How to say beautiful in Italian? A teacher of Italian as a second language shows how to say ‘bello’ the right way, any time you need it!
One of the first Italian word people learn is ‘bello’ = beautiful.
It is a very useful word in any language but it is a particularly useful one to know in Italian since it is widely used in very many different contexts.
The fact that Italy is also called ‘Il Bel Paese’ (The beautiful country) says it all!
Bello means beautiful in Italian however, you find this word declined differently depending on the sentence.
Also, it is used in many idioms and colloquial expressions that may leave you confused.
This is my quick guide to say beautiful in Italian!
Top tip! If you want to learn a few Italian phrases and words for your travel, you can find over 100 of them in this article with the most useful Italian phrases for tourists.
How to say beautiful in Italian: bello, bella, belli, belle
The Italian word for beautiful is bello.
However, Italian uses different forms of the word ‘bello= beautiful’ depending on the gender and quantity of the thing you are talking about (yes, in Italian everything is either masculine or feminine, even objects!).
To use the word beautiful the right way, this is what you need to know.
|Masculine||Bello, bel, bell’||Belli, Begli, Bei|
|Feminine||Bella, bell’||Belle, bell’|
Bello – masculine, singular, you say ‘bello’ about a man/male or also a place or anything the Italian language identifies as masculine.
- Questo quadro e’ bello: this painting is beautiful
- Quel ragazzo e’ bello: that guy is handsome
- Che bello! How beautiful!
If you want to say that any of these things is very beautiful you simply add ‘molto’: molto bello! Very beautiful!
Bello can be used after the noun it refers to, which is the norm with most Italian adjectives, or you can use it in front.
When used in front, it sometimes changed its form, for example:
- Un bel paesaggio – a beautiful landscape
- Un bell’albergo – a beautiful hotel
- Che bel ragazzo: what a handsome boy
- Un bel piatto di pasta: a beautiful plate of pasta
- Un bel giro in gondola: a beautiful gondola tour
You use bel for singular, masculine nouns starting with consonant
You use bell’ with singular, masculine names starting with vowel.
In front of words starting with sp, st, sg and sc, you keep bello: un bello spettacolo – a beautiful show.
Bella – bella is feminine of bello and it is used before or after singular, feminine nouns.
Some examples are:
- Una bella ragazza – a beautiful girl
- Che bella signora – what a beautiful lady
- Una bella citta’ – a beautiful city
- Come sei bella! or Quanto sei bella! you are so beautiful!
- Una bella vacanza – a beautiful holiday
- La Toscana e’ molto bella – Tuscany is very beautiful
- Che bella vista – what a beautiful view
- La vita e’ bella – life is beautiful
Like bello, bella can get shortened in front of certain words for instance instead of saying una bella isola you say una bell’isola: Capri e’ una bell’isola con mare azzurrissimo – Capri is a beautiful island with very blue sea.
The plural of bella is belle: La Sicilia e la Sardegna sono delle belle isole – Sicily and Sardinia are beautiful islands.
Need to know: Ciao bella!
Literally, ciao bella means ‘Hello beautiful’ and you may have heard in in movies with guys shouting ‘ciao bella’ to attractive girls passing by.
However, there is much more to the expression that this use (also, do not do it, it’s rude!).
Ciao bella is nowadays very popular between friends, especially girlfriends.
When you meet up or on the phone, it is very normal to say ciao bella as a term of endearment, like saying ‘hi darling / my dear’
Belli – belli is masculine plural and you use it in expressions such as I quadri di Caravaggio sono belli e famosi.
Like bello, in its full form belli usually comes after the noun.
If it precedes it, it may change form for instance in front of vowel a good example can be
- Che begli occhi marroni che hai – what beautiful brown eyes you have
- Che bei bambini! What beautiful children!
- Venezia ha dei begli alberghi – Venice has beautiful hotels
Piu’ bello, bellissimo: very beautiful stunning
Piu’ means plus in Italian so when you add it to bello you get ‘more beautiful’.
This is used when comparing to things and to say that one is more beautiful than the other.
If you want to say that something is very beautiful, you use bellissimo – or bellissima (she) bellissime (female plural), bellissimi (masculine plural)
The full expression would me
- Questo albergo e’ piu’ bello di quesllo di ieri – this hotels is more beautiful than the one yesterday
- Bellissimo! Very beautiful!
- Bellissima! Very beautiful (female)
- Una bellissima ragazza: a very beautiful girls
- Sei bellissima: you are very beautiful (to a girl)
- Hai dei figli bellissimi you have very beautiful kids
- Gli uomini italiani sono bellissimi: Italian men are very handsome
- Hai degli occhi bellissimi: You have very beautiful eyes
- Sei la donna piu’ bella del mondo: you are the most beautiful woman in the world
More examples on the way, you may want to pin this for easy access!
Other ways to say beautiful in Italian
Carino/a – pretty, pleasant in appearance or manner. This can be used for people or a place
- Un ragazzo carino: a nice boy
- Un paese carino con un bel museo – a nice village with a beautiful museum
- I proprietari sono molto carini: the owners (hosts) are very nice
- Una ragazza carina e gentile: a nice and kind girl
Attraente – attractive
- Un ragazzo attraente – an attractive guy
- Una ragazza attraente – an attractive girl
Di bell’aspetto – of good appearance, beautiful, good looking (slightly old fashioned)
Un signore di bell’aspetto e sempre bel vestito: a good looking man always well dressed
Affascinante – fascinating, alluring, both a person or a place.
Venezia e’ affascinante, piena di segreti – Venice is fascinating, full of secrets
Un uomo affascinante e misterioso – a fascinating and mysterious gentleman
Una donna affascinante e colta – a fascinating, educated woman
Delizioso – delightful
This is usually used for something pretty, dainty or cute, such a child or a someone exceptionally pleasant.
Una persona deliziosa (a lovely person): a person with a lot of attention and nice thoughts for others.
Incantevole – enchanting
Una serata incantevole – an enchanting evening
Un paesaggio incantevole, da cartolina – a delightful landscape, picture perfect
Da cartolina is also a good one to know, you get two in one with this last example!
Stupendo – stunning
Roma e’ stupenda – Rome is stunning
Un viaggio stupendo – a wonderful trip
Magnifico – magnificent
Just like in English, this is slightly lesser used than other expressions on this page but still correct and poignant when used correctly.
Un pasto magnifico – a magnificent meal
Lorenzo il Magnifico (name) – Lorenzo the Magnificent/Great
Splendido -splendid, wonderful
Un posto splendido – a wonderful place
Straordinario – extraordinary
Venezia e’ straordinaria – Venice is extraordinary
Un servizio straordinario – exceptional service (for instance in a hotel)
Favoloso – fabulous
Un posto favoloso – a fabulous place
Una colazione favolosa – a fabulous breakfast
Spettacolare / Uno spettacolo (informal) – spectacular, lit. ‘a show’
La Costiera Amalfitana e’ spettacolare – The Amalfi Coast is spectacular / very beautiful
Questa cena e’ uno spettacolo – this dinner is wonderful
Songs to learn the use of beautiful in Italian you can find on Youtube
- Bella – by Jovanotti
- O bella ciao – partisan song, listen to the version by Giorgio Gaber
- Amore Bello – by Claudio Baglioni
- Sei bellissima – Loredana Berte’
I know learning Italian is not easy, I hope these examples helped you figure out how to say beautiful in Italia!