The 285 Most Important Italian Words and Phases Plus Links to Core Vocab Lists to Get You to Fluency (with Audio)

Drop that dictionary! You don’t need to learn all 250,000+ Italian words you’ll find in there.

Instead, dedicate your precious time to learning core vocabulary words—words that will form the foundation of your Italian learning and allow you to have real conversations.

Not sure where to start? Check out these lists of handy Italian words, organized neatly by topic, all with audio, so your pronunciation will be on point.

And then link to any of the Italian vocabulary lists linked below and study the ones that are relevant to you for a solid start to your collection of core Italian words.



Core Vocabulary

Your core vocabulary is a relatively small but very important collection of Italian words that you should know inside and out. These are the most common essentials that you’ll find yourself drawing from on a regular basis. Get started with the most important core vocabulary, like colors, body parts, weather expressions and more.

Ciao – Hello/Goodbye

Grazie – Thank you

Prego – You’re welcome/Please

– Yes

No – No

Buongiorno – Good morning

Buonasera – Good evening

Notte – Night

Uomo – Man

Donna – Woman

Bambino / Bambina – Boy/Girl

Amico / Amica – Friend

Famiglia – Family

Casa – House/Home

Cibo – Food

Acqua – Water

Sole – Sun

Luna – Moon

Giorno – Day

Mese – Month

Anno – Year

Oggi – Today

Domani – Tomorrow

Bene – Good/Fine

Male – Bad

Rosso – Red

Blu – Blue

Giallo – Yellow

Verde – Green

Arancione – Orange

Viola – Purple

Nero – Black

Bianco – White

Soleggiato – Sunny

Piovoso – Rainy

Nuvoloso – Cloudy

Vento – Windy

Temporale – Stormy/Thunderstorm

Testa – Head

Braccio – Arm

Gamba – Leg

Mano – Hand

Piede – Foot

Occhio – Eye

Orecchio – Ear

Naso – Nose

Travel and Survival Vocabulary

Whether you’re planning a trip to Italy or just “window shopping” online, don’t forget to pack Italian phrases. They’re just as important as your change of underwear and take up no space in your luggage!

Aeroporto – Airport

Stazione – Train station

Biglietto – Ticket

Volo – Flight

Treno – Train

Autobus – Bus

Taxi – Taxi

Metropolitana – Subway/Metro

Hotel – Hotel

Ristorante – Restaurant

Camera – Room

Bagagli – Luggage

Passaporto – Passport

Visto – Visa

Documento d’identità – ID

Mappa – Map

Guida turistica – Tourist guidebook

Turista – Tourist

Attrazione turistica – Tourist attraction

Spiaggia – Beach

Mare – Sea

Montagna – Mountain

Museo – Museum

Monumento – Monument

Noleggio auto – Car rental

Gita – Excursion/Trip

Bilancio – Budget

Scalo – Layover

Hobbies and Pastimes

Whether you’re into soccer or Versace, knowing the right words in Italian for your hobbies can help you navigate your pastimes—and find like-minded friends.

Musica – Music

Arte – Art

Pittura – Painting

Scultura – Sculpture

Teatro – Theater

Cinema – Cinema/Movie

Fotografia – Photography

Lettura – Reading

Scrittura – Writing

Gioco – Game/Play

Sport – Sport

Calcio – Soccer/Football

Tennis – Tennis

Nuoto – Swimming

Ciclismo – Cycling

Cucina – Cooking/Cuisine

Cucito – Sewing

Fai da te – DIY (Do It Yourself)

Giardinaggio – Gardening

Passeggiata – Stroll/Walk

Viaggiare – Traveling

Campeggio – Camping

Escursionismo – Hiking

Pesca – Fishing

Raccolta di francobolli – Stamp collecting

Italian Words for Date and Time

There’s a reason why language learners often study time, days, months and seasons early in their language journey. Having the right time vocab makes it easier to make plans, discuss future and past events and make sure you always show up on time (or, well, relatively on time).

Ora – Hour

Minuto – Minute

Secondo – Second

Giorno – Day

Settimana – Week

Mese – Month

Anno – Year

Oggi – Today

Ieri – Yesterday

Domani – Tomorrow

Lunedì – Monday

Martedì – Tuesday

Mercoledì – Wednesday

Giovedì – Thursday

Venerdì – Friday

Sabato – Saturday

Domenica – Sunday

Primavera – Spring

Estate – Summer

Autunno – Autumn/Fall

Inverno – Winter

Appuntamento – Appointment

Riunione – Meeting

Pianificare – To plan

Agenda – Agenda/Planner


Italian Words for Food, Drink and Restaurant Vocabulary 

Ah, Italian food. Just reading that probably conjured up images of pasta, topped with some mozzarella, tomatoes and a sprig of basil. Perfection! By the time you get through these posts about Italian cuisine, restaurant and cafe terms and cooking terms, you’re probably going to need a lunch break.

Ristorante – Restaurant

Menu – Menu

Cameriere – Waiter

Cameriera – Waitress

Tavolo – Table

Conto – Bill

Cucina – Kitchen

Chef – Chef

Piatti – Dishes

Posate – Utensils

Cucinare – To cook

Ricetta – Recipe

Ingredienti – Ingredients

Salsa – Sauce

Spezie – Spices

Olio d’oliva – Olive oil

Sale – Salt

Pepe – Pepper

Aglio – Garlic

Pane – Bread

Pizza – Pizza

Pasta – Pasta

Insalata – Salad

Pesce – Fish

Carne – Meat

Acqua – Water

Vino – Wine

Birra – Beer

Caffè – Coffee

– Tea

Succo di frutta – Fruit juice

Limonata – Lemonade

Bibita – Soft drink/Soda

Cocktail – Cocktail

Spremuta d’arancia – Freshly squeezed orange juice

Italian Conversational Vocabulary

Don’t just learn Italian words—learn Italian words that you’ll actually use in everyday scenarios! Start with the word lists below, which cover everything from how to say hi and introduce yourself, to the proper way to say goodbye and good night.

Ciao – Hello

Buongiorno – Good morning

Buonasera – Good evening

Buon pomeriggio – Good afternoon

Buona notte – Good night

Salve – Greetings (formal)

Come stai? – How are you?

Come va? – How’s it going?

Che piacere vederti! – What a pleasure to see you!

Arrivederci – Goodbye

Ciao – Bye

A presto – See you soon

A dopo – See you later

Ci vediamo – See you

Mi chiamo... – My name is…

Sono... – I am…

Piacere di conoscerti – Nice to meet you

E tu? – And you?

Di dove sei? – Where are you from?

Sono di... – I am from…

Per favore – Please

Grazie – Thank you

Prego – You’re welcome

Scusa – Excuse me/Sorry

Mi dispiace – I’m sorry


Italian Romantic Words and Phrases

Italian is known worldwide as “the language of love.” When you want to get a bit romantic, reach for these exquisite Italian words and expressions. Because when the Italian language is used to express your love for someone, well, that’s amore (love). Literally!

Amore – Love

Bacio – Kiss

Abbraccio – Hug

Cuore – Heart

Dolcezza – Sweetness

Passione – Passion

Attrazione – Attraction

Fidanzato / Fidanzata – Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Compagno / Compagna – Partner

Innamorato / Innamorata – In love

Ti amo – I love you

Mi manchi – I miss you

Sei bellissimo / Sei bellissima – You are beautiful (to a male/female)

Ti penso sempre – I always think of you

Ti adoro – I adore you

Tesoro – Darling/Treasure

Caro / Caro mio – Dear/My dear

Vita mia – My life

Amore della mia vita – Love of my life

Dolce metà – Sweetheart

Luna di miele – Honeymoon

Cena romantica – Romantic dinner

Passeggiata romantica – Romantic walk

Spiaggia al tramonto – Beach at sunset

Weekend romantico – Romantic weekend


Italian Slang and Casual Expressions

Hey there, what’s hanging? It’s time to ditch the textbook (temporarily, at least) and get down with the local lingo. To sound more authentic, check out some Italian slang that you can use in person or online.

Basta – Enough/Stop it

Ragazzi – Guys

Figurati – Don’t mention it/You’re welcome

Figo / Figa – Cool/Attractive (referring to a guy/girl)

Boh – I don’t know/Who knows

Dai – Come on/Let’s go

Ammazza – Wow/Amazing

Roba da matti – Crazy stuff

Scialla – Relax/Chill

Figo / Figa – Cool/Attractive (referring to a guy/girl)

Che casino – What a mess

Mannaggia – Darn/Oh no

Sto scherzando – I’m joking


Italian Sayings and Proverbs

Struggling with a particularly difficult grammar point? Don’t forget that “dopo la pioggia, arriva il sole” (after the rain comes sunshine). Frustrated that you only have a few minutes to study? “Meglio aver poco che niente” (it’s better to have a little than nothing). Italian has words of wisdom for every occasion!

La vita è troppo breve per bere vino cattivo. – Life is too short to drink bad wine.

Fatti non foste a viver come bruti, ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza. – You were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge. – Dante Alighieri

La semplicità è l’ultima sofisticazione. – Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci

Chi dorme non piglia pesci. – The early bird catches the worm.

Dove c’è fumo, c’è fuoco. – Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

L’appetito vien mangiando. – Appetite comes while eating.

Meglio tardi che mai. – Better late than never.

Chi ha tempo non aspetti tempo. – Those who have time shouldn’t rush.

Non tutto il male viene per nuocere. – Not all harm is done to harm.

Chi ha pazienza avrà ciò che desidera. – Patience is the key to paradise.

A mali estremi, estremi rimedi. – Desperate times call for desperate measures.

L’abito non fa il monaco. – The habit does not make the monk.

Non si può avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca. – You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Easy Italian Words for English Speakers to Pick Up

Not sure where to go from here? Start with some easy Italian words! You might be surprised at how much Italian you already know thanks to cognates (words that sound and mean the same) between Italian and English.

Artista – Artist

Banana – Banana

Camera – Camera

Drama – Drama

Elefante – Elephant

Famiglia – Family

Guitarra – Guitar

Hotel – Hotel

Internet – Internet

Jazz – Jazz

Kilogrammo – Kilogram

Limone – Lemon

Metro – Metro

Nazione – Nation

Opera – Opera

Pizza – Pizza

Quartiere – Quarter

Radio – Radio

Scena – Scene

Teatro – Theater

Università – University

Violino – Violin

Zoo – Zoo


Miscellaneous Fun Vocabulary Italian Words

Italian is a playful language. Have some fun with your learning by adding some of these funny, unique and fun expressions to your Italian studies.

Chiacchierone – Chatterbox (someone who talks a lot)

Polvere di stelle – Stardust

Gufare – To jinx

Sfogliatella – A type of Italian pastry

Acciuga – Anchovy

Rimpianto – Regret/Remorse

Toscano – Relating to Tuscany (also a type of cigar)

Antani – A word used to refer to someone whose name you can’t remember

Sprezzatura – Effortless grace or nonchalance

Bisboccia – A hearty meal or feast

Scapigliato – Disheveled or unkempt

Gioiello – Jewel

Serpentina – Confetti streamer

Tiramisù – A popular Italian dessert

Burlone – Jester or prankster

Trinacria – The three-legged symbol of Sicily

Sfumato – A painting technique of blending colors and tones

Capriccio – Whim or caprice

Bamboccione – An adult who still lives with their parents

Fenomenale – Phenomenal


You’re ready to take on the Italian-speaking world with all these Italian vocabulary words and expressions in your bag. Bravo! (Great job!) 

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