italian days of the week

The Italian Days of the Week: Your Handy Guide to “La Settimana”

Knowing the Italian days of the week is necessary for various reasons.

It helps you schedule coffee dates with native speakers, figure out plans with friends, as well as avoid the museum on the one day of the week it’s actually closed.

In this post, we’ll look into each day of the week, as well as cultural tidbits to get to know the Italians a little better.

So, let’s begin learning about la settimana (the week).


Lunedì (loo-ne-DEE) — Monday

Lunedì comes from the day of the lunar moon and is considered to be the beginning of the workweek.

While Americans tend not to like Monday, Italians may greet you with a Buon lunedì (Happy Monday!).

As they start their workweek, Italians will usually start working at 8 am and don’t take their lunch until 1 pm. But when they do take their lunch, they take it seriously.

The extended lunch is called riposo, lasts anywhere from two to four hours and usually includes home-cooked meals, a nap or some errands.

Although it’s not as common in the big cities, this cultural norm clearly demonstrates the Italian emphasis on work-life balance.

Martedì (mar-te-DEE) — Tuesday

We go now to the second day of the workweek (and to more riposo)—martedì.

This day’s namesake is the planet Mars, also the name of the Roman god of war. 

Mercoledì (MER-ko-le-DEE) — Wednesday

It’s Wednesday, the third day of the workweek, and the day of the planet Mercury, aka the Roman god of commerce.

Since the day is represented by a god of commerce, it only makes sense that it would also be the market day for the city of Siena. 

You can go to Siena’s market on mercoledì and find everything from food to wine to household goods.

The mercoledì market day was originally a local event, but travelers have since been drawn to the market, attracted to its authentic Italian feel.

Giovedì (jo-ve-DEE) — Thursday

We’ve come to the middle of the week, named after Jupiter (god of the sky)—giovedì.

It turns out that this day has a universally strange feeling of being in between. You’re not quite to the weekend, but you’re close enough that you’re starting to have that sense of relaxation.

The Italians have an expression that embodies that exact feeling: Sei come il giovedì (You’re like Thursday).

Just as giovedì is in the middle of the week, the expression is used to refer to someone who’s always in the middle of some dramatic situation. Whether it’s something about their job, their family or their love life, there’s always something going on.

So if someone tells you you’re like Thursday in Italy, just know that they are calling you a drama queen. 

Venerdì (ve-ner-DEE) — Friday

Thank God (or Venus, the goddess of love) it’s Friday! Unless it’s venerdì the 17th.

In other countries, peoples’ hearts skip a beat when it’s Friday the 13th.  However, if you go to Italy, you’ll find that 13 is actually a lucky number and it’s the 17th that sends chills down everyone’s spines.

The Italians are extremely superstitious about this date, so much so that people will skip work or even entirely close down their businesses.

The logic behind this is also very complex: the number 17, when written in Roman numerals, is XVII. Italians see this as an anagram for VIXI, which means “I have lived,” as in you’re currently dead.

The superstition is so widely observed that you might find it difficult to get onto the 17th floor of an Italian hotel or find a seat on the 17th row in the theater.

Sabato (SA-ba-to) — Saturday

Ah, sabato… the first full day of the weekend.

As you can see, sabato is very similar to the Spanish sábado, both of which are based on the Latin sabbatum and the Hebrew shabbat meaning “sabbath” or “day of rest.”

There’s also a river in southern Italy known as the Fiume Sabato or simply the Sabato in English.

Domenica (do-MEnee-ka) — Sunday

This is the only day of the week not named after a planet or Roman god. In fact, it’s rather named in honor of the Christian God. This is rather fitting, considering that this is most Christian Italians’ day of worship.

Aside from going to church, Italians love easy Sundays. After all, it’s the fine settimana (weekend).

Especially in smaller cities and towns across the country, domenica can easily be spent lazying around or spending time with friends and family.

Italians will typically hold a Sunday lunch or dinner that will carry on for hours and be full of food, wine and conversation. If there’s time, a passeggiata (a stroll) might be needed to walk off all that pasta and enjoy the outdoors.

This prepares the hardworking Italians for the busy week ahead.

More About the Italian Days of the Week

There are a few patterns with the days of the week that you may have noticed.

First, the days of the week each correspond with a celestial body and in turn, a Roman god or goddess.

The exception to this is Sunday, which was named after the Christian god.

Additionally, most Italian days of the week (except for sabato and domenica) end with -dì, much like how our English days end with -day.  This is because -dì is a derivative of the Latin word for day, from which we get phrases like per diem (per day).

In writing, remember that usually Italian days and months are not capitalized.

How to Practice the Days of the Week in Italian

You’ve just learned about i giorni della settimana (the days of the week). How might you use them in conversation?

Let’s find out.

Che giorno è oggi?
(What day is it today?)

Oggi è ______.
(Today is ______.)

For example, if it’s a Tuesday, then say, “Oggi è martedì” (Today is Tuesday).

Keep in mind that definite articles like la, il and lo are usually not used before days of the week.

So, you just say:

Ci vediamo lunedì.
(See you on Monday.)

Devo essere a Roma venerdì.
(I have to be in Rome on Friday.)

A short way of saying “See you on ______” is by putting an a before the day:

A lunedì.
(See you on Monday.)

A martedì.
(See you on Tuesday.)

A mercoledì.
(See you on Wednesday.)

However, definite articles are used when you mean that something happens “every time.”

For example, if you don’t work on Saturdays, you can say:

Non lavoro il sabato.
(I don’t work on Saturdays.)

Another way to convey this is by adding ogni (every) before the day, as in:

Viene qui ogni sabato.
(He comes here every Saturday.)

Of course, you don’t need to specify the days all the time. You can use ieri (yesterday), oggi (today) and domani (tomorrow).

L’ho vista ieri.
(I saw her yesterday.)

L’addestramento comincia oggi.
(Training starts today.)

Venga domani.
(Come tomorrow.)

If you want to practice using the days of the week, try and use them as much as possible in your daily interactions. They pop up in conversation all the time, from confirming plans with friends to making appointments for checkups.

It also helps to listen to native speakers actually use the vocabulary—this is where Italian movies, series and podcasts come in handy since you can easily pause and take notes of phrases and usage.

And when you don’t have time for a full-length flick or episode, the FluentU Italian program has a vast collection of quick media clips that you can filter based on your needs. As you watch videos featuring the days of the week, you can hover over the subtitles to see the definition and other helpful learning notes.

italian days of the week

FluentU also comes with multimedia flashcards and personalized quizzes for extra vocab practice, all accessible on both web and mobile apps (iOS and Android).


So, now you know the days of the Italian week.

Make the days count, and use them often to continually study this beautiful language.

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