Planning a visit to Italy
You might be planning to visit Italy, and wondering if you need to speak Italian to be able to enjoy your time there…
The short answer to this is no, you do not need to speak Italian to visit Italy.
You will probably find plenty of people there who speak English, especially the younger generations, and knowing Italian is definitely not a requirement for entering the country!
However, what would be the fun in that?
Shall I learn Italian if I want to visit Italy?
Travelling is all about immersing yourself in the culture and lifestyle of the country you visit, so learning some Italian would be a great way to have more chances to communicate with the locals and get to experience a more genuine version of Italy.
Of course, you will be fine getting around speaking English, but knowing some Italian words and sentences will definitely show people you are making an effort.
Speaking another language always implies getting out of your comfort zone, and this, however awkward it may feel at first, will also allow you to expand your knowledge and relate to a different way of life.
For example, if you simply learn how to say “thank you” and “you’re welcome”, how to greet people and say goodbye and some other simple words, your Italian adventure will already feel like a different experience.
This will also show respect for the people and culture of the country you are visiting, and it will make people feel honored to have you as a guest!
Plus, Italian is one of the most beautiful languages on the planet, so why not take advantage of your time there to learn something new and cool?
Can I move to Italy without speaking Italian?
If you’re asking yourself if you can move to Italy without speaking Italian, well, the answer is yes, of course that you can.
No one will stop you from doing so, if that’s what you want or need to do.
However, you need to know if won’t be as easy as if you already spoke some Italian. And you’ll definitely need to learn Italian at some point.
Learning Italian in Italy is the best way to learn the language. This is called total immersion.
Also, learning the Italian language isn’t the most complicated thing you’ll ever do, especially if you already speak a Romance language like French or Spanish.
It won’t be too complicated even if you only speak English since many English words have Latin origins like Italian.
Is knowing Italian an advantage when visiting Italy?
Actually, speaking a bit of Italian will probably also make a difference during your visit, and I am not just talking about how you will be perceived by the locals.
If you speak Italian, you might be able to get better prices at markets, for example, and ask locals for directions and recommendations, which will save you from getting lost in the wrong neighbourhood or eating dinner in a tourist-trap.
Also, if you are planning to leave the city and explore the beautiful Italian nature, you will likely find it harder to find English speakers in small towns and remote areas. In this case, knowing at least some Italian words will really make the difference between a smooth stay and a lot of misunderstandings!
Nowadays, there are so many resources to learn Italian that you have no excuse! If you are planning a trip to Italy, get inspired and learn some Italian beforehand. Ordering your Pizza Napoletana in Italian sitting in a piazza will be priceless!
Moving to Italy without speaking Italian
Moving to Italy without speaking Italian is possible, especially in the era of the Internet, Google translate, online dictionaries, online accommodation platforms, etc.
Also, even though many Italians don’t speak English, there are many others who do, since English is taught in school and some universities, and so are French and Spanish in certain schools.
So, if you speak any of these three languages, you’ll find at least someone who will understand you.
Remember Italians love to gesticulate. If you can’t find the words, try with your hands, and use body language.
In any case, we still recommend learning some basic Italian before moving to Italy.
Learning Italian in Italy
As we said, total immersion is the best way to learn Italian.
Actually, it might be even better to go to a country without speaking the language since you’ll pick real language in real time.
If you move to Italy for work, it’ll be more complicated if you don’t speak Italian. This is why it’s important to consider taking Italian lessons.
To get the most out of Italian, we recommend staying with a host family or living with Italians.
We also recommend watching Italian TV shows and movies, listening to Italian radio and podcasts (like the ones we recommend in this post), and reading local newspapers.
It’s ok if you don’t understand anything at all. Your brain, ears, and eyes are magical, and, little by little, will absorb the language indirectly.