How can you charm an Italian in their own language?
By using basic Italian phrases, of course!
Here’s the thing about practicing a foreign language…
You have to listen and watch the boca – or mouth to help decipher the words. Naturally listening intently and watching the mouth of any Italian man will have him eating out of the palm of your hand in no time!
Eat, Pray, Love anyone?
So to help get you started, I’ve compiled an arsenal of 12 basic Italian phrases to bolster your confidence and add some moxie to the conversation, no matter how many mistakes you make.
Let’s get started…
12 Basic Italian Phrases
- Pronunciation: pee/a/chair/ay
- Translation: Pleasure OR It’s a pleasure to meet you!
Piacere should be used during an introduction. Only use it at the beginning of the conversation, never at the end. Italians usually don’t say ‘It was nice to meet you’ at the end of conversations.
If they do, they’ll say‘È stato un piacere conoscerti’ – ‘It was a pleasure to have met you’.
2.) Sei una persona in gamba.
- Pronunciation: Say una pair/sona een gamba
- Translation: You are a good person.
Warning from a personal experience…
For some reason whenever I had too much classy boxed wine (hey, it’s Italy after all), I told this guy Sei una persona in gamba over and over again. Apparently, it didn’t seem to charm him.
It can also mean ‘You are a person that’s on top of things/on the ball.’
3.) Mi piace l’Italia.
- Pronunciation: mee pee/a/chay lee/talia
- Translation: I like Italy.
This one will make any Italian smile. Add a moltissimo (very much) to the end, and you might earn a new phone number.
4.) Voglio imparare l’Italiano.
- Pronunciation: vo/lee/o eem/pa/ra/re lee/tali/ano
- Translation: I want to learn Italian.
There’s nothing more flattering than wanting to learn another country’s language. Italians especially love this phrase.
5.) Eri un bellissimo spreco di tempo.
- Pronunciation: air/y un belly/see/mo spray/co dee tempo
- Translation: You were a beautiful waste of time. (Meant in a good way.)
Use this compliment as you’re leaving an Italian that you’ve spent the day with but will never see again.
6.) Ho trascorso una splendida giornata con te.
- Pronunciation: oh tras/course/o una splen/dee/da jor/na/ta con te
- Translation: I spent a wonderful day with you.
Another phrase to use as a compliment. It’s lovely to hear in any language.
7.) Dammi un bacio
- Pronunciation: Da/me un botch/ee/o
- Translation: Give me a kiss.
Italian men can be notoriously pushy. You might hear this phrase and can (1) lean in for a smooch or (2) say “Vaffanculo” a curse word that means ‘Get away!’
8.) Hai rotto il fiato.
- Pronunciation: ai row/toe eel fee/ah/toe
- Translation: You took my breath away.
A compliment any man or woman would love to hear.
9.) Sei la ragazza più bella che abbia mai visto.
- Pronunciation: sei la ra/gah/za pew bella k ah/bee/ah my vee/sto
- Translation: You are the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life.
It’s likely you’ll hear this phrase a lot. It’s a way to say handsome in italian.
And ladies, you could mix this one up if you’re feeling forward and say ‘Sei il ragazzo più bello che abbia mai visto’ which translates to ‘You are the most handsome man I have ever seen in my life.’
Typically, Italian men hit on women… But hey, why can’t the tables be turned if you’re so inclined?
10.) Non sto più nella pelle.
- Pronunciation: No/n sto pew nel/la pel/lay
- Translation: I can’t wait!
This literally means “I can’t stay in my skin.” It’s a child-like way to say ‘I can’t wait’ or ‘I’m so excited!’ It’s an expression that will make any Italian light up upon hearing you say it.
11.) Quando posso rivederti?
- Pronunciation: kwan/do po/so ree/va/dare/tee
- Translation: When can I see you again?
Just can’t get enough? Use this phrase to keep the relationship going.
12.) Hai un bel sorriso.
- Pronunciation: ai oon bel so/ree/zo
- Translation: You have a beautiful smile.
If you don’t want to cultivate any kind of relationship but just charm the skinny jeans off of that Italian, tell him that he has a beautiful smile and walk away. You could also say ‘i tuoi occhi sono bellissimi’ or ‘Your eyes are beautiful.’