36 Helpful Italian Words to Add to Your Travel List

9th July 2024

Off to Italy soon? These essential Italian words and expressions will help you get by and enjoy your trip like a local.


Listen to the episode

Passaporto? Check! 

Deodorante? Check! 

You’ve packed everything you need, but there’s one thing missing if you want to make the most out of your trip to Italy… 

The most important Italian words and phrases to help you get by in the local language! 

You don’t need to be fluent in Italian to enjoy communicating as you go about your day. In fact, you can do more than you think with just a few words. 

Here, you’ll learn 36 Italian words you’ll use all the time, so you can start getting by and enjoy your time in Italy (with minimal preparation!)

Italian Words You’ll Hear and Say a Lot

When you’re travelling around Italy , there are some practical words you’ll come across all the time. Below are a few essentials. Some are similar to English, which makes them easier to remember – sì! 

Il passaporto  Passport EEL PAS–SAH–POR–TOH
Il biglietto  Ticket  EEL BEEL–YEH–TOH
I contanti  Cash  EE KON–TAN–TEE
La carta (di credito) (Credit) card  LAH KAR–TAH (DEE KREH–DEE–TOH)
Il bancomat ATM/cash machine EEL BAN–COH–MAT
La valigia  Suitcase LAH VAH–LEE–JAH
La stazione  Station LAH STAH–TS–OH–NEH
Il binario  Platform EEL BEE–NAH–REE–OH
Il posto  Seat/place (e.g. on a train) EEL POH–STOH
L’aeroporto  Airport LAH–EH–REE–OH–POR–TOH
L’entrata Entrance LEN–TRAH–TAH
L’uscita  Exit LOO–SHEE–TAH
La fila Line/queue LAH FEE–LAH
La coda  Line/queue LAH COH–DAH

Let’s see some examples of these words in use: 

Dov’è la stazione? – Where’s the station? 

Posso lasciare la valigia qui? – Can I leave my suitcase here? 

Il treno parte dal binario sei – The train is leaving from platform 6

Carta o contanti? – Card or cash? 

Comincia qui la fila? – Does the line start here? 

Good to know: Standing in Line in Italy The expressions fila and coda are interchangeable in Italian. And, despite their reputation, Italians stand in line sometimes, too! Particularly in places like the supermercato (grocery store) . In other situations, such as waiting for public transport , you might find more of a crowd.

Italian Words to Get Important Stuff Done

When we talk about important stuff in Italy, of course, we’re mostly talking about food! 

Here are some handy words to help you point things out: the first two will help you order smoothly at the market or from an Italian menu , even if you don’t know the name or how to say the thing you want. 

Questo This KWEH–STOH
Quello That KWEH–LOH
Qui Here KWEE
There LEE
Ecco  Here it is/here you go EK–KOH

Let’s see some more detailed examples of how you might use these words in different situations: 

Vorrei quello, per favore – I’d like that, please 

Vorrei questo, per favore – I’d like this, please 

Ecco il biglietto – Here’s the ticket

L’uscita è lì – The exit is there

C’è un bancomat qui? – Is there a cash machine here? 

Italian Words for Asking Questions

When you’re exploring new places on your Italian adventures, you’ll probably have a few questions! These three words will help you find the information you need. 

Posso…?  Can I…?  POS–SOH
Avete…?  Do you have…? AH–VEH–TEH
Dov’è…?  Where is…?  DOV–EH? 

Let’s see a few handy examples: 

Posso pagare con la carta? – Can I pay by card? 

Posso chiedere un’informazione? – Can I ask for some information? 

Avete dei piatti vegetariani? – Do you have vegetarian dishes? 

Avete il wifi? – Do you have wifi? 

Dov’è il bagno? – Where’s the bathroom? 

Matteo, dov’è la tua carta di credito? – Matteo, where’s your credit card? 

Good to know We use avete to ask “do you have…” when addressing more than one person, so it’s perfect for restaurants or ticket offices where there is a team of people. For more details, check out this post on how to use the verb AVERE in Italian

Ah, and did you notice the funny apostrophe and accent in the word dov’è? It’s a combination of dove (where) and è (is). Remember to emphasise the last part: dov’ È. 

Greeting and Being Polite in Italian

One of the fastest ways to feel part of the daily life in Italy is to use the common words for everyday polite interactions . Here are the main ones to know: 

Buongiorno  Hello (formal, daytime) BWON–JOR–NOH
Buonasera Hello (formal, evening) BWON–NAH–SEH–RAH
Arrivederci  Goodbye (formal) AR–REE–VEH–DER–CHEE
Ciao Hi/bye (informal) CHA-OW
Grazie Thank you GRATS–YEAH
Per favore Please PER FAH–VOH–REH
Prego  You’re welcome PREH–GOH
Scusi  Sorry/excuse me (formal) SKOO–ZEE
Scusa  Sorry/excuse me (informal) SKOO–ZAH

And here are a couple of handy ones that usually only the locals use!

Salve Hello (formal, any time of day) SAL–VEH
Permesso  Excuse me (when moving past people) PER–MEH–SOH

That last word, permesso, is very handy, and not a lot of tourists know it! When you need to move past people, for example in a crowded street, Italians don’t say scusi. Instead they say permesso. You can learn similar handy Italian travel phrases in this video with one of our Italian teachers, Mary

3 Very Useful Italian Verbs 

You might think you need to know a lot of different verb forms and grammar before you can start speaking Italian , but that’s not true! Here are three very practical Italian verbs that don’t take long to learn and will help you say a lot in Italy: 

Prendere To take, to have PREN–DEH-REH
Fare To do FAH-REH
Pagare To pay PAH–GAH–REH

We use prendere to talk about transport and for ordering food and drink. For example: 

Prendere il treno – To take the train

Prendere un taxi – To take a taxi

Prendere una carbonara – To have a carbonara

Prendere uno spritz – To have a spritz

Fare literally means “to do”, but it doesn’t always translate exactly in Italian! You’ll hear it very often in these travel phrases: 

Fare il biglietto – To book/buy a ticket (lit. “do” a ticket)

Fare la valigia – To pack your suitcase (lit. “do” the suitcase)

Fare la coda/la fila – To stand in line/queue (lit. to “do” the line)

Pagare is very similar to English, and you’ll find yourself using it a lot while travelling around Italy. For example: 

Pagare al tavolo – To pay at the table

Pagare alla cassa – To pay at the cash register

Pagare in contanti – To pay in cash 

Pagare con la carta – To pay by credit card

Keep in mind that in Italian, the verb ending changes to show who is doing the action. Prendere and pagare follow the same pattern as all regular Italian verbs . Fare is irregular and has a mind of its own: you can learn all about how the verb FARE works here

Italian Words to Add to Your Travel List: Review

Evviva! (Yey!) You just learned some very handy Italian words that will help you do a lot on your trip. Here’s a list you can review whenever you need to: 

Il passaporto – Passport

Il biglietto – Ticket

I contanti – Cash

La carta (di credito) – (Credit) card

Il bancomat – Cash machine

La valigia – Suitcase

La stazione – Station

Il binario – Platform

Il posto – Seat/place (e.g. on train)

L'aeroporto – Airport

L’entrata – Entrance

L’uscita – Exit

La coda/la fila – Line or queue

Questo – This

Quello – That

Qui – Here

Lì – There

Ecco – Here it is/here you go

Posso… – Can I…

Avete… – Do you have…

Dov’è… – Where is…

Buongiorno – Hello (formal, daytime)

Buonasera – Hello (formal, evening)

Arrivederci – Goodbye (formal)

Ciao – Hi/bye (informal)

Grazie – Thank you 

Per favore – Please

Prego – You’re welcome

Scusi – Excuse me/sorry (formal)

Scusa – Excuse me/sorry (informal)

Salve – Hello (formal, any time of day)

Permesso – Excuse me (when moving past people)

Prendere – To take (transport); to have (food/drink)

Fare – To do (but remember, it doesn’t always translate!)

Pagare – To pay 

There’s quite a lot to learn here, so don’t feel like you need to memorise everything all at once. In fact, why don’t you take this lesson with you in your valigia? You can use it as a reference as you go around Italy and enjoy communicating with Italians!

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

M: We’re talking about your future trips in Italy, but we’re not actually in Italy at the moment! 

K: We’re in Sheffield, England, and our friends are getting married all the way up north in Glasgow soon. What does this have to do with you learning Italian? Well, we still have to decide how to get there, and whenever we talk about it, we use lots of common travel words that I think you might find useful, too.  

M: Before we listen to the conversation, could we ask you a quick favore? Can you hit the subscribe or follow button on your podcast app as you’re listening? You’ll get notified when we release a new episode and help our podcast grow. Grazie! 

K: Listen to our conversation, how many useful travel words and phrases can you hear? 

M: Faccio i biglietti per l’aereo?

K: No, prendiamo il treno… sono solo 5 ore

M: Sono 6 ore! 

K: In aeroporto devi fare la coda per il controllo passaporti…

M: Sì… e fare la fila per la valigia 

K: Ok, allora prendiamo il treno. Pago io. Dov’è la tua carta di credito? 

K: So Matteo said: 

M: Faccio i biglietti per l’aereo? – Shall I book tickets for the plane? Literally: 

Faccio – I do 

I biglietti – the tickets

Per – for 

L’aereo – the plane (that’s L, apostrophe aereo). 

K: Here’s our first useful phrase, and something very interesting about Italian! You may know that we use the verb fare, literally “to do” in lots of different expressions. You can learn more about this in episode 132. In Italian, it’s correct to say “buy the ticket”, with comprare : Comprare il biglietto. Or you can say “book the ticket”, with prenotare. Prenotare il biglietto. 

M: But if you want to sound really natural, like a native speaker, you can say fare il biglietto (x2)

K: These things can be a bit confusing in Italian, and my advice is to not stress about the logic too much. Just learn some of the common phrases with fare , and start using them, and you’ll feel really Italian. Fare il biglietto. In this sentence, we also had “the ticket”: 

M: Il biglietto (x2)

K: With the GL sound, a bit like a L, but the tongue slides across the top of your mouth. Il biglietto (x2). You also heard the word aereo (x2), which means plane. 

M: Aereo.

K: Another mouthful to pronounce! Take it one syllable at a time. AH–EH–REH–OH (x2). 

M: Aereo. 

K: To say “the plane”, we put L apostrophe in front of it, like we do with all words that start with a vowel. 

M: L’aereo (x2)

K: Then I said: 

M: No, prendiamo il treno… – No, let’s take the train…

No – no

Prendiamo – we take

Il treno – the train

K: Here’s another handy, very versatile verb in Italian. Prendere. To take: 

M: Prendere (x2)

K: You can use this to talk about transport, for example, how would you say “to take the train”? 


M: Prendere il treno (x2)

K: To take a taxi? 


M: Prendere un taxi (x2) 

K: In this case, we said “we take”. To say who is doing the action in Italian, we change the end of the verb. We take is: 


M: Prendiamo (x2)

K: Let’s take the train, which in Italian is literally “we take the train”: 


M: Prendiamo il treno (x2)

K: I continued: 

M: sono solo 5 ore – it’s only 5 hours

sono – they are

solo – only

cinque – five

ore – hours

K: In Italian, to talk about time, we treat hours as plural, that’s why we literally say “they are”. You can learn more about this in episode 31. Next, Matteo said: 

M: Sono 6 ore! – it’s 6 hours! 

Sono – they are

Sei – six

Ore – hours

K: So the train actually takes about 5 and a half hours, cinque ore e mezza , but here I’m being a bit over optimistic as usual

M: So then I have to be a bit pessimistic to balance you out 😀

K: Then I said: 

M: In aeroporto devi fare la coda – At the airport, you have to wait in line, or in the queue, as we say in the UK. Literally: 

In aeroporto – in airport 

Devi – you must 

Fare – Do  

La – The

Coda – line

K: Here’s another funny expression with the verb fare, to do, in Italian. 

M: To wait in line, we literally say “do the line”. Fare la coda (x2) 

K: And which coda was I talking about in this case? La coda per… the line for…

M: il controllo passaporti… – passport control

Il – the 

Controllo – control

Passaporti – passports

K: Two interesting things here! Here we see how Italians often say things backwards. Passport control is “the control passport”: il controllo passaporti . In the same way that red wine is “the wine red”: il vino rosso. 

M: Ah and here is another very important word! You heard i passaporti, passports. Passport in the singular is il passaporto (x2)

K: Matteo agrees with me!

M: It does happen occasionally!

K: So he says: 

M: Sì… e fare la fila per la valigia – Yes, and wait in line for the suitcase.

Sì… – Yes…

E – and 

Fare – do 

La – the 

Fila – line 

Per – for 

La – the 

Valigia – suitcase

K: Fila is another way to say coda

M: They’re interchangeable. You can say fare la fila or fare la coda. It’s the same. 

K: And you heard another useful word, the suitcase! Can you remember how to say it? 


M: La valigia (x2)

Then I said: 

M: OK, allora prendiamo il treno. – OK, well let’s take the train. 

OK – OK 

Allora – Well 

Prendiamo – We take 

Il treno – The train

K: Very generously, I offered to pay: 

M: Pago io – Literally 

Pago – I pay 

Io – I

K: Here, the word pago already means “I pay”. The little “io” (I) at the end is for extra emphasis, like saying I’LL pay. 

M: Pago IO. 

K: Pago comes from the word pagare, to pay, which is very useful in Italian! For example, how would you say “to pay in cash”? Cash is contanti. 


Pagare in contanti 

K: To pay by card? Literally, to pay with the card? 


M: Pagare con la carta

K: Then I asked: 

M: Dov’è la tua carta di credito? – Where’s your credit card? 

M: Unbelievable. 

K: Yours is easier to find! That phrase, translated literally is: 


Dov’è – Where is, which is dove (where) and è (is) smushed together: dov’è

La – the

Tua – your (Italians say “the your” rather than just “your”)

Carta – card

Di – of 

Credito – credit 

K: Here’s another useful expression, the credit card: la carta di credito

M: La carta di credito (x2). It’s even more useful if you can pay with someone else’s! 

K: Certo, of course! Sometimes you might also just hear la carta. Another couple of useful phrases are: card or cash?


M: Carta o contanti? (x2)


K: And “can I pay by card?” In Italian we start with “can I”, which is posso. And we say “with the card”


M: Posso pagare con la carta? (x2)

K: Let’s listen to the whole conversation one more time: 

M: Faccio i biglietti per l’aereo?

K: No, prendiamo il treno… sono solo 5 ore

M: Sono 6 ore! 

K: In aeroporto devi fare la coda per il controllo passaporti…

M: Sì… e fare la fila per la valigia 

K: Ok, allora prendiamo il treno. Pago io. Dov’è la tua carta di credito? 

M: This week on the blog, we have lots more helpful Italian words to add to your Italian travel list! 

K: You can also see everything from today’s lesson written down and review what you learned with our vocabulary cards and quiz. Just head over to our website by clicking the link in the description. Or you can go to italian.joyoflanguages.com/podcast and search for episode [147]. 

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: 36 Helpful Italian Words to Add to Your Travel List


Il biglietto = The ticket

Fare il biglietto = To buy/book a ticket (lit. “do the ticket”)

L’aereo = The aeroplane

Prendere il treno = To take the train

Fare la fila/coda = To stand in line (lit. “do the line”)

Il passaporto = The passport

La valigia = The suitcase

La carta di credito = Credit card

Posso pagare con la carta? = Can I pay by card? (lit. with the card)

Flashcards: 36 Helpful Italian Words to Add to Your Travel List

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

Mamma mia! You’ve signed up – but without our weekly free lesson

Our free weekly lesson is a great introduction to learning Italian in a fun and friendly way. No boring grammar or lists of random words. It’s all about real Italian conversation!

Be the first to hear when registration opens!

Our online school opens its doors to new students three times a year. The only way to secure your place is to join up during this time – sign up to our newsletter today so you don't miss out.