If you don’t already know what language is spoken in Rome, it’s Italian, which is also the official language throughout the whole of Italy. If you happen to have an Italian dictionary gathering dust at home, it’s time to dig it out and brush up on your skills to get you off to a good start with the locals.
A trip to Rome will take you to the wonderful capital city of Italy, and a place that’s brimming with history and culture. From the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City to the Pantheon on the Piazza della Rotonda, you’ll find historical landmarks around every corner in the Eternal City. What’s more, if you’re looking to sample a slice of la dolce vita, you’re certainly in for a treat.
Whenever you travel to another country, it’s never hurts to pick up a few useful phrases before you go. We know that a little knowledge can go a long way. So, if you’re planning on heading for a city break in Rome, now’s the perfect time to learn about the local Rome language. You never know, your efforts might just impress the locals.
Since Rome is such a popular tourist city, welcoming millions of visitors from all over the world every year, you’ll find that many locals speak English in the main tourist areas. That said, while English is certainly widely spoken in the city, you shouldn’t assume that the person you’re approaching can speak it. That’s why it’s always polite to ask whether they can speak English before you dive in.
Italy may have a long and rich cultural history, but did you know that Italy only become a unified political state in 1861? This explains why there are such strong differences across the regions in this country, whether that’s in terms of traditions, cuisine or dialect. For example, accents vary from north to south in Italy, and even from village to village, so don’t be surprised to hear variations if you’re heading elsewhere in Italy.
Meanwhile, back in Rome, there’s a local Roman dialect known as Romanesco or Romanaccio. The language in Rome has its own particular phrases and expressions that make it stand out from others, which you should listen out for during your stay. These include things like ‘ahó!’ (which sounds like ‘Aooooooo’ and roughly translates as ‘hey’) and ‘ammazza!’ (meaning ‘wow’ or ‘I can’t believe it’), which you’re likely to hear throughout the city.
Whether you’re asking for directions, in a restaurant, or buying your morning coffee, you never know when Italian phrases could come in handy. Take a look at our list on this page and click on the green icons to hear how each phrase is pronounced. While in Rome, don’t be afraid to add that famous Italian flair to your words.