We all do it.
“Nice weather we’re having, isn’t it?”
Yep, I’m talking about small talk.
The fluff of conversations.
Topics—usually sports, food or the weather—that we can discuss with anyone, including random strangers.
They’re safe topics no matter where we are, which is one reason we like them so much.
And if you dream of waking up in Italy, going to Rome, swimming in gorgeous Lake Como or even dropping in on George Clooney, you’d better be prepared to chat about the weather.
Talking about the weather in Italy is almost as big as discussing Gli Azzurri, the wildly-admired national soccer team.
Italians love to ask, “Com’ è il tempo?” (“What’s the weather?”).
You’d best be prepared to answer, especially if you’re not keeping up with the soccer scores!
And that means boosting your Italian vocabulary with some weather-inspired expressions.
Not to worry: I have you covered with all the potential weather scenarios you might need for small talk in Italy!
How to Use Adjectives to Describe Weather
Do you think Italy is all sunshine and vineyards? Think again! Italy’s climate lends itself to a variety of weather conditions.
We talk about weather using adjectives—words that describe nouns or other adjectives—and believe me, there are some colorful Italian adjectives that’ll have you chatting about the wind and sky in vivid detail.
Here are a couple of grammar how-tos concerning adjective usage:
In Italian, sentences are constructed using the simple subject, then conjugated verb, then object order (commonly known as SVO).
The subject is what the sentence is about, the verb indicates the action that’s happening and the object is the item affected by the verb.
Io amo la pioggia. (I love the rain.)
Io (I) is the subject, amo (love) is the verb and la pioggia (the rain) is the object.
That’s a basic sentence! Now you can add some adjectives.
In a typical Italian sentence, adjectives follow the nouns they describe.
Adjectives and nouns also agree in gender and number.
una ragazza felice (one happy girl)
le ragazze felici (the happy girls)
Just remember: Usually, to change an adjective or a noun into its plural, words ending in –a change to –e and those ending in -o change to –i. A few that end in –e change to –i.
Taking It to the Extreme
Just one small note about discussions in Italian: It’s always easy to take something to the next level by adding the word molto (a lot) to an expression.
Pioggia (rain) becomes molta pioggia (a lot of rain) and stelle (stars) becomes molte stelle (many stars). Notice that molto changes its ending to agree with gender and number.
Seeing Everything in Action
Feeling a bit lost? The best way to get the hang of a grammar rule is to hear it in action. You can watch adjectives and nouns in action with FluentU’s authentic videos.
FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles.
Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.
Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’re learning, and give you extra practice with difficult words.
Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!
The best part? You can try FluentU for free!
Start using FluentU on the website, or better yet, download the app from iTunes or the Google Play store.
Now that you’re armed with the mechanics and the authentic practice material, let’s discuss the weather!
20 Italian Weather Expressions to Describe the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Good: How to Describe Good Weather
Italian weather is pretty much the same as weather anywhere. There are good days, bad (or average, non-newsworthy) days and really bad (or ugly!) days. Like most of us, Italians generally prefer good or ugly—the ho-hum doesn’t inspire fabulous conversation.
When the weather is good—Italians actually call it beautiful!—you’ll begin your small talk with È bel tempo (It’s good weather).
Use these terms to comment on the pleasant moments Mother Nature sends your way:
Che giornata di sole! Bel tempo! (What a sunny day! Beautiful weather!)
Even simpler, you might say:
È soleggiato. (It’s sunny.)
È sereno. (It’s clear.)
If it’s nighttime, try:
Il cielo è chiaro stasera. Guarda tutte quelle stelle! (The sky is clear tonight. Look at all those stars!)
Non è umido. I miei capelli sono felici! (It’s not humid. My hair is happy!)
Non è nuvoloso. (It’s not cloudy.)
Non sta piovendo. (It’s not raining.)
Guarda quel bel cielo blu! (Look at that beautiful blue sky!)
Senti quella brezza calda? È come il bacio di un angelo contro la mia guancia! (Feel that warm breeze? It’s like the kiss of an angel against my cheek!)
The Bad: How to Chat About Ho-hum Weather
When something isn’t great or terrible, it’s ordinario (ordinary). So when the weather is non buono, non molto cattivo, solo ordinario (not good, not bad, just ordinary), there are lots of ways to discuss that!
If you’re waiting to be seated in un ristorante a Roma (a restaurant in Rome) and the couple beside you strikes up a small-talk weather conversation, you’ll be prepared to respond to “È un tempo normale” (“It’s ordinary weather”) if you remember these expressions:
Piove. (It’s raining.)
With a shrug, the comment above in its simplest form is useful if you want to discourage further conversation.
Sta piovendo. (It’s raining.)
To comment that it’s really raining hard say:
Sta piovendo a secchiate! (It’s raining buckets!)
C’è la nebbia. (It’s foggy.)
È nuvoloso. (It’s cloudy.)
C’è vento! (It’s windy!)
If it’s very windy, color up your comment by saying:
È così ventoso che gli uccelli non possono volare! (It’s so windy the birds can’t fly!)
È un giorno umido! Non mi piace quello che fa ai miei capelli… (It’s a humid day! I don’t like what it does to my hair…)
È una giornata uggiosa. (It’s a gloomy day.)
Fa fresco. (It’s cool out.)
The Ugly: Italian Expressions for Terrible Weather
Ugly weather? Nessun problema! (No problem!)
I’ve been in Italy when the snow was falling—hard—and I didn’t hear one Italian complain. Not one bit. They all just took it in stride, kept up the small talk about il maltempo (bad weather) and went about their business.
The same happened when I was caught in a downpour in Rome. The rain was being blown sideways but it didn’t faze anyone!
So if your small talk begins with “È brutto tempo” (“It’s ugly weather”), try these comments to keep the conversational ball rolling:
Fa freddo. (It’s cold.)
È un po’ freddo. (It’s a little bit cold.)
If it’s freezing? Be astoundingly impressive by saying:
È così freddo che i miei occhi sono congelati. (It’s so cold my eyes are frozen.)
È tempestoso. (It’s stormy.)
Mi piacciono i temporali. (I like thunderstorms.)
Troppi tuoni e fulmini! (Too much thunder and lightning!)
Sta nevicando! (It’s snowing!)
Amo la neve! (I love snow!)
I giorni nevosi sono così romantici… (Snowy days are so romantic…)
Ci aspettiamo un uragano. (We are expecting a hurricane.)
Gli uragani sono rari in Italia ma in un giorno come questo può succedere di tutto! (Hurricanes are rare in Italy but on a day like this anything can happen!)
È una giornata calda. (It’s a hot day.)
Il caldo è insopportabile. (The heat is unbearable.)
Siamo venuti sulle Alpi sperando in una bufera di neve! (We came to the Alps hoping for a blizzard!)
Stiamo avendo una tormenta! (We’re having a blizzard!)
Italians are friendly people who love to talk!
So get very comfortable chatting about the weather—and all the snow, rain, wind and sunshine you might experience in Bella Italia (Beautiful Italy).
Make the weather conversation rain down. Throw your inhibitions to the wind and let the sun shine on your small talk talents!
Chat up a new friend! First about the weather. Then, maybe it’ll lead to an invite to a soccer game. And after that? You might be chatting over dinner and watching the stars! But that’s a topic for a whole different post.
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