you’ll find excellent English spoken throughout Italy, probably putting most holidaymaker’s Italian language skills to shame! However, there are pockets where this may be less true – some of the areas of Italy off the main tourist trail such as Calabria or Basilicata perhaps, or even in some of the smaller villages within more well known regions such as Umbria, Puglia or even Tuscany.

But, in any case, wherever you visit, we always think it’s worth making an effort with the language. It’s polite to do so and we think you’ll get so much more out of your Italy villa holiday when you try to speak the lingo! It will also be greatly appreciated by the Italians you meet. Speak a few words of Italian and they’ll throw out a beaming smile and ask, ‘Parla Italiano?‘ (Do you speak Italian?) at which point I normally backtrack with ‘Solo un po!‘ (Just a bit) in order to set expectation levels firmly back down!!!

To make your Italy villa holiday that little bit easier, we’ve put together a few basic phrases which may well come in useful during your Italian holiday.

Good morningBuon giorno
Good eveningBuona sera
Good nightBuona notte
(Have a) good dayBuona giornata
Hi / Hello / GoodbyeCiao
Of courseCerto
PleasePer favore
Thank you (very much)Grazie (mille)
You’re welcomePrego
Excuse meMi scusi
SorryMi dispiace
I understand / I understoodCapisco / Ho capito
I don’t understandNon capisco
I like…Mi piace…
I don’t like…Non mi piace…
What is your name?Come ti chiami?
My name isMi chiamo…
How much is it?Quanto costa?
What time is it?Che ore sono?
What does it mean?Cosa significa?
What is it?Che cos’è?
Do you speak Italian? / English?Parla italiano / inglese?
Yes, a bitSi, un po
No, I am sorry!No, mi dispiace!
There’s been an accident!C’è stato un incidente!
I am lost!Mi sono perso / a
Leave me alone!Vattene!
A doctorUn dottore
The policeLa polizia
How much is…?Quanta costa…?
Too expensiveTroppo caro
Can I pay with…Posso pagare con…?
…A credit cardLa carta di credito
…A debit cardIl bancomat
…In cashIn contanti
The bill, pleaseIl conto per favore

The other important thing to remember with the Italian language is that it’s a phonetic language. In other words, each letter in a word must be pronounced to create the final sound. It’s worth doing some basic research into the pronunciation of some letter combinations as this will make learning the language much easier. For example, ch is always pronounced as a hard ‘k’. Think ‘chianti‘. (On this point, make a note that bruschetta which is mis-pronounced by so many Brits similarly has a hard-sounding ‘k’ in the middle and not ‘sh’ as so many people think!?

There are some great online tools to help you learn the lingo and to give you a head start with your pronunciation. We particularly recommend Duolingo or Babbel. Another great tool is the free Coffee Break Italian podcasts, offering different levels of tuition dependent on your ability. And, when you’re out and about in Italy, google translate is perfectly adequate.

And, don’t forget that Italians can often talk just as much with their hands as with their voices! Italians are known for their expressiveness and you can often look at their hand and facial gestures for more clues about what they’re saying!

We hope this basic insight into learning Italian has helped you ahead of your Italy villa holiday.