Italian Numbers: Your All-in-one Guide to Counting from 0 to 1,000,000+
Nobody thinks about numbers when learning Italian, but they clarify our communication and enrich our imagination. So numbers do count… a lot.
It’s not just about eggs—it’s about how many eggs are in the basket. How many people are coming? What time did you arrive? How much is that watch?
These all require you to know Italian numbers. They are essential to day-to-day, real-life conversation.
Now, let’s find out how to count from zero up to a sextillion in Italian.
- Counting from 0 to 100 in Italian
- Counting from 100 to 1,000 in Italian
- Counting from 1,000 to 1,000,000 in Italian
- Italian Numbers Greater Than a Million
- Ordinal Numbers in Italian
Counting from 0 to 100 in Italian
So here are the first 10 numbers in Italian. You’re going to have to memorize them as they’re the building blocks of any Italian number you can think of:
For numbers 11-20, you’ll have an easier time remembering them if you think:
11 is “1 and 10” combined, where uno and dieci → undici
12 is “2 and 10” combined, where due and dieci → dodici
Following this pattern, you’ll get:
If you notice above, the order of names becomes inverted from 17 to 19.
Instead of dici coming second, it gets written first for numbers diciassette, diciotto and diciannove.
From here on out, the tens get written before the ones digit.
23 — ventitre
76 — settantasei
84 — ottantaquattro
Except for dieci (10) and venti (20), all tens digits are named based on their roots. So 50, coming from cinque (five), becomes cinquanta.
Here are the tens:
Note that Italians have found ways to save time and pronounce their numbers faster. This is primarily done by dropping a letter or two.
For example, when two vowels happen to be sitting side by side, the first vowel is dropped. So instead of venti-uno, you’d drop the i of venti and say “ventuno” for the number 21.
Ventuno is a little smoother on the tongue, don’t you think?
Other examples include:
38 — trentotto (instead of trenta-otto)
51 — cinquantuno (instead of cinquanta-uno)
98 — novantotto (instead of novanta-otto)
Counting from 100 to 1,000 in Italian
The hundreds are formed by adding the suffix -cento to the multiplier digit. Here are your hundreds:
From the ones, tens and hundreds, the bigger your number is, the longer its written form will be. This is because Italian doesn’t separate the hundreds, tens and ones. They have it as one long word with no breaks or spaces.
154 — centocinquantaquattro
747 — settecentoquarantasette
948 — novecentoquarantotto
Counting from 1,000 to 1,000,000 in Italian
The thousands are formed by adding the suffix -mille to the digit multiplier.
But unlike the hundreds which used -cento throughout the series (because cento has no plural form), the thousands use the plural of mille which is mila.
Here are your thousands series:
For the hundred-thousands, we use the suffix -centomila.
Now that we have reached the million, it’s time to talk about really big numbers in Italian.
Italian Numbers Greater Than a Million
In Italian, to form the plurals of regular nouns, we change the e to i. So one million is un milione, and two million becomes due milioni.
This pattern carries on through the millions, so tre milioni, quattro milioni, etc.
Once you get beyond the millions, Italian alternates between the suffixes -ione and -iardo. Here are some of those bigger numbers:
|One billion||Un miliardo|
|One trillion||Un bilione|
|One quadrillion||Un biliardo|
|One quintillion||Un trilione|
|One sextillion||Un triliardo|
Note that the Italian bilione refers to the English trillion, not billion. This is due to the differences in long and short-scale naming systems used in the different countries.
So when an American thinks of, say, “a billion,” his Italian counterpart thinks of it as “a thousand million.”
Ordinal Numbers in Italian
So far, we’ve talked about cardinal numbers, which are used for things like counting apples in a bag or counting the number of times you’ve seen a movie.
In this section, we’ll be talking about ordinal numbers, which tell us about the specific position or rank that an object has relative to an ordered set, such as “first,” “second” and “third.”
Here are the first ten ordinal numbers:
terzo giro (third lap)
sesto mese (6th month)
Ho vinto il primo premio! (I won first prize!)
Now that you know the Italian numbers, you just need to put them into practice!
It does involve a bit of memorization, but once you have the basics down, you’ll be able to count up to bigger numbers in Italian. Flashcards come in really handy for this kind of learning, with digital options like Anki available for those learning on the go.
Another option is the language learning program FluentU, as it has a number flashcard deck linked to a video library of Italian media clips. You can see the numbers used naturally by native speakers with the help of interactive subtitles.
With enough practice, you can boost your confidence when interacting with native speakers. Count on it!