romantic italian couple

Romantic Italian Phrases: 31 Expressions for Flirting, Dating and More

Whatever your reasons, you’ve been struck by Cupid’s arrow and you’re ready to whisper sweet nothings in someone’s ear… in Italian.

But as a learning activity, singing your potential Italian sweetheart’s praises is a fun way to explore both the language and culture of Italy.

So go ahead, use romantic Italian phrases to your heart’s content!


Sei bellissimo. / Sei bellissima.  — You’re very beautiful.

If you’re addressing a man, use sei bellissimo, but if you’re addressing a woman it’s sei bellissima. Recall that many Italian adjectives are modified according to gender, usually ending with either o (male) or a (female).

Sei cosi seducente. — You’re quite seductive.

Sei sexy. — You’re sexy.

Sei la mia vita. — You’re my life.

Ti amo. — I love you.

This can be said to family members, friends and also of course to lovers. The base verb is amare  (to love).

You can increase your enthusiasm by saying “Ti amo tanto”  (I love you so much) and it doesn’t sound as suspiciously qualifying as its corollary often does in English.

Ti voglio bene I love you. / I’m fond of you.

This phrase literally means: “I want you well.”

You can increase it to ti voglio tanto bene . There are also text abbreviation versions that are commonly used for signing off on a chat over WhatsApp (more common than SMS in Italy): tvb or tvtb.

Beware, however, that qualifying this phrase with a “but” generally marks the end of all romantic possibility: Ti voglio bene, ma… — I love you very much, but…

Ti lovvo. — I love you.

This is a popular anglicism.

Ti adoro. — I adore you. / I love you.

This is from the verb adorare  and is considered a very sweet and feminine thing to say; it’s also used between female friends.

Mi ecciti. — You’re turning me on.

The base verb is eccitare , and it can be confusing, particularly for Americans who love to talk about how excited they always are. The verb and adjective ( eccitato / eccitata ) often have a sexual meaning.

If you don’t want to express a sexual desire, use felice  (happy) instead.

Sono pazzo di te. — I’m crazy for you.

Io e te per sempre. — You and me forever.

Mi manchi. — I miss you.

As in English, this can be a way of expressing your affection when at a distance.

It’s very important to note that subjects and objects are used with this verb in a way that’s opposite to English. That is, mi manchi literally translates as something like “you cause me to feel a lacking.”

And if you say ti manco , you’re arrogantly proclaiming “you miss me.”

Here are three terms of affection (equivalent to saying “darling”) for family, close friends or lovers: amore , tesoro  and (used especially in the south) gioia . Literally, they translate as “love,” “treasure” and “joy,” respectively.

Other Romantic Italian Phrases

These longer poetic phrases might impress your sweetheart: 

Sei la persona più importante con cui vorrei condividere il resto della mia vita.

Meaning: You’re the most important person with whom I would like to share the rest of my life.

Sei il tesoro più prezioso che ho trovato e che vorrei custodire per sempre.

Meaning: You’re the most precious treasure that I’ve found and that I would like to take care of forever.

Io e te tre metri sopra il cielo.

Meaning: You and I three meters above the heavens.

This is a line from a cheesy film. The film and the book it was based on (by Federico Moccia) are titled “Tre Metri Sopra il Cielo,”  and the film was released in English as “Three Steps Over Heaven.”

Couples have scrawled the line along with their names in graffiti all over Italy.

Talking (or Gossiping) About Love and Sex in Italy

If there’s one thing that’s even more popular than proclaiming one’s romantic intentions, it’s commenting on the romantic attempts of others. Here’s the vocabulary you’ll need to do that:

È bravo / a con le romanticherie.  — He/she is good at saying sweet nothings.

Sdolcinatezze — Another word for romanticherie , these are possibly a bit more exaggerated sweet nothings.

Fare l’amore — To make love

Fare sesso — To have sex

Innamorarsi di — To fall in love with

Colpo di fulmine — Lovestruck; love at first sight (literally, “strike of lightning”

Amore proibito — Forbidden love

Innamorato cotto — Completely, crazy in love; a crush

Lei è cotta di lui. — She has a crush on him.

Follemente innamorato / innamorata  — Crazily in love

Perdutamente innamorato  — Lost in love

Relazione sentimentale / relazione amorosa  — A romantic relationship

È la mia ragazza. — She’s my girlfriend.

Literally, you’re saying “She’s my girl,” but the mia transforms the word ragazza into an indication of romantic status (girlfriend).

If your love-muffin is male, say È il mio ragazzo. (He’s my boyfriend.)

È il mio compagno. / È la mia compagna.  — He’s my partner./She’s my partner.

This is a more mature way to indicate relationship status.

Mio fidanzato / mia fidanzata  — My fiancé/fiancée or my boyfriend/girlfriend

This word doesn’t necessarily indicate a pending marriage is in the works, but it does mean a serious, stable relationship.

Marito / moglie  — Husband/wife

Understanding Italian Romance

First, a few words on Italian romance. It’s important to remember that not everyone from a certain place is always a certain way, but there are some major things you need to know. 

L’uomo è cacciatore (The man is the hunter) is a phrase you’ll often hear. Italian men are expected to pursue their interest over a long period of time (months, even!) during which time women are expected to be “good” and rebuff the advances.

Yes, it’s a sexist, self-defeating system, but Italians (both men and women) have often argued to me that it’s just so romantic.

Given how complicated all this is, Italians themselves often have trouble starting up a relationship with each other, and there’s a bit of a cliché of couples forming when Italians are on vacation, far from the watchful eyes of their home environments.

Homosexual love can be even more complicated; it’s respected to a certain extent, but there’s still a strong expectation that one should hide this sort of love. Attitudes are slowly improving, particularly in larger cities and in the north. Polyamory isn’t widely known or accepted.

When it comes to foreigners, Italians love it when foreigners speak (or even mangle) their language. Even if you’re saying something cheesy, do it with bravado, in good fun and with a twinkle in your eye—and your imperfect accent and bewildered foreigner status may just work in your favor.

If you aren’t sure how to carry yourself when delivering these phrases, using other resources to observe how Italian speakers go about this can give you an idea. You can get a glimpse into the Italian romance culture by watching authentic Italian videos like those on the FluentU program.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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That’s all I’ve got for you for now, tesori  (darlings)!

I should probably admit that in my decade-plus experience with il flirt (flirting) in Italian, non sono mai riuscito ad andare oltre le poesie  (I’ve never succeeded in going beyond poetry).

But it’s been a heck of a lot of fun. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well.

And One More Thing...

If you're as busy as most of us, you don't always have time for lengthy language lessons. The solution? FluentU!

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