Ancient in Rome

Sights in Rome

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The Arch of Septimus Severus flanked by the three columns of the Temple of Vespasian and Titus on the left, and the eight columns of the Temple of Saturn on the right. Just to the right of the arch are the Umbilicus Urbus and the broken, curving bits of stone marking the Rostra. (Behind the arch: the brick cube of the Curia; that dome and facade are the Santi Lucia e Martina church designed by Pietro da Cortona, just outside the Forum) (Photo by Bert Kaufmann)
Roman Forum
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

Downtown Ancient Rome: The Roman Forum (Foro Romano), Palatine Hill, temple of the Vestal Virgins, Roman Senate, and Triumphal Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus

 
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The Colosseum at sunrise (Photo by picmasta)
The Colosseum
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

Rome's Colosseo still ranks as the world's most famous sports arena, site of gladiator combat and the wholesale slaughter of wild beasts to amuse the public

 
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Inside the Pantheon (Photo by Rodney Campbell)
Free
The Pantheon
Rome: Tiber Bend

The glorious Pantheon is Rome's only intact ancient Roman temple

 
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The Spanish Steps (Photo by Martin Furtschegger)
Free
Spanish Steps
Rome: Tridente

The Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti—by whatever name you call it, this is one of Rome's prime outdoor living rooms, an elegant gathering place for locals and tourists alike

 
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The Sala Rotunda is lined by colossal ancient Roman statues (Photo by Renato Grisa)

The Vatican's Pio-Clementino Museum is one of Rome's best collections of ancient Greek and Roman statues

 
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An ancient Greek floor mosaic of an "unswept floor" after a banquet (Photo by Yann Forget)

The Vatican's "profane" museum is filled with a potpourri of pagan art—mostly Greek

 
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Piazza Navona at sunrise (Photo by Giuseppe Moscato)
Free
Piazza Navona
Rome: Tiber Bend

Bernini fountains, caffés, street performers, artists, and a carnival of life crowd Rome's famous Piazza Navona

 
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Mars of Todi (Photo by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT)

The Vatican's amazing collection of ancient Etruscan artifacts

 
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Rome's Via Appia Antica is lined by vast systems of underground tunnels where ancient Christians would bury their dead

 
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Room III. Reconstruction of the Serapeum of the Canopus of Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli (Photo by Darafsh)

The Vatican's collection of antiquities from ancient Egypt

 
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The Stadium of the Palace of Domitian garden on the eastern side of the Domus Augustana (Photo by Markus L)
Palatine Hill
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

The birthplace of palaces is the Palatine Hill above the Roman Forum

 
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Marble statue of The Good Shepherd carrying a lamb, c. 300-350, from the Catacombs of Domitilla (Photo by Carole Raddato)

The Vatican's Pio Christian Museum contains some of the oldest Christian art in the world, some dating back to within 150 years of Christ's death

 
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Pilgrimage (2010) by Yvonne O’Neill, an Aboriginal Murri artist from Goodooga in northern New South Wales, Australia (Photo courtesy of the Vatican Museums)

The Vatican Museums "ethnological museum" is a collection of objects from cultures around the world collected by missionaries

 
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The Mithraeum at the lowest level of San Clemente (Photo by Allie Caulfield)
Free
San Clemente
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

A few blocks from the Colosseum is the best place in Rome to see the layer-cake effect of its history in action: church piled atop church piled atop pagan temple

 
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The Chiaramonti gallery (Photo by Jorge Cortell)

Loads of ancient Roman statues in the Vatican

 
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Sarcophagus with battle scene between Romans and Germans (AD 180–190) (Photo by Jastrow)
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
Rome: Termini train station

Rome's Palazzo Massimo alle Terme houses the best collection of the Museo Nazionale Romano, a treasure trove of ancient sculptures, frescoes, and mosaics

 
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The Cortile della Pigna, with Pomodoro's 1990 Sphere within Sphere (Photo by Gabriel Tocu)

The Vatican's public courtyard makes for a lovely museum break, offering grass and sun and a giant modern sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro

 
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 (Photo by Ben Cremin)
Castel Sant'Angelo
Rome: Vatican

The Pope's private castle and personal stronghold in times of trouble, and a museum of arms and armor in times of peace

 
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AD 2C equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (Photo by schizoform)
Capitoline Museums
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

These museums atop Rome's Campidoglio connected by the Tabularium house iconic ancient statues (she-wolf, colossal statue of Constantine, Lo Spinario, Dying Gaul, etc.) and great art by Caravaggio, Titian, and Rubens

 
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Colombario VIII from the age of Nero, perhaps for members of a funerary collective (Photo by Sailko)

The Vatican Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis is a series of Roman-era tombs excavated under the Vatican Gardens

 
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 (Photo by Dennis Jarvis)
Catacombe di San Domitilla
Rome: Outside the walls

The Catacombs of San Domitilla offer the best, and spookiest, catacomb tour on Rome's Appian Way

 
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The Forum and The Capitolum (temple of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva), at the intersection of the Cardo Maximus (main north-south street of any Roman town) and the Decumanus Maximus (main east-west street) (Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra)
Ostia Antica
Rome: Outside the walls

Like Pompeii, Ostia Antica is an ancient Roman ghost town—but this one lies just a subway ride from downtown Rome and comes with virtually no crowds

 
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A tunnel in the Catacomb of San Callisto
Free
Via Appia Antica
Rome: Outside the walls

The Via Appia Antica (Ancient Appian Way) is one of the original seven roads leading to Rome, Italy, and is lined by catacombs and Roman Ruins

 
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The Imperial Fori of Rome (Photo Public Domain)
Imperial Fori
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

The Fori Imperiali represent Rome's first major urban expansion of public areas beyond the Forum—most importantly the Forum of Caesar, Forum of Augustus, and Forum of Trajan

 
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The loggia (Photo by Miguel Hermoso Cuesta)
Palazzo Altemps
Rome: Tiber Bend

The Palazzo Altemps branch of Rome's Museo Nazionale Romano has sculptures and other ancient art installed in the frescoed rooms of a 16th-century palace

 
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The Ara Pacis (Photo by Damian Entwistle)
Ara Pacis
Rome: Tridente

Emperor Augustus' ancient Altar of Peace in Rome, Italy

 
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The Sala Caldai (Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra)
Centrale Montemartini
Rome: Outside the walls

Ancient sculptures arranged throughout an industrial-era power plant: the Centrale Montemartini is hands-down one of the coolest museums in Rome

 
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The Markets of Trajan, the world's first multi-story shopping mall (Photo by Jebulon)
Trajan's Markets
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

The world's first multi-level shopping mall gives unparalleled insight into the daily life of Ancient Rome

 
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The octagonal room was once a banqueting hall (Photo by Andy Montgomery)
Domus Aurea
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

The Domus Aurea—Nero's personal pleasure palace across from the Colosseum—offers a rare glimpse into the privileged world of a Roman emperor

 
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Panorama of the Thermae of Caracalla (Photo by Chris 73)
Baths of Caracalla
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

The Terme di Caracalla is vast ancient baths complex and spectacular setting for opera under the stars

 
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A tunnel in the Catacomb of San Callisto (Photo by Jim Forest)
Catacombe di San Callisto
Rome: Outside the walls

The Catacombs of St. Callixtus have the most popular (and crowded) tours, but also some of the most amazing sights of any catacombs on Rome's Appian Way

 
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 (Photo by Voxel-Ux)
Catacombe di San Sebastiano
Rome: Outside the walls

The Catacombs of St. Sebastian are the largest, but least rewarding, of the catacombs—but are where Saints Peter and Paul were buried

 
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The ruins at Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome (Photo by Jakub Hałun)
Free
Largo Argentina
Rome: Tiber Bend

The sunken ruins of Largo Argentina in Rome, Italy, where Julius Caesar met his assassins and now cats nestle like easter eggs amongst the tall grasses

 
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Via dei Fori Imperiali (Photo by Alexander Gorlin)
Free
Via dei Fori Imperiali
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

Mussolini's grand Via dei Fori Imperiali, central Rome's would-be grand Archaeological Park

 
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 (Photo by WolfgangM)
Free
Piazza del Popolo
Rome: Tridente

The "People's Square" marks the northern edge of the tourist's Rome, anchoring the Tridente neighborhood and flanked by the amazing church of Santa Maria del Popolo and above it, the greenery of Villa Borghese park

 
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Arco di Constantino (Photo by Mike)
Free
Arch of Constantine
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

This triumphal arch celebrates the battle that made Christianity the religion of Rome

 
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A detail from Pietro Cavallini's amazing late 13C frescoes, hidden in the nun's cloistered loft (Photo Public Domain)
Free

This Trastevere church looks like nothing much... until you pay the nuns to sneak downstairs to see remnants of ancient Rome, or upstairs to see precious frescoes by medieval master Pietro Cavallini

 
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The loggia
Baths of Diocletian
Rome: Termini train station

Rome's Museo Nazionale Romano branch in the ancient Baths of Diocletian

 
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The columns of the Basilica Ulpia backed by Trajan's Column (and a pair of baroque church domes— Santa Maria di Loreto on the left and Santissimo Nome di Maria on the right) in the Forum of Trajan, part of Rome's Imperial Fori (Photo by Ade Russell)
Trajan's Forum
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

The Forum of Trajan's is home to Trajan's Column, a massive carved marble comic strip of the emperors accomplishments

 
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The Forum of Caesar, also known as Forum Iulium or Forum Julium, Forum Caesaris, is a forum built by Augustus Caesar in honor of his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, near the Forum Romanum in Rome in 46 BC (Photo by Ade Russell)
Forum of Caesar
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

The Forum of Caesar, part of the Imperial Fori in Rome

 
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 (Photo by Mikhail Malykh)
Forum of Augustus
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

The Foro di Augusto was built by Augustus Caesar

 
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The Mausoleum of Augustus as it was in 2016 (ongoing works are transforming it so it can open to the public) (Photo by Ethan Doyle White)
Mausoleo di Augusto
Rome: Tridente

The tomb of the emperor Augustus

 
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A view of the Circo Massimo from the FAO headquarters (Photo by Le Mai)
Circus Maximus
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

The greatest racing arena in ancient Rome is now a grassy jogging oval and outdoor concert venue

 
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A Roman-era tomb in the necropolis below St. Peter's (Photo Fabbrica di San Pietro)

The Scavi—an ancient necropolis underneath St. Peter's Basilica—supposedly contain the burial site of Saint Peter alongside other Roman-era tombs

 
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Etruscan sarcophagus, with a terracotta couple, from the 7C BC (Photo by Damian Entwistle)
Villa Giulia
Rome: Outside the walls

An antiquities museum in the Villa Borghese park

 
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An arch from the Stadium of Domitian visible from the street (Via di Tor Sanguigna) (Photo by Lalupa)
Stadio di Domiziano
Rome: Tiber Bend

The ancient Stadium of Domitian echoed by Piazza Navona above

 
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 (Photo by Damian Entwistle)
Tomb of Cecilia Metella
Rome: Outside the walls

This ancient Roman tomb on Rome's Via Appia Antica became a headquarters of papal-endorsed highway robbery in the Middle Ages

 
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Ancient statues in the Aula Ottagona (Photo by Rene Boulay)
Free
Aula Ottagona
Rome: Termini train station

The Aula Ottagona is both the most atmospheric branch of Rome's Museo Nazionale Romano and the only one that's admission-free. Sadly, it's usually closed.

 
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Transept (Photo by Fczarnowski)
Free
Santa Maria degli Angeli
Rome: Termini train station

Rome's Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri is a church designed by Michelangelo to inhabit the remains of an ancient Roman bathhouse...you'd think it'd be more famous

 
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Pasquino, near Piazza Navona, is the most famous statua parlante (talking statue) of Rome (Photo by Emanuele)
Free
Pasquino
Rome: Tiber Bend

The Pasquino is the most famous of Rome's "Talking Statues"

 
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 (Photo by Simone Ramella)
Free

This triumphal column reads like an ancient Roman comic strip of the Emperor's accomplishments

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
Free
Teatro di Pompeo
Rome: Tiber Bend

The remnants of Pompey's Theater are hidden away in the basement of an unassuming restaurant near Campo de' Fiori

 
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The Forum Boarium, with the round Temple of Hercules Victor on the left and the rectangular Temple of Portunus on the right (Photo by Carole Raddato)
Free
Foro Boario
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

Fraternal twin temples and the world's first sewer on lovely little "Cow Forum" by the Mouth of Truth

 
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The Teatro di Marcello and trio of columns of the Temple of Apollo Sosianus (Photo by Joadl)
Free
Teatro di Marcello
Rome: Tiber Bend

Marcellus's Theater was the Colosseum 1.0, the original Roman amphitheater

 
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 (Photo by Anthony Majanlahti)
Free
Ponte Milvio
Rome: Outside the walls

The ancient Roman bridge where Constantine converted

 

Dining in Rome

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A basement dining room inside an ancient Roman hallway (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€
Da Pancrazio
Rome: Tiber Bend

Dine in the buried arcades of an ancient Roman stadium

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€
Da Giggetto
Rome: Lower Tiber Bend

Great artichokes and other Roman Jewish delicacies surrounded by ancient ruins in Rome's Jewish Ghetto

 

Topics in Rome

The legendary twins who founded Rome—and the she-wolf that raised them

 

What was it really like being a gladiator?

 

Sights in Italy

The top ancient sites and ruins in Italy

 

Topics in Italy

Celtic gold-plated bronze disc from Auvers-sur-Oise, Val-d'Oise, dated to early 4th century BC; on display at the Cabinet des Médailles of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (Photo by Gun Powder Ma)

Greek colonies settled the Sicilian and Southern Italian coasts well before the Romans

 
Forum Romanum, Roman Architecture, from History of Architecture (Fletcher) pg 127 (Photo by Sir Banister Flight Fletcher)

The great Roman architectural innovations were the load-bearing arch and the use of concrete, brick, and stone

 

Where to find the best ancient Roman sculpture, mosaics, and frescoes in Italy

 

The art of early Christians was Roman in style, but its themes were starting to explore the figures and motifs that would soon become familiar

 
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Useful links
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for rail travel

English (inglese) Italian (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...train station la ferroviaria [or] la stazione lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah [or] lah stat-zee-YO-nay
ticket un biglietto oon beel-YET-toh
first class prima classe PREE-mah CLAH-say
second class seconda classe say-CONE-dah CLAH-say
one way solo andata SO-low ahn-DAHT-tah
round trip (return) andata e ritorno ahn-DAH-tah ay ree-TOUR-noh
Just the supplement Soltanto il supplemento soul-TAHN-toh eel sou-play-MEN-toh
Just a seat reservation Soltanto una prenotazione soal-TAHN-toh oo-nah pray-no-tah-tsee-YOH-nay
I have a Eurailpass Ho il Eurailpass oh eel YOO-rail-pahs
sleeping couchette una cucetta oo-nah koo-CHET-tah
berth in a sleeping car un posto nel vagone letto oon POH-sto nell vah-GOAN-nay LET-toh
track binario been-AR-ree-yoh
train treno TRE-no
car (carriage) carozza ka-RO-tza
seat posto PO-sto
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay
left luggage deposito bagagli day-PO-zee-toh ba-GAHL-yee
     
punch your ticket timbrare il biglietto teem-BRA-ray eel beel-YET-toh
Is this the right platform for the Rome train? E questo il binario per il treno à Roma? ay KWAY-sto eel been-AR-ree-yo pair eel TRE-no ah RO-ma? 
delayed in retardo een ree-TAR-do
strike sciopero SHO-pair-oh
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
City / Train station names
English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Main station
Rome Roma Termini
Florence Firenze Santa Maria Novella
Venice Venezia Santa Lucia
Milan Milano Centrale
Genoa Genova Porta Principe
Naples Napoli Centrale
Leghorn Livorno Centrale
Turin Torino Porta Nuova

Useful Italian for air travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)   Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
the airport l'aeroporto LAHW-ro-port-oh
the airplane l'aereo LAIR-reh-oh
terminal terminal TEAR-me-nahl
flight volo VOH-lo
gate uscita d'imbarco oo-SHEE-tah deem-BARK-oh
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
delayed in ritardo een ree-TAR-doh
on time in orario een oh-RAH-ree-yo
early in avanti een ah-VAHN-tee
boarding imbarco eem-BARK-o
connecting flight la coincidenza la ko-een-chee-DEN-za
check-in accettazione ah-chet-ta-zee-YO-nee
immigration controllo passaporti cone-TRO-lo pah-sa-POR-tee
security check controllo di sicurezza kohn-TRO-lo dee see-kur-AY-tzah
customs dogana do-GA-na
shuttle la navetta lah na-VET-tah
boarding pass carta d'imbarco kart-ta deem-BARK-o
baggage claim ritiro bagagli ree-TEER-oh bah-GA-lyee
carry-on luggage bagaglio à mano bah-GA-lyo ah MA_no
checked luggage bagalio bah-GA-lyo

Useful Italian for car travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
car automobile ow-toh-MO-bee-lay
scooter/motorboke un motorino oon mo-tair-EE-no
gas station stazione di servizio stah-zee-YO-nay dee sair-VEE-tzee-yo
gas benzina ben-ZEE-nah
diesel gasolio [or] diesel gah-ZOH-lee-oh [or] DEE-zell
Fill it up, please al pieno, per favore ahl pee-YAY-noh, pair fa-VOHR-ray
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the highway l'autostrada lout-oh-STRA-dah
...the state highway la statale [written "SS"] lah sta-TAHL-eh
...the road for Rome la strada per Roma lah STRA-dah pair RO-mah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
to cross attraversare ah-tra-vair-SAR-ay
toll pedaggio peh-DA-jo
parking parcheggio par-KEH-jo
road map carta stradale kar-ta stra-DA-lay
where can I pay the fine? dove posso pagare la multa DOH-veh Po-so pag-GAR-ray la MOOL-tah


Typical road signs / terms » more

English (anglais) French (français) 
Stop Stop
Exit  Uscita
Staffic light Semaforo
One-way Senso unico
Dead-end Strada senza uscita
Parking prohibited No parcheggio or parcheggio proibito
Pedestrian zone Area pedonale
Limited Traffic Zone (you pay to drive in) ZTL or Zona Traffico Limitato

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).