How to Say BEAUTIFUL in Italian

19th March 2024


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When you’re in Italy, you’ll want to say ‘beautiful’ a lot! 

Imagine you’re in Siracusa , one of Matteo’s favourite places in Sicily. As you look over the Ionian Sea, how would you say ‘it’s beautiful’ in Italian? 

È bello! 

Bello is one of the most important words you’ll learn in Italian, and not just for talking about the scenery (and the people!)

Italians say bello constantly, in ways that may not feel natural to you at first. 

So in this lesson, we’ll show you how to use bello. By the end, you’ll know how to drop it into your everyday conversations, just like Italians do! 

How to Say Beautiful in Italian

In its simplest usage, bello means beautiful, for things that are aesthetically pleasing. In Siracusa , we can walk around all day saying things are beautiful…

La spiaggia è bella – The beach is beautiful (m)

Il duomo è bello – The cathedral is beautiful (f)

See how the last letter changes? We say bello for masculine words like il duomo and bella for feminine words like la spiaggia. This works for people too – we use bella to describe a beautiful woman, and bello for a handsome man. 

To pronounce it like an Italian , make sure you clearly enunciate all the vowels. And remember to make the double LL nice and long! 

Is Everything Beautiful in Italy? When to use BELLO

When Katie started listening to Italians talk, she felt confused because they said bello all the time, in situations where ‘beautiful’ just didn’t make sense! 

For example, imagine you’re in a little bar in Siracusa, enjoying a spritz and meeting some locals. During the conversation, you ask a couple of questions about Italian culture: 

Che canzone è questa? È bella! – What song is this? It’s nice! 

Che libro leggi? È bello? – What book are you reading? Is it good? 

When you get back to your Italian bnb , your host asks about your day:  

– Hai passato una bella giornata? – Did you have a nice day? 

Sì, abbiamo fatto una bella passeggiata – Yes, we went on a nice walk

And you tell her your plans for tomorrow: 

– Se c’è bello andiamo in spiaggia – If it’s nice weather, we’re going to the beach

Bello! – Lovely!

As you can see Italians often say bello when we would say ‘nice’, ‘good’ or ‘lovely’ in English. Specifically, you can use bello for: 

  • Creative works, like music, books or films

  • Experiences, like a day out or a walk

  • Good weather

  • An enthusiastic reaction: bello! 

To avoid confusing bello with similar sounding Italian words, check out this mini lesson on the difference between bello, buono, bravo and bene


This might be the most Italian word ever! Use it to describe something stunning, amazing or wonderful. For example: 

Il tramonto è bellissimo! – The sunset is stunning! 

Siracusa è una bellissima città! – Syracuse is a wonderful city!

Insider tip: Because it’s fun to say, learners tend to use bellissimo too often. Italians reserve it for things that are truly impressive, so if you want to sound natural, use this word sparingly. 

To take things down a notch, you can say molto bello: 

Il nostro hotel è molto bello – Our hotel is really nice

L’isola di Ortigia è molto bella – Ortigia Island is really pretty

Just remember that in Italian, you can’t say *molto bellissimo. It’s one or the other: bellissimo or molto bello. 

And if this all feels a bit complicated, keep in mind that bello will do! Italians use this ‘plain’ version all the time, and that’s enough to show your enthusiasm in most situations. 

How to Say ‘Beautiful’ in Italian Sentences 

No special Italian word would be complete without some weird grammatical exceptions, and bello doesn’t disappoint! 

To get started with simple sentences, we suggest saying ‘the thing is beautiful’, like this: 

Il duomo è bello – The cathedral is beautiful 

La spiaggia è bella – The beach is beautiful 

In other kinds of sentences, we usually put bello before the thing we’re describing. This makes life a little more complicated! Look at the phrases below. What happens to the word bello

Un bel libro – A nice book 

Begli occhi – Beautiful eyes

For masculine nouns, the ending goes all funny! If you know how to say the word “the” in Italian , it follows a similar pattern: 

il bel È un bel libro - It’s a nice book
i bei I bei panorami - The beautiful views
l’ bell’ Dove posso comprare un bell’orologio? - Where can I buy a nice watch? 
lo bello Andiamo a vedere un bello spettacolo? - Shall we go and see a nice show? 
gli begli  Che begli occhi! - What beautiful eyes! 

You don’t need to worry about this with bellissimo, because it doesn’t follow these crazy patterns. For example: 

Un bellissimo orologio – A stunning watch

Un bellissimo spettacolo – A beautiful show

The same goes for phrases with molto , which are always placed after the thing you’re describing: 

Il libro è molto bello – The book is very nice

Un libro molto bello – A very nice book

Common sayings with BELLO in Italian

Now you know how to use bello, you’re already sounding very Italian. Here are some everyday phrases that’ll help you blend in with the locals even more: 

Che bello! – How lovely; how nice

Dai, bello! – To show excitement about good news or plans

Ciao bello/a! – A friendly (and very Italian) way to greet a friend

Una bella idea – A nice idea. You might hear it like this: bell’idea!  

Che bello! How nice! You now know a lot about how to say beautiful in Italian and you’ve picked up natural ways to use this important word. Let’s do a quick review... 

Beautiful in Italian: Review

To say ‘beautiful’ in Italian, we say bello. The ending changes for masculine and feminine: 

Il duomo è bello – The cathedral is beautiful (m)

La spiaggia è bella – The beach is beautiful (f)

But for Italians, lots of things are beautiful! We use bello for: 

  • Creative works

  • Experiences

  • Weather

  • A reaction: bello! 

For really beautiful things, you can say molto bello/a or bellissimo/a. But remember that Italians save that last one for really exceptional things. 

When you use bello before a masculine noun, the ending follows the same pattern as “the” ( il, i, l’, lo, gli) : bel, bei, bell’, bello, begli. 

Finally, to sound really Italian, try using some everyday phrases with bello, like these: 

Che bello! – How nice! 

Ciao bello/a! – A friendly (and very Italian!) way to greet a friend

Una bella idea– A nice idea (also: bell’idea )

K: Ciao a tutti e benvenuti! Hi everyone and welcome to “Learn Italian with Joy of Languages”. 

M: Before we talk about bello , could we ask for a quick favor? If you're listening on your podcast app, can you hit the subscribe or follow button? This way, you'll get notified of new episodes, and you'll help our podcast grow so we can keep making them. Grazie!

K: Now let’s talk about bello. We’re recording this episode as the weather is starting to get warmer, and it’s una bella giornata, a beautiful day. 

M: Mmm, it will get cold again soon though. 

K: You would know! Matteo has an unhealthy obsession with the weather and his weather app. He checks it constantly. 

M: It’s my only addiction! And it’s helpful for making plans. 

K: Is it, really? Let’s listen to the conversation. How many times can you hear bello , or a variation of bello

K: Andiamo al parco domani? È molto bello in questa stagione!

M: Sì, bella idea! Aspetta, controllo il meteo… mm… piove

K: Andiamo al cinema? C’è “La dolce vita”, è bellissimo!

M: Sì, bello! Ah… no. 

K: Che c’è? 

M: Ora il meteo dice che c’è bello domani. 

K: Basta: cancello l’app!

K: Let’s break that down. I asked Matteo: 

M: Andiamo al parco domani? – Shall we go to the park tomorrow? Literally: 

Andiamo – We go 

Al – to the ( a means “to” and il means “the” we smush them together and get al )

Parco – park

Domani – tomorrow

K: Then I said: 

M: È molto bello in questa stagione! – It’s really nice in this season

È – it’s 

Molto – really 

Bello – nice 

In – in 

Questa – this 

Stagione – season

K: Here’s the interesting thing about bello . It means ‘beautiful’, but Italians use it more casually. I probably wouldn’t use ‘beautiful’ to talk about the park we go to all the time. I’d say ‘nice’, or because I’m British, ‘lovely’.

M: This is important if you want to use it like an Italian. When you want to say ‘nice’ in English, it's often bello in Italian. 

K: For example, you can say “our hotel is really nice”. Our hotel is il nostro hotel  

M: Il nostro hotel è molto bello (x2)

K: It doesn’t work in every situation, but it works in most, and in this episode we’ll help you know exactly when to use it. 

M: The main reason you probably hear bello so much is that Italians use it to describe nice experiences. 

K: Yeah. Going for a walk is bello , meeting friends is bello , the concert is bello. 

M: If it’s enjoyable, it’s bello! 

K: Thanks, that makes it easy to remember. Next, Matteo’s happy about going to the park, so he says: 

M: Sì, bella idea! – Yeah, nice idea! 

– yes

Bella – nice

Idea –   idea

K: We also use bello in some fixed expressions. Like ‘nice idea’. Bella idea. You’ll also hear this phrase all smushed together sometimes, like bell’idea! 

M: Bell’idea 

K: You can find more expressions like this in our blog post, the link is in the description. Then Matteo said: 

M: Aspetta, controllo il meteo… – Wait, I’ll check the forecast

Aspetta – wait

Controllo – I check (Italians say “control” for “check”)

Il meteo – the forecast

M: Piove – It’s going to rain. Literally: 

Piove – “it rains”

Italians often use the present to talk about the future, which is what Matteo did here. Then I said: 

M: Andiamo al cinema? – Shall we go to the cinema? 

Andiamo – we go 

Al – to the

Cinema – cinema

K: I continued: 

M: C’è “La dolce vita” – “La dolce vita” is on. Literally: 

C’è – There is 

La – the 

Dolce – sweet

Vita – life

M: A classic Italian film to watch on a rainy day! With the iconic scene where Anita Ekberg gets in the Trevi Fountain. 

K: Yeah I watched it in one of my Italian classes, I didn’t understand much, but I remember that scene! Then I said: 

M: È bellissimo! – It’s wonderful

È – it’s

Bellissimo – wonderful 

K: Did you hear this very Italian sounding word bellissimo? It’s for extra emphasis. As a non native speaker, I probably use this too much, because it’s fun to say. 

M: It’s true! Italians only use bellissimo for something really exceptional, so it sounds too enthusiastic when learners use it all the time. So maybe, if I’m in Siracusa, one of my favourite places in Sicily, I can talk about the sunset, il tramonto . I can say il tramonto è bellissimo (x2). I only use it for something really special. 

K: And it’s important to note that in Italian, we use bello (or bellissimo in this case) for creative works. So while in English, we say ‘a good book’, or ‘a nice album’, in Italian, it’s bello . Next, Matteo said: 

M: Sì, bello! – Yes, great! 

K: Here bello is a reaction, like “cool” or “awesome”. For example, we’re going to Siracusa next month…

M: Bello! But unfortunately it’s not true. 

K: Scusa, sorry. Then Matteo says: 

M: Ah… no. 

K: And I ask: 

M: Che c’è? – This is how Italians ask “what’s wrong?”. Literally: 

Che – what 

C’è – there is 

M: Ora il meteo dice –  now the forecast says: 

Ora – now

Il – the 

Meteo – forecast

Dice – says 

M: Che c’è bello domani – that the weather’s nice tomorrow

Che – that 

C’è – there is 

Bello – nice

Domani – tomorrow 

K: To say there’s nice weather, we literally say “there is nice”, c’è bello. So we use bello to talk about the weather, too. Next I said: 

M: Basta: cancello l’app! – That’s enough, I’m deleting the app. 

Basta – enough

Cancello – I cancel

L’app – the app (l apostrophe app). 

Just a little aside, my mum gets embarrassed when I shout basta at Brody when she’s misbehaving because she thinks it sounds like I’m shouting bastard! 

M: So rude to your innocent little dog. 

K: So in Italian, basta means “enough”. I’ve had enough of Matteo’s app, because we still don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow! 

M: Well… for now let's review bello

K: Bello means beautiful, as in aesthetically pleasing. But it’s very versatile. We use it for enjoyable experiences, like going for a walk, or meeting friends. 

M: And when you’re talking about creative works, like a film, a book or an album. 

K: You can use it as a reaction, like “cool” or “awesome”: 

M: Bello! 

K: And to talk about the weather. Let’s listen to the conversation again: 

K: Andiamo al parco domani? È molto bello in questa stagione!

M: Sì, bella idea! Aspetta, controllo il meteo… mm… piove

K: Andiamo al cinema? C’è “La dolce vita”, è bellissimo!

M: Sì, bello! Ah… no. 

K: Che c’è? 

M: Ora il meteo dice che c’è bello domani. 

K: Basta: cancello l’app!

K: You’ll also find bello in those lovely Italian-sounding phrases like bella idea, ‘nice idea’. To learn a few more, see everything from today written down and get bonus materials, like vocabulary cards and a quiz, head over to our website by clicking the link in the description.

M - See you next time.

K - Or as we say in Italian.

Alla prossima!

Time to check your understanding and remember everything you just learned! Below you’ll find a mini-quiz and some vocabulary cards to help it all go in.


How much did you learn? Find out in the quiz!

Click here to take the quiz for this episode: How to say BEAUTIFUL in Italian


Domani c’è bello = The weather’s nice tomorrow

Una bella giornata = A nice day; a beautiful day

Bella idea! = Nice idea, great idea

Bello! = Cool/awesome (as a reaction)

Il tramonto è bellissimo = The sunset is stunning/really beautiful 

Il nostro hotel è molto bello = Our hotel is really nice (lit. “really beautiful”)

Questa canzone è bella = This song is nice (lit. beautiful)

Questo libro è bello = This book is good (lit. beautiful)

Una bella passeggiata = A nice walk

Flashcards: How to Say BEAUTIFUL in Italian

Remember the vocabulary from this lesson by downloading the flashcards.

Not sure how it works? Click here to watch the tutorial

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