Italian for Idiots

Truly, Madly, Italy

If your only Italian word is ‘Ciao’ and you’re a) tempted to spell it CHOW and b) not entirely sure if it means Hi or Bye – well, this is for YOU.

Here follows the essential words and phrases in Italian that I wish someone had handed me prior to my first visit to Il Bel Paese (so I’m including myself in the idiot-count, here). Stripped-back and no frills, this isn’t about making well-rounded sentences (buy yourself a phrasebook). Rather, the aim is to give you the best chance of understanding and being understood, when you prior knowledge is nil. Phrases are mostly in the formal third-person (the standard, when addressing a stranger) as I’m assuming you’re not on chummy terms with the locals, just yet. This is the list that you could practise on a 2/3 hour flight to Rome, and stand a chance of actually remembering and using.


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