The Colors in Italian

Learn phrases and vocabulary for talking about colors

Colorful small island of Burano in the Venetian Lagoon
Colorful small island of Burano in the Venetian Lagoon. Federica Gentile / Getty Images

You want to tell your friend the color of the Vespa you want to buy, the type of wine you were drinking, or the hue of the sky while you were on a hilltop in Florence, but how do you say the colors in Italian?

To start, here are the most common thirteen along with a list of subtle and unique blends.

Basic Colors

Red – Rosso

  • Lei porta sempre un rossetto rosso. - She always wears red lipstick.

Pink – Rosa

  • Ho comprato un vestito rosa per la festa. - I bought a pink dress for the party.

Purple – Viola

  • Ho dipinto le unghie di viola. - I painted my nails purple.

TIP: Unlike other colors, you don’t have to change the ending of “rosa” or “viola” to match the object it’s describing.

Orange – Arancione

  • La sua macchina nuova è arancione ed è troppo sgargiante per i miei gusti. - Her new car is orange, and it’s too bright for my tastes.

Yellow – Giallo

  • Stava leggendo un giallo con una copertina gialla. - He was reading a mystery novel with a yellow cover.

TIP: “Un giallo” is also a mystery novel or thriller.

Green – Verde

  • Mi piace vivere in Toscana, in mezzo al verde. - I like living in Tuscany, in the middle of the green.

Blue – Azzurro

  • Ho gli occhi azzurri. - I have blue eyes.

Silver – Argento

  • Gli ho regalato un cucchiaio d’argento per la loro collezione. - I gifted them a tiny, silver spoon for their collection.

    Gold – Oro

    • Cerco una collana d’oro. - I’m looking for a gold necklace.

    Gray – Grigio

    • Il cielo è così grigio oggi. - The sky is so gray today.

    White – Bianco

    • Non voglio indossare un vestito da sposa bianco, ne preferisco uno rosso! - I don’t want to wear a white wedding dress, I prefer a red one!

    Black – Nero

    • Calimero è un pulcino tutto nero con un cappellino bianco in testa. - Calimero is a black chick with a white little cap on his head.

    Brown – Marrone

    • Mamma mia, lei è bellissima, ha gli occhi marroni e lunghi capelli castani. - Oh my goodness, she’s beautiful, she has brown eyes and long, brown hair.

    TIP: You would use “marrone” to describe the color of someone’s eyes, like “gli occhi marroni”, and you would use “castano” to describe the color of someone’s hair “i capelli castani”.

    Dark Colors

    If you want to talk about dark shades, you can just add the word "scuro" at the end of each color.

    • Dark red – Rosso scuro

    • Dark green – Verde scuro

    • Dark blue - Blu

    TIP: “Blu” is understood all its own to be a darker shade.

    Light Colors

    Here are some lighter shades:

    • Baby blue – Celeste

    • Baby pink – Rosa confetto

    • Light green - Verde chiaro

    • Light blue - Azzurro

    TIP: Like “blu”, “azzurro” on its own is usually understood as light blue.

    Unique Colors

    Shiny/glossy red – Rosso lucido

    • Stavo pensando di comprare una Vespa di color rosso lucido, che ne pensi? - I was thinking about buying a shiny red Vespa, what do you think?

    Vermilion red - Rosso vermiglione

    • Rimango sempre affascinata dalla tonalità di rosso vermiglione dei dipinti di Caravaggio. - I’m always attracted by the red vermilion shade used by Caravaggio in his paintings.

      Hot pink – Rosa shocking

      • Non mi piacciono per niente i vestiti di colore rosa shocking, non sono eleganti. - I don’t like hot pink clothes at all, they’re not elegant.

      Blue green – Verde acqua

      • Mi sono innamorato dei suoi occhi verde acqua. - I fell in love with her blue green eyes.

      Lilac – Lilla

      • Il lilla è un colore davvero rilassante. - The color lilac is really relaxing.

      Maroon – Bordeaux

      • Il mio colore preferito è bordeaux. - My favorite color is maroon.

      Hazel brown – Nocciola

      • Ho comprato le lenti a contatto affinché potrei avere degli occhi color nocciola. - I bought contact lenses so that I could have hazel brown eyes.

      Italian Expressions with Colors

      • Heart of gold – Cuore d’oro

      • Not all that glitters is gold. – Non è tutto oro quel che luccica.

      • Sweet dreams – Sogni d’oro

      • Black sheep (of the family) - La pecora nera