25+ (More) Italian Words You Should Know: Transportation, Food, Safety, & More
I’m a firm believer in trying to learn at least a FEW words in the language of wherever I’m visiting. This is both practical for getting around, and also shows respect for your host culture—even if I butcher the pronunciation or don’t get it quite right, I’ve always found the locals to appreciate the effort.
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So this is Part Two of my “Italian words you should know” series, focused more on important nouns. From train stations to restaurants, these will help you understand what’s happening, and get where you’re wanting to go. Check out part one of this series, which is focused more on important Italian phrases you need to get around and interact with people.
The Italian language is beautiful and actually not hard to pick up—particularly vocabulary. What’s great about it is that there are hard-and-fast rules for pronunciation that some languages (LOOKING AT YOU, ENGLISH) don’t have.
But if you’re not familiar—or you’re more familiar with Spanish, which is pronounced differently—I’ve included phonetic pronunciation with each of the words.
Use your language skills on an Italian adventure!!
Important Italian words to know for travel & getting around
It feel like a fair assumption that you’ll actually be needing to get around, so here are some important nouns and descriptor words to help navigate train stations in particular.
- il biglietto (beel-yeh-toh) – ticket, so you’d say un biglietto (one ticket), due bigliette (two tickets)
- il conto (con-toh) – the check (as in, can you please bring us the check?)
- prossimo (prah-sih-moh) – next (as in, il prossimo treno or “the next train”)
- ritardo (ree-tar-doh) – late (as in the train will be late; usually “in ritardo”)
- entrata (in-trah-tuh) – entrance
- uscita (ooh-she-ta) – exit
- il treno (ill tray-no) – the train
- l’aeroporto (laoro-port-oh) – the airport
- Taxi is…pretty much taxi.
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Italian words for food, drink, & restaurants
I mean, let’s talk about what we’re really HERE FOR in Italy! I legitimately eat and drink my way through this country…and it helps to know a few words here and there to make sure you get the most delicious and authentic experiences.
They name stores what they are, which is super helpful…il mercado (market), la gelateria (“jell-ah-tear-ee-uh”, gelato store), la pasticcieria (“pah-stitch-er-ee-uh”, pasta shop), la panetteria (bread shop), il bar (actually more like coffee shop, not a “bar”), il ristorante (restaurant), etc.
- un bicchiere (bee-key-air-ay) – one glass (as in, one glass of wine)
- una bottiglia (boh-teel-yuh) – one bottle (as in, one bottle of wine)
- vino (vee-noh) – wine…so you could say, una bottiglia di vino
- il conto (con-toh) – the check (when you want the waiter to bring you your check)
- il tavolo (tah-vo-loh) – the table (as in “un tavolo per una persone”, a table for one person)
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Important Italian words for sights & things to do
These words can help orient you to landmarks and figure out where you’re going.
- la città (chee-tuh) – city
- la piazza (pee-ah-tza) – square (of the town, can be multiple in each town, obvs)
- il ponte (pawn-tay) – bridge
- la chiesa (key-ay-suh) – church (also, il duomo means cathedral)
- il mare (mah-ray) – sea/ocean
- la spiaggia (spee-ah-jee-uh) – beach
Safety & health: common Italian nouns to know
You always hope that nothing bad happens while you’re traveling, but it’s important to be prepared if it does. Here are a few words that may come in handy.
- l’ospedale (la-spee-doll-ay) – the hospital
- la farmacia (la farm-ah-chee-ah) – pharmacy (also for drugstore things like bandaids, Tylenol, lotion, etc.)
- la polizia (la-poh-lee-tzee-uh) – police
- aiuto (eye-oo-toh) – help
Hopefully these easy but important Italian words will help you prep for your next Italian adventure!
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