Top 10 Italian phrases to get you by on the Amalfi Coast
Parli Italiano? One of people’s biggest regrets when travelling to the Amalfi Coast is not having the Italian vocabulary to express and best communicate their needs, wants or their desperations. Sometimes even just to make conversation with the locals, can be a challenge. Believe me sometimes when living here, it can be difficult even on a normal day!
The key is confidence. I cannot stress to you enough how embarrassed and ashamed I felt when first moving here. I would stutter, hesitate and be so wound up, scared to make a mistake, that by the time I had formulated a sentence and said it, and awaited a response, it would then take me awhile to answer. The person, by this stage had quite frankly lost their patience with me, after having to wait awkwardly for me to answer.
Learning another language is really, really hard no matter what other people say. In these times of desperation you almost feel like saying to those Italians “Well you try speaking in another language. Come one, make the effort!” (The thought I would repeatedly have when my mother in law would just squint her eyes at me). The fact is however that many Italians have made an effort and here on the Amalfi Coast many do have some English, particularly in the Summer…… but many don’t, or their English starts to fade with the summer sunlight.
This is when I explain to you that it all comes down to making the effort and having that killer confidence. When you feel confident you just ramble on, even if you make a mistake and when they pick you up on it, respond in your mother tongue and then they feel silly!
So I am going to provide you with the top 10 phrases that you need to learn confidently and competently so much so, that they ask “ Ma tu sei originale Italiano?” That’s right! Trick them into believing that you are originally Italian! (my mum always does anyway!)
Sei pronta? I am going to give you my top basic phrases to use in a variety of different settings.
Back to Basics
Learning numbers couldn’t hurt. Italian is a very musical language so if you learn numbers through song that will help you. Numbers will come into play when asking the price of that dress or when paying the bill for dinner, even something as simple as ordering a table for 2. No one is expecting you to be a linguist but it can’t hurt having a couple of words and phrases in your back pocket.
Knowing directions are crucial to getting around the Amalfi Coast. If you nail these you can navigate the coast.
1. Scusa, dove il pullman per Positano?
Excuse me, where is the bus for Positano?
2. Scusa dove la fermata per Ravello?
Excuse me where is the stop for Ravello?
3. Dove il traghetto per Capri?
Where is the boat for Capri?
4. A che ora arriva?
What time will it arrive?
5. Quanti minuti da Amalfi a Minori?
How many minutes from Amalfi to Minori?
6.Dove posso comprare il biglietto per il pullman?
Where can I buy a ticket for the bus?
7. A sinistra
8. A destra
8. E vincino?
It is close?
9. A che ora la prossima?
What time is the next one?
10. Alla Prossima
*The bold text you can insert the place where you need to go
Essentials like Ciao! Buongiorno, Buona sera, Come stai? Or Che bel tempo oggi. Fa caldo! These standard phrases and greetings can help you meld into the crowd ( although I never used to with my blonde wavy hair! I used to stand out like a sore thumb regardless if I spoke Italian or not!
These phrases will come into your element when you are in a cafe. Remember to make your big entrance through the doors greeting everyone with a “Buongiorno” (this never falters!)
Buongiorno! Tutto bene? Posso avere uno cappuccino e uno cornetto per favore? Grazie mille.
Good morning! Everything is well? May I have a cappuccino and a croissant please? Thank you.
2. Perfetto! Arrivederci e buona giornata.
Perfect! Goodbye and have a good day.
3. (Looking at pastries and asking what pastry )
Che cosa questa?
What is this?
Read off the menu to expand your vocabulary. Cafe, cappuccino, cafe americano, zucchero, un te etc
For those who don’t know, I worked in a shop in Positano as a conmessa ~ a shop assistant. The shop was called Theodora and the lady makes all the dresses by hand, her name is Theodora. Elizabeth Taylor used to shop at this shop when she was gracing the promenade of Positano. As a conmessa, I really had to work hard on my Italian and had to learn new words that I hadn’t learnt before. You won’t have to know all these words but I thought it would be interesting for you to know some extra ones.
Sto guardando grazie~ I am looking thanks
Che taglia? ~What size?
Taglia unica?~ One size?
E un poco stretta~ It’s a bit tight
No e troppo grande~ No is really big
Hai un po pui piccola~You have a little smaller?
Posso pagare con la carta?~ May I pay with card?
E troppo caro~ Is really dear!
C’e un saldi?~ There’s a sale?
Il negozio~ The shop
Che bello!~ How beautiful!
E molto comoda~ It’s very comfortable
This section of the lesson is titled desperate which means what it means. Hopefully you will only have to use one or two of these but desperate times call for desperate phrases.
Dove il bagno? Where is the bathroom?
I need an ambulance~ Ho bisogno una ambulanza!
Puoi aiutarmi? You can help me?
Where is the chemist? Dove la Farmacia?
Parli inglese? You speak English?
Great! Now you are equipped with the essential phrases and words that you need for travelling the Amalfi Coast. Remember, if you get stuck there are always people to help. Being a touristic town, there will be people who can speak English so don’t freak out! I hope these mini lessons have extended your knowledge, for more information you should teach yourself on duo lingo, it’s a smartphone app that really helped me in leaps and bounds and it’s also very fun.