Travelers’ Italian. Over 100 easy and useful Italian phrases for travel and basic Italian words that will help you make the most of your time in Italy (by a teacher)
You do not need to speak Italian to enjoy your time in Italy.
However, knowing basic Italian words or being able to express simple sentences will go a long way to improve your stay.
We Italians love it when foreigners make an effort and while I know it is daunting to express yourself in a language you do not dominate, you will see most people will react with great appreciation!
I am a qualified teacher of Italian as a second language and most of my students came to class before a trip to Italy, to learn Italian phrases tourists could learn or carry with them while in Italy for quick reference.
Today, I want to share the travelers’ Italian phrases most commonly requested in my classes.
These, we found, were the most useful Italian phrases for tourists and were all reasonably easy to learn or read out when needed!
As you will see, it is a mix of basic Italian words and Italian phrases for tourists that cover situations you may encounter while traveling in Italy.
I hope you find them useful!
This article is part of our series ‘Learn Italian’. You can find here >>> all our free Italian lessons <<<
You can hear the pronunciation of these Italian phrases for tourists copying them into google translate and clicking on the little megaphone symbol – try here
Basic Italian words and Italian phrases for travel
Before you learn specific Italian phrases for travel, you want to learn your basics.
- Si – yes
2. No – No
3. Grazie – thank you
Grazie is the most common way to express gratitude in Italian but there are several others you may hear or want to use. Learn how to say thank you in Italian here.
4. Prego – you are welcome / please
5. Per favore – please
Please can be tricky to express in Italian. Learn how to properly say please in Italian here.
6. Mi scusi – Excuse me
7. Scusi – Sorry
8. Non capisco – I don’t understand
9. Non parlo italiano – I don’t speak Italian
10. Aiuto! – Help!
Simple Italian phrases to make yourself understood
Parla inglese? – Do you speak English?
Mi dispiace, non parlo Italiano – Sorry, I don’t speak Italian
Piu’ piano per favore – slower please
Puo’ ripetere, per favore? – Can you say that again, please?
Common Italian phrases to greet someone
Ciao – hello / goodbye, informal
Buon giorno – good morning
Buona sera – good evening
Buona notte– good night
Buon pomeriggio – good afternoon, mostly used when parting from someone, slightly formal
Arrivederci – goodbye / bye bye (formal)
A presto – see you soon
Good to know: in most interactions with tourism establishments such as your hotel owner, host, ticket officer etc, you want to use greetings that are formal and polite. The most useful to learn are: buongiono (formal hello) and arrivederci (formal goodbye, at the end of a stay or a meal).
You can learn how to say hello in Italian here
Asking for directions – basic Italian travel phrases if you are lost
Dov’e’? – where is?
Ex Dov’e’ il Colosseo? Where is the Colosseum?
Ore more politely: ITA: Mi scusi, mi sa dire dov’e’ il Colosseo? ENG: Excuse me, would you be able to tell me where the Colosseum is?
E’ lontano? Quanto dista? – It is far? how far is?
How far is the Colosseum? Quanto e’ lontano/ Quanto dista il Colosseo?
Dritto – sraight
Destra – right
Sinistra – left
Semaforo – traffic light
Incrocio – crossroads
Ponte – bridge
Strada – street
Strisce / strisce pedonali – zebra crossing
Senso unico – one way street
Piazza – square
ZTL – Zona Traffico Limitato, an area closed to car traffic. Learn what they are and how to deal with them in this guide about driving in Italy.
A sample conversation may look like:
You: Scusi, dov’e’ il colosseo? Excuse me, where is the Colosseum?
Answer: vada dritto, poi al semaforo gira a destra e lo vede. Go straight, then at the traffic light turn right and you see it.
Another example can be: You: scusi, dov’e’ il bagno? (Excuse me, where is the restroom?) Answer: in fondo a destra (at the end of the room, to the right)
Transport and tickets
At train stations, airports and transport hubs, you may encounter or need to use the following Italian travel phrases and words:
Biglietto – ticket
Biglietto di sola andata – one way ticket
Biglietto di andata e ritorno – return ticket
Riduzioni / tariffe speciali / sconti – disxounts and special tariffs, usually for children/elderly/teachers/specified categories
Posto a sedere – seat
Treno – train
Binario – platform
Porto – harbor / port
Cabina – cabin (on a boat)
Traghetto – ferry
Aliscafo – hydrofoil (you will hear it to go to Capri for instance)
Prenotazione – booking / reservation
When you book a train ticket, it may come with a warning ‘prenotazione obbligatoria’, which means booking for a specific date/time/seat is mandatory.
Taxi – taxi
Autista – driver
Basic Italian sentences when at the shop
Quanto costa – How much is this?
Prezzo – price
Saldi – sales
Ha il resto? – Do you have change (if you are paying with a big note)
Carta di credito – credit card
Bancomat – debit card / also ATM
Posso provare? Can I try this on?
Do’ un’occhiata – I am just browsing / having a look
Si puo’ spedire? Can you ship this?
Caro – expensive Ex. No, grazie, e’ troppo caro. No, thank you, it is too expensive. Ex. Ha qualcosa di meno caro? Do you have anythign less expensive?
Top tip! To avoid embarrassing situations, learn about the etiquette of negotiating in Italian markets and shops here (hint you don’t!)
A well equipped arsenal of travelers Italian needs Italian phrases for travel emergencies, just in case!
Sto male – I am sick / I am unwell
Ho bisogno di un dottore / chiamate un dottore – I need a doctor / call a doctor
Aiuto! – help!
Farmacia – pharmacy / chemist
Ospedale – Hospital
Pronto soccorso – A&E
Medico di guardia – doctor on call
Medicina – medicine
Ricetta – prescription
Mascherina – face mask / Mascherina chirurgica: disposable face mask (medical)
Dottore – Doctor
Infermiere / infermiera – nurse (male/female)
In hotel – useful Italian phrases about your accommodation
Camera – room
Camera matrimoniale – double room (with double bed)
Camere comunicanti – connecting rooms
Culla – baby cot/ crib
Letti a castello – bunk beds
Camerata – hostel room (with multiple beds)
Bagno in camera – en suite bathroom
Piscina – pool
Doccia – shower
Bagno – restroom
At the beach – useful Italian words for a day on the beach
Spiaggia – beach
Stabilimento – beach club
Ombrellone – sun umbrella
Sdraio – deckchair
Lettino – beach lounger
Bagnino – lifeguard
Crema solare – sunscreen
Secchiello e paletta – bucket and spade
Sabbia – sand
Scogli – rocks
Ghiaia – pebbles
At the restaurant – Italian words and sentences for a meal out
Food is such a large part of an Italian trip, my list of Italian phrases for travel needed a section about eating out, and so here it is!
Tavolo – table Ex. Ha un tavolo per quattro? Do you have a table for four?
Vino della casa – house wine
Acqua liscia / gassata – flat / sparkly water
Primo, secondo, contorno, dolce – these are the names of Italian courses. You can learn all about Italian meal structure here.
Mancia – tip (yes, you will need this one! Learn why here >>> guide to tipping in Italy
Allergia – allergy
Allergeni – allergens
Noci – walnuts / also generic word for ‘nut’
Noccioline – peanuts
Lattosio – lactose | Senza Lattosio = lactose free
Latticini / prodotti caseari – dairy products
Glutine – gluten
Kids essentials in Italian
Passeggino – stroller
Biberon – baby bottle
Ciuccio – soother / pacifier
Pappa – baby meal
Seggiolone – high chair
Pannolino – nappy / diaper
Pediatra – pediatrician
Scaldare – to heat: useful if you want to ask a restaurant/ cafe to heat up you child meal you brought from home (Mi puo’ scaldare la pappa per favore? Can you heat the baby food please?)
If you are about to travel to Italy with a baby, read this!
Other useful Italian words for travel you may want to use
Bello / bella – beautiful (male/neutral and female)
Presto, tardi – early, late
In ritardo – late Ex. Il treno porta un’ora di ritardo. The train is one hour late
Come stai? Come sta? – How are you? (informal / formal)
Piacere – when introduced to someone, how do you do
Gratis – for free
Salute! – Cheers! You can find the many ways to say cheers in Italian here.
Stagione – season, you may find it on price lists as Alta stagione ‘high season’; bassa stagione= ‘low season’. Learn here >>> how the seasons are called in Italy
I hope you found these Italian phrases for travel useful and you have a wonderful time in my beautiful country. Safe travel planning!