We're guessing you can already say some common Italian words – "Ciao", "Grazie", "Pizza", "Gelato" and "Mamma" are far from rocket science. Add in some dramatic Italian hand gestures, and you might think you're basically one of the hot-blooded, fashion-loving, pasta-obsessed locals. Well, you're not. But brush up on these essential phrases, and you might soon be. They'll teach you how to converse in Italian about food, drink, tourist sights, and, more importantly, how to flirt.
BTW, take the phonetic pronunciation with a grain of salt...
Where can I find the best pizza?
Italian: Dove trovo la pizza migliore?
Phonetic pronunciation: Do-va-tro-vo-li-piz-za-me-gleo-ra?
This is the most essential phrase to learn – how can seeking out the most authentic pizza in town not be at the top of your to-do list? Avoid the tourist-filled eateries (e.g. ones close to Rome's Colosseum) and discover where the locals dine with this handy phrase. Insider's tip: for the dreamiest pizza, head to Naples where you can shamelessly binge at the pizzeria from Eat, Pray, Love.
Do you have wifi here?
Italian: Avete il Wi-Fi qui?
Phonetic pronunciation: Av-ata-el-wi-fi-qee?
Uploading pictures of Florence's art, Cinque Terre's coastline or Venice's canals is pretty much a must. But free wifi isn't that common in Italy, so you might have to beg for the password.
Hi, I'm trying to find my Airbnb. Here's the address
Italian: Ciao, sto cercando il mio Airbnb. Ecco l'indirizzo
Phonetic pronunciation: Cee-i-o, sto-car-kin-do-el-meo-Air-bnb. Ac-co-l'en-de-riz-zo
Airbnbs are one of the best ways to experience the real Italy, but sometimes they're hidden away down pretty, winding streets that'll get you leave you wandering confusedly for hours. No longer! With this helpful phrase, your villa in Tuscany or chic apartment in Rome can be easily (re)found.
How can I reach the Colosseum?
Italian: Come posso raggiungere il colosseo?
Phonetic pronunciation: Ko-ma-pos-so-rig-geun-gea-ra-el-ko-los-sao?
Thousands upon thousands of tourists in Rome ask this question. Every. Single. Day. So, surprise the locals with your best Italian accent – they'll be way more inclined to help if you attempt to speak their language.
I suck at Italian, can you speak English?
Italian: Non parlo bene italiano, puoi parlare in inglese?
Phonetic pronunciation: Non-pir-lo-ba-na-e-ta-lea-no, puo-e-par-li-ra-en-en-gla-sa?
Compared with most other western Europeans, Italians just don't bother learning a ton of English. Whether you view this approach as super snobby or passionate about Italian is up to you (answer: both), it can't hurt to ask them to speak your language...Right?
Enjoy your meal!
Italian: Buon appetito!
Phonetic pronunciation: Bu-on-ip-pa-te-to!
Foodie traditions are extremely important in Italy. So, take note and before you start gulping down your meal, wish a “Buon appetito” to your pals. The perfect way to answer is "Grazie, altrettanto", which means "Thank you, the same to you".
Excuse me, where did you buy that ice cream?
Italian: Scusa, dove hai comprato quel gelato?
Phonetic pronunciation: Sku-si, do-va-i-kom-pri-to-qu-al-ga-li-to?
Admittedly, ice cream is everywhere in Italy – and you don't need us to tell you how bloody good it is. But if someone is holding the most authentic-looking gelato around, sometimes you just have to be shameless and ask where it's from. The #foodporn shot will be worth it, promise.
Can you recommend a cool bar for the aperitivo near this area?
Italian: Puoi consigliarci un bel bar per l'aperitivo qui vicino?
Phonetic pronunciation: Puo-e, kon-se-gleir-ce-un-bal-bar-par-l'i-pa-re-te-vo-que-va-ca-no?
The aperitivo, especially in Milan, is quite the sacred ritual. If you have no idea what's meant by it, it's simply a pre-dinner drink or snack (think happy hour, but classier). Heads up: if you're in Milan and want to give it a go, hit up the canal district of Navigli or up-and-coming 'hood, Isola.
Hey, you're beautiful ;)
Italian: Hey, sei bellissima!
Phonetic pronunciation: Hey-sae-bal-les-se-i!
You might as well get straight to the point. After all, Italians aren't known for their subtlety, but they are known for their good looks....
Do you want something to drink?
Italian: Vuoi qualcosa da bere?
Phonetic pronunciation: Vu-oe-quil-ko-si-di-ba-ra?
Because, really now, who doesn't want something to drink? Spice up your night out in Italy with this line, and you won't regret it. To really drink Italian-style then order a Bellini or Negroni, the former originates in Venice and combines sparkling wine and peach puree; the latter was created in Florence and features gin, vermouth and Campari.
Sorry, I'm not interested. I have a boy/girlfriend
Italian: Mi spiace, non sono interessata/o. Sono fidanzata/o.
Phonetic pronunciation: Me-spae-ca, non-so-no-in-te-ras-sati/o. So-no-fe-dan-zi-ti/o.
Italians are very passionate – you have been warned (and tempted). If you're not feeling his or her advances, you gotta be firm. But if you are, then let the good times roll...
Want to stay the night with me?
Italian: Vuoi passare la notte con me?
Phonetic pronunciation: Vu-o-i-pas-si-ra-li-not-ta-kon-ma?
Leading on from the last point, let the good times roll – after getting consent. Ask this at the right moment and a fiery fling could be yours, ASAP.