Learning Italian: Italy’s 3 magic words

A few key words can really help you experience Italy like a local.

Travelling to Italy, you may wish to be prepared with a few key words of Italian to get you by.

Of course there is ‘Grazie’ (thank you) – making sure to also pronounce the e at the end, like grazi-è, as there are no silent letters in Italian. Same goes for how you say ‘Per favore’ (please).

The other word that comes in super-handy in Italy is ‘Prego’. This word is so versatile, it’s like the little black dress of the Italian language!

Prego is used to mean, ‘You’re welcome’ after someone says thank you, ‘Grazie’.

When you let someone pass ahead of you, ‘prego’ is said as in, ‘Go ahead’/’After you’.

In a restaurant, the waiter will often usually say ‘prego’  to mean, ‘What would you like?’ when they arrive to take your order, whilst in a shop for instance it serves as ‘May I help you?’

If you want someone’s attention, ‘prego’ is a common way to say ‘Excuse me’. This is not to be confused with ‘permesso’, which is the ‘Excuse me, may I please pass by?’ or ‘Scusi’ – ‘Oops! Please excuse me!’

Prego is also ‘I pray’ from the verb, ‘pregare’ (to pray) whilst “ti prego” is literally, ‘I beg/pray of you’, but said in the right tone can also be used as in ‘pretty please?’!

And if that was helpful, well, prego!


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 Top Travel Tips for Italy Trips - How to Communicate

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We at ArtViva love sharing the beauty of la dolce vita, from Italian art, history and culture to the wonderful food and wine and everything in between! Live the experience along with us through our articles and informative posts, and be sure to check out our outstanding small-group tours and experiences in Florence, Venice, Rome, Cinque Terre and beyond.
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