If you are new to learning Italian, the first thing you will usually get acquainted with is the most common Italian words, and how or when to use them.

From the worldwide known greetings ciao and Buongiorno (good morning) to amico (friend), you’ll hear those words everywhere when listening to Italian conversations. They’re essential for beginners and invaluable for travelers in Italy. 

Some of the most common Italian words and phrases are so well-known that people use them also to mock Italian people: can you recall someone moving their hands, miming the act of eating and saying “pizza, mangiare” with a marked English-Italian accent?

You might learn some of the most useful Italian words and phrases, whether taking part in an Italian course or planning to spend some time in this beautiful country!

Common Italian words of daily use 

For those embarking on the study of the Italian language or are preparing for a trip to discover the most beautiful cities in Italy, knowing some of the basic Italian words and when you can use them is a must. You’ll see people pleasantly surprised to hear you pronouncing the greetings or adequately addressing them.

Common Italian words for greetings
Common Italian words for greetings


  • Ciao! Very popular and worldwide known, it means simply, Hello!
  • Salve! More formal way to greet someone.
  • Buongiorno: it means good morning. In Italy, there is no specific time to stop saying it, actually, at 3 pm you can still say Buongiorno!
  • Buon pomeriggio: good afternoon. You can use any time you think is appropriate in the afternoon.
  • Buonasera: good evening. Let’s say you normally use this starting from 6/7 pm roughly.
  • Buonanotte: good night. 
  • Arrivederci: this is used to say “goodbye”, in a polite way. We don’t use it, for example, among friends or family.
  • A presto, Ciao!: this is a more colloquial way to say goodbye. Ciao is also perfectly common, literally a “bye!”
  • Come stai? This means, how are you? It’s nice to use it when you meet someone after some time.

Common Italian words

  • sì/no: yes/no
  • Grazie: thank you
  • Grazie mille! : thank you so much!
  • Molto: A lot / very
  • Prego: you’re welcome!
  • Scusa, scusami: I am sorry
  • Mi scusi: This also means I am sorry but more politely, referred to elder people or to someone we don’t know.
  • Mi dispiace: this also means I am sorry, but we use it to express our sorrow for something. 
  • Bene: good (I am good when we reply to a greeting)
  • Male: bad.
  • Per favore: please
  • Aiuto: help!
  • Chi?: who?
  • Cosa? What?
  • Dove? Where?
  • Perché? Why (important to know, in Italian, you use the word perché also to answer a question)
  • Amico/Amica: friend (masculine/feminine)
  • Bello/Bella: beautiful (masculine/feminine)
  • Buono: good
  • Cattivo: bad

Master Italian from home
with specialized native instructors

Join the online lessons of our school Easy Italian Language & Art

During the day

  • Oggi: today
  • Domani: tomorrow
  • Dopodomani: the day after tomorrow
  • Ieri: Yesterday
  • Tra poco: in a bit
  • Dopo: later
  • Prima: before
  • Adesso: now
  • Settimana: week
  • Mese: month
  • Anno: year
  • Mattina: morning
  • Pomeriggio: Afternoon
  • Sera: Evening
  • Notte: night
  • Alba: sunrise
  • Tramonto: sunset
Common Italian words and phrases to describe the weather
Una giornata di sole in Italia – A sunny day in Italy

About the weather:

  • Sole: sun
  • Nuvoloso: cloudy
  • Pioggia: rain
  • Caldo: hot
  • Freddo: cold
  • Vento: wind
  • Neve: snow

Other common Italian words and verbs 

  • Mangiare: eating
  • Dormire: sleeping
  • Camminare: walking
  • Guidare: driving
  • Pranzare: eating lunch
  • Cenare: eating dinner
  • Bere: drinking
  • Colazione: breakfast
  • Salire: coming up
  • Scendere: going down
  • Siediti!: have a seat!

Embrace the Italian Language in Venice
Learn with Experts at Easy Italian Language & Art

Italian school in Venice

Common phrases in Italian and how to use them

Now that we’ve covered some basic Italian words, let’s look at how to use them in simple and common Italian phrases, that you’ll certainly hear daily if you are in Italy. If you are new to learning Italian, you can always start with some simple greetings, or if you are traveling in Italy and want to ask for some information, for sure your effort in speaking Italian will be much appreciated!

Common Italian phrases in daily life

  • Ciao! Come stai?: Hello! How are you?
  • Bene grazie! E tu?: I am good thanks, and you?
  • Che ore sono? What time is it?
  • Non capisco. I don’t understand.
  • Benvenuto a casa mia: Welcome to my house
  • Vuoi un caffè? Would you like a coffee? 
  • Posso avere un caffè per favore? May I have a coffee, please?
  • Dove vai? Where are you going?
  • Da dove vieni? Where are you from?
  • Cosa mi racconti? What can you tell me? (colloquial, a way to ask what’s new with you?)
  • Cosa vuoi da mangiare? What would you like to eat?
  • Come posso aiutarti? How can I help you?
  • Puoi aiutarmi? Can you help me?
  • Oggi fa caldo! Today is hot!
  • Sta nevicando: it’s snowing
  • Oggi è molto ventoso: today is very windy.
Vuoi un caffè? – Would you like a coffee? is one of the most common Italian phrases in daiky life
Vuoi un caffè? – Would you like a coffee?

Common Italian phrases and words for traveling

  • Dov’è…? Dove si trova…?: Where is…? Where can I find…?
  • Quanto costa? How much is it?
  • Puoi aiutarmi? Can you help me?
  • Parli inglese? Do you speak English?
  • Mi chiamo…: My name is…
  • Come ti chiami? What is your name?
  • Hai capito? Do you understand?
  • Non mi piace: I don’t like
  • Bagno: toilet
  • Macchina: auto
  • Bicicletta: bicycle
  • Aeroporto: airport
  • Noleggio auto: rental car
  • Albergo: Hotel
  • Ristorante: restaurant
  • Treno: train
  • Biglietto: ticket
  • Stazione: station
  • Bancomat: ATM
  • Negozio di alimentari: groceries shop
  • Permesso! Excuse me

Emergency words and essential phrases in Italian

This is a list of words and phrases that might be very useful if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, but also if you need to ask for help and ensure you are understood.

  • Aiuto: help!
  • Non mi sento bene: I am not feeling well
  • Non riesco a respirare: I can’t breath
  • Ho bisogno di un medico: I need a doctor
  • Dove si trova il pronto soccorso? Where is the first aid hospital?
  • Ho un’emergenza: I have an emergency
  • Ho perso il biglietto: I have lost my ticket
  • Ho perso il treno: I have missed the train 
  • Mi hanno derubato: they robbed me
  • Dove si trova la stazione di polizia? Where is the police station?
  • Posso usare il tuo telefono? Can I use your phone?
  • Attento! Attenta!: Careful! (m/f)
  • Sono allergico a … I am allergic to…
  • Ho l’assicurazione: I have the insurance
Italians speaking in their daily life: Italian is a language rich in idiomatic expressions
Italian is a language rich in idiomatic expressions

Speak Italian like a pro: cultural expressions and idioms in Italian

Besides learning the most common Italian words you might also want to learn how to pronounce them correctly, and the best thing to do besides your studies would be to watch movies or, for example, listen to Italian songs.

Italian language is also full of cultural expressions that reflect the immense history and diversity of the country, and you might want to learn some of it, to better understand not only the language but also the culture behind it.

  • Ma che fai! What are you doing?
  • Non vedo l’ora: I can’t wait!
  • Mamma mia! Oh my goodness!
  • La dolce vita: this represents the Italian sweet life and enjoying life’s pleasures.
  • Uffa! There is no proper translation of it, it’s an exclamation that you use when you are upset about something: I have to wait till 30 minutes for my train… Uffa!
  • Non te la prendere: don’t get upset
  • Dai! Come on! 
  • Sbrigati! Hurry up!
  • Non mi va per niente: I don’t feel like it at all
  • Mi raccomando: please, I beg you
  • Che bello! How beautiful/how wonderful
  • Dolce far niente: probably one of the most popular Italian cultural expressions, it means the sweetness of doing nothing.
  • Piantala! Stop it, cut it off

“Learn and Have Fun from Home
Experience Online Courses with Easy Italian Language & Art

Learn Italian phrases and idioms online

Idioms that will make you better understand Italian culture

  • Non avere peli sulla lingua: literally, not having hair on your tongue. In Italian, this phrase is used to address someone who does not hold the tongue, and who can speak freely.
  • Acqua in bocca!: mum’s the word! It means, to keep a secret (having water in your mouth, which will not allow you to speak)
  • Avere un diavolo per capello: having a devil in each hair: this expression is used when someone is very angry.
  • In bocca al lupo! It means good luck, but literally, we are wishing for someone to be in the mouth of the wolf. If someone is telling you this, your answer should be crepi il lupo! (may the wolf die!)
  • Chi dorme non piglia pesci: those who sleep, will not catch a fish: this is used to represent the belief that if you want to obtain something you need to work.
  • Sono al verde: literally, I’m in the green. This means to be broke of money.
  • Conosco i miei polli! I know my chicken, which in Italian is used to represent confidence in knowing someone’s behavior.
  • Tutto fa brodo! Every little thing counts.

If you possess a solid command of Italian and are interested in mastering 50 idiomatic expressions, consider purchasing the book Idiomando which specializes in these expressions.


Learning a new language is always a challenge, but it’s also a beautiful and rewarding experience.
Italian boasts a vast vocabulary and its grammar can be sometimes complex, but the best way to become proficient is to hear and practice it, for example during a walking tour in Venice, where a tutor can bring you in-depth knowledge of the language.