After Natale and Pasqua, Ferragosto is the third festivity Italians mostly appreciate overall. During this period of the year, Italian cities get empty, whereas beaches fill up welcoming people from all over the world. 

what is Ferragosto exactly?

Traditionally, Ferragosto is an Italian national holiday celebrated on 15th August. Its roots lie in ancient Rome under the emperor Augustus. As a matter of fact, Feriae Augusti – a set of feasts established by Augustus himself – had the purpose to provide Roman citizens a longer period of rest after the harvest. Later, after the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Catholicism, this festival was converted into a religious festivity commemorating the Assunzione, namely the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven.

Nevertheless, how and where do Italians celebrate Ferragosto? What do they like to do the most?

If you are curious enough to find it out, you better scroll down and read until the end of the present article! And if you are planning to visit Italy here there are some useful books for you:

how and where do Italians celebrate Ferragosto?

Relaxing on the beach 

Ferragosto relaxing on the beach and with an Aperitivo during Summer in Italy

Spending Ferragosto vacations with family or friends on the beach is usually the very first choice. Indeed, most Italians literally “flee” from those cities that are dreadfully hot and sticky during the summertime – like Milan, Turin, Rome, Bologna, and so on-. On the contrary, people who live in coastal cities – such as Naples, Palermo, Bari, Rimini, etc. – can enjoy more pleasant and milder weather, as well as cooler temperatures. 

In any case, many events take place on the most famous Italian beaches, such as those of Adriatic Coast, Amalfi Coast, and Emerald Coast, during the day of Ferragosto: in the morning, they usually organize funny games for children, dancing and water aerobics sessions for young people and adults. Instead, in the afternoon, space is given to traditional Italian Aperitivo. On this occasion, you can have a tasty cocktail with your friends, listen to great music, and eat tons of appetizers and savory snacks. Finally, in the evening you have the chance to do lots of different things according to your tastes: going to a beach party, celebrating in an exclusive nightclub, going for a stroll downtown where you can be entertained with traditional music concerts, or eventually watching the fireworks around a bonfire. 

Fun fact: Are you wondering which is the representative song of the Italian summer? Of course Un’estate al mare by Italian singer Giuni Russo.            

Having a good time in the mountains 

Ferragosto Having a good time in the mountains during Summer in Italy

In case you aren’t into the sea like a lot of Italians, mountains are the perfect alternative where to spend your Ferragosto! The most popular destinations for hikers and fresh air lovers are Alpes and Appennines, the two main mountain ranges in Italy. Here people have the possibility to explore wild areas along with expert tour guides, hike into the woods seeking appetizing mushrooms and truffles, or reach small mountain villages with breathtaking views. 

Plus, in some Italian regions where a vast production of wines normally appears – as in Piedmont, Tuscany, Campania, Sicily -, it is also possible to visit local wineries that often belong to wealthy families. In these places they provide you information about the various techniques used for making wine, focusing on grape pressing, fermentation, and aging; after that, the procedures of bottling and storage are shown. When the visit comes to an end, you are allowed to taste local wines, basically accompanied by delicious platters of cold cuts and cheeses. 

Exploring Italian lakes 

Exploring Italian lakes during Ferragosto and Italian Summer - Lake Garda

Another typical activity that some Italians really prefer doing during the day of Ferragosto is going to the lake. Just think of the huge amount of lakes scattered throughout Italy – for example, Lakes of Garda and Como in Lombardy, Lake of Bracciano near Rome, and Lake Trasimeno in Umbria. In these wonderful locations, it’s quite common to take a cruise around the lake itself, taste seafood dishes in a restaurant nearby, or sunbathing on the lake shores. 

Remember that it is also possible to fish but you need to get information previously because in some parts of Italy fishing is forbidden in specific periods of the year.     

Spending time in the countryside

Spending time in the countryside during Italian Ferragosto and Summer - Tuscan Maremma

Not interested in spending your day of Ferragosto on the beach, in the mountains, or at the lake? Don’t worry about that, because an alternative to the proposals mentioned above exists: the countryside!

As you already know, Italy is full of countryside, hills, and plains. Hence, if you decide to head to the Tuscan Maremma or the Po Valley in summer, you could stop at a holiday farm to have a barbecue or at a trattoria – in English inn – where to enjoy wholesome food and later have a nap under the trees. For families with kids, they usually offer entertainment services and carousels. Alternatively, you might be hosted in farms or cottages where you can experience rural life. Here they give you the chance to hoe the ground, grow plants, and raise animals.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could feed hens or witness the birth of a calf? For nature enthusiasts, this would surely be something not to be missed! Additionally, you are able to drink homemade wine and eat healthy farm-to-table products. Lastly, you could choose to go for a ride in an open country. 

Fun fact: do you know there’s a very famous Italian film where the typical summer landscape of the Tuscan Maremma is displayed? Here is an excerpt from the movie Il Ciclone directed by Italian actor Leonardo Pieraccioni.   

Staying in town 

Staying in town in Ferragosto - Visiting Pompeii in Naples

What if you didn’t manage to leave your home city on Ferragosto? Well, you need to know that most shops, businesses and public offices are closed for the summer break; even public transport is not in service. In fact, you could bump into signs like chiuso per ferie – literally closed for vacation – popping up all over the place. However, plenty of museums and cultural sites still stay open. Consequently, locals and tourists have the opportunity to visit major Italian attractions such as the Colosseum, Pompei ruins, Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and other cultural institutions across the rest of Italy.

At the same time, city parks remain open during Ferragosto; on this occasion, people often go there carrying their picnic baskets. After putting a towel on the grass, they relax and eat in good company. Rather, when the air becomes cooler in the evening, you can drink some cocktails, have dinner – make sure that the restaurant you would like to go to is open! – or take a walk in the center. Even though there are few people and it’s hot, I’m sure you won’t regret the moment when you walked around an Italian city in loneliness! 

Anyway, you shouldn’t feel alone because different events take place in the squares of the main Italian cities.        

What do Italians eat and drink on Ferragosto?

What do Italians eat and drink on summer?

Commonly, Italians are used to eating fresh and uncooked food such as mozzarella, tomato salad, ricotta, and cold meats in summer. Mostly, they eat a lot of fruit like watermelon, rockmelon, grapes, peaches, and so on. Regarding cold drinks, the most appreciated are iced tea, iced coffee, sodas, granita, and barley water. For some Italian foodies, eating fresh couldn’t be enough! For this reason, they opt for more flavourful dishes like eggplant parmesan, spaghetti omelet, rice salad, or pasta salad. Generally, they consume these foods on the beach or outdoors – this happens mainly in the south of Italy -. Wine must be present on the Italian table, too! In this regard, there’s a dessert that is very easy to make: peaches in red wine. Trust me, once you take a sip of this juicy drink, you won’t be able to get enough of it! 

Keep in mind that you can have all these meals I referred to until now during the entire summertime – more specifically from the end of May until the beginning of September -, not only on the day of Ferragosto.    

What Are Ferragosto Festivities and Traditions in Italy?

What Are Summer Festivities and Traditions in Italy?

As we already said previously, if you are unable to leave for vacation, or simply decide to stay in town, you won’t face problems spending your Ferragosto cheerfully because you’ll find dozens of celebrations all over Italy, including food, music, parades, and of course, fireworks. Here is a list of the 5 most popular Italian festivities taking place on 15th August.

Palio dell’Assunta in Siena 

First of all, we need to cite one of the most famous Italian manifestations occurring in Mid-August: Palio dell’Assunta in Siena. Celebrated on 16th August, it has its roots in the Middle Ages. During this day, the seven contrade – the plural form of contrada – challenge each other through horse races in Piazza del Campo, the main square in Siena. The winners of this tournament will gain the respect of the whole city and its inhabitants.

Gran Galà di Ferragosto at the Reggia of Venaria, Turin  

Secondly, we cannot fail to mention another important festivity related to this day: Gran Galà di Ferragosto at the Reggia of Venaria, near Turin. Tuxedo, refined people, Dj sets, and fireworks are the keywords to describe the stunning and sophisticated Royal Palace of Venaria where to celebrate Ferragosto with style and class.  

Festa dell’Assunta in Trappeto, Palermo  

In the third place, there’s another important feast attracting people from all over Italy on 15th August: Festa dell’Assunta in Trappeto, a small village near Palermo. During the religious procession at the sea, the statue of the Virgin Mary is put on a boat that is dragged through the entire coastline of the town whereas believers pray and follow it. Actually, in almost every coastal town this ritual occurs, especially in South Italy where a stronger religiousness exists.    

Rome’s Gran Ballo di Ferragosto 

Going on, it’s time now to introduce another significant Italian festival: Rome’s Gran Ballo di Ferragosto. If you think that a city like Rome will leave you alone on the day of Ferragosto, you are dead wrong because on 15th August the main Roman streets, districts, and squares – such as Via del Corso, Piazza del Popolo, Garbatella – fill up with live dance performances. While dancing, you can get something to eat and drink nearby, too.       

Fireworks Show in Rimini 

If you are looking for the most spectacular fireworks in Italy, you need to head to Rimini. Why so impressive? Because several beach clubs located on the Adriatic Coast are economically and practically involved in the organization of this unforgettable event. Surely, this fireworks show will keep you with your nose up the whole night!

A Midnight Swim 

Did you know many Italians are used to taking a swim on 15th August at midnight? Before doing that, some guys – principally youngsters – meet in groups and then go to the beach. When the clock strikes midnight, they take a dip together and have fun. 

Creepy fact: in South Italy, many people believe that you shouldn’t take a swim at midnight on Ferragosto because you might be cursed! In fact, in some coastal towns of southern Italy, a series of unexplained deaths among youngsters happened after midnight and the following day. Superstition? Who knows…     

Useful vocabulary for Ferragosto 


Finally, you should check the following glossary including some useful words and expressions concerning Ferragosto.

Italian English 
Assunzione Assumption 
Processione Procession 
Vacanze estive Summer break 
Chiuso per ferie Closed for vacation 
Andare in spiaggia To go to the beach 
Festa in spiaggia Beach party 
Corsi di ballo / aquagym Dancing / water aerobics sessions 
Fuochi d’artificio Fireworks 
Falò Bonfire 
Bagno di mezzanotte Midnight swim
Cestino da picnic Picnic basket 
Fare una crociera sul lagoTo take a cruise around the lake 
Cantina Winery
Tagliere di salumi e formaggiPlatter of cold cuts and cheeses 
Trattoria Inn 
Agriturismo Holiday farm
Grigliata Barbecue 
Frittata di pastaSpaghetti omelet  
Insalata di riso / pasta Rice / pasta salad 
Orzata Barely water  
Anguria Watermelon  
Cantalupo Rockmelon 
Vino con le pesche Peaches in red wine 

Now that you have all the information you need about Ferragosto in Italy, what would you like to do on 15th August if you are in Italy? Going to the beach? Spending time in the mountains or the countryside? Staying in town? Each of them is a great option.

What matters is celebrating!    

By: Alfonso Di Somma

Born and raised in Italy, he is an Italian professional translator and a tireless traveler. His main passion? Foreign languages!

If you are considering starting to learn Italian probably one of the questions that you are asking yourself is how long does it take to learn Italian?

If you are a real learner you know that you never stop learning. This applies to everything in life, doesn’t it?

The good news is that along with Spanish, Dutch and Norwegian, Italian is one of the easiest and fastest languages for English speakers to learn, because of the similarities in the structure.

Even though it is not simple to calculate one hundred percent accurately how much time you will need to learn Italian, official sources, such as the Italian Language Academy (AIL) and the U.S. Foreign Service Institute (FSI), show that it can take 50 to 650 hours to learn Italian, depending on the level of proficiency that you want to reach.

Now, these numbers do not necessarily reflect the actual time you will need to learn Italian. It could be less, it could be more, depending on a lot of different factors.

Variables that can influence how much time it takes to learn Italian

  • Level of fluency you want to reach
  • Motivation
  • Prior knowledge of other foreign languages
  • Learning Strategy
  • Perseverance and Regularity
  • Personality
  • Attitude
  • Language Aptitude
  • Intelligence
  • Environment
  • Personal circumstances
  • Age

Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

What level of fluency do you want to reach in Italian?

Do you just want to be able to order your food in Italian or do you want to speak and understand Italian like a native?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) presents three main levels of fluency (A, B, C), each of them composed of two further levels (1 , 2). Each level includes speaking, reading, understanding of the written and spoken language.

Let’s see how much time you will need to learn Italian for each level.

Basic User (Level A1 – A2)

A basic user is able to talk about familiar topics of relevance for him using simple structures and limited vocabulary.

You will need only 50 – 60 hours to reach A1 level, and around 100 – 120 hours of study to get to level A2.

With this level you could maybe get by on a trip in Italy.

Independent User (Level B1 – B2)

If your goal is to be able to hold more complex conversations with Italian native speakers without too much of an effort from either party, you want to get to this level.

Suggested preparation time to pass B1 level is 240-300 hours, and for B2 320 – 400 hours.

Proficient User (Level C1 – C2)

If you are ambitious you will want to reach the level of proficiency.

By this time you will be able to talk fluently and correctly about any topic.

You will need 450-500 hours to reach C1 level, 600-650 hours for C2.


What is your motivation?

What is your ‘why’ to learn Italian?

There will be times where just liking the language will not be enough, you will need to have a stronger motivation.

Since almost everyone speaks English, English native speakers don’t really need to learn another language in order to communicate to the world, so having a strong motivation is fundamental to commit to learning Italian.

As an adult one can have different reasons to learn Italian, such as:

  • Personal interest in the Italian culture (music, literature, art,…)
  • Planning on studying, working or retiring in Italy
  • Work or school requirement
  • Upcoming travel to Italy
  • Reconnecting with Italian relatives
  • Truly understand your Italian lover
  • Keeping in touch with Italian friends

The stronger your motivation is, the faster you will learn Italian.

The motivation of a person moving to Italy could be stronger than the one of a summer traveler.

If you want to communicate with your new Italian partner, friend or your relatives in Italy who do not speak English, then you will more likely be studying harder and taking less time to learn to be able to express yourself and, finally, feel part of the conversation.

Do you already speak other foreign languages?

The previous acquisition of other languages can speed the learning process a lot, because you will already know how to learn a language and what is the best method for you to learn.

This factor can really give you an extra oomph, especially if you already speak a Romance language, such as Spanish, French or Portuguese, since they come from Latin and therefore have the same grammar structure and even similar vocabulary.

If you don’t know any other language besides your native English, it will probably take a bit longer to click in the beginning.

Also, when learning another language, you will have to deal with English language structure first in order to really understand Italian or any other language.


What is your learning strategy?

Especially if Italian will be the first foreign language that you are learning, you will need to take some time to figure out what learning strategy suits you the best. Some strategies can be more effective than others depending also on your specific cognitive style.

A combination of those strategies can certainly help you learning Italian faster than others:

Perseverance and Regularity

How often and how long are you planning to study Italian?

Forming the habit of learning Italian is one of the keys to speaking Italian faster.

It is more effective and faster to practice Italian twenty minutes to one hour a day every day, than 10 hours in a row once every two months.

Same as for going to gym, right?


What is your personality like?

Personality characteristics that can reduce the time it will take to learn Italian are:

  • Extroversion
  • Low anxiety
  • Empathy
  • Positivity
  • High self esteem
  • Positive reaction to criticism

All the above can be crucial in determining how long you will need to learn Italian.

An introverted or shy person could take longer to learn the language, would be more hesitant to start speaking, would be more anxious to make mistakes, would be more sensitive to the native speaker’s corrections.

A person suffering from a high language anxiety will be slower to start speaking in public.

Self esteem is important to know that you CAN achieve the goal of speaking Italian. Thinking ‘’I will never be able to learn Italian’’ will certainly not help you learn Italian faster.


Your attitude towards the Italian language, culture and people is one of the decisive factors in how much time you will take to learn Italian.

Are you going to lose time complaining and arguing about the nonsense of having feminine or masculine words in Italian or are you going to accept that in Italian language an apple (la mela) is feminine, but the flower (il fiore) is masculine?

Are you going to be ok knowing that you will make tons of mistakes, that you will feel lost in a conversation in Italian before getting to a comfort point with the language, or are you going to feel frustrated?

It doesn’t matter how hard or easy a language can be, what really matters is how hard YOU think it is.

A positive attitude towards the Italian language learning process will certainly help you learn at a faster pace.


woman writing in italian journal

Language Aptitude

Although everyone can learn a foreign language, the Modern Language Aptitude Test shows that people with a high language aptitude can learn faster than others.

Language aptitude is the innate ability to learn a foreign language. It has nothing to do with how intelligent or educated a person is, it’s a physical factor.

Language abilities that can speed the learning process are:

  • Ability of recognizing the sounds, associating them to a written form and memorizing them
  • Ability of identifying the function of the words in the structure of the sentence
  • Ability of catching the rules of the language by listening or reading the language


Like every other cognitive activity, a high IQ can affect positively how much time you will need to learn Italian.


In what kind of environment are you learning? For the environment we mean the kind of language exposure that you get.

Ideally it should be both formal, with an Italian teacher, and informal, by listening Italian and talking to Italians. In both cases it should be engaging and interesting to you.

You will probably learn very little and slower if you are not interested in the topics discussed, but if you are learning or talking in Italian about something that you love, you will pay more attention to it and learn faster.

Part of the learning environment is also the kind of feedback you receive from your teacher or the Italian native speaker you are talking to.

Positive feedback such as compliments, friendly corrections, tips on your pronunciation, can help you to learn Italian faster than not receiving any feedback at all.

Keeping a positive and engaging learning environment is fundamental to become confident in Italian.


Personal Circumstances

Personal circumstances can get in the way and slow the learning process.

A person with three jobs and kids could find it harder to make time and really focus on the language than a retired person, for example.

However this is also related to how strong your motivation is. As the saying goes ‘’where there is a will there’s a way’’, or ‘’volere è potere’’ in Italian.


I am too old to learn Italian? No!

It’s never too late to learn Italian and, despite many dissenting voices, Krashen (1979) actually shows that adults can learn a foreign language faster than children, especially when it comes to the correct structure of the sentence.


Now you know what are all the different factors that can speed up or slow down Italian language learning!

A real learner knows that you will never stop learning a language, like you never stop learning your own language. How many times have you heard or read an English word that you never heard or used before?

Imagine you meet a beautiful woman, or a handsome man, and you start flirting till you fall deeply in love, do you look at your clock when you are together, or do you enjoy his/her company and wish this moment will never end?

The truth is, when you start learning Italian you will never want to stop, just like a true love story!

So what are you waiting for? Start learning Italian NOW!

By: Lucia Aiello

Lucia Aiello is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. Born and raised in Italy, she is a passionate Italian teacher and language enthusiast.

Are you hesitating what hobby you should dedicate yourself to? A hobby that will be both amusing and useful to you? If you are at this point, let me help you out with that. Start learning a language, but not any language. Start learning Italian!

You may have not heard until now, but according to many researches, Italian is considered as the 4th most studied language in the world. And this is absolutely no surprise.

Why should it be a surprise? Isn’t Italian renowned as the language of love, the language of history and art, the language of food and culture?

Are you unsure where to start? I strongly recommend to first start reading this article as it will profoundly guide you through this new journey of yours.

Not sure where to find good introductory material in Italian? Don’t worry about this either. In this article you will find many YouTube channels to get you started: .

Anyway, if you are new to learning languages, there is more to Italian than just love and culture… So, for all of you hesitating let’s get back to the question…why learn Italian?

Here are the top 15 reasons why Italian should be your first choice:

1. Improve your brain health

Have you ever heard that learning another language is one of the methods for preventing or delaying the onset of dementia? Dementia is the loss of cognitive abilities and its most common form is Alzheimer’s disease. 

Many university studies have shown that being able to “train your brain” and improve your cognitive abilities might help you delay the onset of dementia.

However, studies also suggest that not all types of training could improve one’s abilities. Instead, there is a clear evidence that dementia appears a lot later for people who speak a second language compared to monolinguals. 

Bilinguals outperform monolinguals on tests of selective attention and multitasking and are far better at following complex instructions same as switching quickly to new instructions. Many experiments and studies have been completed and all have shown that there is a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in bilinguals.

You really don’t have to be an expert, even a brief language course can improve your mental ability and give you a better and healthier life. Many other hobbies may not have the same effect on your brain, whereas only one week of intensive language course will definitely lead to an improvement in cognitive function.

All you need to do is make some lifestyle changes.

Even if studying a foreign language won’t magically cure a certain disease, it will definitely make you a better speaker of a foreign language. That’s how we come to the second reason why learn Italian.

2. Improve your self-confidence 

While learning Italian, you will make mistakes every single day. Although that sounds frightening and uncomfortable, the best way to make mistakes is in front of other Italian speakers. That’s how you will learn from your errors. It’s a necessary part of the learning process.

Making mistakes in front of  others means you are putting yourself out there, you are getting out of your comfort zone. And we all know, that we become braver, stronger and more self-confident once we step out of our comfort zone, out of our circle of friends, out of our hometown.

Not only will you be slowly overcoming your fear to speak in Italian, but you’ll go through a process that will teach you how to deal with other fears. Once you gain confidence and start conversing with native speakers, you will realize that you can gain confidence in any other field and bloom there too!

Overcoming obstacles and challenging yourself will become a new asset for you, and the best way to prove this to yourself is to challenge yourself and start learning Italian today. Dedicate one hour every single day this first week and you will be amazed at how quickly you are able to learn anything you put effort into.

3. Connect with locals

The most rewarding aspect of human experience is the ability to connect with others. Every single person is a unique book, whose pages offer a different perception of life, a different belief system, a different way of living and understanding life.

Aren’t you amazed every day of the way people understand things, the way people behave and react to certain situations? All those people speak your language and more or less are part of the same nation and the same belief system. Imagine, being able to communicate with someone who has a totally different background and surrounding.

By speaking Italian, you are gifted! Gifted to get to know the whole nation of Italy, their way of doing things. You will understand better why they like fashion, why their favorite meal is pasta and why the most important opera is in Italian.

Bilinguals have the unique opportunity to get to know a wider range of people in their personal and professional lives. You will become a local in Italy and be received with open arms once they hear you speak Italian. People will be amazed by your ability, strangers will become lifelong friends. All the things you’ll learn by knowing Italian will create a positive attitude and less prejudice toward people who are different. That’s why the next reason to why learn Italian is:

4.   Broaden your horizons

italian countryside

Speaking Italian will help you bridge the gap between you and someone from a different culture. Yes, you will be able to order pizza in Italian, and say Good afternoon while entering a supermarket, or buy tickets from the bus station. 

But you don’t learn a language just to ask for directions. Italian will come in handy mostly because you will be able to have conversations and build friendships.

Language experts claim that learning a second language broadens the horizons and opens the mind to new ways of thinking and perceiving, new ways of believing and living. You will be able to see the world from another perspective and maybe discover the world for the first time again.

5. Understand Italian culture

Broadening your horizons begins when you start understanding someone’s culture, you begin to be able to travel and interact with people, which is part of the opening the mind in a broader sense.

Once you connect with locals, you’ll start wondering about many things. Previously you may have judged Italians for certain things. Now, you will understand. You will become more open – minded, tolerant, knowledgeable. You simply can’t stay as narrow-minded as you were before. All these beautiful characteristics of Italy – its charm, its romantic atmosphere, its beauty will become part of you.

6.  You get to understand your culture better

Dealing with another culture enables people to gain more profound look at their own culture. Learning about another culture leads us to realize all the positive and negative aspects of our own beliefs and traditions that we previously haven’t even paid attention to. 

You will start appreciating what you have, even be open to admit what you don’t like about your beliefs and maybe accept other ways of thinking.

Imagine you were taking your breakfast routine for granted. In America, eggs, bacon or cereals is a normal breakfast. In Italy, when you mention breakfast, it means croissant with cappuccino. Your first reaction in Italy would be: “Seriously, I should eat sweet for breakfast?” But, some days later, you’ll question yourself: “Seriously, why do we have this breakfast in America?” 

This is just one example of how a second language changes your perception about your own culture. Imagine how many things you could discover and wonder about.

7.   Open doors to other languages

Italian is part of the Romance language group. The most spoken Romance languages are Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Romanian. They are similar because they all originate from Latin, which was spoken by the Western Roman Empire.

Once you learn how to speak Italian, you’ll be able to understand Spanish and will be a few steps closer to mastering Portuguese and French. Learning one romance language means having a solid basis for another romance language.

They not only have similar vocabulary, but they have the same grammar system.

Since Italian comes directly from Latin, you might be able to understand many medical terms (since they all have Latin basis).

Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. There is no question that you will find similar words in English and Italian.

That is how learning languages works. You learn one more language and you’ve already opened the doors to other languages too.

8.    Helps you improve your knowledge of your own language

Learning Italian means learning inevitably about your own language.

This happens when learning any language, but why is Italian so special then? 

Because Italian, being a Romance language, teaches you about the nature of register in the English language.

Adjectives, such as cospicuo (conspicuous), tremendo (tremendous), orrendo (horrendous), innocuo (innocuous) are a great example of Italian words enriching the English vocabulary and giving you the possibility for a better self-expression.

Furthermore, learning Italian it will require you to re-examine English grammar. This will refresh your knowledge of English and improve your overall knowledge of the language.

9. Opens up a world of career opportunities

It’s a common fact: more and more employers are recruiting multilingual employees. Knowing more languages adds value to the workforce and the organization. It makes you more open to communication and more valuable for international collaboration.

There are tons of companies that would be amazed if you knew another language apart from English. Italian must be a good choice, it’s completely different, musical, rhythmic and romantic.

Bilingual people develop strong cognitive skills, better concept formation, multitasking, better listening and problem-solving skills. Knowing another language means you improve your social interaction and encourage your teammates to connect and work together.

Learning Italian could be great for your career. There are international companies throughout the world. You could easily find a place where your Italian will come in handy. There are various sectors such as fashion, design, food & beverage production, football, the car industry, Italian cuisine. The list goes on and on.

10.    Easy to learn

italian art

There are languages with strange vowels and languages with strange alphabets. There are even languages that have more exceptions in grammar than rules. Italian is nothing like that.

Why learn Italian? It’s simple. Because Italian is easy, Italian is musical, Italian is lovable.

The language has rhythmic words, while speaking you seem like you are singing and it’s no surprise it’s considered the most romantic language in the world. 

Being a romance language and having evolved from Latin, Italian is the language of old beautiful written poetry and prose and touching opera. The way vowels and consonants are distributed in the words makes a lilting sound in the language. That’s why Italian naturally sounds like singing.

Learn Italian and start singing!

11. Because it’s the language of art, history and culture

Italian is the language of culture, art and history. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello have all produced masterpieces that forever changed the art. It’s the Italian streets through which Archimedes ran naked shouting “Eureka”. According to UNESCO, over 60% of the world’s art treasures are found in Italy. There are hundreds of small villages and places, unique in this world, world heritage and evidence of Italian best art history, literature, archaeology and philosophy.

Start learning Italian and it’s inevitable: you’ll end up learning much more about the world and its beauty.

12.  Because it’s also the language of classical music

Italian is known as the language of music.

Music is never loud or quiet, it’s “forte” or “piano”. All the musical terminology and opera are in Italian. But how did Italian become the standard in the majority of noted music? Because Italian composers were the first who invented musical notation and markings, which then were adapted to music from Europe.

Italians have greatly influenced music and so many musical terms. If you are a musician and play an instrument, you are familiar with words such as allegro, forte, diminuendo, crescendo, sonata, aria. Many instruments’ names come from Italian: piano, viola, cello (violoncello) etc.

Mozart himself, who was an Austrian, chose Italian and not German as a language for some of his famous operas. Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli are unforgettable and are famous worldwide for their astonishing operatic voices.

Learn Italian because that’s the language of classical music. It is mandatory in all Music schools.

13.  Because it’s also the language of food 

Pasta, pizza, spaghetti, mozzarella, cappuccino, espresso…

Italy has the world’s best cuisine!

We can see the influence of Italian, not only in our own language’s vocabulary, not only in our music, but also in our dishes and meals! Aren’t we always excited to have a night out in a luxury, romantic restaurant with delicious Italian cuisine and excellent wine?

Italy is the culinary leader of the world and Italian is considered as the language with the highest number of words for naming food, restaurants, dishes and produce. Because Italians are simply obsessed with food.

14.  Because Italian is the language of love 

We ask ourselves why not learn German, Norwegian, Polish? Why learn Italian? It’s not just a theory, you can see it in practice. Italians are romantic, seductive, passionate. I mean, think about it: Romeo and Juliet could not speak in any other language to express each other’s love.

The musicality of the language, the simplicity of its sounds, the charm of the words, the way the words are pronounced and said, it is pleаsant to hear and feel.

And Italians, they don’t even have to speak to feel their positive vibe and magic. They are masters in gestures and facial expressions. Check out this video for some of the common Italian gestures:

You can choose any reason why learn Italian and you won’t ever regret it!

Master your Italian and then go to the rolling hills of Tuscany, or to the canals of Venice, or to the five small villages of Cinque Terre. Discover Italy’s hidden gems, but first discover all the world’s beauty and love hidden in this language.

As the writer Elizabeth Gilbert put it in her book “Eat, Pray, Love”: “No language was ever more perfectly ordained to express human emotions.”

15.    Encourages you to be a better “you”

Getting out of your comfort zone while learning Italian has other benefits too. You learn the language by imitating the native speakers. You imitate the way they talk, the way they eat, the way they think. And believe me, Italians are great.

Italians are more expressive than others, more open, more carefree. They communicate with others easily because they love to talk.

When learning Italian, you will find yourself becoming more Italian. That means becoming better at being expressive, better at being more open and better at not caring and enjoying life to the fullest. 

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. He is a frequent traveler to Italy and has been studying Italian for years.

I started learning Italian in my 40’s so when I hear the question “Am I too old to learn Italian” I am quick to reply. 

You are never too old to learn Italian.  One of the most damaging myths in learning Italian is the idea that once we reach a certain age we are too old to learn the language. This is simply not true. 

To the contrary studies have proven that there is not a critical age range when learning a new language. 

For example, in the study “A Test of the Critical-Period Hypothesis for Second-Language Acquisition”, 2.3 million US immigrants were tested. The study examined the immigrants abilities to learn a second language and how that correlated to age and other factors.

In the end, the study found no correlation between the immigrants ability to learn a second language and their age

So those who were in their middle ages or older were able to learn a second language just as well as children or teenagers. 

That is great news if you thought you were too old to learn Italian!

Why Adults Are Not Too Old To Learn Italian

There are many factors that actually work in favor of older language learners. Here are just a few:

1. Learning Ability 

Adults have a big advantage because they already know how to learn.

Children and younger students must follow the instructions of teachers. On the other hand, as adults we have the ability to also teach ourselves. We know what methods work for us and which ones do not.

In fact most polyglots, a person who can speak several languages, say learning a new language like Italian becomes easier over time. 

This is because they develop systems of learning that work for them. 

Steve Kaufman is a shining example of this.  He could only speak English until the age of 17. 

However, since the age of 17 he has learned 16 languages fluently!  And he is still learning.

At age 60 he started learning Russian and at age 62 he started to learn Portuguese.

I found the same to be true for me.

As I have progressed in learning Italian I have been able to identify what methods work the best for me. This has spend up my learning dramatically.

2. Attention Span

Adults once again have a huge advantage when it comes to attention span.

Learning Italian can be a difficult and long process at times.

As such, it requires intense dedication for extended periods of time.

Thankfully our attention spans increase over time and peak around age 43.

So those long sessions of listening and learning Italian are much easier for an adult than a child.

3. Motivation

Having a “why” or reason to learn Italian can be the biggest contributing factor to your success in Italian fluency.

Perhaps your “why” is the desire to speak with relatives. 

Or maybe you have a love interest who speaks Italian.

Maybe you love to travel to Italy and want to be able to truly experience the country as an insider.

Whatever it is the motivation to learn Italian will get you going through the difficult times.

After all, as famed Austrian psychologist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl stated:

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”

As adults our “why” is usually stronger than children. Especially those that are being forced to learn italian.

4. Time

Learning Italian requires a serious time commitment.  

This may be difficult for some adults with small children or those busy with their careers.

However, for senior citizens learning Italian or those retired time is more freely available. 

Even more than children who are busy with school, after school programs, and athletics.

5. Access to Italian Learning Resources

We are lucky to be living in the midst of the Information age.

Never before has there been this amount of readily available resources to learn Italian.

All easily accessible from our computers or smart phones with a click of a button.

All within reach whether you are at home or on the road.

And most of the resources are free

For those of us who grew up without the internet we can remember how difficult it was to find resources for studying anything.

Imagine trying to learn Italian without the help of the internet?

With so many free resources online adults of any age can speed up their Italian learning.

Benefits Of Learning Italian As An Adult 

So now that we know we are not too old to learn Italian the next question is:

Why should I learn Italian as an adult?

There are several reasons:

1. Learning Italian is Good for Your Brain Health

Recent studies have shown that learning a second language improves cognition in older adults and also delays the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Further, learning a second language like Italian can improve your overall intelligence, concentration and memory.

But the benefits do not end there.

Learning Italian can also help you make better decisions. People who speak only one language tend to make decisions based on emotions.

We also see that as we learn Italian we are actually also improving our English. I may be dating myself and I don’t remember much from my high school English classes. However, since I started learning Italian I also have renewed/increased my knowledge of English grammar. This has led to improved writing, speaking and communication skills.

2. Learning Italian Expands New Horizons

Being able to speak Italian has enriched my life in many ways.

Most of all it has allowed me to meet and become friends with so many people that I would have never been able to communicate with in the past.

It has made my trips to Italy so much more enjoyable. I can now speak with locals and feel a part of whatever city I am visiting. 

For others learning Italian as an adult can open up new job and business opportunities.

3. Learning Italian Will Give You More Self-Confidence

Learning Italian can be a humbling experience.

In the beginning you will fail and at times you may even lose hope.

But learning Italian can also be one of the most rewarding things you can do.

From being able to say simple phrases to having your first conversation in Italian these moments will give you a huge sense of accomplishment.

In these moments you have taken a chance and moved out of your comfort zone. In being able to speak even a little Italian you will a profound sense that you are still able to take on and conquer anything. 

No matter what your age is.

Related Question:

Do children have any advantages over adults in learning Italian?

Studies have found children have an advantage with regards to learning Italian pronunciation and grammar.

However, what is your goal? Fluency or perfection?

For most of us even being able to communicate in Italian would be a huge achievement.

Italian fluency is certainly possible at any age.

Perfection, especially with regards to pronunciation, may not be attainable after a certain age but most adult learners are ok with that.

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. He is a frequent traveler to Italy and has been studying Italian for years.

I’ve been studying Italian for several years now and there always seems to be a new word I come across. So I was curious: How many words are in the Italian language?

According to the Grande Dizionario Italiano dell’Uso there are over 260,000 words in the Italian language. This Italian dictionary was edited by famed Italian linguist Tullio De Mauro and is considered the most comprehensive dictionary of the current Italian language.

But if we think of the various forms that Italian words can take that number grows quickly. 

Introduce verb forms, adjective variations, the singular and plural forms of nouns and you can see how that can happen.

In fact, linguist Luca Lorenzetti did just that in his essay, “L’italiano contemporaneo” (Carocci, Roma 2004). In it Lorenzetti estimated that there are more than 2 million words in Italian.

If you are learning Italian that number may be intimidating .

But have no fear. 

Italians with medium-high education have a vocabulary of around 47,000 words.

That number is even lower for the words that make up basic Italian communication. 

7,000 Italian Words

According to the studies of De Mauro, 98% of the Italian used today consists of only 7,000 words.

Those words are broken down into three categories:

1) Basic vocabulary: 2,000 words
The fundamental vocabulary of Italian. These words are used frequently and make up 90% of Italian communication. They are usually learned by native Italians at a very young age. Examples include: the verb “guidare” / “to drive” and the article “il” /  “the” .

2) High use vocabulary: around 2,750 words

These words are used less frequently. They are learned in higher levels of education and make up 6% of used Italian. These words are found more often in adult literature and mature conversations. Examples include: “impianto”/” implant”  and “impaurire” / ”to frighten”.

3) High availability vocabulary: about 2,300 words 

These words are easy to understand by Italian speakers but are used in only 1-2% of the time. Examples include:  “pesca” / ”peach” and “bancarella” / “stall”.

The New Basic Vocabulary Of The Italian Language

So what are the 7,000 words that make up the basic Italian vocabulary?

Furthermore, how did Tullio DeMauro determine them?

The 7,000 words are more formally known as “Il Nuovo vocabolario di base della lingua italiana” or translated in English “The New Basic Vocabulary of The Italian Language”.

The list was created by electronically counting the words in over 18,843,459 long texts.

These texts were selected evenly from six categories:

  1. Press / Print (daily and weekly)
  2. Essays / Non-Fiction (popular essays, scholastic and university texts and texts),
  3. Fiction / Literary texts (narrative, poetry)
  4. Television/Shows (film scripts, theater)
  5. Computer communication (chat etc.)
  6. Speech recordings 

Proper names, symbols, numbers, and icons were then removed so that only words remained.

From there, the most common words were determined thus creating  â€œIl Nuovo vocabolario di base della lingua italiana“.

If you’d like the entire list can be downloaded here.

Most Common 1000 Words In Italian

In addition, the study found the most common 1000 words in Italian make up:

  • 86% of Spoken Italian
  • 83% of Italian Computer communication
  • 84% of Italain Television/Shows 
  • 81% of Italian Fiction / Literary texts 
  • 76% of Italian Press / Print
  • 73% of Italain Essays / Non-Fiction 

86% of spoken Italian uses only 1000 words.

That is a huge drop from the intimidating 260,000 words in the Grande Dizionario Italiano dell’Uso.

Learning those 1000 words would give you a huge head start in becoming fluent in Italian. 

Statistically speaking, having these 1000 words in your Italian vocabulary,  would mean you would know close to 9 out of 10 words in every Italian conversation. 

Understanding most Italian conversations would be a breeze. 

So where do you start learning the most common 1000 words in Italian?

Begin by trying one of these free online resources:

Most Common 2000 Words In Italian

But why stop at 1000 Italian words?

What would happen if you increased your vocabulary to the most common 2000 words in Italian?

According to the study the 2000 most common words in Italian are used in:

  • 91% of Spoken Italian
  • 86% of Computer communication in Italian
  • 86% of Italian Television/Shows 
  • 85% of Italian Fiction / Literary texts 
  • 84% of Italian Press / Print
  • 81% of Italian Essays / Non-Fiction 

You can get started learning these 2000 Italian words here:

2000 Most Common Italian Words in Context

Additional Common Italian Words

For advanced Italian speakers even 2000 Italian words isn’t going to cut it. 

Those of us who are perfectionists will want to try our best to be closer to 100%.

Unfortunately, 100% is never a complete reality even in a native language. 

However, if you can master the 5000 most commonly used words in Italian you will understand:

  • 95% of Spoken Italian
  • 92% of Computer communication in Italian
  • 93% of Italian Television/Shows 
  • 93% of Italian Fiction / Literary texts 
  • 92% of Italian Press / Print
  • 90% of Italian Essays / Non-Fiction 

For this challenge you are going to need more than a simple list.

Here are some resources that can help you on the road to becoming fluent in Italian….

Online Italian Dictionaries

  • I am a big fan of the Reverso app (iOS/Android).  But if you are looking for a free version the website is a great resource as well. It includes English to Italian translations as well as audio clips to help with pronunciation. 

Word Reference

  • Similar to Reverso, Word Reference offers an English to Italian and Italian to English online dictionary coupled with audio clips.


  • This online resource is in Italian only but is one of the most trusted dictionaries in Italy

Printed Italian Dictionaries

If you are a little more old-school and want to flip through a printed Italian dictionary these are good options:

Barron’s Italian-English Dictionary (Barron’s Bilingual Dictionaries) Second Edition

  • This dictionary features 100,000 entries with translations.

Webster’s New World Italian Dictionary, 2nd Edition Bilingual Edition

  • Webster’s Italian-English/English-Italian dictionary has been completely revised and updated. 

Italian Vocabulary Books

If a dictionary is too much for you try out one of these simpler books:

Italian Frequency Dictionary – Essential Vocabulary: 2500 Most Common Italian Words (Italian-English) (Volume 1) 1st Edition

Italian Frequency Dictionary – Intermediate Vocabulary: 2501-5000 Most Common Italian Words (Italian-English) (Volume 2)

Italian Vocabulary Builder: 2222 Italian Phrases To Learn Italian And Grow Your Vocabulary (Italian Language Learning Mastery) 

As you can see, increasing your Italian vocabulary just a little will greatly improve your chances of understanding most spoken Italian. 

Thankfully we don’t need to know all 260,000 words in the Italian Dictionary.

Related Questions

Which language has the largest vocabulary?

The Korean language has the largest vocabulary with 1,100,373 words in its dictionary 우리말샘 (Woori Mal Saem, 2017). The online open dictionary includes dialects of South and North Korea. 

How many words are in the English language?

According to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary there are more than 470,000 words in the English language.

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. He is a frequent traveler to Italy and has been studying Italian for years.

Since I visit Italy often people will ask me questions about how to make the most of their upcoming trip.  One question I receive often is “Do I need to speak Italian to visit Italy?”.

You do not need to speak Italian to visit Italy. Most Italians working at tourist destinations such as hotels, restaurants, airports, and train stations speak English. They are used to interacting with Americans visiting Italy and can switch from Italian to English with ease.

However, if you want to get the most out of your trip to Italy I do recommend learning a few keywords and phrases. Italians are usually extremely friendly and appreciative when we try to speak their language. 

Even if it’s a simple “Grazie” or “Ciao”. 

But why stop there?

Learning Some Italian Can Help You Enjoy Italy

If you really want to feel connected and take your Italian experience to the next level spend some time prior to your trip learning a little Italian. 

You won’t become fluent in a few months like some “experts” claim but you will be surprised how much you can pick up with a little time and effort. 

How impressed will your fellow travelers be when you order your meal in Italian? 

Lost in a small town and you can’t find someone who speaks English? 

Knowing some question and direction phrases can be a life saver.

How To Learn Some Italian For Traveling

There are countless Italian language resources online that can be accessed from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.

Do you commute to work?

If so, why not spend that time listening to a Beginner Italian Podcast.

Are you currently binge watching an entire season of Stranger Things on Netflix?

Why not replace one episode with an Italian Language YouTube video?

While you do not need to be fluent to enjoy your Italian holiday knowing a few of the following simple Italian key words and phrases will help you fit in during your trip to Italy. 

Simple Italian Phrases For Travel

Italian Greetings 

Being able to say hello and introduce yourself in Italian is easier than you’d think as a beginner. Try these simple phrases to greet Italians and you will be on your way to making new friends.

  • Hello (informal) – Ciao
  • Hello (formal) – Salve
  • Goodbye (informal) – Ciao
  • Goodbye (formal) – Arriverderci 
  • Good morning – Buongiorno
  • Good evening – Buona sera
  • Good night – Buona notte
  • My name is – Mi chiamo
  • What is your name (informal)? – Come ti chiami?
  • What is your name (formal)? – Come si chiama?

Italian Courtesy Phrases For Travelers

Being polite is always nice no matter what is the language you are using. These phrases will help you maintain your manners while you are visiting Italy:

  • Yes – Sì
  • No – No
  • Thank you – Grazie
  • Your welcome – Prego
  • Please – Per favore
  • I don’t speak Italian  – Non parlo italiano
  • Excuse me – Mi scusi
  • Do you speak English? – Parla inglese?
  • How are you? – Come sta?
  • How do you say? – Come si chiama?

Italian Question Words For Travelers

Whether you are in Rome looking for gelato or in Milan asking for directions, being able to ask questions in Italian can be very helpful. 

Here are a couple key question words that will help you.

  • What? – Cosa?/ Che? / Che cosa?
  • Where? – Dove?
  • Who? – Chi?
  • Where? – Dove?
  • How? – Come?
  • Why? – Perché?

Italian Numbers 

Ordering two espressos for you and your partner in Florence? Looking for a table for four in Naples? Knowing your Italians numbers can come in handy in many situations.

  • 1 – Uno
  • 2 – Due
  • 3 – Tre
  • 4 – Quattro
  • 5 – Cinque
  • 6 – Sei
  • 7 – Sette
  • 8 – Otto
  • 9 – Nove
  • 10 – Dieci

Italian Phrases To Use At Restaurant And Bars 

If you have never been to Italy before than you are in for a treat. Italian food is some of the best in the world. 

A few things to note about eating and drinking in Italy:

  1. Dinner – Italians eat dinner late. Typically most restaurants don’t open until 7:00pm and most Italians don’t eat dinner until 9:00pm and will stay at the restaurant for much longer than Americans do.
  2. Bars – When you see a sign for a bar in Italy know they are not like bars here in the United States. In Italy bars are places to not only grab a drink but also a coffee, breakfast or a quick bite to eat. They are casual hang-out places for locals and tourists alike.
  3. Coffee – When ordering an espresso simply say “un caffe”.  Italians don’t order using the word espresso. Speaking of coffee, if you want to blend in with the locals don’t order a cappuccino after breakfast. Italians never drink cappuccino after a meal and may look at you strangely if you order one in the afternoon.
  4. Tipping – Unlike in the United States, tipping isn’t nearly as common in Italy. Don’t feel obligated to do so unless you feel you received exemplary service.

Reading a menu and ordering in Italian can be a challenge but here are some words and phrases to help you at restaurants, bars and cafes in Italy:

  • I would like – Vorrei
  • A glass of  – Un bicchiere di
  • A bottle of  – Un bottiglia di
  • A cup of – Una tazza di
  • Beer – Birra
  • Red wine – Vino rosso
  • White wine – Vino bianco
  • A coffee – Un caffè
  • Still water – Acqua naturale
  • Sparkling water – Acqua frizzante
  • The menu, please – Il menù, per favore
  • What do you recommend? : Che cosa mi consiglia?
  • Check, please – Il conto, per favore

Italian Phrases To Use While Shopping

Italians take their fashion style seriously and that is why they are some of the most fashionable people in the world. 

So a trip to Italy without trying some of their latest styles would be a mistake. 

These phrases will help you at clothing stores around Italy:

  • Do you have…? – Avete…?
  • How much is this? – Quanto costa?
  • I need – Mi serve
  • Shirt – Camicia
  • Shoes – Scarpe
  • Pants – Pantaloni
  • Dress – Vestito
  • Too tight – Troppo stretto
  • Too loose – Troppo largo
  • I like – Mi piace
  • I don’t like – Non mi piace

Asking For Directions While Traveling In Italy

Italy can be a confusing place to navigate at times. 

Going to Venice? If so you will get lost multiple times during your visit. 

Don’t worry. Venice is a small island so you can always find your way back to your hotel or next destination.  

But wouldn’t be easier if you could ask for directions in Italian? 

Knowing these keywords and phrases will help.

  • Where is? – Dov’è
  • Left – Sinistra
  • Right – Destra
  • In front of – Davanti
  • Next to – Accanto
  • Near – Vicino
  • Far – Lontano
  • Street – Strada
  • Church – Chiesa
  • Square – Piazza
  • Park – Parco
  • Museum – Museo
  • Train station – Stazione
  • Airport – Aeroporto

How To Ask For Help In Italy

Hopefully your trip to Italy will be accident free and you will never need to ask for help or find yourself in an emergency situation.

However, if by some chance you do,  knowing these words and phrases could be the most helpful of all.

  • Help! – Aiuto!
  • Doctor – Dottore
  • Ambulance – ambulanza
  • Call the police – Chiama la polizia
  • I feel sick – Mi sento male
  • Call an ambulance  – Chiama un’ambulanza
  • Pharmacy  – Farmacia

Related Questions

Is It Hard To Communicate In Italy?

Communicating in Italy for English speakers is usually not difficult. Many Italians speak some English but even if they don’t you should be able to navigate those situations. If you find yourself in such a case use hand gestures and speak in short sentences. This will work more often than you would imagine.

Is It Expensive To Visit Italy?

Visiting Italy can be affordable if you plan right. The most important thing to know is that if you travel off-season (November- March) you will usually see big savings in travel and hotel prices. For example, I have seen the same hotel room cost $85 in January and $300 in June. 

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. He is a frequent traveler to Italy and has been studying Italian for years.