10 Important Phrases to Learn for Your Trip to Rome

By: James Stafford

It’s unusual for many to head to another country without picking up a few local phrases. However, many travelers go without knowing any local lingo. It’s rather foolish, don’t you think—particularly when a few Italian phrases can come in handy in a pinch? That’s exactly why we’re providing these ten Italian phrases and quintessential Italian conversation starters to utilize on your trip. Trust us, the locals will love you for it…


1. Salutations

Salutations can go a long way—whether it’s the familiar “ciao” or the formal “Buongiorno” upon meeting and a whole-hearted “Arrivederci” to bid friends good night.

italian phrases to know

2. Please and Thank You

Ending any request with a please and thank-you, or in Rome a “per favore” and “grazie”, will earn you faster, more pleasant service in any country.

Please and thank you

3. Requesting Assistance

Asking for assistance, be it an emergency “Aiuto” (help) or a polite and less urgent “Scusi, può aiutarmi?”  (excuse me, can you help?) will get the right kind of attention while traveling.

Requesting Assistance

4. Introducing Yourself

To introduce yourself, say “Mi chiamo…” (and your name); while inquiring after a stranger’s name is “Come si chiama?” (or “what are you called?”).



5. Seeking Clarification

Seeking clarification when communicating with locals in Rome can help you decipher a meal order or catch the correct bus. If stuck ask, “parla inglese?” (Do you speak English?), say “Non ho capito” (I don’t understand), or ask for help with “come si dice…in italiano? (How do you say…in Italian?).

bus time clarification

6. Asking the Time

To ask the time say “Che ora é?” (what is the hour?). Keep in mind, all of Italy uses 24-hour time.

Asking for the time

7. Compliments

Compliments go a long way in Rome, especially if you praise with phrases like “che bello!” (beautiful).

Compliments ok

8. Shopping Phrases

Shopping will be a lot easier if you know a few key phrases. For instance, asking “Posso provarlo?” to try something on, “Quanto costa?” to inquire about price, and “Posso pagare con la carta di credito?” to ask if they take credit card?).

Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

9. How Are You?

As previously mentioned, if you meet a friend or coworker on the street in Rome you are expected to ask “come sta?” (or “How are you?”), “come va?” (How’s it going).

How are you


10. Where’s the….?

Locating the bathroom or the train station can be vital in a pinch. That’s why learning “Dov’e…” (or “where is the…?”) is vital to locate “la toeletta” (the bathroom) or “la stazione ferroviaria” (the train station).

restroom bathroom sign
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