Beginner Italian: How To Ask For Survival Essentials

avatarMille Larsen
3 mins read

We're coving the 10 most important things to know to get by in Italian. Last week, we looked at Italian greetings, at the common courtesies, and asking questions. This week, we're going to start off with a look at things you will need.

4. Necessities

It's impossible for me to list everything that a person might need while they are away, but there are a few basic things everyone needs to know. Remember, this isn't going to make you fluent, but it's going to give you what you need to get by. (But if fluency is your goal, you still need to know these things!)

l'aeroporto : the airport

l'albergo : the hotel

la banca : the bank

il bankomat : the automatic teller machine

il posto di polizia : the police station

la farmacia : the farmacy

l'ospedale : the hospital

il telefono : the phone

i servici : the restrooms

un locale : a bar

un bar : a cafe

un ristorante : a restaurant

un posto in cui mangiare : a place to eat

la metropolitana : the metro

la fermata dell'autobus : the bus stop

un tassi : a taxi

l'ambasciata : the embassy

il consolato : the consulate

Here are a few ways to ask for things:

Cerco ... : I'm looking for ...

Voglio ... : I want ...

Vorrei andare a ... : I would like to go to ...

Ho bisogno di ... : I need ...

Dov'è ... più vicino? : Where is the nearest ...?

Dove si trova ... ? : Where do I find ... ?

Come si arriva in ... a piede? : How do I get to ... on foot?

Putting it together

Just grabbing from the examples above, we can now say dove si trova i servici più vicini? to ask for the nearest restrooms. We can get help with a taxi (adding a word from last week) by saying scusi, ho bisogno di un tassi. And when we want to walk to a cafe, we can ask come si arriva in un bar a piede?

If you're following the 10 things list, this is an exciting milestone, because you're finally armed with the tools to form sentences on your own. Yes, you're likely to make them grammatically incorrect, but this is the 10 things you need to know in order to get by, not the perfectionist's guide to fluency. Of course if you want to form your sentences properly, and with good grammar, I've already spent a lot of time writing about how to do that!