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Top 9 Phrases for Traveling in Italy


Ciao, bella! Rome, Venice, Milan… You can find so many beautiful places and so much amazing food in Italy! If you want to make the most of your stay in this amazing country, brush up on some key Italian phrases here.

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1. Allora – Umm

You’ll hear this absolutely everywhere you go and it’s such a beautiful way to buy yourself some thinking time before launching into the rest of your well-practiced Italian.

2. Scusi or Permesso (if trying to get past someone) – Excuse me

Pronounce like “skoozi”. You’ll find you’re being bumped into almost nonstop on the streets in Rome, even in line-ups you may feel like you’re being consistently jostled.  A quick scusi, with a smile will help, though it probably won’t stop the jostling.

3. Buon appetito! – Enjoy your meal!

I know it sounds cliché, but the food in Italy is absolutely fantastic. Even the kebab shops seem to be of a higher quality. You will love everything you eat here.

 4. Prego – kind of an umbrella phrase meaning “please take a seat,””you’re welcome,” or “go ahead”

Often heard after grazie (or thank you). You’ll hear this all over the place, especially in restaurants when offered a seat or when you’ve finished ordering.

5. Mi sono perso/persa – I’m lost

Tiny, though beautiful back alleyways will cause even a person with the best sense of direction some struggles. I managed to walk around the Vatican three times before actually finding it. Keep this phrase and a map handy at all times.

 6. Posso fare fotografie? – May I take photographs (here)?

Not all museums or cathedrals will allow you to take photographs, I think in part because they all seem to be filled with priceless works of art. It’s always polite to ask though there should be a sign if it’s not allowed.

 7. In sciopero – On strike

Pronounced like ‘shop-er-oh’.  Keep an ear out for this whenever you’re near just about any form of public transportation, especially in Rome. There’s no telling when the bus drivers or train conductors will be on strike, so keep it in mind whenever you’re planning on going somewhere.

 8. No, grazie – No, thank you

Aggressive flower sellers in more tourist-friendly areas will need to be told this multiple times, but generally once with a smile is enough.

9. Ciao! – Bye or See Ya!

Pronounce like ‘chow’. Say this in multiples and do it with kisses as is the custom in Italy. Cheek kisses should start right to left, and there’s a bit of a debate on the number but go for two, and see what happens!

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And if you really would like to make your trip to Italy truly unforgettable, you may want to consider taking classes with a professional Italian tutor! Our native instructors will teach you all the phrases you’ll need from the moment you go through customs until you check out of your hotel. They can also advise you on all you need to do to make the most of your trip. Contact us now and get a Free Trial Class!