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Italian Lifestyle

How to say I love you in Italian

Learn how to say I love you in Italian and how to express affection in Italian to a loved one, with real-life examples and phrases.

If you look online for the literal translation of the phrase ‘I love you’ into Italian, chances are you came across the following answer:

I love you in Italian is ‘Ti amo’.

This is correct if you want to express romantic love to a partner however, ti amo has a much narrower meaning and use than ‘I love you’ in English and using it inappropriately can cause embarrassing situations!

Italian makes a big distinction between romantic love, the type you declare to a boyfriend/girlfriend, and friendship or paternal love.

In one case, we use the expression ‘ti amo‘ and in the other, we use ‘ti voglio bene‘.

This post is part of our series ‘lear Italian’ – find all lessons HERE.

The two are not interchangeable: using ti amo to a friend will be misunderstood as a declaration of romantic interest and saying it to a grandparent would be genuinely weird!

On the other hand, saying ‘ti voglio bene’ to someone who just declared their love to you is a quick way to deflate them and stir the conversation away from romantic involvement.

So you see, learning how to say I love you in Italian is a little less straightforward than it may seem!

With the right tools, however, you can easily learn how to best express affection in Italian in the appropriate way.

In this language guide to expressing love and affection in Italian, we are going to look at:

  • How to say I love you in Italian to a romantic partner
  • How to say I love you in Italian to a friend
  • How to express love in Italian to a parent, grandparent or child
  • More love phrases in Italian you may want to use with a partner, friend or to express love for an activity or an idea
Green, white and red heart on wooden background

Love in Italian: essential Italian vocabulary words you need to know

Love (noun) = amore

To love (verb) = amare

Innamorato / innamorata = in love (said of male/ said of female)

Affetto = affection

Ti amo = I love you (romantic love)

Ti voglio bene = I love you (said to friends, parents, children etc)

Abbraccio = embrace, hug

Bacio = kiss

Il mio ragazzo / La mia ragazza = my boyfriend / my girfriend

Fidanzato / fidanzata = fiance’

Anello di fidanzamento = engagement ring

Fede = wedding ring (lit. ‘faith’)

Cuore = heart

Mi piaci = I like you / I fancy you (depending on the context, this can be a tricky one!)

Sono pazzo di te = I am crazy about you

How to declare romantic love in Italian to your partner: I love you in Italian

When declaring romantic love to your partner in Italian, you say ‘Ti amo’.

Ti amo is Italian for I love you and it is used almost exclusively to express romantic love.

It has the same weight as the English ‘I love you’ and you can use it to declare your love in person and in writing.


Ti amo = I love you

Ti amo anch’io = I love you too

Ti amo di piu’ = I love you more

Ti amo, vuoi sposarmi? = I love you, will you marry me?

Need to know: in Italian, we never ever use ‘Ti amo‘ as a friendly way to close a phone call, like you would with a friend in some English-speaking countries. If you want to close a call with a friendly phrase, you can say ‘ciao cara‘ for instance but make sure you don’t use the big A word!

How to say I am in love with you in Italian

If you are not quite ready to say I love you in Italian but you want to say you are in love with someone, the Italian phrases you need are:

Mi sono innamorato di te = I am in love with you / I have fallen in love with you.

For a masterclass on the use of this Italian phrase, you can listen to the famous song by Luigi Tenco with this title, In Italian classic!

I like you in Italian

If you want to say to someone that you like them in Italian, you can use the expression ‘Mi piaci’.

This is a tricky expression as it may have different connotations depending on context.

In some cases, ‘mi piaci’ means ‘I like you’ as in ‘I am attracted to you’.

This can be a simple mi piaci (I like you), mi piaci tantissimo (i fancy you a lot), mi piaci da impazzire (I like you like crazy)

In other cases, it can be a way to set boundaries ‘Mi piaci ma come amico’ – I like you but as a friend only.

Mi piaci, ma non sono innamorata di te = Iike you, but I am not in love with you

Hands painted green, white and red forming the shape of a heart

Cute names to call your boyfriend/girlfriend in Italian

My Love in Italian – amore mio

Sweetheart in Italian = caro/a, tesoro

Love of my life = l’amore della mia vita

The apple of my eye = la luce dei miei occhi (my eyes’ light)

My angel = angelo mio

My heart = cuore mio

How to say ‘I don’t love’ you anymore

If you need to declare the end of your love for someone, then you say Non ti amo piu’ = I don’t love you it anymore

How to say I love you in Italian to a friend

if you want to tell your friends that you love them, the expression we use in Italian is ‘Ti voglio bene’.

Hear how to pronounce Ti voglio bene in Italian here (click on the small speaker icon under the words ‘ti voglio bene’

TI voglio bene literally translates into ‘I want your good’ but it is the common way to say to someone you love them in a friendly manner.

The closest expression in English would be ‘I care about you’.

You can use it to express your feelings or it can also be a way to set the record straight if someone tells you that they love you romantically but you don’t feel the same way.


While wishing someone happy birhtday in Italian, you could say or write “Buon compleanno cara! Ti voglio bene


Person A: Ti amo = I love you

Person B: Ti voglio bene, ma non provo la stessa cosa = I care about you but I don’t feel the same way

How to say I love you to a grandparent or a relative

When expressing love for a grandparent or other relative, the correct expression is ‘Ti voglio bene’.

You can use ti voglio bene in person or also in writing. For instance, if you or your child are writing a card to a relative, it would be appropriate to close it with ‘Ti voglio bene nonno’

Some examples:

Ti voglio bene nonno = I love you grandad

Ti volgio bene nonna = I love you granny

Ti voglio bene zio = I love you uncle

Ti voglio bene zia = I love you auntie

How to express affection in Italian on a card or by email

Affectionate expression to close a message, may it be a birthday card or an email, do not use the word ‘amore’ but words associated with it.

Common, affectionate ways to close a message are:

Un abbraccio = a hug

Ti abbraccio = I hug you (similar to the above, a little more personal)

Baci = Kisses

Un caro saluto (more formal) = warmest regards

How to say ‘I love’ in Italian about a place, an activity, food

If you want to express love for a place, an action or a concept, you can also use the verb ‘amare’. For instance, you can say:

Amo l’Italia = I love Italy

Amo viaggiare = I love to travel

If you want to express love for a food or specialty, on th other hand, you use ‘mi piace’ For instance you would say:

Mi piace molto il caffe’ = I love coffee

Useful forms of the verb to love in Italian: amare

PersonVerb: AmareVerb: Voler beneVerb Piacere
IamoVoglio beneMi piaci (I like you)
You AmiVuoi beneTi piace (Iou like him/her)
He/sheAmaVuole beneGli / Le piace (He /She likes)

I hope you found this quick overview of love phrases in Italian useful. Happy Italian language learning!

Learning Italian for an upcoming trip? Then also check out over 100 useful words and expressions in our guide to travelers’ Italian.

Ti amo in Italian: pin this!

Hands painted in the colors of the Italian flag on green, white and red background with text: how to say I love you in Italian

Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.