Talking about Love like an Italian

Italians’ love of life is legendary. You can feel it by tasting their amazing food, listening to their music, and, most importantly, by listening to their beautiful and expressive language, always supported by the world’s most famous body language.

Today’s blog entry tackles the way Italians see love, by having a look at the language they use to talk about it. So let’s explore love through the eyes of the Italian people:

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Flirting

Italians have a reputation for being flirty, so these Italian idioms and phrases could well come in handy if you’re navigating or observing the Italian dating scene.

There are a few different terms for flirting: the reflexive verb ‘provarci‘ (roughly ‘to try it on with’), the phrasal verb ‘fare il filo a‘ or ‘corteggiare‘ (literally ‘to court’) are more formal alternatives, or you can use the Anglicism ‘flirtare‘, or ‘civettare‘, though the latter is generally restricted to women.

‘Una civetta‘, in literal translation, owl, is used to describe a flirty woman, whereas the masculine is ‘un donnaiolo‘, or its more dramatic term ‘un cascamorto‘, which comes from the term ‘cascare morto‘ (to fall down dead), describing a man who is flirting, usually in an over-the-top way, with someone.

However, if the object of one’s affections is not convinced or enjoys the chase, what they do is ‘fare il prezioso/la preziosa‘ (literally ‘being precious’ or  ‘playing hard to get’).

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Dating

A date is generally ‘un appuntamento‘, but this is a rather general term, it does not necessarily mean a romantic date. If you’re having a first date, use  ‘ho un (primo) appuntamento con un ragazzo/una ragazza‘. However, if this person proves to be right for you, you’ll move on to steady dating: ‘sto uscendo con qualcuno‘ or ‘mi sto vedendo qualcuno‘ (I’m going out with/seeing someone). A blind date is  ‘un appuntamento al buio‘( date in the dark).

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Falling in love

The early stages of love can be easily described by saying‘mi piace qualcuno‘ (I like someone). If you want to make sure you express having a romantic interest in somebody, you can say ‘mi sono presa una cotta per qualcuno‘ (I have a crush on someone) or, even stronger, ‘mi sono innamorarto/a in qualcuno‘ (I have fallen in love with someone). Be a bit more dramatic with ‘sono pazzo/a per lui/lei‘ means ‘I’m crazy about him/her’.

‘Ti amo‘ or ‘ti adoro‘ are more emphatically ‘I love/adore you’, while if you’re letting someone down gently, you might say ‘ti voglio bene‘ (I like you a lot), which is generally reserved for platonic love.

While talking about your loved one, feel free to say ‘amore‘ (love) and ‘tesoro‘ (treasure), but there are plenty of more evocative alternatives, from ‘patatina‘ (little potato) to ‘cucciolotto‘ (little puppy).  Add a suffix to the name of your loved one to show affection, so a ‘Antonio’ could become ‘Antonino’.

Armed with all this love vocabulary, always keep in mind that for Italians: ‘L’amore domina senza regole’ (Love rules without rules)! However, learning Italian involves learning its rules, so book your first course!

Article by Lavinia Marcu

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