You know how they say when you’re in Rome you should act like the Romans? Well, what’s better than acting like them? Talking like them! The best part is, with Italian lessons with an Italian tutor, you get to do both.  

We have compiled 10 Italian phrases everyone travelling in Italy should know. Whether it’s ‘salute’ to make a toast or a presto’ to bid a friend goodbye, these phrases can come in handy, especially when you're travelling to Italy or you're hosting Italian guests for dinner. 

10 Italian phrases everyone should know, godere! (enjoy!)

1. Buongiorno {hello and good morning}

Greetings are especially important to Italians, making them essential Italian phrases to learn. As a traveler in Italy, Buongiorno is a phrase you’re most likely going to use often. Meaning hello and good morning, it's used as a greeting in the morning till 6pm. Buongiorno can be written as ‘buon’ and ‘giorno’ with ‘buon’ meaning ‘good’ and ‘giorno’ meaning ‘day’.

Also, you can use Buongiorno when you go to eat at the table in the morning and see other people. You can say “Buongiorno a tutti” which translates to “good morning, everyone”. 

Perhaps, the best thing about this Italian phrase is that you can use it in both formal and informal settings. “Buongiorno Signorna" {Good morning madam} or "Buongiorno amico mio" {good morning my friend}. 

2. Mi dispiace { I’m sorry}

"I'm sorry" is one of the magic words and the wonders it does are unimaginable. If there's any reason to learn Italian, it's because misunderstandings are almost inevitable. So, you will be needing "I’m sorry" in your Italian word bank. 

Although "scusa" can also replace "mi dispiace", it’s an informal way of apologizing. You’ll likely find more native speakers using "scusa" instead of "mi dispiace", not out of arrogance but in a rush to get somewhere.

"Mi dispiace tanto" meaning "I’m very sorry", expresses deep regret for what transpired. Also, you can use "mi dispiace" to show empathy towards a person with a problem. You can also use this Italian phrase to show your concern to a friend going through a tough situation.

3. Come stai? {how are you?}

When you’re quite familiar with a person, say, a relative or an acquaintance, you can use "come stai" to ask "how are you?". "Come stai" is appropriate when speaking in the second person plural and is an informal way of speaking. However, If you’re speaking in a more formal setting, it’ll be appropriate to use "come sta". 

If you're an expat living in Italy seeking more interesting conversation starters, and you're wondering, "how do I find an Italian tutor near me?", look up TUTOROO. You'll find happy tutors waiting to take on exciting Italian lessons. 

Here’s a titbit on how it works: Open https://www.tutoroo.co/. Under the “find a native language tutor near you or online”, input the language you’d like to learn and your city. Click “find a private tutor near me now” and select the tutor you'd like to know about. The TUTOROO Team will reply on TUTOROO Messenger and introduce you to your chosen tutor. And boom! Your journey to learning a new language begins. 

4. Lascia perdere {let it go or forget about it}

Imagine going out for dinner and your friend keeps complaining about the meal, you can respond with "Lascia perdere" which means "let it go". Letting it go doesn’t mean you like it but what if you can’t do anything about it. Also, saying "lascia perdere" to a whiny child can set them straight. 

But to pass the message across, you need to sound more like a native Italian speaker. Finding the best Italian tutors can help you improve your pronunciation and sound more Italian.

5. Vacci Piano {slow down!}

Ever been in a situation where the driver was moving too fast you feared for your life? In Italian, if you want to signal to the driver to slow down, you say "Vacci piano!". So, "Vacci piano signor" would mean "slow down, sir". 

When you learn Italian, you get to build out a bigger Italian word bank to choose words from. You will find that to learn that, like Prego, you also can use vacci piano when an Italian friend is speaking too fast or enthusiastically. Vacci piano can be used to tell your friend “hold up, I can barely get you” when they’re overly excited.

6. Per piacere or per favore {please}

Per favore is more common amongst native English speakers than "per piacere" although they share the same meaning. You can use either "per piacere" or "per favore" when requesting from someone you know. If it’s a stranger or you’re having a formal interaction, "per cortesia" is appropriate.

However, unlike the English language, you shouldn’t use per favore when accepting an offer or request. Most English native speakers would respond with “yes please” in a similar situation. In Italian, “si, Grazie” which means “yes, thank you” is how you accept an offer.

It's okay if you’re not fluent in Italian and you accept an offer with “si, per favore”. But just in case, you could learn Italian online and improve your Italian to avoid mixing both responses.

7. Parla Inglese {do you speak English?}

Another phrase you should know if you’re traveling to Italy is “Parla Inglese?” Quite easy to decode, you can save yourself a world of stress with this phrase. Travelers who aren’t fluent in Italian can ask “Parla inglese” meaning “Do you speak English?,” if they get stuck speaking Italian.

8. Non capisco {I don't understand}

Italian is such a beautiful language and sometimes as a non-native speaker you can get lost in conversations. When speaking with a fluent Italian speaker, you can say “non capisco” which means you don’t understand. It’s like saying “sto ancora imparando” to tell the other person you’re still learning Italian.

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed to say “non capisco”. You can also use it alongside “parla inglese?” Who knows? The other person may just know how to speak a bit of English.

9. Per favore aiutatemi {I need help}

This is a personal favourite! Like other Italian phrases to learn, you should learn to say “per favore aiutatemi”. You could be faced with an emergency or need directions. You can use this phrase to get the attention of a local and get the help you need.

For example, you can say “per favore aiutatemi signora, dov e il bagno” meaning, "I need help madam, where is the toilet?". Next time you’re in Italy and you need help, don’t be shy to say “per favore aiutatemi”. 

10. Prego {You’re welcome}

“Prego” is often used after "Grazie" which means “thank you”. You’d find most translation books put it as “don’t mention" or "you’re welcome". However, these aren’t the only uses of prego. For instance, Prego can also mean "after you", which is what you say when you allow someone to enter a room first.

Likewise, when a fluent Italian speaker is talking too fast, you can say "prego". By this, you’re telling the person to talk a little slower. In a way, you’re saying “pardon?” It is one word you’re sure to hear and use often in Italy, so keep practicing it.

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