The Italian language is filled with little nuances and idiosyncrasies yet if you are looking for survival phrases it is a relatively easy language to get around with minimal proficiency. We’ve tried to think through the basic phrases that a foreign traveler would need for an Italian vacation. Even if you are not mastering the language, here are some helpful phrases for traveling around.
The first set of survival phrases we are going to explore centers around a key aspect of traveling: relationships. It is essential to know a few phrases that will help you get to know your Italian friends and show those around you that you are really trying to absorb as much of the Italian culture as you can. Before you head off on your travels, here are some necessary Italian survival phrases to help you in your relationship building while overseas:
Hello, how are you: Ciao, come ti chiami?
Where are you from?: Di dove sei?
I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.: Scusa, non ho capito
How old are you?: Quanti anni hai?
A little bit.: Un po’.
Do you speak English?: Parli inglese?
Beyond the basics of language, it’s also helpful to master some basic phrases for ordering in a restaurant. If you go all the way to Italy and fail to try most of the available Italian food, then you’ve missed a key aspect of traveling! Assuming you know the basics of the language (please, thank you, etc.) here are a few phrases to help you order like a true native speaker:
Excuse me, can we have the menu?:Scusi, ci può portare il menù?
I’ll have the…: Per me…
Check please!: Ci può portare il conto per favore?
It’s on me!:Offro io!
Keep the change: Tenga pure il resto.
Thank you, goodbye!: Grazie, arrivederci!
In addition to eating out and speaking with friends, if you are visiting Italy you must get out and see the sites. Lodging and transportation phrases are key to knowing how to get around while traveling in country, especially if doing so without a native speaker. Here are a few great phrases to learn for sightseeing:
Where is a hotel?: Dov’é un albergo?
How much is a room with two beds?: Quanto costa doppia uso singola?
Where is a restaurant?: Dov’é un ristorante?
Where is the train station?: Dov’é la ferroviaria [or] la stazione?
How much does it cost?: Quanto costa?
When does it open?: Quando é aperto?
When does it close?: Quando si chiude?
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, hopefully it is one that will help you maneuver your way around. Don’t forget to buy a great survival Italian phrasebook to fill in the gaps and help you make the most of your overseas trip.