Hotels and Villas: Vocabulary for Staying in Italy

Learn Italian phrases and vocabulary for a smooth stay

Man carrying woman's bags to car outside hotel
Peter Cade / Getty Images

As one of the most visited countries on the planet, Italy offers many options in terms of accommodations: Any cursory internet search will reveal thousands of choices ranging from a hotel—called un hotel in Italian, or generally un albergo—to una pensione (something generally smaller and cozier), una locanda, or a B&B, called in Italian un bed and breakfast.

There are also affittacamere (people who rent rooms in their homes), and of course, the infinite world of Airbnb, villa rentals all over the country, and agriturismi, which are farms that function as working farms but also places to stay. Generally, they make wine or olive oil and are out of the way, tucked in the beautiful countryside; some are rustic, but many have become the epitome of luxury, lacking for nothing and adding the views and silence to boot.

Many people in the hospitality industry in Italy speak English, and the higher-end your selection, the better the English will be. In fact, many students of Italian may be hard-pressed to put their good work to use. Nonetheless, some basic accommodations vocabulary can come in handy, no matter where you are.

Vocabulary for a Hotel or Pensione

la camera the room
la camera singola a single room
la camera doppia a double room
il letto singolo a single bed 
il letto matrimoniale a double bed
il bagno the bathroom
il telefono the phone
gli asciugamani the towels
un'altra coperta another towel
l'acqua calda/fredda hot water/cold water 
il sapone  soap
la carta igienica toilet paper
le lenzuola pulite  clean sheets 
il cambio delle lenzuola change of sheets
la televisione  the TV
il telecomando the remote
l'internet/il WiFi WiFi
il caricabatterie a charger
l'aria condizionata the AC
la piscina  the pool
il servizio in camera room service
la colazione a letto breakfast in bed
la sveglia the alarm
fare il check-in check in
fare il check-out check out
prenotare to make a reservation
il concierge  concierge
il passaporto  passport
le valigie  suitcases

By the way, at check-in, it’s more likely that you will be asked for your documenti than your passaporto.

Some Useful Phrases

Of course, in a luxury hotel, the service will be professional and flawless, though perhaps more impersonal, and someone will speak English well. In a smaller albergo, a pensione or a locanda, however, you will likely interact with the owners or management and you might have occasion to ask for some things in Italian. You will likely be rewarded with great charm: Just remember to always add per favore and grazie!

  • Possiamo avere altri asciugamani? Can we have some more towels?
  • A che ora finisce la colazione? At what time does breakfast end?
  • Qual è la password per il WiFi? What is the WiFi password?
  • Ho perso la chiave. I lost my key.
  • Mi sono chiuso/a fuori dalla camera. I’m locked out of my room.
  • La luce non funziona. The light isn’t working.
  • Non c’è acqua calda. There is no hot water.
  • La camera è troppo calda (or fredda). The room is too hot (or cold).
  • Posso avere un'altra coperta? May I have another blanket?
  • Possiamo mangiare in camera? May we eat in our room?
  • Possiamo avere una bottiglia di vino in camera? May we have a bottle of wine in our room, please?
  • Ci può suggerire un buon ristorante qui vicino? Can you suggest a good restaurant nearby?
  • Non mi sento bene: dove posso trovare un dottore? I don't feel well: where can I find a doctor?
  • Ci può svegliare alle sette per favore? Can you wake us at 7 a.m., please?
  • A che ora è il check-out? At what time is check-out, please?
  • Possiamo avere la ricevuta per favore? Can we have our receipt, please?
  • Possiamo lasciare i bagagli fino alle 14:00? Can we leave our bags here until 2 p.m.?
  • Mi/ci può chiamare un taxi per andare all’aeroporto, per favore? Can you call me/us a cab to go to the airport, please?

In case of emergency, yell out, Aiuto! Aiuto! Help!

Tip: If you are taking a rental car to a hotel in a city, make sure you ask the hotel where to park before you get there: Sometimes hotels have their own parking area, but sometimes, when they are located in areas restricted to pedestrians, you will not be allowed to drive to your hotel at all.

Apartment or House Lingo

If you are booking an apartment or a house, unless you are referred by a friend or by trusted word of mouth, it's good to go through official channels such as a rental agency. Even small towns—or at least desirable ones—will have a person in real estate rentals (and again, most everyone is on the internet now).

Generally, people who rent out villas or houses or apartments who are trusted and have been doing it for a while will give you plenty of information about who to turn to in case of need. That person may or may not speak English, so it's good to know a few basic words:

Il bagno bathroom Il bagno è sporco.  The bathroom is dirty. 
La doccia shower La doccia non funziona.  The shower doesn't work. 
La toilette/la tazza toilet  La tazza è intasata.  The toilet is clogged. 
L'acqua calda/fredda hot water/cold water Non c'è acqua calda.  There is no hot water. 
Lo scaldabagno water heater  Lo scaldabagno è rotto.  The hot water heater is broken.
La pila elettrica flashlight  C'è una pila? Is there a flashlight? 
La piscina  swimming pool La piscina è bellissima! The swimming pool is beautiful!
Gli asciugamani towels Possiamo avere altri asciugamani per favore? Can we have some more towels, please? 
Il cambio delle lenzuola  change of sheets Quando c'è il cambio delle lenzuola? When do the sheets get changed? 
Un cuoco/una cuoca cook Possiamo avere un cuoco per la settimana? Can we have a cook for the week? 
Una cena a dinner  Vogliamo fare una cena. C'è qualcuno che può cucinare per noi? We would like to have a dinner. Can someone cook for us? 
La spesa  grocery shopping Potete fare la spesa per noi? Can you grocery shop for us? 
L'elettricità/la luce electricity Non c'è elettricità. There is no electricity. 
Il ferro da stiro an iron C'è un ferro da stiro? Is there an iron? 
Il fon a hair dryer Dove è il fon? Where is the hair dryer? 
La lavatrice  washing machine  C'è una lavatrice? Where is the washing machine? 
La lavanderia dry cleaner/laundry Dove è la lavanderia? Where is the laundry/dry cleaner? 
La biancheria linens Possiamo avere della biancheria pulita? Can we please have some clean linens? 
L'aria condizionata  air conditioning L'aria condizionata non funziona.  The air conditioning does not work. 
Un ventilatore  a fan Possiamo avere un ventilatore per la camera? Can we please have a fan for our room? 
La donna delle pulizie  cleaning lady Quando viene la donna delle pulizie? When does the cleaning lady come? 
L'elettricista electrician Può mandare un elettricista? Can you send an electrician? 
L'idraulico plumber  Ci vuole un idraulico.  We need a plumber. 

If you are traveling on a tight budget, your best option may be un'affittacamere—someone who rents rooms in their house—or, if you are a student, even a youth hostel is a possibility. Search the name of the town on the internet, or ask when you get there:

  • Dove si può dormire qui economicamente? Where can one sleep here inexpensively?
  • Ci sono affittacamere a poco prezzo? Are there rooms to rent inexpensively?

Buona permanenza! Have a nice stay!