How to Conjugate the Italian Verb Trovare

Trovare in Italiano: To Find, Run Into, Visit and Be

Parked bicycles with Duomo of Milan in background
Parked bicycles with Duomo of Milan in background. Paolo Gobbo / Getty Images

Beyond the most basic meaning of “to find,” trovare is a rich verb worth knowing in greater depth.

To start, it’s a most regular first conjugation verb, so it follows the typical -are verb ending pattern at its simplest. It can be transitive, in which case it takes the auxiliary avere and a direct object—unless it is in intransitive or reflexive mode, trovarsi, in which case it takes essere. The participio passato or past participle, which you need for your compound tenses, is trovato.

Trovare: What It Means

  • To find: to find a job, a car, a dress (something you are looking for)
  • To run into/across someone or somebody by chance (not looking)
  • To meet up with
  • To think or find: to find something interesting or beautiful
  • To find as in to confirm
  • To go visit someone somewhere (with andare)
  • To be/to be located

Indicativo/Indicative

Presente: Present

Aside from not finding your keys or a new apartment, in the presente trovare is often used to express opinion. Troviamo gli italiani molto simpatici. We find Italians to be very fun to be around. Also, when you see somebody, you can use it to say, Ti trovo benissimo! I find you very well: You look great. Or you can ask, Come avete trovato Francesca oggi? How did Francesca look/seem to you today?

io

trovo

Trovo sempre i cani per strada.  I always run into dogs in the street.

tu  

trovi

Tu trovi sempre cose belle.  You always find beautiful things. 

lui, lei, Lei

trova

Lei trova amici dappertutto.  She finds friends everywhere. 
noi  troviamo  Noi troviamo i politici noiosi.  We find politicians to be boring. 
voi  trovate  Voi trovate una casa nuova.  You find a new house. 
loro  trovano Loro trovano sempre belle macchine.  They always find beautiful cars. 

Passato Prossimo: Present Perfect

In the passato prossimo and all transitive compound tenses, trovare is conjugated with avere (intransitive and reflexive modes are discussed at the bottom of this article). This is the tense you will use the most for trovare in the immediate past: to announce that you found a job today (Ho trovato lavoro!), or that you ran into a friend at the restaurant tonight (Sai chi ho trovato al ristorante?), or that you found the movie this week to be very boring (Ho trovato il film noiosissimo!).

io

ho trovato

Ho trovato i cani per strada oggi. I ran into the dogs on the street today. 

tu

hai trovato  Sei fortunata! Hai trovato belle cose al mercato oggi.  You're lucky! You found beautiful things at the market today. 

lui, lei, Lei

ha trovato

Lei ha sempre trovato amici dappertutto.  She has always found friends everywhere. 
noi  abbiamo trovato Questa sera abbiamo trovato i politici noiosi.  This evening we found the politicians to be boring. 
voi  avete trovato Avete trovato casa nuova questa settimana?  Did you find a new house this week? 
loro hanno trovato Oggi Giulio e Lucia hanno trovato una bella macchina. Today Giulio and Lucia found a beautiful car. 

Imperfetto: Imperfect

Use your imperfetto of trovare to describe things you used to find when you were little (trovavo sempre molti fiori per mia mamma) or having difficulty finding your keys today (non trovavo le chiavi). Remember, you use the imperfetto for imperfect spans of time or repeated, routine activities.

io

trovavo

Quando abitavo in Via Pen, non trovavo mai i cani per strada.  When I lived in Via Pen, I never used to find dogs on the street. 

tu

trovavi

Da giovane trovavi sempre le cose belle.  When you were young you used to always find beautiful things. 

lui, lei, Lei

trovava

Da ragazza Giulia trovava sempre amici dappertutto.  When she was a girl, Giulia used to always find friends everywhere. 
noi trovavamo Noi trovavamo sempre i politici ai comizi noiosi.  We used to always find politicians at stump meetings to be boring. 
voi trovavate A Parigi voi trovavate sempre le case nuove molto belle.  In Paris you always used to find beautiful new houses. 
loro trovavano Quando abitavano in Germania loro trovavano sempre una bella macchina da guidare.  When they lived in Germany they used to always find a beautiful car to drive. 

Passato Remoto: Remote Past

Use the passato remoto of trovare for actions long past and stories and memories from long ago. When you were in Italy in 1975 and you found that beautiful purse (Quando ero in Italia nel 1975, trovai una bellissima borsa di pelle). Or when an old friend told a story and everyone thought it to be very sad (trovammo la storia molto triste). Since trovare is regular, it has a regular passato remoto, which is good news.

io 

trovai

Una volta trovai dei cani per strada.  Once I ran into some dogs on the street. 

tu 

trovasti

Quell'anno tu trovasti molte cose belle.  That year you found many beautiful things. 

lui, lei, Lei

trovò

A Parigi lei trovò amici dappertutto.  In Paris she found friends everywhere. 
noi trovammo Quell'anno noi trovammo i politici al festival noiosi. That year we found the politicians at the event to be boring. 
voi trovaste Quell'anno trovaste la casa nuova.  That year you found your new house. 
loro trovarono Nel 1992 loro trovarono la bella macchina dei loro sogni. In 1992 they found the beautiful car of their dreams.

Trapassato Prossimo: Past Perfect

The trapassato prossimo of trovare is made from the imperfetto of the auxiliary and your past participle. You use this tense to describe something you found before something else happened, also in the past. You had already found a new job when you bought that new house: Avevo già trovato il nuovo lavoro quando ho comprato casa nuova. You had found a beautiful wine but you dropped it.

io 

avevo trovato Quel giorno avevo trovato dei cani per strada.  That day I had run into some dogs on the street. 

tu 

avevi trovato Quel giorno tu avevi trovato delle belle cose al mercato.  That day you had found some beautiful things at the market. 

lui, lei, Lei

aveva trovato A Parigi lei aveva trovato amici dappertutto ed era molto felice. In Paris she had found friends everywhere and she was very happy
noi  avevamo trovato Quella sera avevamo trovato i politici particolarmente noiosi e siamo andati a bere.  That evening we had found the politicians to be particularly boring, and then we went to drink some wine. 
voi avevate trovato  Quell'anno voi avevate trovato casa nuova ed eravate molto felici. That year you had found your new house and you were very happy. 
loro avevano trovato Quel giorno loro avevano trovato una bella macchina ed erano molto felici.  That day they had found a beautiful car and they were very happy.

Trapassato Remoto: Preterite Perfect

The trapassato remoto, always accompanied by the passato remoto, is rarely used—mostly in literature. Nonetheless, so you can tell it apart in your studies, it is a tense used to describe something that happened long, long ago right before something else happened. After the soldiers found the food, they resumed their walk toward the front. Dopo che i soldati ebbero trovato il cibo, ripartirono per il fronte. It is formed with the passato remoto of the auxiliary and the past participle.

io

ebbi trovato

Appena ebbi trovato i cani per strada li portai a casa.  As soon as I had run into the dogs I took them home. 

tu 

avesti trovato

Dopo che avesti trovato delle belle cose, te ne andasti.  After you had found the beautiful things, you left. 

lui, lei, Lei

ebbe trovato

Non appena ebbe trovato degli amici nuovi se ne andò. As soon as he had found the new friends he left. 
noi avemmo trovato Dopo che avemmo trovato i politici noiosi ce ne andammo.  After we had found the politicians to be boring we left. 
voi  aveste trovato Dopo che aveste trovato la casa nuova venne l'uragano. After you had found the new house, the hurricane came. 
loro ebbero trovato Dopo che ebbero trovato la bella macchina fecero l'incidente.  After they had found the new car, they had the accident. 

Futuro Semplice: Simple Future

In the futuro semplice trovare takes on a hopeful sound, like a good omen: Vedrai! Troverai il lavoro che cerchi! You'll see, you'll find the job you are looking for! Also, when talking about opinions, it takes on a bit of a predictive tone: Troverete Parigi una città fantastica. You will find Paris to be a fabulous city. In part this is because for the most immediate future, often in Italian you can use the present tense, and most do. Vedrai, presto trovi lavoro.

io

troverò

Vedrai! Domani troverò i cani per strada.  You'll see: tomorrow I will run into the dogs on the street. 

tu

troverai

Tu troverai sempre cose belle.  You will always find beautiful things. 

lui, lei, Lei 

troverà

Lei troverà sempre amici dappertutto. She will always find friends everywhere.
noi  troveremo Al comizio la settimana prossima troveremo sicuramente i politici noiosi.  At the stump meeting, we will surely find the politicians to be boring. 
voi troverete Dai, quest'anno troverete la casa nuova.  C'mon, this year you will find a new house. 
loro troveranno Forse domani troveranno la bella macchina che cercano.  Maybe tomorrow they will find the beautiful car they are looking for. 

Futuro Anteriore: Future Perfect

The futuro anteriore of trovare, a compound tense made of the future of avere and your past participle trovato, expresses an action of finding that will take place in the future after another action will have happened, also in the future. Ci sposeremo quando avremo trovato casa. We will get married after we will have found a house. Of course, English-speakers just say, we'll get married when we find a house. Italians, too. But this is the nuanced and correct way to say it.

io

avrò trovato

Domani a quest'ora avrò trovato i cani per strada.  Tomorrow at this time I will have run into the usual dogs in the street. 

tu

avrai trovato

Quando avrai trovato le tue belle cose che vuoi, ti sistemerai.  When you will have found the beautiful things you want, you will settle down. 

lui, lei, Lei

avrà trovato

Quando avrà trovato gli amici sarà contenta.  When she will have found her friends she will be happy. 
noi  avremo trovato Quando avremo trovato i politici noiosi come sempre ce ne andremo.  When we will have found the politicians to be boring as usual, we will leave. 
voi avrete trovato Quando avrete trovato la casa nuova vi sposerete.  When you will found your new house, you will get married. 
loro avranno trovato Quando avranno trovato la bella macchina saranno felici.  When they will have found the beautiful car, they will be happy.

Congiuntivo/Subjunctive

Presente: Present

In the presente, the subjunctive expresses the world of hope, wish, fear in the present: My mother hopes today I find a job now (mia mamma spera che io trovi un lavoro adesso); voglio che troviamo un bar per guardare la partita (I want us to find a bar to watch the game). Straight-up regular subjunctive in -are.

che io 

trovi

Mia madre crede che io trovi i cani per strada tutti i giorni, ma non è vero.  My mother believes that I run into the dogs on the street every day, but it's not true.  

che tu 

trovi

Spero che tu trovi sempre le cose belle.  I hope that you find beautiful things. 

che lui, lei, Lei

trovi

Spero che lei trovi sempre amici dappertutto.  I hope that she finds friends everywhere.
che noi troviamo Spero che non troviamo i politici noiosi come sempre.  I hope that we don't find the politicians to be as  boring as usual. 
che voi troviate  Spero che voi troviate la casa nuova.  I hope that you find your new house. 
che loro trovino Spero che loro trovino la bella macchina che vogliono.  I hope that they find the beautiful car they are looking for. 

Passato: Present Perfect

In the passato, the subjunctive expresses hope or wish today that the finding has already happened A compound tense, it is made of the present subjunctive of the auxiliary and the past participle. Spero che abbiate trovato il bar per guardare la partita (I hope that you have found the bar for us to watch the game). We don't know if it has happened.

che io

abbia trovato

Mia madre teme che abbia trovato i cani per strada un'altra volta.  My mother fears that I ran into the dogs in the street once again.

che tu

abbia trovato

Spero che tu abbia trovato le cose belle che cerchi. I hope that you have found the beautiful things you are looking for.

che lui, lei, Lei

abbia trovato

Spero che lei abbia trovato amici dappertutto.  I hope that she has found friends everywhere. 
che noi abbiamo trovato Temo che abbiamo trovato i politici noiosi come sempre.  I fear that we have found the politicians boring as usual. 
che voi abbiate trovato Spero che voi abbiate trovato la casa nuova.  I hope that you have found your new home. 
che loro abbiano trovato Spero che loro abbiano trovato la bella macchina che cercano.  I hope that they have found the beautiful car they are looking for. 

Imperfetto: Imperfect

The subjunctive imperfetto is a simple (non-compound) tense that expresses the wish or fear of finding with both the wishing and the finding in the same realm of the past: Speravo che trovassimo il bar per guardare la partita. I hoped that we would find the bar to watch the game. It may or may not have happened, but we can suspect. Regular -are subjunctive.

che io 

trovassi

Mia madre temeva che io trovassi i cani per strada.  My mother feared that I would find the dogs in the street. 

che tu

trovassi

Speravo che tu trovassi le belle cose che cercavi  I hoped that you would find the beautiful things you were looking for. 

che lui, lei, Lei

trovasse

Speravo che lei trovasse amici dappertutto.  I hoped that she would find friends everywhere. 
che noi trovassimo Speravo che noi non trovassimo i politici noiosi come sempre.  I hoped that we would not find the politicians to be boring as usual. 
che voi trovaste Speravo che trovaste la casa nuova.  I hoped that you would find your new home. 
che loro  trovassero Speravo che trovassero la bella macchina che vogliono.  I hoped that they would find the beautiful car they want. 

Trapassato: Past Perfect

With the trapassato, the trovare is in a compound tense, with the auxiliary avere in the imperfect subjunctive. The verb expressing wish or desire or fear can be in several different tenses, all in the past or the conditional: Speravo che avessimo trovato il bar per guardare la partita; ho sperato che avessimo trovato il bar per guardare la partita; avrei sperato che avessimo trovato il bar per guardare la partita. It all translates to I hoped/I had hoped/I would have hoped that by now we had found the bar to watch the game.

che io

avessi trovato

Mia madre sperava che avessi trovato i cani per strada.  My mother had hoped that I had found the dogs in the street. 

che tu

avessi trovato

Vorrei che tu avessi trovato le cose belle che cerchi.  I wish that you had found the beautiful things you are looking for. 

che lui, lei, Lei

avesse trovato

Avrei voluto che avesse trovato amici dappertutto.  I wished that she had found friends everywhere. 
che noi avessimo trovato Luigi avrebbe voluto che non avessimo trovato i politici noiosi come sempre.  Luigi wished that we had not found the politicians boring as usual. 
che voi aveste trovato Speravo che voi aveste trovato la casa nuova.  I had hoped that you had found your new house. 
che loro avessero trovato Vorrei che avessero trovato la bella macchina che vogliono.  I wished that they had found the beautiful car they want. 

Condizionale/Conditional

Presente: Present

The presente condizionale of trovare expresses what you would find if something else happened: a new apartment if you were rich, or a new boyfriend if you had time, or a new museum in Rome if you knew about it.

io

troverei

Troverei i cani per strada se aspettassi. I woud find the dogs in the street if I waited. 

tu

troveresti

Troveresti le cose belle se tu aspettassi. You would find the beautiful things you look for if you waited. 

lui, lei, Lei 

troverebbe

Troverebbe amici dappertutto se aspettasse.  She would find friends everywhere if she waited. 
noi troveremmo Troveremmo i politici noiosi come sempre se li ascoltassimo.  We would find the politicians to be boring as usual if we listened to them.
voi trovereste  Trovereste la casa nuova se aspettaste.  You would find your new house if you waited.
loro  troverebbero  Troverebbero la bella macchina che vogliono se aspettassero.  They would find the beautiful car they want if they waited. 

Passato: Past

The passato condizionale of trovare expresses what you would have found in the past if something else had happened or not happened—both in the past. Since this is a compound tense, it is formed with the present conditional of avere and the past participle (except for the reflexive use, see below).

io avrei trovato Avrei trovato i cani per strada se avessi aspettato.  I would have found the dogs in the street if I had waited. 
tu avresti trovato Avresti trovato le belle cose che cerchi se tu avessi aspettato.  You would have found the beautful things you want if you had waited. 
lui/lei/Lei avrebbe trovato Avrebbe trovato amici dappertutto se avesse aspettato.  She would have found friends everywhere had she waited. 
noi avremmo trovato Avremmo trovato i politici noiosi come sempre se avessimo aspettato.  We would have found the politicians to be as boring as usual had we waited. 
voi avreste trovato Avreste trovato la casa nuova se aveste aspettato.  You would have found your new house had you waited. 
loro avrebbero trovato Avrebbero trovato la bella macchina se avessero aspettato.  They would have found the beautiful car had they waited. 

Imperativo/Imperative

tu trova Trova il cane!  Find the dog! 
noi troviamo Troviamo il cane! Let's find the dog! 
voi trovate Trovate il cane!  Find the dog! 

Infinito/Infinitive Presente & Passato

The infinito of trovare is used often with helping verbs (cercare di trovare, sperare di trovare), and with andare or venire it takes on the special meaning of to visit. Vado a trovare mia nonna: I'm going to visit my grandmother. Vieni a trovarmi! Come see me! And as you know, both in the present and in the past, it can serve quite well as a noun (infinito sostantivato).

trovare Trovarti mi ha risollevata.   Running into you made me feel better.  
avere trovato Avere trovato il ristorante aperto è stata una fortuna.  Having found the restaurant open was a stroke of luck. 

Gerundio/Gerund Presente & Passato

trovando Trovando il lavoro proficuo, Giorgio ha deciso di comprare casa.  Finding his job remunerative, Giorgio decided to buy a new house. 
avendo trovato Avendo trovato il rumore a casa sua impossibile, Giorgio ha traslocato.  Having found the noise at his house impossible to bear, Giorgio moved. 

Intransitive and Reflexive

Trovare in the intransitive trovarsi means to find oneself (in a quandary, for example, or a certain situation). In that case, you use essere in compound tenses. Non mi sarei trovata in questa situazione se non per te. I wouldn't have found myself (I wouldn't be) in this situation if not for you.

But in the intransitive it is also often used to mean "to be located" or more simply "to be," with the si particle as a complement of location. For example:

  • Milano si trova in Lombardia. Milan is located in Lombardia.
  • Mio nipote si trova a Roma per lavoro. My nephew is in Rome for work.
  • In questo momento mi trovo a Parigi. In this moment I am in Paris.

With the adverbs bene or maletrovarsi bene o trovarsi male—it means to find oneself at home; to be happy or at ease or at home in a place (or not); to like being in a place (or not). Again, note the essere auxiliary: Marco e Gianna si sono trovati molto bene da Franco. Marco and Gianna liked it a lot/found themselves happy at Franco's place.

It also means to find something for oneself. You will hear it used in the reflexive, for example, to say, I would have found myself a new house if I had had the money: Mi sarei trovata casa nuova se avessi avuto i soldi. Did you find yourself a new friend? Ti sei trovata un'amica nuova?

Trovarsi Reciprocal

In the reciprocal trovarsi means to find each other or to get together, run into each other, or meet up together (with another person):

  • Che bello che ci siamo trovati per strada! How nice to run into each other on the street!
  • Troviamoci in Piazza del Campo. Let's meet up in Piazza del Campo.
  • Quando lavoravo a Pisa, io e Lucia ci trovavamo spesso per un caffé. When I worked in Pisa, Lucia and I got together often for coffee.

Also in the gerund reflexive and reciprocal:

  • Trovandomi a Cetona, ho visitato la bellissima Rocca. Finding myself in Cetona, I went to visit the beautiful Rocca.
  • Essendomi trovata male, sono partita. Having found myself in difficulty, I left.
  • Essendoci trovati insieme a cena, abbiamo brindato. Having found each other together at dinner, we celebrated.

.