5 Travel Phrases to See the Best Sights in Italy

Make Small Talk and See the Most Beautiful Parts of Italy

Woman looking at view of Rome
Woman looking at view of Rome. Kathrin Ziegler / Getty Images

After you’ve tasted authentic Italian food thanks to learning a bit of the language, you’re ready to see the sights. However, no matter how beautiful another walk in the Forum would be, you're looking for something off the beaten path.

You’re looking for locations that the locals appreciate, and you’re interested in getting to know the people who live wherever you’re visiting.

Five Phrases for Seeing the Best of Italy

1.) Come va la giornata/serata? - How is your day/night going?

One of the best ways to just start a conversation (or make an attempt to even if your Italian is not that fluent) is to ask someone, namely a taxi driver, a barista, or a sales attendant, how his or her day is going.

It’s a simple question that can spark other topics and help you form a relationship with someone who lives in a country you love.

A possible response might be “Va benissimo - It’s going really well”.

If the person is doing well, you may also hear:

  • Molto bene, grazie! - Very well, thanks!

  • Fantasticamente! - Fantastically!

  • Mi sento davvero bene. - I’m feeling great.

If you don't know how to greet others in Italian yet, learn the basic greetings here

2.) Vorrei vedere/visitare...(il Duomo, Il Colosseo, il Pantheon). - I would like to see/visit (the Duomo, the Colosseum, the Pantheon).

Another great phrase to use during small talk is to tell the person you’re chatting with what places you’re looking forward to visiting while you’re in their city.

During this conversation, they might recommend a few more places for you to visit by saying something like “Deve anche vedere... (il Pozzo di San Patrizio)! - You also have to see…(San Patrizio well)!”.

If you get lost on the way to a new monument or location, you'll definitely want to know how to ask for directions.

If you're not sure if you'll make it before they close, you'll also want to know how to ask for the time.

3.) Qual è il suo posto preferito a (Bologna)? - What’s your favorite place in (Bologna)?

If you want to ask a question while you’re making small talk with a local and get some more insider information or are just curious, you can ask them about their favorite place in the city.

This is a great question because it could lead to spectacular views or tiny towns just outside of the city.

Note that this phrase is written, like all of the phrases in this list, using the formal, which is what you would use with strangers, people older than you, or individuals in a formal setting, like in a government office.

If you want to ask this question to a friend, you would ask, “Qual è il tuo posto preferito a (Roma)?”.

4.) Lei è stato davvero gentile, grazie! - You have been very nice, thank you!

Once you finish a conversation where you got a lot of great information or you had a great experience at a restaurant, you can express your gratitude with the above phrase.

In response, you’ll most likely see an ear-to-ear grin and hear a happy “Prego! - You’re welcome!”

5.) Mi sono rifatto gliocchi! - My eyes have been remade!!

Once you visit the monument or see the incredible panorama of the city, you can turn to your new Italian friend (or even another Italian who just happens to be there as well) what you think about the view.

The phrase above may sound dramatic, and that’s a good sign that it’s in line with the Italian mentality and culture.

A Final Note

 While you don't have to be fluent in order to make small talk and have a more authentic Italian experience, it is important to spend some time before your trip on improving your pronunciation. That way, you'll be understood and your ear will be more comfortable with understanding all of the new sounds coming your way. Start practicing your pronunciation here