Helpful adjectives (expressions):

  • Bello / Bella: Beautiful (m/f)
  • Divertente: Fun
  • Delizioso: Delicious
  • Buono: Good
  • Grande: Big
  • Piccolo: Small
  • Alto: Tall/high
  • Basso: Short/low
  • Interessante: Interesting
  • Facile: Easy
  • Faticoso: Difficult
  • Lontano: Far away
  • Vicino: Close by
  • Freddo: Cold
  • Caldo: Hot

General politeness:

  • Per favore / Per piacere: Please
  • Grazie: Thank you
  • Prego: You're welcome
  • Permesso: Excuse me (to get by)
  • Scusi: Excuse me (to get attention)
  • Come sta?: How are you?

Everyday greetings:

  • Ciao: Hi! (Casual and informal)
  • Buongiorno: Hello / Good morning
  • Buona sera: Hello / Good evening
  • Buona notte: Good night
  • Arrivederci: Bye/Farewell
  • A domani: See you tomorrow
  • A presto!: See you soon!

Common questions:

  • Dove é... ? : Where is... ?
  • Quanto costa? : What is the cost?
  • Quando? : When?
  • Come? : How?
  • Perché ? : Why?

When in a coffee shop:

A coffee shop in Italy is called BAR. They serve espresso drinks, light food such as panini and pastries, sometimes gelato, always wine and other adult drinks. An espresso shot is the most popular coffee ordered in Italy and it's simply called CAFFE'.

When you walk into a bar, if looking for an espresso like most Italians do multiple times per day, simply say the following:

"Buongiorno. Un caffe' per favore. Grazie"

When in a grocery store:

When traveling, I absolutely love to visit local grocery stores and markets. Seeing what locals eat and where they shop is a great window in the culture you are visiting. We will be purchasing our own local ingredients for some of Divora Roma's cooking activities, so you will have first hand experience.

When grocery shopping in Italy, if you'd like a shopping cart, you have to have a one Euro coin to use to unlock each cart. You will then get that coin back when you return the cart to the original location. Also, you have to weigh fruits and vegetables as you are shopping, so the cashier can quickly scan the label. There are no free bags available, you have to purchase each one as needed. People are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags. Most of the time, you bag your own groceries, unless you see someone there doing it for you (usually kids earning extra cash).

When reaching the cashier and asking for 2 bags, simply say the first sentence below. Then, upon leaving, say the second sentence below:

"Ciao! Due buste per favore"
"Grazie! Arrivederci!"

shops have specific purposes in Italy:

  • BAR: is a coffee shop
  • Tabaccheria: Bus/metro tickets, gum/candy, post cards/smoking
  • Cartoleria/Edicola: Magazines, newspapers, reading/writing periodicals
  • Ristorante/Osteria/Trattoria: Are all eating establishments for lunch and/or dinner. The differences are style, size and casual versus elegant
  • Pasticceria: Sweets, pastries, cakes, tortes, everything for the sweet tooth!
  • Forno/Fornaio: Breads and focaccia
  • Pizza al taglio: Pizza by the slice
  • Gelateria: Gelato!
  • Stazione: Station (train or bus)
  • Centro: Center (each town/city has a center and it's always the heart of the locations and indicated in signs by a black and white bullseye type symbol) 
  • Birreria: Beer establishment
  • Enoteca: Wine establishment