Each one of us enjoys different things, but we can all agree on one thing: We all enjoy well-prepared food! As Virginia Woolf said in one of her books: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Many of us take meals for granted, we rush to eat our breakfast to get at work on time, we rush to have our lunch in order to be able to fulfill today’s duties, sometimes we even can’t wait to finish our dinner so that we can lay in our bed after a long, tiring day. That’s not Italians, though!

Italians don’t eat only because they feel the need to, they eat because food is something you should dedicate yourself to, something you should enjoy.

Did you know that typical traditional meals in Italy contain four or five courses? During lunchtime and dinnertime, but also especially during weekends, meals in Italy can last for hours, much longer than in other cultures.

Could you guess why? It’s simple. Meals are often seen not for sustenance, but as a time to spend with family and friends, to enjoy each other’s company and forget for some time every day’s burdens and duties.

To spread the love for Italian food and culture, here you will learn the best Italian phrases for food. But before we get to the basic Italian food-related expressions, let’s take a quick look at all the course meals Italians have.

Italian Full-Course Meals

AperitivoApéritif, mostly enjoyed as an appetizer before a large meal.Usually, Italians consume Campari, Martini, Prosecco, Aperol Spritz, Negroni…
AntipastoLiterally it means “before meal”. It can be hot or cold and usually consists of formaggio (cheese), prosciutto (ham), verdure (vegetables) or pesce (fish).
Primo“First course”, usually consists of a hot dish like pasta, risotto, gnocchi with sauces made from meat, vegetables or seafood.
Secondo“Second course” is the main dish usually pesce (fish) or carne con patate (meat with potatoes). Meat is most commonly found in the North, while fish is more popular in the South.
Contorno“Side dish”. It may be a salad or cooked vegetables.
Formaggio e frutta“Cheese and fruits”
Dolce“Sweet”, “dessert”, such as cakes, cookies, ice-cream.
Digestivo“Digestives”, liquors (grappa, limoncello, Sambuca)

These full-course meals are mainly used for special events such as weddings, holidays, and big family reunions. Everyday meals mostly include first and/or second course, a side dish and a coffee.

Now that you know the food order in Italian meals, you are ready to learn some of the basic Italian phrases for food that will definitely come in handy wherever you go.

1. Italian Eating Phrases

In a restaurant, at pizzeria, at a friends’ house, it doesn’t matter!

There is no better way to feel the Italian culture than to start eating like Italian and start speaking like Italian.

italian caprese

Here are some useful phrases which you will definitely use while having a meal:

Buon appetito!Enjoy your meal!
Potrei vedere il menù?May I see the menu?
Mangiamo!Let’s eat!
Posso assaggiare?Can I have a taste?
È delizioso!It’s delicious!
Passa il sale, per favore.Pass the salt, please.
È ora di colazione/pranzo/cena!It’s breakfast time/lunchtime/dinnertime!
Salute! / Cin cin!Cheers! 
Cosa mi consiglia?What would you recommend?
Il conto, per favore.The check, please.

2. Italian Phrases To Use At A Restaurant 

It’s very likely that you will end up in an Italian restaurant! 

Of course, first you would like to say a word or two with il cameriere (the waiter) or la cameriera (the waitress). Being able to communicate with those serving you is the first step for opening up in Italian.

There are several ways to be polite in Italian when deciding to eat in a restaurant:

Buongiorno, avete un tavolo per due?Good afternoon, do you have a table for two?
Il menù, per favore.The menu, please.
Scusi, vogliamo ordinare.Excuse me, we would like to order.
Cosa mi raccomanda?What do you recommend?
Io prendoI will have…(when you are ready to order)
Possiamo avere il conto?Il conto, per favore.Possiamo pagare?Could we have the bill?The bill, please.Can we pay?
Potrei avere un tovagliolo, per favore?Can I have a napkin, please?
Grazie, è stato delizioso.Thank you, it was delicious.
Per favore.Please.

3. Italian Phrases To Use At A Pizzeria

Isn’t the best place to try pizza in an Italian pizzeria?

Italians are experts in making pizza, after all they are the inventors of pizza. Most places sell wood-fired pizzas, but there are also many places that sell by slice.

You can either order pizza al taglio, a slice of pizza as a snack to go, or pizza tonda, whole round pizza.

italian pizza

Here’s an example on how to order your favorite pizza in Italy:

Venditore: Buongiorno.Seller: Hello.
Antonio:   Buongiorno, vorrei un pezzo di Margherita, per favore.Antonio: Hi, I would like a slice of Margherita, please.
Venditore: Va bene. Te la riscaldo?Seller: Okay, would you like it warmed up?
Antonio:   Sì, la mangio adesso.Yes, I’ll eat it right now.
Venditore: 2 euro, per favore.That will be 2 euros, please.
Antonio:   Prego.Here you go.
Venditore: Ecco la tua pizza, buon appetito!Here’s your pizza, enjoy.
Antonio:   Grazie mille, buona giornata!Thank you, have a good day!
Venditore: (Buona giornata) anche a te!Good day to you too!

While you can order a slice of pizza on the streets, going to a pizzeria means you can choose food from a menu. Here’s some useful vocabulary to use at the pizzeria:

Siamo in due. Vorremmo un tavolo.We would like a table for two.
Possiamo ordinare?Can we order?
Vorrei una margherita.I would like pizza margherita.
Io prendo una quattro formaggi.I will have one Quattro Formaggi pizza.
Posso ordinare da mangiare?Can I order something to eat?
Com’è il calzone?What’s the calzone like?
Ci può portare il conto?Can we have the bill?
Sono indeciso tra la pizza margherita e la pizza vegetariana.I can’t decide between pizza Margherita and vegetarian pizza.

4. Italian Phrases To Use At A Café

We all know there’s a complex coffee culture in Italy. Drinking coffee is not just a routine, it’s something that makes Italians’ day.

There are two words in Italian for going to “café”. Italians use “il bar” and “il caffè” to refer to the place they can get both coffee and alcoholic beverages at.

italian espresso

Once you enter the bar, the barista (barman) will ask you:

Buongiorno, dimmi!Good afternoon, what would you like?
Cosa volete ordinare da bere?What would you like to order as a drink?
Un caffè?Coffee?
Volete anche un cornetto?Would you also like a croissant?

Here’s some phrases on how to order coffee and snacks in Italian like a local:

Andiamo al bar/al caffè!Let’s go to the bar!
Prendiamo un caffè?Would you like to have a cup of coffee?
Vuoi andare al bar?Do you want to go to the bar?
Vuoi un caffè?Do you want coffee?
Vorrei un espresso, per favore.I would like an espresso, please.(This is the “default” coffee in Italy. If you want espresso, you can simply say, ”Un caffè, per favore.”
Vorrei un doppio espresso.I would like two shots of espresso.
Per me un cappuccino. For me cappuccino.(Shot of espresso with a bit of milk and milk foam)
Prendo un caffè lungo.I will take caffè lungo.(Italian way to order a doppio espresso)
Prendo un caffè corto.I will take caffè corto.(Just a few drops of pure, concentrated caffeine)
Vorrei un caffè corretto. I would like caffè corretto.(literally “correct coffee”, with a shot of liquor, usually grappa).
Potrei avere lo zucchero?Could I have sugar?
Potrei avere un cucchiaino?Could I have a small spoon?
Un bicchiere d’acqua liscia/frizzante, per favore.A glass of water without/with carbonation, please.
Mi piacerebbe un panino.I would like a sandwich.(usually with cheese and prosciutto).
Prendo un cornetto alla crema.I will have a brioche with cream.
Vorrei un tramezzino.I would like tramezzino.(a thin sandwich on soft white bread)

Italians drink coffee at the banco (counter). That’s because they come to the bar for a quick drink. If you drink coffee at the table, you will automatically have caffè coperto (covered coffee), which means they will charge you for the service!

NOTE: If you want to be a local in Italy, you drink cappuccino only until 11 am. Espresso is best to drink after lunch.

5. Italian Phrases To Use At A Pastry Shop

If you are like me your favorite place is the pastry shop, in Italian la pasticceria. It’s where the magic happens, where you can enjoy the best cakes and desserts in the world!

The most popular Italian dessert is tiramisù (coffee-flavored dessert). Then there is pasticciotto (typical Italian cake with custard cream filling) and panna cotta. And if you didn’t know where to get the world’s best ice-cream, just try Italian gelato!

italian pastry shop

Once you enter into pasticceria italiana you will know what you want to taste. You will also know how to order it. Just use some of the following Italian phrases for food:

Che dolci avete?What desserts do you have?
Vorrei un tiramisù е un bicchiere d’acqua.I’d like tiramisu and a glass of water.
Vorrei una panna cotta, per favore.I would like panna cotta, please.
Quale dolce mi consiglia?Which dessert would you suggest to me?
Vorrei assaggiare la torta al limone. Ma anche la torta alle mele.I’d like to taste the lemon cake. But also the apple cake.
Che gusti di gelato avete?What ice-cream flavors do you have?
Ci sono tanti gusti di gelato. Al cioccolato, al pistacchio, al limone, al caffè.There are so many ice-cream flavors. Chocolate, pistachio, lemon, coffee.
Preferisco un gelato alla nocciola.I prefer hazelnut flavor.

6. Italian Phrases To Use At A Grocery Store

If you stop at a grocery store, you can learn a lot of Italian vocabulary just by looking at the products. In every negozio (shop), mercato (market), supermercato (supermarket), there are commesse (sales clerks) that will help you with your choice.

Here is your opportunity to use your basic Italian phrases for food to ask for whatever you need.

Buongiorno, cosa sta cercando?Good afternoon, what are you looking for?
La posso aiutare, signore/a?Can I help you sir/madam?
Vuole pagare in contanti o con la carta di credito?Would you like to pay in cash or credit card?
Vuole qualcos’altro? Anything else?
Questo costa 200 euro.It costs 200 euros.
Salve, quanto costano le mele?Hello, how much are the apples?
Prendo due chili di patate.I’ll take two kilos of potatoes.
Vorrei pagare con la carta di credito.I’d like to pay with a credit card.
Potrei avere una busta, per favore?Could I have a plastic bag, please?
Quanto devo pagare?How much do I have to pay?
Grazie mille, buona giornata!Thank you, have a nice day!
Dove sono gli spaghetti?Where can I find the spaghetti?

7. Italian Phrases To Use At A Butcher Shop

Going to a macelleria, or butcher shop is a regular part of everyday life in Italy. The meat is less expensive, better quality and is definitely fresher than at the grocery store. You can buy sliced products or sized according to your preferences.

If you’ve ever want to go into a macelleria in Italy, here are some phrases for ordering what you need:

Vorrei……….le ali.                   
le cosce.                   
il petto di pollo.                   
il fegato.                   
il vitello.                   
il tacchino.                   
la bistecca.                  
I would like………wings.                             
chicken breast.                             
Buongiorno, vorrei due etti di petti di pollo.Good morning, I would like 200 grams of chicken breast.
Come si può cucinare?How can it be cooked?
Basta, grazie.That’s enough, thank you.

8. Italian Phrases To Use At A Fish Market

Fish Markets are very common in Italy. La pescheria is the best place to buy fresh fish and seafood you are looking for. The seller will clean the fish for you and will probably leave the head on.

italian fish market

Here are some Italian phrases that would be useful to you at a fish market:

Buongiorno, è fresco il pesce?Good morning, is the fish fresh?
Dammi 1 chilo di aragosta, per favore.Give me 1kg of lobster, please.
Vorrei mezzo chilo di calamari.I’d like a half kilogram of squid.
Quanto costa il gambero?How much does the shrimp cost?
Non so cosa prendere tra polpo e salmone. Cosa è meglio?I can’t decide between octopus and salmon. What’s better?
È buona la seppia?Is the sepia good?
Potrei avere 1 chilo di vongole?Could I have 1 kilogram of clams?
Un pezzo di tonno, per favore.One piece of tuna fish, please.

9. Italian Phrases To Use At A Wine Shop

An enoteca is the special type of local or regional wine shop you go to when you want to taste the best wine, made in Italy.

italian wine shop

Here are some Italian phrases you can use when visiting an enoteca, that will help you not only order wine, but also give your opinion about it:

Mi piacerebbe assaggiare un vino bianco di questa regione.I’d like to taste white wine from this region.
Io prendo un bicchiere di vino rosso.I’d have one glass of red wine.
Il rosato ha un sapore amaro.The Rosé has a bitter flavor.
Da dove proviene?Where does it come from?
Non mi piace. È molto morbido.I don’t like it. It’s very smooth.
Mmmm…è buono.Mmmmm…it’s good.
Preferisco i vini più secchi.I prefer drier wines.
Ha un sapore fruttato.It has a fruity flavor.

10. Italian Cooking and Baking Phrases

There are plenty of ways to prepare food. For example, octopus has a different flavor if you eat it fresh, cooked, roasted or fried. The same is true with other fish, meat, and vegetables.

The secret of delicious food lies in the ingredients, but also in the way one’s prepared it.

italian tiramisu

Here are some Italian expressions that indicate what kind of food you are eating.

A me piace la pasta al dente.I like pasta al dente.(“al dente” means cooked so as to be still firm when eaten. Usually refers to slightly undercooked pasta.)
I calamari fritti sono i migliori.The fried squid is the best.
Preferisco un pesce affumicato.I prefer smoked fish.
La mamma prepara la  carne di maiale al forno.My mom cooks baked pork.(“al forno”  refers to a dish cooked in the oven.)
Pollo fritto oppure verdure fritte?Fried chicken or fried vegetables?
Io prenderei un pesce alla griglia.I’ll take grilled fish.(“alla griglia” means “grilled” or “barbecued”.)
A me piace la pasta fresca.I would like pasta fresca.(freshly made pasta)
A me piace la pasta secca.I would like pasta secca.(dry pasta)

Last, but not least, just to show you how much food is present in the Italian language, let’s take a look at some Italian expressions and sayings that enrich the language:

Fare una spaghettata To eat spaghettiLet’s meet up and for a casual dinner!
Sono pieno come un uovoI’m full as an eggIt means you are full and just simply cannot eat anymore.
Conosco i miei polli.I know my chickens.Knowing your chicken means you know what you are talking about.“I know my chicken” means “I know my stuff”.
Non puoi avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca.You can’t have a full wine barrel and a drunk wife.This idiom means that you can’t have everything.
Sei come il prezzemolo.You are like parsley.Parsley is an ingredient found in almost every meal. So if you are like parsley, it means you pop up everywhere.
Tutto fa brodo .Everything makes broth.It means “Every little thing helps”. It means that small improvements will, in the long run, help you achieve a desired goal.
Rendere pan per focacciaTo give back bread for focaccia (a focaccia is a form of bread)Very similar to “an eye for an eye”, it means to give payback for something wrong.
Tutto finisce a tarallucci e vino.It all ends with tarallucci and wine.It basically means not to worry, everything’s going to be just fine; except that in Italy, it comes with some tarallucci and wine.

As you can see there are many useful Italian phrases for food. Hopefully you will be able to use these during your next trip to Italy or to your local Italian restaurant or market.

And if you want to learn more Italian words and expressions related to food, here there are useful books for you:

By: Frank DePino

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

If you want to learn Italian language, numbers are one of the first things you must learn!

What are Italian Numbers?

In Italian, like in English, there are two different types of numbers: Numeri Cardinali (cardinal numbers) express the numerical quantity of the name to which they refer: uno (one) , due (two), tre (three), etc.; and Numeri Ordinali (ordinal numbers) express order and distribution, the place a thing or a person occupies in a series or a list: primo (first), secondo (second), terzo (third) and so on. When you learn Italian Numbers, you will be able to express your age when introducing yourself, ask how much something costs, ask what time is it iand say the date.

In this lesson we will study Ordinal Numbers in Italian. You will know how to pronounce them and how to form them in an easy way. Are you ready?

Let’s learn Italian Numbers and start counting in Italian!

Before proceeding, I also suggest to you theese books:

Italian Numbers Chart: Numbers from 0 to 10

Italian Numbers
Italian Numbers Italian Pronunciation
0 – zero ze-ro
1 – uno oo-noh
2 – due doo-ay
3 – tre treh
4 – quattro kwat-tro
5 – cinque cheen-kweh
6 – sei seh-ee
7 – sette set-teh
8 – otto oht-toh
9 – nove no-veh
10 – dieci dee-eh-chee

As you can see, Italian Numbers from zero to ten are not very difficult to learn and some numbers are very similar to English ones, which helps memorization.
Repeat them several times, starting counting in Italian, then read examples to help you remember them in a context!


Ho sei anni.
I am 6 years old.

Il Manchester ha vinto due a zero.
Manchester won 2-0.

Ho mangiato tre gelati di fila e adesso ho il mal di pancia.
I ate 3 ice creams in a row and now I have a stomach ache.

Quanti fratelli hai? Solo uno.
How many brothers do you have? Only 1.

Alle quattro e cinque ho una lezione di italiano.
At 4:05 pm I have an Italian lesson.

Quanto costa questo jeans? Sette euro e dieci centesimi
How much does this jeans cost? 7 euros and 10 cents.

It’s really easy to remember them, isn’t it? Now let’s see Italian Numbers from 10 to 20!

Italian Numbers Chart: Numbers from 10 to 20

Italian Numbers
Italian Numbers Italian Pronunciation
10 – dieci dee-eh-chee
11 – undici oon-dee-chee
12 – dodici doo-dee-chee
13 – tredici tray-dee-chee
14 – quattordici kwat-tor-dee-chee
15 – quindici kween-dee-chee
16 – sedici seh-dee-chee
17 – diciassette dee-chah-sset-teh
18 – diciotto dee-choht-toh
19 – diciannove dee-chahn-noh-veh
20 – venti ven-tee

Italian numbers from ten to twenty are irregular but still follow some “rules” that can help you to remember them. Let’s look at them:

  • Italian Numbers from 11 to 16 are composed by the root of the one-digit numbers followed by “dici” (tre + dici = TREdici)
  • Italian Numbers from 17 to 19 are formed by “dici” followed by the one-digit numbers (dici + otto = diciotto).

NOTE: even if it is similar to the one-digit words, there are some differences in vowels or consonants.
In the Italian numbers seventeen and nineteen there is also an “a” and the doubling of the consonants (dici + sette = diciassette, dici + nove = diciannove)


L’ho comprato tredici anni fa.
I bought it 13 years ago.

Quanto costa? Quindici dollari.
How much? 15 dollars.

Ho venduto quattordici libri oggi.
I sold 14 books today.

Ci siamo sposati diciannove anni fa.
We got married 19 years ago.

Che ore sono? Le diciassette.
What time is it? It’s 5 pm.

Ha studiato italiano per soli diciotto mesi ed è già bravissimo.
He studied Italian for only 18 months and he is already very good.

Now that you know how to count in Italian to 20, you have done most of the work!

In fact, from now on it is very easy to learn the rest of Italian Numbers and in particular the Italian Tens.

Ready, set , go!

Italian Numbers Chart: Numbers from 20 to 30

Italian Numbers
Italian Numbers Italian Pronunciation
20 – venti ven-tee
21 – ventuno ven-too-noh
22 – ventidue ven-tee-doo-eh
23 – ventitre ven-tee-treh
24 – ventiquattro ven-tee-kwaht-troh
25 – venticinque ven-tee-cheen-kweh
26 – ventisei ven-tee-seh-ee
27 – ventisette ven-tee-set-teh
28 – ventotto ven-toht-toh
29 – ventinove ven-tee-noh-veh
30 – trenta tren-tah

The “addition rule”

As you can see, Italian Numbers from ventuno (twenty-one) onwards are very simple to form. The rule is to use the one-digit Number from uno (one) to nove (nine) at the end of the Tens Number.

It is like an addition!

venti + sette = ventisette
venti + quattro = ventiquattro
venti + nove = ventinove
trenta + sei = trentasei
trenta + sette = trentasette

…and so on

NOTE: when the Tens Number ends with a vowel and the one-digit number begins with a vowel, then the last one of the Tens fall. As you can see, this rule applies to uno (one) and otto (eight). You will note that venti (twenty) loses the final -i and trenta (thirty) loses the final -a:

venti + uno = ventuno
venti + otto = ventotto
trenta + otto = trentotto
trenta + uno = trentuno


Gigi ha ventiquattro anni.
Gigi is 24 years old.

Sono ventotto gradi.
It’s twenty-eight degrees.

Che ore sono? Sono le venti e trenta.
What time is it? It’s 8:30 pm.

Stiamo insieme da trentuno anni.
We’ve been together for 31 years.

Remember this “addition rule”, because it is applied for remaining other Italian Tens Numbers.

Let’s see them together!

Italian Numbers Chart: Tens Numbers from 20 to 100

Italian Numbers
Italian Numbers Italian Pronunciation
20 – venti ven-tee
30 – trenta tren-tah
40 – quaranta kwah-rahn-tah
50 – cinquanta cheen-kwahn-tah
60 – sessanta ses-sahn-tah
70 – settanta set-tahn-tah
80 – ottanta oht-tahn-tah
90 – novanta noh-vahn-tah
100 – cento chen-toh

As you can see from the chart, even Italian Tens Numbers follow a rule that can help you to remember them. Let’s see it:

  • Italian Numbers from 30 to 90 are composed by the root of the corresponding one-digit numbers followed by “anta”, with some changing in vowels or consonants sometimes:
    cinque + anta = cinquanta
    sette + anta = settanta  
  • The “addition rule” that we have seen before to form is valid to form other Italian Numbers:
    trenta + sette = trentasette
    cinquanta + quattro = cinquantaquattro
    settanta + sei = settantasei


Quella signora ha ben quarantaquattro gatti!
That old lady has 44 cats!

Mio nonno aveva novantanove anni.
My grandfather was 99 years old.

Prima di parlare, conta fino a cento!
Before speaking, count to 100!


  • contare fino a cento is a common Italian way of saying that you have to wait and think a lot before you take a final decision or to speak in a rash way.
  • Remember that tre (three) has no accent, while ventitré (twenty-three) and trentatré (thirty-three) are written with an acute accent.


Si deve tagliare in ventitré pezzetti.
It has to be cut in 33 pieces.

Alla festa c’erano ventitré invitati.
There were 23 guests at the party.

Italian Numbers Chart: Big Numbers after 100

Italian Numbers Italian Pronunciation
100 – cento chen-toh
200 – duecento doo-eh-chen-toh
300 – trecento treh-chen-toh
400 – quattrocento kwaht-troh-chen-toh
500 – cinquecento cheen-kweh-chen-toh
1.000 – mille meel-leh
2.000 – duemila doo-eh-mee-lah
10.000 – diecimila dee-eh-chee-mee-lah
1.000.000 – un milione oon mee-lee-oh-neh
2.000.000 – due milioni doo-eh mee-lee-oh-nee – un miliardo oon mee-lee-are-doh

To learn Italian numbers greater than 100 is very useful when talking about years or dates. As you can see from the chart:

The Hundreds are formed by the one-digit Number followed by “cento”:
due + cento = duecento
quattro + cento = quattrocento


La carica dei cento e uno è un famoso film di Walt Disney.
One Hunded and One Dalmatians is a famous Walt Disney movie.

Ho speso 300 dollari per quella borsa!
I spent 300 dollars for that bag!

Thousands are composed by the one-digit Number followed by “mila”:
tre + mila = tremila
cinque + mila = cinquemila


Gli hanno rubato merci dal valore di cinquemila dollari.
They stole goods worth 5.000 dollars.

Mi deve dei soldi… Circa tremila dollari.
He owes me money, like 3.000 dollars.

Sono nato il diciotto ottobre millenovecentonovantaquattro.
I was born on October 18th 1994.

NOTE: the number uno (one) becomes un before a masculine noun, so we have un milione (one million) and un miliardo (a billion). Also, a million and a billion have a regular plural in -i.


Possono esserci un milione di combinazioni!
There could be a million of combination!

Lo farebbe anche se ci fosse una possibilità su un miliardo.
He would do that even if there’s a chance in a billion.

L’estinzione dei dinosauri è avvenuta circa sessantacinque milioni di anni fa.
The extinction of the dinosaurs took place about 65 million years ago.

Italian Idioms and Proverbs with Numbers

Italian Idioms and Proverbs with Numbers

Now you have learned the Italian Numbers and are ready not only to count in Italian, but also to do calculations and use numbers in whatever situation

To conclude, If you really want to “sound Italian”, I will give you some Italian idiomatic expressions and proverbs with numbers that are really used a lot in everyday conversation in Italy. For every example I will give you the word by word translation and the explanation of the meaning of the Italian Idioms:


This is a very common Italian expression: it is used when you accuse someone of talking nonsense, or worse, of saying meaningless sentences.

Literally it means “to give numbers”, but you can translate it in english with to loose somebody’s mind or you are going crazy!.


È da due settimane che dormi in questo ufficio, inizierai a dare i numeri!
You’ve been sleeping in this office for two weeks, you will lose your mind!


This is a very common way of saying in Italian to explain how a person makes a lot of effort to make a certain action, achieving a certain result.

Literally the translation would be “to become four” and with this sentence we want to explain how someone can be willing to multiply their behavior to complete a commitment. In English the same way of saying can be translated as to work (very) hard or to make a great effort.


mi sono fatta in quattro per te e questo è il ringraziamento!
I worked hard for you and this is your thank you!

NOTE: the farsi in quattro expression can be replaced by another Italian idiom: sudare sette camicie. This is an expression that is really very common in Italy, and it has a similar meaning to the previous one.

Literally, it can be translated as “to sweat seven shirts”. It means that you work very hard to get something. In English you would say to make a great effort in order to achieve a result and work really hard.


Ho sudato sette camicie per arrivare qui / mi sono fatto in quattro per arrivare qui.
I’ve worked really hard to get here.


This is a very common Italian Proverb. It means that if a person undertakes on his own, he may be able to do it better than he could do it by involving other people.

Literally the translation would be “those who do something on their own, they do as they were three of them”, but in English you would surely say “if you want something done, do it yourself”.

Marco non mi ha per nulla aiutata nel progetto… è proprio vero che chi fa da sé fa per tre! – Mark did not help me at all in doing the project.. It is true that if you want something done, do it yourself!


This is an Italian Proverb that is very used. It means that between two people who quarrel over something, a third party often prevails, waiting for the moment of greatest weakness or distraction of the two contenders.

Literally the translation is “between two parties arguing, the third gains”, but in english you can say when two people fight, the third one wins”.


Now you are ready to answer questions with Italian Numbers in Italian! You can try to use the idiomatic expressions or proverbs you just learnt to sound like a real Italian! Once you begin, you will never stop counting in Italian!

The important thing is that… You won’t start a dare i numeri!

By: Federica Contento

Federica is an Italian linguist living in the beautiful city of Naples, Italy. She has a thousand talents and passions, including cinema, music, photography, drawing, programming and foreign languages!

What is a question word?

The Italian question words are dove? quando? perché? chi? che cosa? quale / quali? come? quanto? and are called “pronomi interrogativi”. They are used to formulate Italian questions, which is one of the first things that you should learn. They are Pronouns when they replace the name and are followed by a verb or Adjectives when they accompany the name.


Che hai fatto ieri? (pronoun) – What did you do yesterday?
Che film hai visto ieri? (adjective) – What movie did you watch yesterday?

If you want to repeat Italian Vocabulary, here there are some useful books for you:

Italian Questions Chart:

Italian Question Word Translation Example
DOVE? Where? Dove sei?
Where are you
QUANDO? When? Quando sei libero?
When are you free?
PERCHÉ? Why? Because Perché non rispondi? Perché sono occupato
Why don’t you answer? Because I am busy.
CHI? Who? / Whom Chi sei tu?
Who are you?
CHE COSA? COSA? / CHE? What? Che cosa stai facendo?
What are you doing?
QUALE / QUALI? Which / what Quale preferisci?
Which one do you prefer?
COME? How? Come stai?
How are you?
QUANTO / QUANTI? QUANTA / QUANTE? How much / how many Quanto costa?
How much is this?

As you can see from the chart, some question words correspond to the English form, while others can have different translations.

But don’t be afraid, it is easier than it seems:

Let’s see the Italian question words in detail, starting from the easiest one!


Italian Question Words - Dove?

The Italian question word dove translates the question where?. 


Dove vivi?
Where do you live?

Dove stai andando?
Where are you going?

Dove sono i miei bagagli?
Where are my bags?

Dove sei?
Where are you?

Di dove sei?
Where are you from?

Da dove vieni?
Where are you from?

Per / in ogni dove (formal)
Everywhere (Italian idiomatic expression)

NOTE: If dove is followed by the verb to be in the third person singular (è), the final “e” in dove can drop (dov’è) for pronunciation reasons.


Dove è la stazione? / dov’è la stazione – where is the station?


Italian Question Words - Quando?

The Italian question word quando translates the question “when ?”


Quando parti?
When do you leave?

Quando tocca a me cantare?
When do I get to sing?

Da quando?
Since when?

Da quanto tempo studi l’italiano?
How long have you been studying Italian?

NOTE: with the third person singular “è” you can write “quand’è” instead of “quando è”.


Quando è / Quand’è il tuo compleanno? – when is your birthday?


Perché translates the question “why?”, but also the answer “because”. It refers to causes and purposes


Perché studi l’italiano? Perché è la lingua più bella del mondo!
Why do you study italian? Because it is the most beautiful language in the world!

Perché sei sempre in ritardo?!
Why are you always late?!

Other ways to say perché:

The Italian question word perché can also be replaced from other expressions, such as:

  • come mai?
  • per quale motivo?
  • per quale ragione?
  • ecco perché


Come mai non vuoi uscire?
Why don’t you want to go out?

Per quale motivo stai piangendo?
Why are you crying?

Per quale ragione odi Antonio? È un vero cretino, ecco perché!
Why/ for what reason do you hate Antonio? He is a real idiot, that’s why!

NOTE: The expression ecco perché is also very used to emphasize the reason or explanation just given, especially in response to a statement or question.


Italian Question Words - Chi?

Chi translates the question “who?” or “whom” with prepositions. It refers to people or animals and it is invariable.


Chi sei?
Who are you?

Chi stai aspettando?
Who are you waiting for?

Con chi vai al cinema stasera?
With whom do you go to the cinema tonight?

Per chi lavori?
Who do you work for?

A chi stai scrivendo questa lettera?
Who are you writing this letter to?

Che cosa? / Cosa? / Che?

The Italian question words che cosa?, cosa? and che? translate the question “what?”

Che cosa or cosa it is followed by a verb.


Che cosa fai?
What are you doing?

Che can be followed both by a noun (che: interrogative adjective) or a verb (che: interrogative pronoun)


Che lavoro fai?
What job do you do?

Che colore preferisci?
What color do you prefer?

Che fai?
What are you doing?

Che vuoi?
What do you want?

In the first two examples above che could be replaced by quale (see below). 
In the last two sentences che could be replaced by cosa or che cosa.

Can you understand where to replace che, che cosa  or just cosa in the following examples?

Non ricordo che cosa ho fatto ieri.
I don’t remember what I did yesterday.

Cosa vuoi?
What do you want?

Che mangi?
What are you eating?

Che ore sono?
What time is it?

Quale? / Quali?

Italian Question Words - Quale / Quali?

Quale translates the question “what?” or “which”. It refers to both people and things.
The plural form is quali. It indicates the identity or quality of the name to which it refers to.


Quale città italiana preferisci?
Which Italian city do you prefer?

Quale lingua stai studiando?
What language are you studying?

Di quali libri stai parlando?
What books are you talking about?

Qual è / Qual era?

When you use the Italian question word quale with the verb “to be” in the present tense or past tense (è or era), it will be qual without the final e.


Qual è la risposta esatta?
What is the correct answer?

Qual era il tuo gioco preferito da bambino?
What was your favorite child’s game?

Quale or che?

Note that quale and che are in many cases used as equivalent forms, in fact the previous examples can be expressed with che. It happens when che / quale is followed by a noun.


Che lingua stai studiando?
What language are you studying?

Di che libri stai parlando?
What language are you studying?

In fact, when they have the adjective function or in the indirect questions you can use che or quale. The use of che is perhaps more frequent in the direct questions. However it is not an error to use both, it is just a question of usage!


Che libro stai leggendo? (direct question)
What book are you reading?

Vorrei sapere quali sono i tuoi interessi (indirect question)
I Would like to know what are your interests.


Come translates the question “How?”. It refers to mode.


  • Come stai? / Come va? (informal) – How are you?
  • Come sta? (formal) – How are you?
  • Come ti trovi in Italia? – How are you in Italy?
  • Come ti chiami? – What’s your name?

Quanto? / Quanta?/ Quanti? / Quante?

These forms translate the question “How much? / How many?”. They refer to quantity and vary in number and gender when followed by a noun.

  • The singular form is quanto for the masculine and quanta for the feminine. These forms translate the English question ‘’how much’’.
  • The plural form is quanti for the masculine and quante for the feminine. These forms translate the English question ‘’how many’’.


Quanto costa quella pizza?
How much cost that pizza?

Quanta pazienza ci vuole?
How much patience does it take?

Quanto mi ami?
How much do you love me?

Quanti libri hai?
How many books do you have?

Quante volte vai al cinema?

How many times do you go to the cinema?

Quanti anni ha?
How old is he?

Idiomatic expressions with Italian question words.

Idiomatic expressions with Italian question words.

Da quando in qua? Quand’è che…?

These Italian idiomatic expressions can be used in different ways. They can be used as a simple question, but they can also express wonder or irony. You can ask these questions because you are surprised by a sudden change of habit on the person who you know very well (and this fact can impress you in a negative or positive way).


Quand’è che sei diventato così presuntuoso?
When did you turn into such an arrogant person? (negative impression)

Da quando in qua sei un appassionato di musica?
Since when you are passionate about music? (positive impression)

Another meaning of these idiomatic expressions can be to express irony or to urge someone to do something.


Quand’è che torni?
When are you coming home? (urge)

Allora quand’è che mi porti in Italia?
So, when are you taking me to Italy? (urge / irony)

Studi italiano? Da quando in qua?
Do you study Italian language? Since when? (surprise / irony)

Ma che…, Che…

These expressions can be used to express exclamations of joy or surprise, but also annoyance. They translate the English form what a….

Can you get the difference in meaning between the following sentences?

Ma che bella sorpresa! Grazie!
What a nice surprise! Thank you!

Che rumore! Puoi abbassare il volume?
What a noise! Can you turn down the volume?


Now that you know the Italian question words, you are ready to start a conversation in Italian asking questions to your Italian friends or native speakers in Italy! You can even try to use the idiomatic expressions to sound like a real Italian! What are you waiting for? Go out there and practice!

By: Federica Contento

Federica is an Italian linguist living in the beautiful city of Naples, Italy. She has a thousand talents and passions, including cinema, music, photography, drawing, programming and foreign languages!

One of the first things that you want to do when learning Italian is to learn how to say the days of the week.

How to use Days of the Week in Italian?

The Days of the week in Italian can be used to express a lot of things: for example to give an appointment, say the date or say what day you will arrive to Italy. Also, there are a lot of Common Saying in Italian with Days of the week, such as Mancare un venerdì or Essere sempre in mezzo come il giovedì.

And more!

Let’s see below how to pronounce the days of the week in Italian. 

If you want to improve your Itallian Vocabulary, I also suggest to you these books:

I giorni della settimana – the days of the week

Days in Italian Pronunciation Days in English
lunedì looh-neh-dee Monday
martedì mahr-teh-dee Tuesday
mercoledì mehr-koh-leh-dee Wednesday
giovedì joh-veh-dee Thursday
venerdì veh-nehr-dee Friday
sabato sah-bah-toh Saturday
domenica doh-meh-nee-kah Sunday

As you can see from the chart, the days of the week in Italian:

  • start from Monday,
  • are not capitalized,
  • are accented on the last vowel – with the exception of sabato and domenica  

What is the most effective way to remember the weekdays in Italian?

Days of the Week in Italian

It may help to use an Italian calendar or agenda.
Every day when you wake up ask yourself che giorno è oggi?

Che giorno è oggi? Oggi è lunedì.
What day is today? Today is Monday.

As you can see Italians don’t use the preposition (on) in front of the day. Just say the name of day.

NOTE: If you want to say that something is happening on a weekly basis then you can use the preposition di or the definite article (il, la, i, le) before the day.

If you want to know more about definite articles read “Italian Definite Articles Chart: An Easy Guide“.


faccio yoga di lunedì = faccio yoga il lunedì
I do yoga on Mondays

There is no difference in translation between the two.

You can also say:

faccio yoga tutti i lunedì.
I do yoga all the Mondays.

faccio yoga ogni lunedì.
I do yoga every Monday.

Italians use the definite article in front of the days of the week when it is used as the subject of the sentence.


Il sabato è noioso.
Saturday is boring.

I lunedì sono sempre difficili.
Mondays are always hard.

You might also find useful the following related vocabulary:

  • Il giorno – the day
  • La settimana – the week
  • Il fine settimana or il weekend – the weekend
    Note: the weekend in Italy is composed of Saturday and Sunday. The only non working day is usually Sunday. Most of the schools are open on Saturdays.
  • Oggi – today
  • Ieri – yesterday
  • Domani – tomorrow
  • L’altro ieri – the day before yesterday
  • Dopodomani – the day after tomorrow
  • Ogni giorno / tutti i giorni – every day
  • La settimana prossima – next week
  • La settimana scorsa/passata – last week
  • Che giorno è oggi? – What day is today?
  • Che giorno era ieri? – What day was yesterday?
  • Che giorno è domani? – What day is tomorrow?
  • Oggi è … – Today is ….
  • Ieri era … – Yesterday was …
  • Domani è … – Tomorrow is …
  • Giorno feriale – working day
  • Giorno festivo – non working day
  • Da … a – from … to


Il fine settimana esco con gli amici.
On the weekend I go out with friends.

Bevo il caffè ogni giorno.
I drink coffee every day.

La domenica è un giorno festivo.
Sunday is a non working day.

Lavoro dal lunedì al venerdì.
I work from Monday to Friday.

Ieri era domenica, oggi è lunedì e domani è martedì.
Yesterday was Sunday, today is Monday and tomorrow is Tuesday.

Ci vediamo martedì prossimo!
See you next Tuesday!

Common sayings with the days of the week in Italian

Common Sayings with Days of the Week in Italian

There are some curious expressions and common sayings with the days of the week in Italian:

  • Mancare un venerdì.
    To be missing a Friday.
    It is used in referring to an extravagant, crazy person.
  • Essere sempre in mezzo come il giovedì.
    To be always in the middle like Thursdays.
    Since in Italian the week begins on Monday, Thursday is in the middle of the week. It is used to say that someone is always around.
  • Né di venere né di marte ci si sposa né si parte.
    Neither on Venus (Friday) or on Mars (Tuesday) one can get married or leave.
    It is better to not start anything new on Tuesdays and Fridays.
    In Italy Friday is considered an unfortunate day, especially Friday the 17th!
  • La febbre del sabato sera.
    Saturday night fever.
  • Se piove di venerdì, piove sabato, domenica e lunedì.
    If it rains on Friday it will rain on Saturday, on Sunday and Monday.
  • Se la domenica piove prima della messa, la settimana è in tresca.
    If on Sunday it rains before the mass, the week is in affairs.  

Italian Festive Days 

Here are listed some of the Italian festive days, mostly from the catholic tradition:

  • Lunedì dell’Angelo – Monday of the Angel
    The day after Pasqua (Easter), also called lunedì di Pasquetta.
  • Martedì grasso – Mardi gras
  • Mercoledì delle ceneri – Ash Wednesday
  • Giovedì Santo – Holy Thursday
    The Thursday before Easter.
  • Venerdì Santo – Holy Friday
    The Friday before Easter.
  • Sabato Santo – Holy Saturday
    The Saturday before Easter.
  • La settimana santa –  Holy week
    The week of Easter.

Italian Days Abbreviations

You will probably see the Italian days abbreviated on calendars or sometimes when texting with Italians.

The days of the week in Italian are shortened as follows:

lunedì = lun. (or L)
martedì = mar. (or Ma)
mercoledì = mer. (or Me)
giovedì = gio. (or G)
venerdì = ven. (or V)
sabato = sab. (or S)
domenica = do. (or D)

Quick Overview

The days of the week in Italian:

  • start from Monday,
  • are not capitalized,
  • are accented on the last vowel – with the exception of sabato and domenica,
  • are not preceded by a preposition – unless there is the meaning of ‘’every’’
  • Are preceded by the preposition di or the definite article il, i or la, le in order to say ‘’every’’
  • Are preceded by the definite article if used as a subject.

Curiosity about the origin of the names of days in Italian

  • The name settimana (week) come from the number sette (seven) because the days of the week are seven.
  • The names of the days of the week in Italian come from Latin.
  • Latins used to name days after the planets, with the exception of domenica which comes from ‘’Dominus’’ (Lord).
  • The final part of the word comes from dies which means day.
  • That’s why you could hear from Italians buondì instead of buongiorno to say good Morning, literally good day.
  • Monday in Italian is lunedì which means giorno della Luna (day of the Moon).
  • Tuesday in Italian is martedì which means giorno di Marte (day of Mars).
  • Wednesday in Italian is mercoledì which means giorno di Mercurio (day of Mercury).
  • Thursday in Italian is giovedì which means giorno di Giove (day of Jupiter).
  • Friday in Italian is venerdì which means giorno di Venere (day of Venus).
  • Saturday in Italian is sabato which means giorno di Saturno (day of Saturn).
  • Sunday in Italian is domenica which means giorno del Signore (day of the Lord).

To know the origin of the days of the week in Italian may actually help you to remember them more easily.

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.