months in italian

The Months in Italian and What Each One Brings

The word for “months” in Italian is mesi (or mese if you’re talking about only one month).

Note that the names of the months are not capitalized in Italian. Here’s a quick list of all 12 months and how to say them in Italian:


Read on for in-depth information about each month, including the culture and traditions surrounding them. I’ll also give you some tips for memorizing the names, discussing calendar time and using an Italian calendar.


Each Month in Italian Tradition

Did you know that March is crazy and a windy June brings wheat to the farmyard?

Italian is full of countless seasonal proverbs like those. Each month carries important cultural weight, especially when deciding what to eat!

In this section, I’ll tell you all about the national feasts and holidays that occur throughout the year in Italy. Learning cultural associations for each month can help you remember which is which.

Gennaio (January)

Capodanno (New Year’s Day) is a major Italian holiday. On this day, Italians eat lentils and wear red underwear for good luck. Throughout January, Italians greet each other with a spirited, “Auguri,” which means “best wishes.”

Children across Italy also look forward to a visit from La Befana in January. According to Italian folklore, La Befana is an old witch who visits all Italian children on the Eve of Epiphany (January 5). If the child has been good, they receive candy in their stocking. If they’ve been bad, La Befana leaves them coal.

Febbraio (February)

Carnevale—the national carnival festival that culminates with Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday)—is the highlight of February in Italy.

Children dress up in costumes, and in Venice adults dress up in elaborate ball gowns and masks. Southern Italians eat rich lasagnas and chocolate pig’s blood pudding on Fat Tuesday before settling into the 40 days of Lent.

Although Italy may be deep into inverno (winter) during this month, Easter is just around the corner.

Marzo (March)

“Marzo è pazzo!” (March is crazy), most Italians will eagerly tell you.

The weather is blustery, spring never seems to arrive and the Ides of March (March 15) marks the day Julius Caesar was assassinated.

One bright spot is that seasonal produce—including fava beans and wild asparagus—arrives in the fresh open markets of Italian piazzas, revealing that spring is not so far away after all.

Italians celebrate La Festa del Papà (Father’s Day) on the Feast of Saint Joseph (March 19) with a special fritter called zeppole di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph fritter).

Aprile (April)

The first day of April in Italy is called Pesce d’aprile (April Fish) and is similar to April Fool’s Day. After telling a wild joke or fib, Italians then shout, “Pesce d’aprile!” and present you with a plastic fish.

After the 40 somber days of Lent, Italians are ready to celebrate primavera (spring).

The highlight of April for most Italians is Easter.

Pasqua(Easter) means a lot of eating in Italy. Traditionally, Italians eat ricotta salata (sheep’s milk ricotta) and roasted lamb for Easter. In Naples and on the Amalfi Coast, a special dessert known as pastiera, consisting of grain, ricotta, egg and citrus essence is a sign of fertility and new life.

The day after Easter in Italy is the beloved Pasquetta (Easter Monday), when the entire country takes to the countryside for grand multi-course picnics, whether rain or shine!

Maggio (May)

May 1 in Italy is a national holiday called Festa dei lavoratori (Workers’ Day). Parades, demonstrations and free concerts occur across the country.

By now, primavera (spring) has brightened Italy and many will begin eating cozze (mussels) again. According to local beliefs, you can’t eat mussels in months that have an r in them. May, therefore, means more mussels.

Giugno (June)

By giugno (June), Italian children are out of school and ready for estate (summer). Thus begins the national obsession with going to the beach to enjoy a bagno (swim).

Yet farmers might welcome rainy weather. A centuries-old proverb advises, “giugno tonante, raccolto abbondante” (thundering June, abundant harvest).

The summer solstice is on June 21, leading many Italians to call June the mese del sole (month of the sun).

Luglio (July)

Italians say, “se piove tra luglio e agosto, piove miele, olio e mosto” (if it rains between July and August, it rains honey, oil and wine must).

With humid summers across most of the Italian peninsula, many locals complain, “fa caldissimo!” (it’s so hot). The burst of July rains not only provides cool relief, but also improves the olive and grape harvests coming in the fall.

Agosto (August)

The most important summer holiday in Italy is Ferragosto on August 15.

On this Catholic holiday, Italians celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This means big family meals and fireworks. Nearly the entire country flocks to the beach in August, and most local businesses in major urban centers close.

Settembre (September)

September brings the tomato harvest across most of Southern Italy. During this time, families can and preserve thousands of tomatoes to last the whole year.

Children go back to school in mid-September, completing the national ritual of the rientro (return), which represents the end of summer.

Ottobre (October)

Many Italians retreat to the mountains in the month of October, where they forage for wild castagna (chestnuts) and funghi (mushroom).

This is also the time of the vendemmia (grape harvest).

The popular Festa di San Francesco d’Assisi (Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) is celebrated on October 4, with many pilgrims flocking to the Basilica of Assisi.

Novembre (November)

The Festa dei morti (All Soul’s Day) is on November 2 in Italy. On this day, Italians visit the graves of deceased loved ones and light red votives to commemorate the dead.

By November, autunno (fall) is in full swing. The Festa di San Martino (Feast of Saint Martin) on November 11 is an exciting day, with vintners opening their first vini novelli (young wines) of the season.

Dicembre (December)

And thus begins the merry season of Natale (Christmas).

Families display intricate presepe (nativity crèches) and wait until midnight of December 24 to place Baby Jesus in his manger.

December in Italy is also known for family time. And in Southern Italy, Italians celebrate the Vigilia (Christmas Eve) with a feast of fish.

How to Learn the Months in Italian

Review with flashcards

If you want a quick way to remember the months in Italian, you can make flashcards and then review them using spaced repetition.

Spaced repetition is a handy technique that’s often used in language learning. You start out with reviewing a card daily, and then every few days, every week and so on, with the time interval increasing until the card becomes part of your long-term memory.

You can try this out for any vocabulary, especially time-related ones such as months and seasons (which can be tricky to remember all at once)! One resource for this is the FluentU Italian program.

FluentU can instantly generate Italian flashcards for you—just type in the Italian word, and you’ll get a flashcard that includes the pronunciation, meaning, example sentences and even video clips that use that word.

In fact, it has a flashcard deck already for the months of the year:

It also schedules regular reviews for you, and it features hundreds of authentic Italian videos that teach essential vocabulary, with personalized quizzes included.   

For on-the-go studying, FluentU has a mobile app, too (Android or iOS). 

Sing along to popular songs

Many school-aged children learn catchy songs to memorize the months in Italian and to remember which months contain 30 days. As you start learning Italian, children’s didactic material can be really helpful.

Do you remember the childhood song that begins: 30 days hath September, April, June and November…? The same song exists in Italian!

Listening to the popular children’s song “I Mesi Dell’anno” (The Months of the Year) is another easy way to practice saying each month in Italian:

If you want to give your listening skills a test, there’s also a version without subtitles.

As you advance, listening to more age-appropriate songs will provide suitable practice. Try listening to the following Italian songs that feature months of the year:

  • The ballad “Agosto” (August) from indie-rock band “Perturbazione”

How to Use an Italian Calendar

There are two kinds of calendars in Italian culture: the regular Gregorian calendar and the Saint Day calendar.

Both follow the same months and days of the year, but the Saint Day calendar lists the names of saints for each day. The good news is, both are beneficial for learning the months in Italian!

Calendar vocabulary

If you’ve read this far, you’ve already picked up some useful vocabulary for talking about calendar time, such as the words for the seasons. Here’s a handy reference including those and much more.

day/daysgiorno / giornijohr-noh / johr-nee
week/weekssettimana / settimanesett-ee-mah-nah / sett-ee-mah-neh
this weekquesta settimanakwest-ah sett-ee-mah-nah
next weekla prossima settimanalah pross-see-mah sett-ee-mah-nah
last weekla settimana scorsalah sett-ee-mah-nah skor-sah
month/monthsmese / mesimeh-zeh / meh-zee
this monthquesto mesekwest-oh meh-zeh
next monthil prossimo meseihl pross-see-moh meh-zeh
last monthlo scorso meseloh skor-soh meh-zeh
year/yearsanno / anniahn-noh / ahn-nee
this yearquest'annokwest-ahn-noh
next yearl'anno prossimolahn-noh pross-see-moh
last yearl'anno scorsolahn-noh skor-soh
season/seasonsstagione / stagionistah-jee-oh-neh / stah-jee-oh-nee

Be sure to notice which words are masculine or feminine as you practice.

Practice with a regular calendar

Download and print an Italian calendar to practice saying the date every morning. As you can imagine, knowing the numbers in Italian is important for formulating dates.

To say the date in Italian, follow this simple formula:

Oggi è (today is) number + month.

For example, oggi è il 27 marzo (today is March 27).

There are two important things to note:

  • First, the date always comes before the month in Italian.
  • Second, you don’t capitalize the months in Italian.

For the first day of the month, you use the ordinal number for one: primo. For example, oggi è il primo marzo (today is the first of March).

Practice with a Saint Day calendar 

A Saint Day calendar can also be a fun way to practice months in Italian. In Italy (and across the Roman Catholic world), each day has an associated saint.

These calendars are culturally important in Italy because people celebrate their name days. Since each saint has a specific day, your birthday also belongs to a saint. The Saint Day that’s also your birthday is known as your “name day.”

In Italian, this is called an onomastico (name day). For example, if your name is Anthony (or Antonio), you celebrate your name day on 13 giugno (June 13).

You would say:

Il mio onomastico è il 13 giugno (My name day is June 13).

Practice the months in Italian by consulting the Saint Day calendar and discover which saint shares your birthday (and your friends’)!


Now that you’ve learned the mesi (months) and stagioni (seasons) in Italian, it’s time to truly experience them. The best way to start is to practice daily. Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself and use free language apps online.

Before you know it, you’ll be experiencing each month of the year as if you were already in bella Italia!

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