You do say happy birthday in Italian with more than just one expression. Even if today’s not my birthday, I’m Italian. And Italian people really do love celebrating anniversaries and special occasions, so that’s why you could find it useful to know the different ways to make your best wishes for someone’s birthday.

How Do You Say Happy Birthday In Italian?

Buon compleanno is the one expression you can use to wish your Italian friend, partner or relatives a literal happy birthday. It’s considered the official way, although you will also hear Tanti auguri as another popular greeting. Tantissimi auguri is the superlative form, while just Auguri is more of a fast one used on various occasions besides birthdays. If you really want to sound like a local, longer phrases such as Ti auguro un felice compleanno! or Cento di questi giorni! are the perfect way to show off a little bit to impress your friends!

So, let’s dive in and see how you can wish a happy birthday in Italian.

8 Common Ways To Wish Happy Birthday In Italian

Here’s a list of all the ways of saying happy birthday in Italian.

Let’s find out together each of them in detail:

1. Buon Compleanno

Buon Compleanno! - Happy Birthday in Italian

Literally meaning “good birthday”, it’s the most direct way to express your best wishes. No matter how the occasion is celebrated, Italians mainly wish a happy birthday using buon compleanno!

If you learn this expression, you will surely know an excellent way to impress your Italian friends.


Buon compleanno, Emma! Hai ricevuto il mio regalo?
Happy birthday, Emma! Did you get my present for you?

2. Auguri

Auguri is a very general way of wishing someone a happy birthday in Italian. It basically means you’re wishing somebody happiness. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Easter, New Year’s Eve, or your friend is starting a new job or getting married, auguri is definitely the primary choice.

Knowing a versatile word helps you guys that are learning Italian. You can use it on various special occasions, from a couple that’s going to have a baby to someone’s graduation day.

Furthermore, you can form another popular expression by adding the augmentative suffix -oni at the end of the word to send your big wishes. Auguroni!


Auguri, Enzo! Quanti anni compi?
Happy birthday, Enzo? How old are you today?

Auguroni, zio Tom! Stai invecchiando!
Happy birthday, Uncle Tom! You’re getting old!

3. Tanti auguri

Happy Birthday - Tanti Auguri!

As you’ve seen, tanti auguri does not contain the word compleanno. So, it’s not only for birthdays and it can be considered a bonus card when it comes to Italian greetings.

Fun fact: auguri is the plural form of augurio, which literally means omen in Italian. Coming from the ancient Latin language, it originally meant prophecy or divination.

Tanti auguri translates as best wishes. It emphasizes your expression of goodwill for somebody’s birthday by the word tanti, which actually means many.

So far, it’s probably the most popular way to send someone birthday wishes. You should just remember the context, but it will be enough to convey why you are greeting the birthday boy or girl.


Tanti auguri, Stella! Non vedo l’ora di venire alla tua festa!
Happy birthday, Stella! Can’t wait to come over to your party!

4. Tantissimi auguri

Tantissimi is just the superlative form of tanti. It means that you really have many many – and possibly, your best – wishes for your friends or relatives.


Ciao Lara, oggi è il tuo compleanno? Tantissimi auguri!
Hi Lara, is it your birthday today? Happy birthday!

5. Tanti cari auguri

When you want to shower someone in kindness you could put a little extra word between tanti and auguri. So, you can address your many dear wishes every time they’re truly heartfelt.


Ciao nonna, tanti cari auguri per il tuo compleanno.
Hello granma, many dear wishes for your birthday.

6. Tanti auguri di buon compleanno

Happy Birthday - Tanti Auguri di Buon Compleanno!

This is a combination of the two most common expressions we’ve seen already before. If you’re writing a birthday card or a letter, buon compleanno tends to be the primary choice. The whole phrase tanti auguri di buon compleanno is surely the best way when written on paper.

Otherwise, Italians are more likely to use this expression in formal contexts.


Caro papà, tanti auguri di buon compleanno!
Dear dad, best wishes for a happy birthday!

7. Ti auguro un felice compleanno

This expression tends to be more formal, and it’s often paired with some other phrases to convey your most sincere wishes. You can check the conjugation of the verb augurare (to wish) and then give a look at the right indirect object pronoun to use.

Then, ti auguro un felice compleanno translates literally as I wish you a happy birthday. If you want to bring someone else’s wishes, you should pay attention to the correct syntax of the phrase. And even if you want to wish a happy birthday to more than one person, that is what to do.


Vi auguriamo un buon compleanno.
We wish you a happy birthday.

Mio padre le augura un buon compleanno, signora.
My father wishes you a happy birthday, ma’am. 

8. Cento di questi giorni!

You will sound more like a native if you use the expression cento di questi giorni, which literally means one hundred of these days.

Even though it does not explicitly mention birthdays, it’s often considered a kind way to send your best wishes to the birthday boy or girl. Probably, it could be a bit confusing as you’re wishing for just one hundred days.

But actually, you’re referring to one hundred birthdays more. Make it special, so it will be relieved next year!


Buon compleanno, Brian. Cento di questi giorni!
Happy birthday, Brian. One hundred days like this!

How To Answer To Happy Birthday In Italian

How To Answer To Happy Birthday In Italian

You can simply answer a very warm grazie to someone that has just wished you a happy birthday.

And when it comes to saying thank you in Italian, you’re definitely spoilt for choice. Just check here which one is more suitable for you!

Italian Birthday Traditions

Although Italian people usually celebrate birthdays in a similar way to many other countries in the world, there are some quirks when it comes to Italian birthday parties.

So, let’s see some Italian birthday traditions together!

The Most Important Birthday

Unlike American teenagers who fondly wait for their ‘super sweet sixteen’, Italians officially hit adulthood when they turn eighteen.

So that’s the reason why the biggest parties always come to celebrate the so-called maturità (coming of age). The style and the size of the party depend on the family and the person, but they tend to be as great as possible.

The Birthday Person Takes Care of the Party

Chi compie gli anni, pagaor the one who is celebrating birthday pays. In Italy it’s actually an unwritten rule whenever someone is throwing a party for their birthday. Probably it will sound weird to you that the party’s not a friends’ responsibility to take care of.

But you should know that food is a huge part of Italian culture. Sharing high-quality cooked stuff and drinks is a very important social activity. It conveys the pleasure of spending time together with people you love. When somebody celebrates his or her birthday, they show appreciation for their guests by offering them a meal.

Party is usually held at the birthday person’s house where everything will be prepared for the occasion. You could see some decorations all along the walls, streamers and balloons especially if it’s a children’s birthday party. The music could be loud and the food can be served as finger-food, a buffet, or a meal with more than one course.

Even though not that uncommon, having dinner outside would usually be with only close friends and relatives. You might be taken out by the birthday person to a restaurant, to the bar, or also to the cinema. Activities could be different, but you will always find a birthday cake at the end of the night. Desserts are usually Italian delicatessens, like the ones you can see listed in our article

Singing Tanti Auguri a te!

Singing Tanti Auguri a te!

Although the words are obviously different, the tune of the famous Happy Birthday song in Italian is identical to the English one. Guests always sing it when the cake is out and the birthday boy/girl has to blow their candles off: it’s definitely a lasting tradition! The lyrics aren’t quite a direct translation, but you can listen to it here and follow the same melody.

It goes like this: Tanti auguri a te, tanti auguri a te, tanti auguri a (sing name of the person), tanti auguri a te!

As in many other countries, when the song is over the birthday boy or girl needs to blow the candles on the cake and make a birthday wish. It is believed that you cannot tell it to anyone or it won’t come true!

Guests Must Bring Gifts

Bringing gifts is not exactly the rule, but still, it’s a spread way to show a matched affection to the birthday person that took care of the party. Presents are wrapped with great care and often opened before the party ends, so the host can thank everyone properly. And here’s where you can learn to understand when someone thanks you in Italian.

Even if the birthday boy or girl tells you not to bring anything, it’s always better not to come without a little gift for the host. No one would go empty-handed on any other special occasion! Birthdays are the perfect situations to demonstrate your love for the friend or the relative who’s throwing the party. 

It’s also common to match your gift with a funny birthday card where you should write down a few words to wish a great birthday to the birthday boy or girl. 

Besides, don’t forget that opening the presents in front of everyone at the party could result in embarrassing scenes! So you may want to buy something not too personal or to be ashamed of when shown in public.

When To Say Buon Compleanno

Wishing a happy birthday to somebody one or a few days in advance is considered to bring bad luck to the birthday person. Some people might also think it’s a bit rude.

So, be always sure to know exactly the date of your Italian friends’ birthday!

On the other hand, saying happy birthday in Italian when you’re a little late is easier to fix.


You can just wish a happy belated birthday: Tanti auguri in ritardo!

Italian Birthday glossary

Italian Birthday glossary

Finally, below are some useful Italian words and expressions concerning birthdays that you can easily use on those special occasions.

Torta di compleanno Birthday cake
CandelineSmall candles
Festa di compleannoBirthday party
Regalo di compleannoBirthday gift / present
Festeggiato / FesteggiataBirthday boy / Birthday girl
InvitoParty invitation
Brindisi di compleannoBirthday toast

Biglietto di auguri

Birthday card


To celebrate

Now that you learned how to wish a happy birthday in Italian, you’re officially ready to attend a real Italian birthday party. Or even to throw your own one!

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.

If you would like to engage with locals while staying in Italy, one of the phrases you should know is how to say how are you in Italian.

How do you say how Are You in Italian?

Come stai? is the most common expression to ask someone how he or she is. Come va? or Come butta? are colloquial questions that use different verbs, while Come sta? could help you sound more formal in some specific contexts. Depending on which direction you want to lead the conversation to, there are at least ten other ways to be polite and make Italians open up about their day, thoughts and feelings. Some of them are formal, but many more fit into informal contexts.

I listed here 13 common ways to ask how are you in Italian for you.

Let’s see them!

13 Common Ways To Ask How Are You In Italian

Here below is a list of the most popular ways of saying how are you in Italian.

Let’s found out together each of them in detail:  

And if you want also to improve your Italian Vocabulary finding all synonyms, check out these useful books:

1. Informal way to say How Are You In Italian – Come Stai?

Come Stai?

You should not consider asking how are you? in Italian as just a greeting start. You generally ask it if you really care about someone. So, Italian people don’t tend to ask it when they meet somebody for the very first time.

Let’s say you’re about to see one of your Italian friends you haven’t met for a while. You can definitely say come stai? and surprise him/her with a nice Italian question. Come stai? is used when informally addressing someone you’re usually on first-name terms with.  


Ciao Lucia, come stai? E il lavoro come va?
Hi Lucy, how are you? And how’s work going?

Marco, come stai? – Sto bene, grazie!
How are you, Mark? – I’m fine, thanks!

Unlike the English language that prefers the verb to be, Italians choose stare which means to stay or also to be. Learn here the right conjugation of the verb stare and so change the verb according to the number of people you’re referring to.


Ciao ragazzi, come state?
Hey guys, how are you?

Come stanno i tuoi bambini?
How are your children?

2. formal way to say How Are You In Italian – Come Sta?

Predictably, the formal equivalent of the previous one is come sta? You would use it with people you don’t know very well or someone older than you in a form of respect. In this case, sta is the third person singular in the stare conjugation. Because of its formal asset, you can ask someone come sta? in any circumstances.

However, it’s never heard between relatives or friends. I recommend saving it for contexts where you’re talking to your boss or to the shop assistant at the store. Be always polite using this version always in an accurate situation!


Buongiorno dottore, come sta?
Good morning doctor, how are you?

More Ways to Say How Are You In Italian

3. Come va?

More Ways to Say How Are You In Italian

This expression literally means how are you doing?. It’s not a formal way of asking how are you in Italian. You wouldn’t use it with a client or somebody you don’t know. But you can say come va? with friends, relatives and acquaintances. You can practice here the conjugation of the verb andare to get the right tense, as you would also hear come andiamo? used to ask a more generic question with the same meaning.

Besides, this is the most used phrase in texts or Telegram messages. As it’s a kind of impersonal question, you could hear it also in formal contexts especially if you know the person very well.


Ciao papà, come va?
Hi dad, how are you / how are you doing?

Buonasera Giorgio, come va?
Good evening George, how are you / how are you doing?

4. Come va la vita? / Come vanno le cose?

As we have seen, Italian people are usually very polite. Therefore, I can be honest in saying that asking how are you to someone isn’t always authentic. Maybe because you met your friend the day before or you’re not really expecting your greengrocer to start a speech about his health. Most of the time you already know that they are fine, so your question aims just at kicking off the conversation.

For that reason, you could say come va la vita? or come ti vanno le cose? These expressions signal that you are concerned for real about somebody and ready to listen to him or her. They also translate as how’s life? or how is it going / how are things going?.

Both are considered colloquial and used in social contexts, such as when you’re with your friends. Your family members might be asking come vanno le cose? when they want to know how your life is going lately, if you’re happy with it or not.


Ciao cara, come vanno le cose?
Hi dear, how are you / how are things going?

Ciao Carlo, è un sacco che non ci vediamo! Come va la vita?
Hey Carl, it’s been a long time! How are you / how’s life?

5. Tutto bene? / Tutto okay? / Tutto a posto?

 Tutto bene? / Tutto okay? / Tutto a posto?

If you’re looking for a short version of how to say how are you in Italian, here are three alternatives that all have the same meaning. You can translate them as everything good? – or in a longer variation, is everything good? That’s because sometimes Italian people tend to remove words and letters when they speak. It’s a way to make things more fluent while speaking.

These expressions are considered very friendly, but also not that serious. Just conventional manners that don’t bring any deep answer to them. They’re kind of rhetoric as well.

So, when someone’s asked you tutto bene?, you can just repeat the same words saying literally that everything is good, or okay.


Tutto a posto, Roberto? Non ci vediamo da secoli!
Is everything good, Robert? Haven’t seen you in ages!

E’ stata una bella caduta! Tutto bene, Mary? – Tutto bene!
It was quite a fall! Everything okay, Mary? – Everything okay!

Tutto okay poi con la questione del pignoramento?
Is everything good with the foreclosure thing?

6. Com’è?

This is a generic expression to ask about people’s life. It literally means what is it like?, but you can translate it with a non-specific how does it go?.

Thus, it’s not the one way you would use with your boss or people that are just barely acquaintances. It is okay with a friend or someone from your family, but also in this case the question is way too blanket and common to be really effective. You can’t expect a complete answer.


Ciao ma’.. com’è? 
Hey ma… how are you / how does it go?

7. Come ti senti? / Come si sente?

You may have heard of it. Italians nearly always have a formal variant for almost every expression. Understanding when it is okay to be casual and when you should better pull yourself together is not that easy. This guide will help you, but I can do more explaining the difference between these two versions.

Come si sente? literally means how are you feeling? and it’s the formal one for come ti senti? Of course, the meaning is the same, but you want to use the latter when talking to a friend. To be clearer, a doctor would surely ask you come si sente? to keep a professional tone.

And here we come to the context. You ask these questions when you know someone’s been sick or had some kind of problem recently. It’s a handful way to make you know if someone’s doing better now.

Moreover, people will normally open up about how they feel as they will sense you’re willing to listen to their answer more carefully than usual.


Salve signor Bianchi, come si sente?
Hello Mr. White, how are you / how are you feeling?

Ho saputo che hai rotto con Rebecca. Come ti senti?
I heard you broke up with Rebecca. How are you / how are you feeling?

8. Va meglio?

Come ti senti? Come si sente?

Basically the same meaning as the previous one. You ask va meglio? when you want to strengthen the meaning of how are you in Italian.

The possible alternative translations could be how’s that? or any better now?. They are used in both formal and friendly situations. If your brother’s been experiencing a blue Monday that still lasts today, you would surely inquire about it.


Come stai? Il piede va meglio?
How are you? Is your foot any better?

9. Che si dice? / Che mi racconti?

I can say that these ones drift somewhat from the classic formulation of how are you. However, the general meaning still remains the same and expresses in fact a genuine interest in news or updates about someone’s last days recently.

When people ask you che si dice? or che mi racconti?, they want to know about what’s going on in your life. So, you shouldn’t answer just with a simple good or bad. Give them what they want and try to start a conversation using your Italian skills.

Now, for the perfect English correspondence. I bet every one of you is familiar with the classic what’s up?. If the song by 4 Non Blondes doesn’t immediately ring out in your mind, you should definitely give it a look here and learn the translation to practice your Italian!


Ciao ragazze, come state? Che si dice?
Hello girls, how are you? What’s up?

E’ una vita che non ci sentiamo! Che mi racconti?
Long time no speak! What’s up?

10. Che succede?

If the answer to the general how are you in Italian has been negative, you might hear someone asking you what’s wrong? or what’s happening?. This expression usually already indicates that things are not going very well and the person you’re talking to is probably upset about something.

Then, it becomes clear that it’s an expression of deep worry. It is often used in combination with qualcosa non va? to emphasize the concern. Is something wrong with my explanation?


Che faccia! Che succede?
What a long face! What’s happening?

Ti vedo giù di morale. Come stai? Qualcosa non va?
I see you’re in a bad mood. How are you? Is everything wrong?

11. Come te la passi?

Now I want to enter the world of the Italian informal speech. You wonder what this question exactly means, and I’m here to tell you.

Come te la passi? could be translated with how have you been?. It focuses on you and how you’re living your life. Friends and relatives that ask you come te la passi? want to know everything about your physical health, your last love interest that’s maybe ended already or your feelings about the recent job you got.

The only thing you must remember is to avoid it when speaking with a senior at your workplace or in general, with someone you don’t know.


Oh, Pietro, come te la passi?
Hey Peter, how are you / how have you been?

12. Come butta?

Come Butta?

Perhaps the most colloquial and personal expression to say how are you in Italian. Literally, butta is the third person singular of the verb buttare (to throw). The meaning is very similar to come vanno le cose?, but it’s often used between longtime friends.

Should I be more precise with the translation? It is really close to what’s been happening lately? or how’s it going?.

Unlike come te la passi?, this one concentrates more specifically on life’s external factors that could influence your mood at the time you’re asked the question.

Not only is it by far considered a slang approach, but also it implies a close relationship with the people you’re talking to. Furthermore, there is a simple question like allora? which can urge the other person to tell you about how he or she is avoiding a more direct question.


Allora? Come butta, raga?
So? How are you / How’s it going, folks?

13. Come stai oggi?

Last in the list, the slight difference of meaning between English and Italian. We don’t really have an equivalent to the well-known how are you today?. You can ask people the general mood of the day simply by the most common come stai?

Despite this, you might translate it literally as come stai oggi? which is a question used almost only referring to someone’s health. For instance, if your sister has been sick for a few days, you can ask her how she’s feeling today with come stai oggi?


Ehi Rosa, come stai oggi? Passato il raffreddore?
Hey Rose, how are you today / how are you feeling today? Got over the cold?

How To Answer To How Are You In Italian

Very Good in Italian

There could be many possible answers to get and give when someone asks you how are you? in Italian or when you’re asked it. 

Certainly, it depends on the mood. Then it’s impossible to indicate just one answer, but I can definitely say that the most used and heard is sto bene or tutto bene. Even when you’re not fine at all.

This is a very general response you can get all over the country from every kind of person. It basically means very good, that you can repeat here. I’m sure it still remains the best way to fuel any conversation with politeness. Gauge the level of comfort between you and Italian people by asking how they are and see what they’re willing to share with you.

So, don’t be rude! Step beyond simple greetings and wait until you get an answer!

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.

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!

After seeing popular Italian sayings, it’s time now to talk about the most common Italian proverbs.

What are Italian Proverbs and why learn them?

Italian proverbs are popular sayings widely used and of ancient traditions. They condense a lesson, a rule or a though derived from experience. You should learn them for many reasons. First of all, if properly used, they can make you sound like a local during a conversation; secondly, you’ll have the chance to know more about Italian habits, culture, and customs after reviewing them; in the third place, learning them by heartcould be a great exercise to improve your vocabulary and your memory.

In this regard, here is a list of 22 common Italian proverbs that preserve Italian linguistic heritage.

Let’s see all of them together!

And if you want to improve your vocabulary, I also suggest to you these books:

1. A buon intenditor, poche parole 

Italian Proverbs - A buon intenditor, poche parole

Let’s start with one of the most well-known Italian proverbs you will surely hear during a trip to Italy. Since an equivalent in English doesn’t exist, a possible translation could be a word to the wise

Regarding its meaning, you are supposed to use it when referring to a brainy and perceptive guy. It refers to people who can understand everything from just the context without needing more explanations.  

2. Chi dorme non piglia pesci 

This is probably one of the most popular Italian proverbs. It can be translated as who sleeps catches no fish. Its meaning is similar to the English saying you snooze, you lose. Generally, it means thatlazy people will hardly be able to achieve something good in life.      

3. Il buongiorno si vede dal mattino

This other famous Italian saying is placed in the third place of our list. It means a good day starts from the morning. It is mostly applied in case your day starts in a good way; nevertheless, you can use it oppositely and ironically. For example, if everything is going bad from the moment your day has started until now. In that case you have every right to say that il buongiorno si vede dal mattino!        

4. Ride bene chi ride ultimo 

Italian Proverbs - ride bene chi ride ultimo

Moving on, I’m going to introduce another of the most used Italian proverbs. Literally who laughs last laughs best, this aphorism is mainly employed in competitions, and matches as a kind of warning. It actually means that you better not celebrate, or exult before what is going on has yet to pass. This because the situation might change unexpectedly and at every moment. Therefore, in case you are challenging a friend of yours and you are losing badly, don’t give up and tell your opponent that ride bene chi ride ultimo!      

5. Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio

At the same time, here is another equally important maxim. Literally meaning the fox loses its fur but not its bad habits, it may be rendered in English as old habits die hard. Basically, you can apply it when you want to convey that some people can change appearance or behavior, but their nature still remains the same. Seeing that it conveys a quite pessimistic perspective on life, I suggest you use it only on specific occasions (e.g. when being ironic) and sparingly because it could be even offensive to someone.       

6. L’erba del vicino è sempre più verde 

Italian Proverbs - l'erba del vicino è sempre più verde

How to tell your Italian friend he is dissatisfied with everything concerning his life and he is envious of someone else’s stuff? Easier than ever before! Just say l’erba del vicino è sempre più verde when you notice that he doesn’t appreciate everything he has now, or keeps on complaining about how miserable his existence is for no good reason. 

I’m sure you’ll have the chance to hear the Italian version of this international saying from a native speaker himself when in Italy.         

7. Meglio soli che male accompagnati 

Among the several Italian proverbs you can bump into, you should consider this one, too. Standing for better alone than in bad company, the aphorism in question might be very useful when wanting to communicate that sometimes you better embrace the loneliness instead of spending time with bad or unworthy people who can prevent you from achieving your goals and carrying out your life plans. 

8. La mamma dei cretini è sempre incinta 

Italian Proverbs - la mamma dei cretini è sempre incinta

In my opinion, this is one of the funniest Italian proverbs you can listen to. Indeed, I always smile every time a friend of mine tells me that the mother of idiots is always pregnant after seeing a person acting foolishly, or doing something notably stupid. Furthermore, a rude option to this idiom could be la mamma degli stronzi è sempre incinta where the term cretini (idiots) shall be replaced by the curse word stronzi (assholes). However, the English equivalent is there’s one born every minute.     

9. Le bugie hanno le gambe corte 

To continue, we have to cite this other maxim whose literal translation is lies have short legs. It is primarily applied when stating that lying is meaningless since lies don’t get you anywhere. Plus, they are often counterproductive because they can backfire on you, or perhaps hurt someone. Finally, they don’t last long because the truth always comes out in one way or another. So, if you have the feeling the guy you are talking to is uttering tons of lies, try to say le bugie hanno le gambe corte in order to intimidate him!     

10. Piove sempre sul bagnato

Italian Proverbs - piove sempre sul bagnato

Coming to the half of this article, let’s continue to mention the best Italian proverbs going ahead with this other interesting idiom which literally means it always rains on the wet. Apart from the reference to Italian weather, it is required when wanting to indicate that things keep going wrong for those people who have bad luck the whole time; on the contrary, the same things keep going great for those guys who are already lucky.           

11. Non si può avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca

Why can’t you have a full cask and a drunk wife at the same time? That’s what they say in one of the most appreciated Italian proverbs! You must know that it is chiefly employed when you are called to decide between two options which are both tempting. Considering that you cannot have everything you want concurrently, you are compelled to choose and give up on one of them. Anyway, a similar meaning also appears in its English version: you can’t have your cake and eat it too.      

12. È inutile piangere sul latte versato

Equally important is the current aphorism that may be intended as it’s pointless to cry on spilled milk. To clarify, you can resort to it when someone you know is really sorry about something that has already happened and so impossible to be changed. Since things can’t be any different, all you need to do is give it up and go on with your life.    

13. La notte porta consiglio 

Italian Proverbs - la notte porta consiglio

Are you still there? May I have your attention a little longer? Fine, here is another of the most famous Italian proverbs. Specifically, this one, meaning night brings advice, is largely applied when facing important decisions to make. What to do if still unsure and in trouble the night before? Just sleep on it and take your choices with a fresh mind when the morning comes!  

14. Quando il gatto non c’è i topi ballano  

Additionally, there is one more maxim that is widely used by most Italians. As in the English version when the cat’s away, the mice will play, you are suggested to employ it when someone feels free of doing everything they want ignoring any presumed danger (in this case a person, a specific situation, etc.), or consequences that can still occur at any time. 

Fun fact: in the Italian adaptation the mice dance instead of playing!         

15. Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca 

Italian Proverbs - il mattino ha l'oro in bocca

By the same token, we can find a further idiom belonging to the greatest Italian proverbs. Translated as the morning has gold in its mouth, it is principally used when you want to highlight the fact that in the very early hours of the morning you are usually more productive at work. Instead, the English equivalent the early bird catches the worm has almost the same meaning, but it mainly focuses on the concept of catching the best opportunities when starting early in the morning.

However, this aphorism goes against stereotypes about Italian people!     

16. A mali estremi, estremi rimedi 

On the contrary, this aphorism conveys the idea that in some circumstances you are obliged to contemplate extreme solutions to solve a quite harsh problem after trying everything. In fact, it is normally applied when talking about serious situations, or making reference to problematic issues. A possible translation in English might be desperate times call for drastic measures.    

17. L’abito non fa il monaco

We shall now proceed to another of the most familiar Italian proverbs. Coming from the religious world, it can be rendered as clothes don’t make a man, even though the English interpretation corresponds to don’t judge a book by its cover. Regarding its usage, it is commonly employed in case you intend to state that you shouldn’t judge someone by their appearance, but rather by their qualities and actions. For this reason, you’ll certainly use it when addressing shallow and vain people.       

18. La pazienza è la virtù dei forti 

Italian Proverbs - la pazienza è la virtù dei forti

Similarly, a precious saying to keep in mind is the following: la pazienza è la virtù dei forti (in English patience is a virtue). All of us sometimes get angry or lose our temper when dealing with bad moods, stressful events, or iniquities. Despite that, there are still people who manage to keep calm and not overreact when something negative occurs. Consequently, these individuals are strong enough to handle the best human virtue: patience!    

19. Chi trova un amico trova un tesoro 

In the same way, we cannot forget another of the most common Italian proverbs. In particular, the aphorism chi trova un amico trova un tesoro (literally meaning he who finds a friend, finds a treasure) is widely known and ordinarily applied when asserting that a friend can be considered as something invaluable you need to take care, or somebody you can trust and lean on.   

20. Tutto fumo e niente arrosto 

Italian Proverbs  Tutto fumo e niente arrosto

In the meantime, an extra idiom to report is tutto fumo e niente arrosto. Standing for all bark and no bite, it is almost used to describe those moments where people trying to appear more self-confident and braver suddenly become shy when it comes to taking action. A similar meaning can be also applied to untrue and disappointing products or initiatives that are extremely advertised and passed off as the coolest ones. 

21. Chi fa per sé fa per tre 

Likewise, an additional maxim to indicate is chi fa per sé fa per tre that can be translated as if you want something done well, do it yourself

In this case, you are going to use it when meaning that whoever does something on their own does it better than three people together. Moreover, this saying also suggests that feeling responsible for what you do prevents you from accepting compromises. Hence, remember to employ it when the person you are speaking to thinks you are incapable of doing something on your own.   

22. La gatta frettolosa ha fatto i gattini ciechi 

Italian Proverbs - La gatta frettolosa ha fatto i gattini ciechi

In conclusion, I would like to point out the last of my favorite Italian proverbs: la gatta frettolosa ha fatto i gattini ciechi. Why quote a hasty cat giving birth to blind kittens? Quite simply, this idiom reminds you that you should not do things too quickly because they might turn out badly. For this reason, you are suggested to take your time when doing something without rushing, as at this time while reading the current article!   

Ready to start a conversation with one of the Italian proverbs mentioned above? Be valiant enough to tell your silly friend that la mamma dei cretini è sempre incinta, or he has to stop complaining because è inutile piangere sul latte versato!      

By: Alfonso Di Somma

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

Knowing how to say thank you in Italian is one of the best ways to communicate your respect for a different culture. Being courteous has always been a nicety that people all around the world experience in everyday life. Italians do it by using some expressions that are lively and impactful, as they put great emphasis on showing their good manners.

How to say Thank You in Italian:

Thank you in Italian is translated with grazie. This is the plural form of the word grazia and it is used to thank someone, to express one’s gratitude. Grazie is one of the most heard words when you’re thanking someone in Italian. According to the tone, grazie can be sincere, humorous, sarcastic or even just automatic. Other related terms are ringraziamento (the act of thanking) and gratitudine (gratitude). From grazie we also form the verb ringraziare (to thank).

If you’re planning to go to Italy, you should really know how to say thank you properly. You’ll use grazie and its related expressions in endless scenarios you don’t even personally imagine.

In this article, we’ll explore both formal and informal ways to thank people in different situations. Thus, you can express your gratitude in ways that go beyond the most common word!

All the ways to translate Thank You in Italian:

  1. Grazie mille
  2. Molte grazie
  3. Grazie davvero
  4. Grazie infinite
  5. Grazie di cuore
  6. Grazie di tutto
  7. Ti/La/Vi ringrazio
  8. Grazie assai
  9. Tante grazie
  10. Grazie tante
  11. Grazie ancora
  12. Ti/Le sono grato
  13. Non ho parole per ringraziarti / Non so come ringraziarti
  14. Sì, grazie / No, grazie

Now let’s see how to use them properly in the right context!

And if you want to improve your vocabulary, here are some books for you:

1. Grazie mille

Thank You in Italian - Grazie Mille

Grazie mille is by far the most popular way of saying thank you in Italian. You will hear it in both formal and informal contexts, as it’s used by almost everyone in the country.

Are you familiar with the expression ‘thanks a million’? That’s exactly how you can translate it, even if mille means literally ‘a thousand’. This expression is effusive Italian at its best. If your friend gives up on his/her sandwich because you forgot your lunch, you’d definitely want to say grazie mille!

In addition, it can be also used in a sarcastic way to convey annoyance rather than thanks. Perhaps your sister left you the dishes to wash after dinner. That’s time to roll your eyes and sigh a grazie mille right away.


Grazie mille, stavo morendo di fame!
Thanks a million, I was starving!

Ho comprato il biglietto del concerto dei Maneskin. – E non ne hai preso uno per me? Grazie mille, eh!
I bought a ticket for the Maneskin concert. – And you didn’t get me one? Thanks a million, eh!

2. Molte grazie

A basic thank you becomes more evocative using a modifier, in this case: molto. It can mean much, very and – as said – many in Italian.

Therefore, it literally translates to ‘many thanks’. Compared to the previous one, molte grazie is a little less emphatic and typically employed for formal exchanges: for example, when you’re talking to your Italian teacher or your boss.

However, it’s still one of the most common ways of saying ‘thank you very much’ in Italian.


Molte grazie per la magnifica cena.
Thank you very much / Many thanks for the lovely dinner.

3. Grazie davvero

Thank You in Italian - Grazie davvero

This is another way to truly express your thanks in Italian. Translated into English, grazie davvero means something like ‘thank you, for real’ or even ‘thank you, I really mean it’.

So, when someone really takes the extra mile into helping you, that’s when you should use it. You can even double the grazie to make it more powerful.


Grazie, grazie davvero per essere qui.
Thank you so much for being here, I mean it.

4. Grazie infinite

Speaking of being emphatic while saying thank you in Italian, grazie infinite can help you out expressing the right amount of enthusiasm you feel about something. Is your gratitude ‘infinite’? Then this expression is the one to be used. It is not that colloquial to be the perfect match with a casual chat with family and friends.

However, it’s a good way to show that you’re extremely thankful for someone has done something really special for you.


Grazie infinite per il regalo.
Thank you so much / Infinite thanks for the present.

5. Grazie di cuore

When a thank you is heartfelt, you often hear grazie di cuore as a good way to express your deepest gratitude. This is the one to use when you want to sound extra sincere and go emotional towards someone. You can translate it with ‘thanks with all my heart’ or also ‘thanks from the bottom of my heart’.

Otherwise, it can sound a little exaggerated. So, my suggestion is: reserve it for situations where you want to be authentic and heartwarming.


Grazie di cuore per tutto ciò che hai fatto per mia figlia.
Thank you with all my heart / My heartfelt thanks for all you’ve done for my daughter.

6. Grazie di tutto

Thank You in Italian - Grazie di tutto

You can say grazie di tutto to convey your genuine appreciation for someone’s commitment to assisting or facilitating you. That’s valid for the teacher who helped you achieve the best score at your finals as well as the very good friends that threw you a birthday party.

Meaning ‘thanks for everything’, you can cherish it for those times when you’ll be covered in kindness.


La festa è stata un successo! Grazie di tutto.
Party was a hit! Thank you for everything.

7. Ti/La/Vi ringrazio

Another way to say thank you in Italian is the verb ringraziare (to thank). You must include the direct object pronoun to specify who you are thanking. Ti is the equivalent of you in its singular form. If you are referring to a group of people you should use vi, the plural form of you.

On the other hand, when you’re thanking someone you haven’t met before, you must use la. It is singular and the Italian formal way to interact.

To stress even more how grateful you are, you can put adverbs like tanto or molto – meaning a lot – at the end of the expression.


La ringrazio tanto per il suo aiuto, signor Jones.
I thank you very much for your help, Mr Jones.

8. Grazie assai

Assai means literally a lot, or even too much in certain contexts. This expression is very informal and especially spread in the southern regions of Italy, such as Campania and Sicily – but also in the city of Rome.

Although it’s a sort of dialectal form, it remains understandable by people from the whole country.


Grazie assai per il passaggio!
Thank you so much for the lift!

9. Tante grazie

An expression to say thank you in Italian that is quite similar to the previous example, is tante grazie. It basically means ‘thanks a lot’, since tante can be translated as many or a lot of.


Tante grazie per il pranzo!
Thanks a lot for the lunch!

10. Grazie tante

Thank You in Italian - Grazie tante / Tante Grazie

Instead, you should be careful when inverting these two words. Grazie tante is almost always used as a sarcastic phrase to convey quite the opposite of a thanking. The ironic tone and the context are the keys. In that case, it translates to a caustic ‘thanks a lot’ to express annoyance for a drawback.


Giulia ha chiamato stamattina. Grazie tante per avermelo detto!
Julia called this morning. Thanks a lot for having told me!

11. Grazie ancora

Showing repetition, Italians use this expression to thank someone again. And that’s what it means in English.

So, when you had a marvelous night at the restaurant with courteous waiters and a delicious dessert on the house, you should thank them again and again for their kindness!


Ecco a voi lo scontrino. Buona serata! – Grazie ancora! Buonanotte!
Here’s the receipt. Have a good night! – Thanks again! Goodnight!

12. Le sono molto grato

Literally: ‘I’m very grateful to you’. You won’t hear it that often, as it’s usually a very formal expression that people tend to put in letters or emails – especially when they’re looking for a job.  

Thus, you can find it in settings like business meetings or conversations with strangers or acquaintances.


Le sono grato per l’opportunità che mi è stata concessa, signorina Stevens.
I am very grateful to you for the opportunity I was given, Miss Stevens.

13. Non ho parole per ringraziarti / Non so come ringraziarti

Thank You in Italian - Non ho parole per ringraziarti / Non so come ringraziarti

Something that left you speechless is the reason why you have no words to thank somebody. When you’re feeling gratitude at its core and want to express it, this is the one expression to get over the lack of the right words. And you’ll say thank you in Italian even without them!


Sono riuscito a consegnare il progetto in tempo. Non so come ringraziarti.
I managed to deliver the project on time. I don’t know how to thank you.

14. Sì, grazie / No, grazie

While you’re surely aware of the ‘no, thanks’ in declining a proposal or an offer, in Italian grazie is used also when accepting it instead. So, ‘yes, please’ translates with ‘sì, grazie’.  

In this case, grazie is used for both the positive and negative responses.


Vuoi un po’ di pasta? – Sì, grazie!
Would you like some pasta? – Yes, please!

Ci vuoi lo zucchero nel caffè? – No, grazie.
Do you take sugar in your coffee? – No, thanks.

Grazie as an ironic exclamation

Grazie as an ironic exclamation

Last but not least! Something new learners could not immediately realize is that grazie is quite frequently used sarcastically to highlight strong, obvious evidence of a statement.

There’s no literal translation of the ironic tone, but some possible alternatives in English include ‘it’s not surprising’, ‘of course’ and ‘no wonder’.


Luca si è prenotato una vacanza alle Hawaii? Grazie, con tutti i soldi che ha!
Luke booked a trip to Hawaii? No wonder with all the money he’s got!

How to pronounce Grazie

Many English people are yet familiar with how to say thank you in Italian. But beginner learners might make this common mistake that could quickly turn into a bad habit. English speakers often tend to leave the ‘e’ off and make it sound more like a grazi.

Here’s a tip: you should pay attention and be sure to pronounce the final ‘e’, which in Italian is never mute.

Now you’re ready to show your good manners to Italian people, especially if you’re taking a trip to our beautiful country. Did you find this guide useful? This time, I won’t ask you to say grazie for it!

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.

How do you say please in Italian? 

Knowing how to say please in Italian is extremely helpful, because you will surely say it a lot when in Italy. 

The most popular phrase to say please in Italian is per favore. The expression per favore is used to politely ask a favor and / or help. The exact spelling is the detached one, as the complete term would be per farmi un favore, which is abbreviated for convenience. Other expressions to say please in Italian are per piacere, per cortesia, cortesemente, gentilmente, ti prego. Some of these are often used with sarcasm.

So, what are you waiting for?

I listed here 10 common ways to say please in Italian for you. 

Let’s dive in!

10 common ways to say please in Italian 

Here below is a list of the common ways of saying please in Italian. 

Let’s found out together each of them in detail:  

1. Per favore

Please in Italian - Per favore

One of the most appreciated phrases to say please in Italian is per favore (literally meaning for favor or as a favor). It is generally employed to indicate something done as a favor to somebody. Furthermore, you are allowed to use it in any context, whether formal or informal. 


Potresti dirmi che ore sono, per favore?
Could you please tell me what time it is?  

Mi dai una mano con la tesi, per favore?
Can you help me with my dissertation, please? 

Per favore can be also applied when you kindly invite someone to do something for you. In this case, you are called to use Imperativo. 


Per favore, spegni quel cellulare e continua a studiare!
Please switch off your mobile phone and keep on studying! 

Here are some dictionaries for you:

2. Per piacere

In second place, we have to mention per piacere. Considered as a close synonym of per favore, it means literally as a pleasure, a favor. Also in this case, the request is placed in a friendly manner. 


Potresti aggiustare il tubo che perde in cucina, per piacere?
Could you fix the leaky pipe in the kitchen, please?  

Fammi vedere quello che stai nascondendo, per piacere! 
Please, let me see what you are hiding! 

3. Per cortesia 

Another expression meaning please in Italian is per cortesia. Compared to per favore and per piacere, this statement sounds more formal and even old-fashioned. Anyway, you are required to employ it when talking to strangers and on formal occasions, for example at a restaurant or a café when asking for the bill, in a shop when requesting to take a look at the product you would like to buy, and so on. 


Posso avere qualche altro tovagliolo, per cortesia? 
May I have some extra napkins, please? 

Mi faccia vedere quella gonna a pois, per cortesia! 
Let me see that polka-dot skirt, please! 

4. Per carità 

Please in Italian - Per carità

On the contrary, per carità has to be intended as a kind of “dramatic please”. In fact, it is used as an exclamation when identifying stressful circumstances or wanting to emphasize what is going on. In addition, the equivalent translation into English might be also for goodness sake.


Basta! Non voglio sentire altro per carità!
That’s enough! I don’t want to hear another word, please!

Per carità! Non voglio vederlo mai più!  
I never want to see him again, please! 

Remember that per carità can be also employed to say no in Italian.  

5. Cortesemente 

Going on, we can find cortesemente, translated as kindly or courteously. This statement principally occurs in written communication and in very formal spoken situations, along with public signs and warnings. In case you want to appear more polite, you can combine cortesemente with phrases like si prega and La prego


Cortesemente potrebbe venire qui un attimo?
Could you please come here for a moment? 

 La prego cortesemente di indossare la mascherina prima di entrare.
Please wear the mask before you come in!           

6. Gentilmente 

Among the various expressions to say please in Italian, there is gentilmente, too. It literally translates in a polite way, politely, kindly and it means please in Italian. Unlike cortesemente, this term is less formal and more friendly, basically existing in both familiar or formal situations. In any case, it conveys the concept of a compelling need that must be accomplished. 


Gentilmente potresti parcheggiare altrove? Qui è pericoloso. 
Could you please park anywhere else? It’s dangerous here.  

Gentilmente mi sa dire se qui vicino c’è un negozio di giocattoli? 
Would you please tell me if there’s a toy store nearby?  

7. Ti prego / La prego / Vi prego 

To continue, these three expressions are valid alternatives to please in Italian. Actually, they are chiefly employed to beg someone to do something. Let’s start by saying that you need first to conjugate the verb pregare (to beg, pray, ask) properly before using them. After that, you have to check the Italian direct object pronouns in question. 

As regards ti prego, you can use it with close friends, family members, or kids. Instead, vi prego is applied when addressing more than one person.

Finally, La prego, the polite version of ti prego, is required when talking to older people, strangers, or superiors like your boss or your teacher. 


Mamma, ti prego, posso tornare più tardi stasera?
Mom, please, may I come back home later tonight?  

Ragazzi, vi prego, smettetela di urlare e tornate al vostro posto!
Guys, please, stop yelling and go back to your seats! 

Signore, La prego di allacciare la cintura di sicurezza.
Sir, please, fasten your seat belt! 

As you may have noticed, in the example where La prego occurs, the direct object pronoun is usually capitalized.  

Can you hear one of these phrases in the following song?

8. Si prega di / Siete pregati di 

Let’s move on to other statements expressing please in Italian: si prega and siete pregati. Being the impersonal forms of the verb pregare, they are principally applied in case of very polite requests that don’t refer to specific individuals but rather the public in general. Since they appear on signs or noticeboards, they usually point out instructions, rules, or prohibitions. 


Si prega di chiudere il cancello. 
Please close the gate!

Siete pregati di igienizzare le mani una volta entrati nel negozio. 
Please sanitize your hands once you enter the shop!    

9. Prego

Please in Italian - Prego

Similarly, prego can mean please in Italian. First of all, it is the most common way to reply to grazie (thank you). In other contexts, it becomes an equivalent of please, especially when making an invitation or letting someone do or take something.  


Dott.ssa Brown, posso parlarle un attimo? – Prego, si accomodi. 
Dr. Brown, may I speak to you for a moment? –  Please, have a seat.  

Matteo, siamo arrivati. Possiamo? – Prego, entrate. 
Matteo, we just arrived. Shall we? – Please, come in. 

10. Grazie

Coming at the end of our list, you guys are probably wondering why I decided to mention grazie as one of the possible statements to say please in Italian. Well, you have to know that the term grazie has a double usage: in the first place, it is applied when showing gratitude towards somebody about something done for you; in the second place, it is employed when accepting an offer. To better understand, have a look at the following examples: 

Ti ho portato alcune cose che potrebbero servirti. – Grazie! 
I brought you some stuff you might need. – Thank you! 

Vuoi un bicchiere di vino bianco? – Sì, grazie!
Would you like a glass of white wine? – Yes, please!

As you can notice, both examples have as answer grazie in Italian; on the contrary, the English equivalent of grazie occurs only in the first example, whereas it acquires the meaning of please in the second example. For this last reason, you need to reply with grazie and not with per favore 

Please as an exclamation 

Please as an exclamation to say per cortesia! / Ma per favore!

In conclusion, we can state that it’s quite common to bump into please used as an exclamation, especially when you want to express your feelings, your current mood, or highlight what is happening right now. 


Ora andrò a dire a tutti quello che hai fatto. – Per cortesia!
Now I’m going to tell everyone what you have done. – Please, don’t!

Mi sa che non ci fanno entrare. – Ma per favore!
I think they won’t let us come in. – Oh, please!

As you can see, in the first example the answerer begs the other speaker not to reveal what he has done; instead, in the second example, the answerer shows himself skeptical about the fact they won’t come in. 

Ready to start a conversation by using please in Italian? Hence, tell me per favore if you need me to explain anything else!      

Enjoy this song with please in Italian:

By: Alfonso Di Somma

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

Knowing how to say very good in Italian can help you saying the right thing in every situation. Italians use this expression quite a lot and you can employ it to answer questions such as “How are you?” or “How was your food” but also as a general exclamation.

We can translate very good in Italian in different ways:

  • Molto bene
  • Bene
  • Ho apprezzato molto
  • Molto buono / Buonissimo
  • Molto bello / Bellissimo
  • Ho gradito molto
  • Ottimo
  • Benissimo
  • Grande / Grandioso
  • Perfetto
  • Molto bravo / Bravissimo
  • Hai spaccato
  • Bella!
  • Daje!

Let’s see how to use each one of them in detail…

Ways To Say Very Good in Italian

Very Good in Italian - Molto bene

Molto bene 

Molto bene is a short reply/exclamation that has the same meaning of very good. Italians use it to answer questions like ‘How are you?’ or to comment on a satisfying situation.


Come stai? – Molto bene!
– How are you? – Very good!

Bene and molto bene are adverbs, meaning they describe verbs or the way you do something. 


Canti molto bene!
– You sing very well!

Also, you can find molto bene in contexts where it basically means good job. This can happen in a workplace to express satisfaction or praise about something, for instance. Likewise, you can also translate it as very well


Ho finito il progetto. – Molto bene.
I finished my project – Good job.

L’Italia ha giocato molto bene questa sera.
Italian football team played very well this evening.

Here are some Italian Dictionaries for you:

Ho apprezzato molto

More formal, this expression literally means I really appreciated it. You can use it when generally relating to a workplace or in a business/academic setting. People are always more polite in this case!


Ho apprezzato molto la tua tesi di dottorato.
Your Ph.D. dissertation was very good. / I really appreciated your Ph.D. dissertation.

Molto buono/Buonissimo

Buono is an adjective, meaning it describes nouns, things. Italian people use it mostly to talk about food. 

Therefore, very good can also express your satisfaction when the food is really tasty and delicious. Or even a drink, or a whole meal.

Besides, you can also use buonissimo in this context. It still means molto buono – it’s the superlative form of the adjective buono and it’s widely spread in Italian speech. Since it’s an adjective, remember to change the final endings for feminine and plural forms.


Ti è piaciuto il pranzo? – Sì, buonissimo, grazie!
– Did you like your lunch? – Yeah, very good, thank you!

Questa pasta è molto buona.
This pasta is very good. 

Molto bello/Bellissimo

Very Good in Italian - Molto bello / Bellissimo

Bello is also an adjective that Italians use pretty often. It literally means beautiful. When you want to refer to a very good experience, you should definitely use molto bello or bellissimo. Remember to use the right final endings depending upon the gender and number of the noun you are describing.


È stato un viaggio molto bello. 
It was a very good trip.

Come sono state le tue vacanze estive? – Bellissime, grazie.
How were your summer holidays? – Very good, thanks. 

Ho gradito molto

Same as before, mostly relating to food and drink, or to a delightful situation/experience. It literally means I really liked/enjoyed it.

When your hosts offer you the best dinner for the night or when your colleagues kill it during a meeting, this is a very fancy way to praise it.


Ho gradito molto questa cena.
This dinner was very good / I really liked this dinner.

Ho gradito molto il suo intervento.
His speech was very good. / I really enjoyed his speech. 


Ottimo is clearly a versatile way to point out a very good thing, food, experience or situation. You can hear it in various contexts, often different from each other.


Ho consegnato il mio primo compito di Italiano in tempo. – Ottimo!
I finished my first Italian test on time. – Very good!

Questa pizza è ottima. 
This pizza is very good. 


Very Good in Italian - Benissimo

This is the superlative adjective of bene and works just with the same meaning of molto bene.

Further than that, you can use it even to comment on something in a sarcastic way. In this case, it will basically mean the right opposite. When you spend a whole afternoon tidying the room and your siblings show up turning everything upside down: benissimo!


Marco ha svolto benissimo il suo lavoro. 
Marco did a very good job.

Non posso fare la torta! Ho finito le uova. – Benissimo!
I can’t bake the cake. I ran out of eggs. – Very good! 

Grande! / Grandioso!

Likely a so-called false friend, grande means literally big in Italian, but people use it as an exclamation when something good raises a certain amount of enthusiasm.


Com’è andato il concerto? – È stato grandioso!
How was the concert? – It was very good/great.

Sono in ferie da oggi. – Grande!
I’m on vacation from today. – Very good! / Awesome!


Perfect sounds familiar, right? That’s the most adjustable way to express that something went very well and met outstanding expectations – that were so not disappointed!

However, Italians use it quite a lot in order to sum up something or have a deal stated. Like saying I got it, deal.


– Parto adesso da casa. Ci vediamo là. – Perfetto.
I’m leaving right now. I’ll meet you there. – Very good. / Perfect.

Molto bravo/Bravissimo

Very Good in Italian - molto bravo / bravissimo

When the subject is a person, you can also say that he/she was very good at doing something using the well-known little word bravo – that is common also in the English language.

Molto bravo shows that someone is very capable of doing something. Bravissimo is the superlative form with the same meaning.  They are used also when you want to point out that someone has behaved well.


Sei molto bravo a recitare.
You’re very good at acting.

Come si è comportato? – E’ stato bravissimo!
How did he behave? – He was very good! 

Hai spaccato!

This is a very informal expression. Teenagers often use it after a performance or competition that was extremely well-played. It’s not that rare to hear people saying it also when winning a match.


Hai spaccato sul palco!
You killed it on stage! / You played it very well.

– Roberto ha segnato il goal della vittoria. – Ha spaccato!
Robert scored the winning goal. – He was very good! / He slew it!Bella!


The slang expression ‘bella!’ is mostly common among rap & hip-hop lovers. This one is really informal and not used by everyone.

So just use it if you hear it from your Italian friends. Surely they will be impressed that you know it. In the context of very good, bella is not an adjective meaning beautiful, but it’s another way to say great or ‘yes, perfect’. For instance, when someone invites you somewhere and you set a date.


Finisco una cosa e arrivo. – Bella! Ci vediamo là.
– I just need to finish up something and I’ll be on my way. – Very good! I’ll see you there.


Very Good in Italian - Daje! exclamation

This is a pretty informal incitement, usually heard in the area of Rome above all. But it’s spread and understandable throughout the whole country.

Although not closely related to the context of very good, it could express encouragement in doing something or compliment someone in case he/she did something very well.

Besides, you can often hear it paired with some of the other exclamations mentioned before, as reinforcement of the concept.


Stai andando benissimo. Daje! 
You’re doing it very good, Come on!

– Daje, hai spaccato!
Very good, you nailed it!

Wrap up

You should know that Italians use interjections really often to express their mood. Very good works perfectly in different contexts and situations, but the meaning reflects one only emotion: positiveness.

Whether you’re talking to your friends or having a conversation with your boss, that’s time to learn how to convey your (very) good vibes!

And if you really want to expand your vocabulary, here’s how you can do it by checking the most useful Italian exclamations in this handy guide.

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.

Pizza, pasta, espresso… how do you say one of these things is delicious in Italian? No matter if you say it in your home country or during a trip in Italy in a restaurant. As you probably know, there are several ways to tell someone in Italian that something you usually eat with pleasure or taste is delicious.


The literal translation for delicious in Italian is delizioso. It can be used not only to talk about delicious food, but also referred to nice people who inspire tenderness and / or appreciation. Other ways to say delicious in Italian are buono (good/tasty), squisito (exquisite), gustoso (tasty), saporito (flavourful /flavorsome), appetitoso (appetizing ) and many more. Also, you can say delicious in Italian with common idioms such as da leccarsi i baffi or far venire l’acquolina in bocca!

Well, what we are going to portray in this article is how to talk about good food focusing on the different ways of saying delicious in Italian.

Hence, let’s start with some practical examples; after that, we’ll see in detail each case. 


Allora, ti è piaciuto il pranzo di oggi? Tutto delizioso, grazie! 
So, did you enjoy lunch today? Everything was delicious, thanks!

Hai sentito di quel posto dove fanno hamburger spettacolari? Ci andiamo?
Have you heard about that place where they prepare spectacular burgers? Shall we go? 

Now, let’s see everyday expressions and idioms used to talk about good food: 

1. Buono 

Delicious in Italian - buono in Italian

The very first expression you could use to indicate that something is delicious in Italian is buono. Its meaning can vary according to the context, but it mainly translates as good or tasty when it refers to food. 


La torta alle ciliegie di mia madre è sempre buona.
My mother’s cherry pie is always good.  

Dove hai comprato questi muffin? Sono davvero buoni! 
Where have you bought these muffins? They’re really tasty!  

In case you want to state that something is extremely tasty, you can also employ buonissimo, the absolute superlative of good


Prendi quei biscotti al cioccolato. Sono buonissimi! 
Take those chocolate cookies. They’re very good!  

Che ne pensi della mia crostata di prugne? – Buonissima! 
What do you think about my plum tart? – Very good!  

Also, check out these useful books if you want to learn more Italian words and expressions related to food:

2. Delizioso 

Secondly, we have delizioso which sounds very similar to the English term delicious. Besides food, this statement is also employed in the meaning of charming, adorable when describing someone’s personality. 


Com’è questa cassata? – È deliziosa! 
How does this cassata taste? – It’s delicious! 

La madre di Gianni è davvero una signora deliziosa. 
Gianni’s mother is such an adorable lady.  

Fun fact: In a famous scene of the animated feature film “The Aristocats”, mother cat Duchess and her three kittens are drinking milk with their friend, Roquefort the mouse, from a bowl served by the evil butler, Edgar; in the Italian version, the three kittens keep on saying their meal is delicious using terms like delizioso, doppiamente delizioso and squisito

3. Squisito

In the third place, another term to refer to something delicious in Italian is squisito. This one stands for excellent or exquisite and is usually employed to highlight the tastiness of a well-cooked meal. 

Also, in this case, you are allowed to use it when talking about refined and friendly people.  


Credo che questo risotto ai funghi sia squisito.
I think this mushroom risotto is exquisite. 

Tutti pensano sia una persona squisita ma io non sono d’accordo.
Everyone believes that he’s a refined man but I disagree about  that.

4. Gustoso

Delicious in Italian - gustoso in Italian

In case you are enjoying a great Italian meal that tastes good to you, you can say it is gustoso. Furthermore, this expression may be rendered as full of flavor, too. 


La zuppa che hai preparato l’altro ieri era proprio gustosa.
The soup you made the day before yesterday was really tasty.

Che ne dici di questi panini al formaggio? – Molto gustosi! 
What do you think about these cheese sandwiches? – Very tasty!      

5. Saporito 

Since they have the same meaning, gustoso and saporito can be considered synonyms. However, you better use saporito to state that your favorite food is delicious in Italian when you want to focus more on its flavor. The equivalent translation in English might be flavourful or flavorsome


Che piatto saporito! Consigliatissimo! 
What a flavorsome dish! Highly recommended! 

Non avrei mai pensato di mangiare una carbonara così saporita! 
I never thought to eat such a flavourful carbonara! 

Here there are other books about food you can read in order to improve your skills:

6. Ottimo 

Going on, we have to mention ottimo whose meaning can vary according to the context where it is applied. Generally, when speaking about food, ottimo translates as really good and excellent. Although it is not as forceful as squisito, it still conveys more involvement than just buono.  


Jamie, ti piace questo gelato alla frutta? – È ottimo!
Jamie, do you like this fruit ice cream? – It tastes really good.  

Le ostriche erano ottime mentre le cozze troppo salate.
Oysters were excellent while mussels were too salty.  

7. Eccellente 

Another statement to say what you are eating is delicious in Italian is eccellente. Even though it is not much used to describe food, you can easily resort to it as a valid option. 


Mi hanno detto che i dolci di quella pasticceria sono eccellenti. 
They told me the desserts of that pastry shop are excellent. 

Mi dispiace deluderti ma la tua cheesecake non era eccellente. 
I have to disappoint you, but your cheesecake wasn’t so excellent. 

8. Spettacolare

Delicious in Italian - spettacolare in Italian

Similarly, you can bump into spettacolare, an over-the-top statement employed when speaking about good food to make someone proud of his homemade meals.


Devi assaggiare la pizza con provola e salsiccia. È spettacolare!
You must try the pizza with provola and sausages. It’s spectacular!

Comunque, la torta per il diciottesimo di tua sorella è spettacolare.
Anyway, the cake for your sister’s 18th birthday party is spectacular.

As you can see, in the second example spettacolare can be also applied to display something aesthetically.      

9. Appetitoso

Now it’s time to introduce appetitoso, a word that has great relevance when talking about something delicious in Italian. This term is strictly linked to the concept of appetite, more precisely to the idea of foods stimulating hunger.


La tua parmigiana non sembra affatto appetitosa!
Your parmigiana doesn’t seem to be appealing at all.  

Gli spiedini di agnello hanno un aspetto appetitoso.
Lamb skewers look appetizing.

As you may have noticed, in the first example appetitoso has been used to define the outward appearance of a product. On the contrary, the second example, directly refers to the quality features of the dish in question.      

10. Succulento 

Delicious in Italian - succulento in Italian

Equally important is the expression succulento, less used than the other statements but still present in some particular circumstances. Despite that, the term is chiefly employed in formal contexts to describe meat. 

In addition, when applying it, you want to convey the idea of something tempting or overwhelming you can’t do without.


Oggi lo chef propone una succulenta bistecca ai ferri. 
Today the chef suggests a succulent grilled steak. 

Mi ha regalato un cestino di more e lamponi succulenti.
He gave me a basket of juicy blackberries and raspberries.  

11. Invitante / Allettante 

Correspondingly, invitante and allettante are used to point out something delicious in Italian. Standing for tempting or moreish, both apply to food and other areas of interest such as prices, people, or business.


Quel cosciotto di pollo è proprio invitante. Posso prenderlo? 
That chicken leg is moreish. May I have it?

La tua proposta è allettante ma non me la sento, mi dispiace! 
Your proposal is tempting but I don’t feel like it, sorry!   

12. Stupendo 

Finally, we can find stupendo. Even if it has been included in the list of the most common statements to express what is delicious in Italian, its  use is widely restricted to informal situations when referring to food anyway. Despite that, it remains a valid alternative to other more common words. 


Hai dato il meglio di te l’altra sera. Hai cucinato una pasta stupenda!
You’ve outdone yourself last night. You cooked stupendous pasta! 

Quando ero piccolo, mia nonna preparava sempre torte stupende. 
When I was young, my grandmother always used to bake stupendous cakes.        

The last thing to remember is that all these expressions we have seen until now are adjectives; this means that they must agree in gender and number with the thing they are referring to.   

Common Idioms to Say Delicious in Italian 

Common Idioms to Say Delicious in Italian

Now I’m going to show you some of the most common idioms Italians usually employ to tell someone they are enjoying their favorite food. 

13. Da leccarsi i baffi

First of all, we have to mention da leccarsi i baffi (literally to lick one’s mustache). This idiom originated from the animal world; specifically, it refers to the image of a hungry cat licking its whiskers while waiting anxiously for its meal. For this reason, it has entered the common language with the current meaning of mouthwatering


Guarda qua! Questa qui è roba da leccarsi i baffi!
Look at this! All this stuff here is mouthwatering!

È buona questa cotoletta alla milanese, vero? – Da leccarsi i baffi! 
This Milanese breaded cutlet is tasty, isn’t it? – Mouthwatering! 

14. Far venire l’acquolina in bocca

Instead, far venire l’acquolina in bocca is the best way to say that something is particularly delicious in Italian. It occurs very frequently in daily conversations among Italians and means to make someone’s mouth water. If you use it at the right time, you’ll sound like a true native Italian speaker!


Quelle praline al cocco mi fanno venire l’acquolina in bocca.
Those coconut pralines make my mouth water.  

La pasta con pomodoro e basilico gli fa venire l’acquolina in bocca. 
Pasta with tomatoes and basil makes his mouth water. 

Note that you must apply indirect object pronouns and conjugate the verb fare properly when using this idiom. 

15. Uno tira l’altro 

Delicious in Italian - uno tira l'altro

This last expression is useful in case you started eating something delicious (e.g. chocolates) and just can’t stop. Therefore, you’ll say “uno tira l’altro”, which stands for one pulls the other, about what you are tasting. For an effective translation, you are suggested to employ moreish or addictive


Tutti sanno che ad un matrimonio un confetto tira l’altro! 
Everybody knows that sugared almonds are moreish at a wedding! 

Hai presente le caramelle mou? Una tira l’altra!  
Do you know taffies? They’re so addictive! 

Remember that indefinite pronouns uno and altro must always agree in gender and number with the thing they refer to. 


Coming to the end of this article, you should be able to use all the possible statements to tell someone your favorite food is delicious in Italian. Of course, it is not necessary to remember all of them by heart. Alternatively, you could watch movies, cooking shows, or perhaps listen to songs since they are often full of food-related definitions. 

Now that you know how to say delicious in Italian, tell your Italian friend if what you’re eating is buono or succulento.         

By: Alfonso Di Somma

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

Avere conjugation is one of the most important Italian Conjugation to keep in mind. The second one is Essere Conjugation (to be).

If you want to know Italian language you must know both verbs in order to improve your skills.

But let’s see what does avere means?

Avere is the equivalent form of the English verb to have. It generally indicates possession or ownership (abstract or matherial things); to have certain physical characteristics or moral or intellectual qualities or it is used to indicate age. Also, avere is an auxiliary verb used to create the compound tenses of regular and irregular verbs


Mia sorella ha gli occhi blu e i capelli biondi. 
My sister has blue eyes and blonde hair.  

Hai mangiato tu l’ultima fetta di pizza?
Did you eat the last slice of pizza? 

As you can notice, the use of avere can meaningfully vary according to the context where it is applied. 

Before proceeding, if you want to practice Italian tenses here is a useful books for you:

Avere Conjugation – Presente

Avere Conjugation - Learn the verb avere in Italian

The first thing to know is that avere has an irregular conjugation, meaning that you cannot look at regular verbs’ general rules. On the contrary, you need to learn it by heart:  

Io ho 
Tu hai 
Lui / Lei ha 
Noi abbiamo 
Voi avete
Loro hanno 

Remember that the “h” is silent in Italian!


Ho delle uova e anche un pò di farina. Facciamo una torta?
I have some eggs and some flour, too. Shall we bake a cake?  

Mandy ha due criceti, una tartaruga e un cane di nome Skippy.
Mandy has two hamsters, a turtle, and a dog named Skippy.   

Avere Conjugation – Passato Prossimo 

Io ho avuto 
Tu hai avuto 
Lui / Lei ha avuto 
Noi abbiamo avuto 
Voi avete avuto 
Loro hanno avuto 

Passato Prossimo is the tense of actions that happened in the recent past. It is essentially employed when indicating what you have done this morning, yesterday, one month ago, and so on.   


Non ha avuto la forza di dirle cosa stesse realmente accadendo. 
He didn’t have the strength to tell her what was really going on.  

Povero Chris! Oggi ha avuto proprio una giornataccia! 
Poor Chris! Today he really had a pretty rough day! 

Avere Conjugation – Imperfetto 

Avere Conjugation - Learn the verb avere in Italian

Io avevo 
Tu avevi 
Lui / Lei aveva
Noi avevamo 
Voi avevate 
Loro avevano 

You make use of Imperfetto in Italian in case you want to talk about past habits, feelings, and actions in progress in the past.   


Quando ero piccolo, i miei avevano una casa in campagna vicino Frascati.
When I was young, my parents used to have a house in the country near Frascati. 

Per caso avevate bisogno di qualcosa? Va tutto bene?
Did you guys need anything? Is everything ok?  

Avere Conjugation – Trapassato Prossimo 

Io avevo avuto 
Tu avevi avuto 
Lui / Lei aveva avuto 
Noi avevamo avuto 
Voi avevate avuto 
Loro avevano avuto 

Instead, to speak about an event occurring before another one in the past, you need to look at the Trapassato Prossimo. To form it, just take the simple past of avere and its past participle (avuto).      


Non avevi avuto già la tua paghetta? Perché sei di nuovo qui? 
Hadn’t you already gotten your allowance? Why are you here again? 

Dennis aveva avuto in regalo una costosissima chitarra elettrica. 
Dennis had had as a gift a very expensive electric guitar. 

Avere Conjugation – Passato Remoto 

Io ebbi 
Tu avesti 
Lui / Lei ebbe 
Noi avemmo 
Voi aveste 
Loro ebbero 

Going on, we can find Passato Remoto. Generally present in literature and history books, it is chiefly employed to expess actions that happened a long time ago. Considered as an “endangered” tense, it is largely replaced by the Passato Prossimo in everyday language. 


Dopo aver scoperto il tradimento di suo marito, ebbe una crisi nervosa. 
After she found out her husband cheated on her,  she had a mental breakdown. 

Qualche anno fa si sposarono ed ebbero due splendide bambine. 
Some years ago they got married and had two beautiful little girls. 

Avere Conjugation – Trapassato Remoto 

Avere Conjugation - Learn the verb avere in Italian
Io ebbi avuto 
Tu avesti avuto 
Lui / Lei ebbe avuto 
Noi avemmo avuto 
Voi aveste avuto 
Loro ebbero avuto 

Similarly, although it has almost disappeared in the spoken language, Italian Trapassato Remoto still occurs in the written language, especially in documentaries, novels and newspapers. Being a compound tense, it is formed by avere conjugated in the Passato Remoto and its past participle.  


Dopo che ebbe avuto modo di scusarsi, decise di restare. 
After she had had the chance to apologize, she decided to stay. 

Ci ringraziarono solo dopo che avemmo avuto quella brillante idea.
They thanked us only after we had had that brilliant idea.   

Avere Conjugation – Futuro Semplice 

On the other hand, Italian Futuro is mainly applied when you aim to report events that have yet to happen (Futuro Semplice) or a fact that will be finished before another one takes place (Futuro Anteriore).   

Io avrò 
Tu avrai 
Lui / Lei avrà 
Noi avremo 
Voi avrete 
Lo avranno 


Avrete tutto quello che avete chiesto, non vi preoccupate!
You will have everything you asked for, don’t worry! 

Mi sa che nessuno di noi avrà le ferie quest’estate. 
I think none of us will go on holiday this summer.    

Avere Conjugation – Futuro Anteriore 

Avere Conjugation - Learn the verb avere in Italian
Io avrò avuto 
Tu avrai avuto 
Lui / Lei avrà avuto 
Noi avremo avuto 
Voi avrete avuto 
Loro avranno avuto 


Melinda avrà avuto le sue buone ragioni per aver rotto con Milton.
Melinda will have had her reasons for breaking up with Milton.   

Avranno avuto tutto quello di cui hanno bisogno? Chissà!
Will they have had everything they need? Who knows! 

Avere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Presente 

Congiuntivo is mainly used when talking about something you are not sure of or expressing your opinion. Anyway, its main feature is the conjunction che preceding the conjugated verb. In addition, the simple and compound tenses of Congiuntivo can be translated with the tenses of present and past simple.   

Che io abbia 
Che tu abbia 
Che lui / lei abbia 
Che noi abbiamo 
Che voi abbiate 
Che loro abbiano 


Tuo padre vuole solo che tu abbia le stesse opportunità dei tuoi coetanei. 
Your dad just wants you to have the same chances as your peers. 

Ho paura che non abbia voglia di venire in vacanza con noi quest’anno. 
I fear he doesn’t feel like coming on holiday with us this year.  

Avere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Passato 

Che io abbia avuto 
Che tu abbia avuto 
Che lui / lei abbia avuto 
Che noi abbiamo avuto 
Che voi abbiate avuto 
Che loro abbiano avuto 


Nonostante abbia avuto un buon voto, Mason era ancora triste.
Although he got a good grade, Mason was still unhappy. 

Spero che abbiate avuto un buon motivo per non essere venute alla mia mostra.
I hope you had a good reason for not coming to my exhibition.    

Avere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Imperfetto 

Avere Conjugation - Learn the verb avere in Italian
Che io avessi
Che tu avessi 
Che lui / lei avesse 
Che noi avessimo 
Che voi aveste 
Che loro avessero 


Credeva che avesse torto dopo quello che aveva detto. 
He thought she was wrong after what she said.

Se aveste più fiducia in me, mi lascereste lavorare in santa pace!
If you had more faith in me, you would let me work in peace!   

Avere Conjugation – Congiuntivo Trapassato 

Che io avessi avuto 
Che tu avessi avuto 
Che lui / lei avesse avuto 
Che noi avessimo avuto 
Che voi aveste avuto 
Che loro avessero avuto 


Se avesse avuto modo di aiutarla, non le avrebbe lasciato fare una simile stupidaggine. 
If she had had the chance to help her, she wouldn’t have let her do such a silly thing. 

Vorrei che avessimo avuto più tempo per stare insieme ieri sera.
I wish we had had more time to be together yesterday evening.  

Avere Conjugation – Condizionale Presente 

Io avrei 
Tu avresti 
Lui / Lei avrebbe 
Noi avremmo 
Voi avreste 
Loro avrebbero 

You resort to Italian Condizionale when you intend to express wishes, intentions, hypotheses, and polite requests. 


In realtà avrei qui con me qualcosa che fa al caso tuo. 
Actually, I’d have something here with me that’s right for you.  

Signor Draghi, quei ragazzi lì avrebbero una proposta da farle. 
Mr. Draghi, those guys there would like to lay a proposition before you. 

Avere Conjugation – Condizionale Passato 

Avere Conjugation - Learn the verb avere in Italian
Io avrei avuto 
Tu avresti avuto 
Lui / Lei avrebbe avuto 
Noi avremmo avuto 
Voi avreste avuto 
Loro avrebbero avuto 


Sapevano che avrebbero avuto presto sue notizie.
They figured they’d be hearing from him soon. 

Si dice che avrebbe avuto una relazione con una famosa bulgara.
They say he would have a love affair with a famous Bulgarian actress.    

Avere Conjugation – Imperativo 

You build sentences in the Imperativo in case you want to give orders, instructions, or advice to somebody. Seen as it is an irregular verb, avere has its own forms, too.  

Abbi (tu) 
Abbia (lui / lei) 
Abbiamo (noi) 
Abbiate (voi) 
Abbiano (loro) 


Abbi pazienza e aspetta il tuo turno, per favore! 
Please be patient and get in line!   

Abbiate il coraggio di prendervi le vostre responsabilità, ragazzi!
Guys, be brave enough to take on your own responsibilities!  

Avere Conjugation – Infinito 

Avere Conjugation - Learn the verb avere in Italian
Present tense Past tense 
avere aver avuto 


La maggior parte delle persone aspira ad avere una vita felice. 
Most people aim to live happy life. 

Devi aver avuto una giornata molto impegnativa, vero? 
It must have been a busy day for you, mustn’t it? 

Avere Conjugation – Participio 

Present tense Past tense 
avente avuto 

While avente is less common, avuto is basically employed in the compound tenses of avere, as you have seen until now.  


Sta cercando un appartamento avente tre stanze e due bagni.
He’s looking for an apartment having three rooms and two bathrooms.  

Avuto quello che desiderava, Mike non si è fatto più vivo.
After he had what he demanded, Mike didn’t show up anymore.   

Avere Conjugation – Gerundio 

Gerundio is another tense Italians don’t use very often. Anyway, you can easily find it in sentences in the present progressive.  

Present tense Past tense 
avendo avendo avuto 


Avendo tante cose da fare non ho tempo di andarlo a trovare.
Having a lot of things to do, I’m too busy to visit him. 

Avendo avuto l’influenza sono rimasto a casa la scorsa settimana.
Having had the flu, I stayed at home last week. 

Different uses of Avere in Italian

Avere Conjugation - Learn the verb avere in Italian

Expressing feelings

Avere in Italian is widely applied in lots of expressions to express a feeling, a sensation, or a desire to be accomplished. Here is a list of the most important statements you probably could hear during a conversation with Italians:

Italian English 
avere voglia di to feel like 
avere freddo / caldo to be cold/hot 
avere sete / fame to be thirsty/hungry 
avere paura di to be scared/afraid of 
avere sonno to be sleepy 
avere fretta to be in a hurry 
avere bisogno di to need 
avere torto / ragione to be wrong/right 
avere piacere di to be pleased 


Si sa che tutti i bambini hanno paura del buio. 
Everyone knows that kids are afraid of the dark.  

Sai perfettamente che questa volta hai torto marcio.
You know exactly you are dead wrong this time.  

Devi dirmi qualcosa? Sbrigati che ho fretta! 
Is there anything you need to tell me? Come on, I’m in a hurry! 

Talking about your age 

One of the first things Italian students learn when studying English is talking about their age. Actually, you are required to use avere in Italian to say how old you are instead of essere as it happens in English. 


Maria ha 15 anni e viene da Milano. 
Maria is 15 years old and comes from Milan. 

Italian idioms with Avere  

Avere Conjugation - Learn the verb avere in Italian

The verb avere also occurs in lots of Italian idiomatic expressions. 

Since there are so many, we are going to mention the most used and popular ones:

Italian English 
avere l’aria di to seem 
avere (o non avere) a che fare con qualcosa o qualcunoto have something to do with something or someone 
avere a mente to remember 
avere importanza to be important 
avere luogoto take place 
avere inizio to begin 
avere da fare to be busy 
avere cura di qualcosa o qualcunoto take care of somebody and something 
avere un diavolo per capello to be furious 


Ha l’aria di sapere quello che sta facendo. Fidati di me!
He seems to know what he is doing. Trust me!  

Il concerto non ha avuto luogo a causa del maltempo.
The concert didn’t take place due to bad weather.  

Lasciami stare! Oggi ho un diavolo per capello! 
Leave me alone! I’m so furious today!   

Regional uses: Tenere vs Avere 

In some regions of Italy, especially in the South, avere is sometimes replaced by the verb tenere meaning to hold, maintain or keep


Papà, tengo fame! Mi porti qualcosa da mangiare? 
Dad, I’m hungry! Can you bring me anything to eat? 

At the end of this article, you should have learned the full conjugation of avere and its main uses according to the cases seen before.

Therefore, why don’t you open up a conversation with a simple question like “quanti anni hai?” or “hai fratelli o sorelle?“.

By: Alfonso Di Somma

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

Family in Italian You will agree that la famiglia, family in Italian, is the most important thing we all have.

Family in Italian is fundamental and plays a very important role in Italian culture and traditions. If you have watched any Italian TV series or comedies lately, you probably noticed how big the families portrayed in them are. There are i genitori (parents), called mamma (mum) and papà (dad), then i figli (children), le sorelle (sisters), i fratelli (brothers), gli zii (uncles), le zie (aunts), i cugini (cousins), i nonni (grandparents), an so on.

And this is just the beginning!

As you can see, the vocabulary around this topic is quite extensive: here you’ll find everything you need to speak about family in Italian and more!

Members of the family in Italian

Family in Italian

Below, you will find all the useful words that you can use to talk about your family in Italian.

La famiglia

Let’s start with an easy one: famiglia, that stands for family! Make sure you pronounce correctly that gli (yee) sound.

Il padre

Or il papà, respectively the father or dad. As you may notice, the first alternative is more formal than the second one, like in English. When saying papà, make sure to put the accent on the last à, otherwise you will be saying Pope.

La madre

Or la mamma, respectively the mother or mom. As before, the former is formal, while the latter is more colloquial.

I genitori

When mentioned together, mamma and papà are i genitori (parents). Be careful not to confuse i genitori (parents) with i parenti (relatives)!

Il marito / la moglie

After getting married, your fidanzato (boyfriend/fiancé) becomes your marito (husband), while your fidanzata (girlfriend/fiancée) turns into your moglie (wife).    

I figli

Il figlio and la figlia stand for son and daughter. When mentioning them both at the same time, they are called i figli. If there are two daughters, they are named le figlie instead. In case you are an only child, then you are un figlio unico or una figlia unica.

Il fratello / la sorella

Here is the translation for il fratello or i fratelli, the brother or brothers, and la sorella or le sorelle, the sister or sisters.

Before proceeding, if you want to improve your vocabulary I suggest you these books:

Relatives and extended family in Italian

Family in Italian

Families living in Italy are usually very large, so it is important to know the name of every member of the family in Italian to avoid awkward situations.

Here we go:

Il nonno / la nonna

Il nonno and la nonna can be translated as grandfather and grandmother; when speaking about them both we call them i nonni (grandparents).

In case you are talking only about your female grandmothers, they are named le nonne

Il / la nipote

Il nipote and la nipote stands for grandson and granddaughter.

As you can see, the word in Italian is the same, while the article is different.

Il bisnonno / la bisnonna

If you are lucky enough you also have il bisnonno and la bisnonna (great grandfather and great grandmother), that become i bisnonni (great grandparents) when speaking about them together. When talking about the female great grandmothers, you make reference to le bisnonne.

Lo zio / la zia

The brother or sister of your parents to you are lo zio and la zia (uncle and aunt). If you have more than one, they are gli zii and le zie (uncles and aunts).

Il cugino / la cugina

Il cugino and la cugina, namely cousin (male and female). For the plural they become i cugini and le cugine, which are respectively male and female cousins.

Il nipote/ la nipote

It may seem confusing, but the word nipote can mean nephew or niece as well as grandson or granddaughter. Usually we understand which word we are referring to by the context.

I parenti acquisiti

Family in Italian

Let’s move onto the parenti acquisiti, the in-laws in Italian:

Il suocero / la suocera

The parents of your spouse will be to you il suocero and la suocera (father-in-law and mother-in-law).

When mentioned together they become i suoceri (parents-in-law).

Il genero / la nuora

To your suoceri you will be il genero or la nuora (son -in-law or daughter-in-law).

Il cognato / la cognata

The brother or sister of your spouse to you is il cognato or la cognata (brother-in-law or sister-in-law).

La famiglia allargata

When a married couple gets a divorce and then one of them gets remarried, he or she has the possibility to create a new family in which every member gets identified with a specific term:

Il patrigno / la matrigna – step father / step mother

Il figliastro / la figliastra – step son / step daughter

Il fratellastro / la sorellastra – stepbrother / stepsister.

I have to say that these terms often tend to be perceived as derogatory, so we prefer to say il marito di mia madre (my mother’s husband),  la moglie di mio padre (my father’s wife) and simply use the terms sorella or fratello for siblings.

Definite articles with family in Italian

Family in Italian

When we speak about the members of our family in Italian, we add a definite article and a possessive adjective before the noun we are referring to, except when it makes reference to a single family member.


Il ragazzo biondo è mio fratello Francesco
The blond guy is my brother Francesco.

I due ragazzi là fuori sono i miei fratelli Mattia e Marco.
Those two guys out there are my brothers Mattia and Marco.

How to talk about your family in Italian?

Now that you know how to call all the members of your family in Italian, let’s see some typical statements that you can employ to talk about it!

Italian English
Dimmi qualcosa sulla tua famiglia! Tell me something about your family!
Vivo / Abito con la mia famiglia I live with my family
Quanti siete in famiglia? / Da quante persone è composta la tua famiglia? How many of you are in your family?
La mia famiglia è composta da / Nella mia famiglia siamo My family consists of
Che lavoro fanno i tuoi? What do your parents do for a living?
Hai fratelli o sorelle o sei figlio unico? Do you have any brothers or sisters or are you an only child?
Come si chiama tua sorella? What’s your sister’s name?
Quanti fratelli o sorelle hai? How many siblings do you have?
Quanti anni ha tuo fratello maggiore? E tua sorella minore? How old is your older brother? And your younger sister?
Sei sposato/a? Are you married?
Hai figli? Quanti figli hai? Do you have children? How many children do you have?

Common sayings about family in Italian

Family in Italian

There are several sayings concerning family in Italian: here you will find some of the oldest Italian sayings, typical of the folk wisdom.

Italian Meaning
Mazze e panelle fanno i figli belli This Neapolitan saying translates as “sticks and bread make beautiful children”. It means that to grow strong, respectful and good children you have to feed them well and put them in their place when necessary.
Tra moglie e marito non mettere il dito This expression is translated as “don’t put a finger between husband and wife”, which is pretty self-explanatory: when it comes to a couple, mind your own business and stay out of it!
Volere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca This phrase is the equivalent of “wanting to have your cake and eat it, too”, which means wanting everything without giving up anything.
Aiuta i tuoi e gli altri se puoi This statement means that family comes first, before everything and everybody else, and translates as “help your folks and then help the others, if you can.
Parenti serpenti, fratelli coltelli On a sadder note, this saying invites whoever is listening to beware of his or her relatives, especially the siblings. It can be translated as “relatives like snakes, siblings like knives”.
Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi This expression is quite bizarre and kind of funny because it says that basically you have to spend Christmas with your family but on Easter you can celebrate with whomever you want!
Buon sangue non mente Translated as “good blood doesn’t lie”, it means that some good and valuable features of a son or daughter always come from the parents. In most cases, this phrase is quite offensive, so pay attention when applying it!

Colloquialisms used to speak about family in Italian 

Family in Italian

Nicknames in -ino / -ina

When you are calling your little brother or sister, or you forgot to wash the dishes and you know your mom is going to be very mad at you, you could try to apply fratellino, sorellina or mammina, just to appease them.


Italian English
E questa è la mia sorellina Ilaria! And this is my little sister Ilaria!
Chi è la mammina più bella del mondo? Who’s the most beautiful mommy in the world?

Ma / Pa

Not so long ago, these two words came into use in colloquial Italian: they are the abbreviation of the words mamma and papa and generally employed by youngsters.


Italian English
Ma, mi puoi dare un passaggio a scuola? Ma, can you give me a lift to school?
A che ora comincia la partita, Pa? What time does the match start, Pops?

I tuoi / I miei

When you are referring to your parents or someone else’s, instead of using the extended form, you can just say i miei for i miei genitori (my parents) or i tuoi for i tuoi genitori (your parents). Alternatively, you can resort to the expression i miei / tuoi vecchi (my / your old parents), just to indicate your parents and not the fact that they are older than you.      


Italian English
I miei vorrebbero conoscerti. My parents would like to meet you.
Domani ci vengono a prendere i tuoi? Can your parents come and pick us up tomorrow?
Comunque i tuoi vecchi sono davvero fantastici! Anyway, your parents are really great!

Regional uses

Family in Italian

As you already know, Italy has different regions which can have different traditions and ways to refer to family members.


For example in Toscana (Tuscany) they use babbo instead of papà. That’s why we say Babbo Natale (Father Christmas).

Zi’, Fra

Nowadays it is very popular among younger generations to employ expressions like zio or zi’, fratello or fra, originally used only in Rome and now widely spread throughout Italy. They are mostly applied to address each other, even if they are not blood related, but just in a friendly and fun way.


Ci becchiamo dopo fra!

We’ll catch up later bro!

Zi’, ti va di mangiare sushi stasera?

Dude, do you want to have sushi for dinner?

Most important festivities for Italian families

Family in Italian

Here are some important festivities relating to Italian families:

Festa del papà (Father’s Day)

It is celebrated on 19th March. During this day, kids normally give something made with their hands to their daddies (e.g. handcrafted items and drawings). Some of them even prepare chocolates, sweets or read out poems, in Italian or in the local dialect, by heart. 

Festa della mamma (Mother’s Day)

Italians celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.

As for Father’s Day, Italian children give handmade items and drawings to their moms. Others bake cookies, cakes or read out poems.

Festa dei nonni (Grandparents’ Day)

Grandparents’ Day, celebrated on 2nd October, has been established in Italy in recent years. Through this festivity the Italian government aims to enhance the important role of grandparents in the society and in Italian families. Actually, most kids in Italy spend their childhood at their nonni’s house. Furthermore, in lots of famous Italian TV shows you can find several references to grandparents and the significant help they give in raising their nipoti.   

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.