Learning basic Italian vocabulary can be a fun and rewarding experience. If you are planning to travel to Italy, have Italian friends or family, or simply want to expand your language skills, learning some Italian words is a great way to enhance your cultural understanding and communication abilities.

Italian is a Romance language, which means it is derived from Latin, just like French, Spanish, and Portuguese. As such, there are many similarities between these languages, which can make it easier to learn Italian if you already know one or more of them. Italian is also known for its musicality and expressive gestures, which make it a joy to speak and listen to.

Where to Get Started

When starting to learn Italian, it’s a good idea to focus on common words and phrases that you might use in everyday situations, such as introductions, conversational basics and food.


Here are twenty words and phrases to get you started.

1. Ciao

This is a common informal greeting in Italy that can be used to say both hello and goodbye.

2. Buongiorno

This means “good morning” and is a formal greeting used until around noon.

3. Buonasera

This means “good evening” and is a formal greeting used after around 6 pm.

4. Grazie

This means “thank you” and is a polite way to express gratitude.

5. Prego

This means “you’re welcome” and is a polite response to someone thanking you.

6. Per favore

Spanish speakers can guess what this means. For those that can’t guess, this means “please” and is a polite way to make a request.

7. Scusa/Scusi – (informal/formal)

This means “excuse me” and can be used to get someone’s attention or to apologize.

8. Sì

This means “yes” and can be used to give an affirmative response to a question.

9. No

Just like in English, this simply mean “no”. Combine it with grazie and you get, “no thanks you”.

10. Mi scusi, parla inglese?

If you are not confident with your attempts to speak Italian, use this meaning “Excuse me, do you speak English?”

11. Dove si trova…?

This is how to begin to ask the question, “Where is…?” Just add the noun for whatever you’re searching for after it.

12. Bagno

You should never travel anywhere without knowing the local word for “bathroom”.

13. Quanto costa?

This means “how much does it cost?” and can be useful when shopping or dining out.

14. Acqua

Here we have another Spanish homonym, acqua, which simply means “water”.

15. Vino

Most wine lovers probably already know this word, but if you don’t and you want to enjoy some of the best wine in the world with and authentic Italian meal, remember “vino”.

16. Caffè

“Coffee” is very similar in both English and Italian, so this is an easy one to learn and remember.

17. Pizza

“Pizza” is as straight forward as you can get.

18. Formaggio

“Cheese” in pizza, pasta and just on its own is a great way to experience the tastes of Italy. Knowing how to say it will make that easier.

19. Salute

If you make some local friends you can celebrate together. “Cheers!”

20. Non capisco

If all else fails you can resort to: “I don’t understand”


Learning basic Italian words can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially if you plan to travel to Italy to see their beautiful forests or relax on one or several of their amazing beaches.

The twenty words and phrases listed above can serve as a useful starting point for anyone interested in learning basic Italian vocabulary. With practice and patience, you can gradually expand your Italian language skills and enjoy a richer cultural experience.