useful italian phrases

Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Shopping in Italy

useful italian phrases

If you’re taking a trip to Italy, chances are you’re planning on doing some serious shopping. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some useful Italian phrases and tips for shopping in Italy…

Do you have a trip to Italy planned? Besides the delicious food, Italy has some of the best shopping in the world. Whether you’re looking for a souvenir for your loved one or some high-fashion duds for yourself, Italy has it all.

In this article, we’ll explore some useful Italian phrases for shopping as well as some general tips. Learning how to speak Italian will ensure that you’re getting what you want at the appropriate price.

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But before we dive into these useful Italian phrases, below are some shopping tips to help make sure that your first shopping trip in Italy goes off without a hitch.

Italian Shopping Tips

From big-name fashion brands to antique mom and pop shops, Italy boasts some of the world’s best fashion and art. Use the tips below to ensure that you have a positive shopping experience.

  • Watch out for imitations: When you’re visiting cities with lots of tourists, for example Florence, you might be tempted by the designer look-a-likes being sold on the street at bargain prices. Attento! (Watch out!) The police have been known to fine tourists and sellers alike for buying and selling these items. If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably fake.
  • Look for the “Made in Italy” tag: The “Made in Italy” tag has been created to guarantee buyers that an item is authentically conceived, manufactured, and packaged in Italy. Look for items that have this tag so you can ensure that’s it authentic. What’s more, you’ll be supporting classic Italian workmanship.
  • Ask for a tax refund: If you’re making purchases that are taxed with the VAT (value-added tax), ask the shop owner for a tax refund form. This form enables you to receive a refund at the airport. The standard rate of this tax is 22%, so you stand to save quite a bit!
  • Remember to pack light: Resist the temptation to pack five pairs of shoes or three pairs of jeans. You’ll want to leave enough room in your suitcase to bring back the souvenirs and clothing you purchased. However much you think you need to pack, cut it in half.
  • Brush up on your bargaining skills: Brush up on your bargaining skills to get fantastic deals. Chances are you’ll have better luck in smaller stores or if you’re buying more than one item. Don’t get too greedy; start with a small discount and go from there.

Useful Italian Phrases for Shopping

When you first enter a shop, the salesperson might greet you and ask how they can help. You can respond by telling them one of the following phrases:

  • Cerco… (I’m looking for…)
  • Vorrei… (I would like…)
  • Ho bisogno di… (I need…)
  • Avete…? (Do you have…?)

If you’re looking for a specific clothing item, one of these words may be just what you’re looking for:

  • L’ abbigliamento (clothing)
  • La camicia (shirt)
  • La gonna (skirt)
  • Il vestito (dress)
  • I pantaloni (pants)
  • Le scarpe (shoes)

If you’re looking for accessories, try one of these Italian words:

  • La collana (necklace)
  • Il braccialetto (bracelet)
  • L’ anello (ring)
  • La cintura (belt)
  • La sciarpa (scarf)
  • I guanti (gloves)
  • Il portafoglio (wallet)
  • Gli occhiali da sole (sunglasses)

Once you’ve spotted something you like, here’s a phrase you can direct toward a shopkeeper

  •  Posso provare questi articoli, per favore? (Can I please try these items?)

Once you’ve tried them on, you might want to discuss the fit with a salesperson. Here are some useful Italian phrases to use:

  • Mi sembra troppo… (It seems too…)
  • stretto/a (tight)
  • allentato/a (loose)
  • grande (big)
  • piccolo/a (small)
  • Come mi sta? (How does it look on me?)
  • Mi piace… (I like… [for a singular object])
  • Mi piacciono… (I like…[for a plural object])
  • Non mi piace… (I don’t like [for a singular object])
  • Non mi piacciono… (I don’t like…[for a plural object])
  • Mi può portare una taglia più grande/piccolo, per favore? (Can you please bring me a bigger/smaller size?)

If you’re thinking of buying a particular item and want to discuss price, use the following Italian phrases;

  • Quanto costa? (How much does it cost?).
  • E’ caro. (It’s expensive.)
  • E’ economico. (It’s inexpensive.)
  • I contanti ( money)
  • la carta di credito (credit card)
  • lo scontrino/la ricevuta (receipt [informal/formal])
  • la borsa (bag)

Learning Italian before your trip will definitely come in handy–especially when you’re shopping. Use the useful Italian phrases above to ensure that you have an enjoyable shopping experience.

Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Shopping in Italy

Post Author:
 Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!


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