Everything you need to know to start/get by in/or end, a conversation in Italian

Alright, we may not be able to cover everything needed to speak a foreign language fluently. But as travel experts, we can help you find your way in a new city (and find and get tickets for) the best things to do. We can also give you a few key phrases to rock and roll your way through a thing.

One of the most exciting things about traveling to a different country is that often, all the words are written in a different language. Go to Paris: French everywhere! Amsterdam: it’s all Dutch!

And in Rome: Italian.

This creates confusion and frustration. Though for those of us with a spotty Cyrillic alphabet, going to St. Petersburg and trying to find a stop on the metro is no easy task.

The pros of not understanding a language

Not knowing the language of a city is awkward and challenging, but it also presents a great opportunity for you to do some real travel. It helps you really get the feel of a place when you can take nothing for granted. It also gives you the opportunity to drop some excitement into your life, and gain some new skills.

When you don’t know if the server will understand your order, or the bus driver will know where to let you off — that’s pulse-pounding drama!

And the rewards are so sweet: not much can beat the feeling of saying danke schön for a coffee in a Berlin cafe and having the server reply in German.

And that coffee? It’ll be one of the best you’ll ever drink.

Sure, you most likely won’t understand what they said in reply, but that’s hardly the point. We’re not here to make you fluent in the language, we’re trying to give you the tools to impress, charm and even elicit a little laughter from your server, taxi driver, hotel concierge, hostel mate, person behind you in the gelato line, etc.

So we’re presenting you our Bluffer’s Guides. A series of handy traveling phrases that you can use when visiting a certain city to show that you’re really down with the locals, hip to the lingo, and have the know-how to get by.

If all goes well, you’ll be mistaken for a local.

But if your level best just isn’t quite good enough to trick a local into thinking, even for a split second, that you’ve lived two streets away from them for all your life, they should still be impressed enough to give you a smile.

And a smile from a stranger is nothing to scoff at.

Italian Bluffer’s Guide

English Italian
Hello Ciao (CHOW)
Goodbye Ciao (CHOW)
Thank you Grazie (GRATZ – e – ay)
Pleasure to meet you Piacere (pia – CHAIR – ay)
Pizza is the perfect food Pizza é il cibo perfetto! (Pizza ay ill CHEE-bo purr-FETT-oh)

And now for the important stuff!

  • American food is gross – Il cibo americano fa schifo!
  • I only ride the bus because I crashed my scooter into a fountain – Prendo l’autobus solo perchè sono andato a finire in una fontana con lo scooter
  • The world’s most beautiful beaches are in Puglia, obviously – Le spiagge migliori del mondo sono in Puglia, ovviamente
  • I haven’t really watched football since Calciopoli – Non ho più seguito il calcio da Calciopoli
  • This weather is waaaaay too hot! – Sto morendo di caldo
  • Cappucino is for the morning – unless you’re a stupid tourist – Non si beve il cappucino dopo mezzogiorno, a meno che tu non sia uno stupido turista
  • Go and get blessed – Vai a farti benedire

All-purpose phrases

  • Mamma Mia!
  • Che Palle!
  • Grande!
  • Evvai! — Yay!
  • Boh!
  • Piantala – Stop it!

Look out for our upcoming bluffer guides, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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Ryan Millar

Ryan Millar

Canadian content creator Ryan wrote his first blog post in 2005 and has never looked back. He's the head of content department at Tiqets - which is perfect as his two favorite things are adventure and words.
Ryan Millar

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