So you recently started a relationship with an Italian girl, or maybe you’ve been seeing her awhile. She is smart, loves to laugh, and most importantly, makes you feel complete. So far, you have always been speaking in English, but now you’d like to take a step forward by learning the basics of her primary language.
The reason we’re here? To help you out, of course! Our post, in particular, is focused on Italian phrases you can use to express love and affection. We included 53 full sentences, but you’ll also find pet names and other stuff.
Italian Sayings about Love
Gentleman Within’s goal is to create guides everyone can read, even those who have no knowledge of the Italian language.
For most people, learning a new language can be a challenge. What is the hardest thing for a non-native speaker? Assigning the correct meaning to everyday words. In Italian, you can find hundreds of common terms with different shades of meaning. Thus, it’s difficult to understand how they should be translated when placed in a specific context.
To help you get into the swing, we created a logical scheme. First, we sorted the phrases in Italian by importance. (Yes, if you’re browsing through the article to learn how to say I love you in Italian, you have to scroll till the middle of the post).
Not only did we create a list by putting phrases that express deeper feelings at the bottom, but we also tried to distinguish between clichés and original phrases. Again, you’ll find the clichés at the top, while you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find the more impactful ones. Finally, we created five distinct categories, each one representing different stages of every relationship.
The five categories include:
- Expressions you should never use in a romantic relationship
- Phrases you can use in the early stages of the relationship
- Phrases to express your feelings of love
- Things you can say at any stage of your relationship
- Ideal words to propose to your girlfriend.
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3 Italian terms you should never use to refer to your girlfriend (and 5 you can use to replace them instead)
We know; blog posts of this kind typically start by presenting the basics of the language.
Don’t worry, soon we’ll teach you how to say I like you in Italian and tons of other romantic phrases. Yet, we think that identifying obsolete terms to avoid is a priority.
“Tesoro”, “cara”, and “cuore mio” are a no go
Before writing this piece, we performed a little research. And we found out a few blogs claimed you can address your beloved with one of the following expressions:
- Cuore mio.
There is no doubt these terms were used by the vast majority of Italians in the past. However, they are no longer in vogue now.
To be honest, cara is still around, but you can only call your partner that way if you’ve been married for 30 years. Moreover, this term is considered rather snobbish, and only elites use it.
Tesoro is also popular to a certain extent, but it is used in other contexts. For instance, in Italy, people often use this word to address close friends. For an Italian, sending a friend a message that says “come stai tesoro?” (“how are you darling?”) is perfectly normal.
Some posts spent a few words on nicknames too. Those articles, specifically, claimed that pet names have gone out of fashion. But that’s not all. Some authors, in fact, argued that if you really want to use one, you should opt for “biscottino”, which is the Italian word for “Noodle”.
Boom! For starters, in Italy, couples still use nicknames. Yet, they do not use ready-made ones, but they prefer to create something that fits like a glove. So forget about biscottino, because you’ll hear that only in the movies.
You might enjoy these Italian & dating related books:
- La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language
- Dating Sucks, but You Don’t: The Modern Guy’s Guide to Total Confidence, Romantic Connection, and Finding the Perfect Partner
- An Italian Love Story: Surprise and Joy on the Amalfi Coast, Italian Journeys
- One Italian Summer: A Novel
- Atomic Attraction: The Psychology of Attraction
- Easy Italian Phrase Book: Over 1500 Common Phrases for Everyday Use and Travel
If you like pet names, opt for one of these
So how should you address your better half? As we already said, the best thing to do is to ask her if she likes pet names or not. And, in case she says yes, create one yourself. If you are not that creative, as an alternative, you can try some classics, such as:
- passerotto (little bird);
- topolina (little mouse);
- tata (babe);
- piccola (baby);
- patata (honey).
You can introduce the topic by saying “Posso chiamarti xxx?”, which means “Can I call you xxx?”. Of course, those x are just a placeholder, so remember to replace them with one of the nicknames we mentioned above!
Just a note before going on: tata, piccola and patata are only suitable if you are in your teens or twenties. Calling a 30 or 40 year old woman like this is kind of embarrassing. The best option when you grow up? If you are serious about the girl, just call her “amore”.
» You might like this guide on Signs that a Woman Likes You.
How to say I like you in Italian
Now that you know which are the words you should never use to address your better half, it’s time to move on with something more intriguing. That is, some short sentences you can use to express your interest in the girl/woman you are dating.
Let’s picture a scenario. You and the girl have gone on a date 4 or 5 times, so it’s too early to say you are in love. Yet, you can tell there is something different about her.
You still have no idea if that is just physical attraction or something more, but you know you like her. And you have the feeling this is reciprocated. How to confess to her? If you have no knowledge of the Italian language, you can simply tell her “mi piaci”, which means “I like you”.
If you want to make a big impression, use these phrases
To be honest, “mi piaci” is a weak statement. It’s true, in many countries, saying I like you is enough to express affection. And in Italy, there are reserved people who prefer to speak little too.
Yet, for many Italians speaking of your feelings is essential. Thus, if you really like the person you are dating, you should add something to this phrase. How to make the sentence powerful? Just add “molto” at the end of the sentence.
Are you a pro at learning languages? Then you can both confess and ask her for one more date. You just have to say “Mi piaci molto, posso rivederti?”. If she has a hard crush on you, there is no way she’ll give you a “no” as an answer.
“Attratto” and “attrazione” are not the appropriate terms to convey romantic feelings
As we wrote above, before creating this guide, we surfed the web and read a few posts dedicated to the Italian language. And we couldn’t help but notice that some articles gave the expression “Sono attratto da te” the wrong meaning. Those posts, specifically, claimed you can use the phrase above to express romantic feelings.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. That specific sentence in fact, is only used for expressing a strong physical attraction. Typically, the phrase that follows is “Vorrei fare l’amore con te”, which means “I want to make love to you”.
When saying I like you is not enough
4 Italian phrases to tell your partner she is special
Finally, it’s time for the hot stuff. Below, you’ll find a few Italian phrases you can use to tell your love interest she holds a special place in your heart.
Tengo molto a te
It means “I really care about you”. While this is not a love declaration, this sentence still has a deep meaning. True, Italians may also say these words to their close friends. Yet, when you tell them to your special one, there is no doubt about the meaning behind them.
Per me sei speciale
What does this phrase mean? The literal translation is “You are very special to me”. This sentence is pretty, yet it’s somewhere in the middle. We like it because it suggests you have feelings for that person, but it doesn’t reveal too much. Would you like to make it more powerful? Then opt for this version: “voglio che tu sappia che per me sei speciale”.
Sei la mia principessa
It means “you are my little princess”. Some men use this phrase on first dates, but those who do it are considered Latin lovers, and none trust them. Thus, we suggest you date the girl for some time before saying it. How long should you wait before telling your princess what you feel for her?
There is no set time frame, but we think 2 – 3 months is a good range.
Another warning: “principessa” is a pretty cheesy nickname, thus, we suggest using it a piccole dosi. True, some girls love cheesy compliments. Yet, saving it for special occasions is better, because this way you’ll let your sweetheart know you really mean it.
For example, you can use this term on romantic dates. Just think about it: you show up at her place with a huge bouquet of her favorite flowers. Then, you surprise her by taking her to the most chic restaurant in the city. There is no way she will not be impressed!
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And when she asks you why you did it, you can answer by using one of the expressions below:
- “L’ho fatto perchè sei la mia principessa”
Which means “I did it ‘cause you are my little princess”.
- “L’ho fatto perché la mia principessa merita il meglio”
It translates as “I did it ‘cause my little princess earned it”.
- “L’ho fatto perchè la mia principessa era triste”
The meaning is “I did it ‘cause I don’t want my princess to cry”. Of course, this phrase is only appropriate if you know your special someone had a bad day, so only use it on those occasions.
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How to tell her she makes you feel good
Telling your love interest that she holds a special place in your heart is of primary importance. But we think telling her how she makes you feel is crucial as well. So here are 9 phrases you can use to express what’s on your mind.
Quando sorridi spunta il sole
The literal meaning is “when you smile, the sun comes out”. It’s a rather cheesy phrase, yet we think any girl would be pleased to hear it. Our suggestion? Use it in small doses!
Mi fai stare bene
These are words people typically use at the beginning of the relationship. The reason Italians like this phrase is it does not have a strong connotation. And, yet it is able to convey to the other person you’d like to spend more time with her.
How do you translate it into English, you say? Well, this sentence means “you make me feel good”.
Sei l’unica con cui riesco a essere me stesso
Without a doubt, this line is a little stronger than the previous one. What does it mean? It translates as “you are the only one who makes me feel at ease”. You can also translate it as “when I am around you, I can be myself”.
Ti ho pensata tutto il giorno
It literally means “I thought about you all day long”. We think this is one of the best phrases you can say when the relationship is developing, isn’t it?
Non faccio che pensare a te
You can both translate it as “all I can think of is you” or “I can’t stop thinking about you”. A true classic that you can use when you are ready to confess to your special someone.
Passare del tempo con te è tutto ciò di cui ho bisogno
People use this phrase when they want to tell the other person he/she makes the difference. Since these words carry a deep meaning, translating them into English is not easy. Yet we think “all I want is to spend some time with you” is a good translation.
If you don’t like this phrase that much, you can opt for something similar, like “stare con te è tutto ciò di cui ho bisogno” (all I need is to be with you).
Senza di te, la giornata non passa mai
So far, we talked about things you can say on a date. That is, words to say during a vis-a-vis meeting. Yet, some sentences are more impactful when in written form. This is the case of the sentence above.
How to make your better half smile from her heart? In our opinion, these words should be used to cheer up your girlfriend if you have to spend time apart. If, for instance, at the end of the day, she writes you on Whatsapp complaining that she is lonely, you can reply with this phrase. Alternatively, you can also tell her these words during a video call.
Non voglio stare senza di te
It means “I don’t want us to be apart”. As you can guess, this sentence should be used only on special occasions. We agree, it’s a powerful phrase, and you can also say it to your better half when you are watching stars. Yet, using it in particular circumstances makes it even more impactful.
Picture this scene inside your head: you have to be separated for some time because of your work. Thus you have decided to date for the last time before parting ways. You are walking hand in hand, but the mood is weird.
To make her understand you will miss her, you can cup her chin and tell her “non voglio stare senza di te” while you look into her eyes. Totally romantic, isn’t it?
Mi fai impazzire
It translates as “you drive me crazy.”. To be honest, this phrase is a little old-fashioned. Also, these words are very intimate, and people usually say them between one kiss and another. However, if all you can think of is your girlfriend, we allow you to use this phrase from time to time.
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If you just want to tell her you love her, stop here
Ok, we think we gave you enough tools to tell your crush you like her. Now it’s time to move on to the real thing and learn how to express love in Italian.
Sono innamorato di te
It literally means “I am in love with you”. If you still have not confessed to your special someone you love her, this is the correct phrase to do it.
Would you like the confession to be even more dramatic? Then you can add an introduction! You can both say:
- “C’è una cosa che devo dirti”
(There is something I have to tell you)
- or “Devo dirti una cosa importante”
(I have something important to tell you)
Grazie di esistere
True, this is a phrase you can use to express gratitude to your friends when they help you out. Actually, you can also use it to thank your own relatives.
Yet, most of the time, Italians use it to refer to their special someone. When should you say these words to your partner? Actually, every moment is the right one.
The thought of her made you forget of a bad day at work? Tell her and end your story with a “grazie di esistere”. You hurt your back, and she eases the stress by giving you a massage? A “grazie di esistere” will make her smile from her heart.
Cosa farei se non ci fossi?
It translates as “what would I do without you”. As you can guess, this phrase is only suitable on a few occasions. For instance, you can say these words to thank your sweetheart when she cheers you up or gives you precious advice. Or else, you can use this phrase when she helps you fix a financial problem.
Woohoo! Finally, we came to the simplest expression you can use to say I love you in Italian.
“Ti amo” is pretty different from “sono innamorato di te”. While the latter can only be used to confess your love once, you can say “ti amo” whenever you want.
Does your better half look jealous of your colleague, and you want to reassure her she is the only one for you? Try to convey this to her by kissing her and telling her “ti amo”. Did your sweetheart make you laugh out loud, and her joke made you think she is important to you? Let her know by telling her “ti amo”.
If you’d like to make these words even sweeter, you can add a pet name. Ready for a try?
Hold your partner in your arms, look into her eyes and say “ti amo, passerotto”. Success guaranteed!
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Ti amo più della mia vita
In our opinion, this phrase is only good if you have been in a relationship for months (or even years). You could translate it as “you are the love of my life”, but actually this sentence means more than that.
Ti amo da morire/ Ti amo da impazzire
In English, everyday words are enough to express your feelings. For example, if you want to let your better half know that you never loved someone like this before, you can just opt for “I love you so much”. We won’t lie; you can translate “I love you so much” in Italian. The problem is that the result is pretty weak, so if you use that version, there are high chances your lady will not be impressed at all.
The version we opted for, instead, is pretty dramatic. This phrase, in fact, implies that your girlfriend makes you so happy that you might die (or go crazy). Exaggerated? Maybe. But that’s how Italians like it.
Amo tutto di te, anche i tuoi difetti
You can translate it as “I love everything about you”, but these words have a deeper meaning. In fact, the person who says this phrase does so to minimize the imperfections of the other party. Paraphrasing, with these words, you want to tell your girlfriend that her flaws are so funny that you like them too.
If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you probably remember the moment when Jackson said to April: “I love everything about you, even the things I don’t like”. The Italian phrase we proposed is somewhat similar to the one the doctor used to confess his feelings and stop April’s wedding.
Morirei senza di te
Remember what we said about the phrase “ti amo da morire”? Well, that specific concept applies to this case as well. In English, when you want to tell your girlfriend you don’t want to part from her, you can simply opt for “I would be lost without you.”.
Italians tend to live their own feelings more intensively. Thus, the word lost is not enough to convey their emotions. Instead, an Italian would always refer to the Romantic hero who dies for love.
Sei il motivo per cui sorrido al mattino
Using our own words, we would translate it as “You are the reason I smile every day”. This phrase, though, has a deeper meaning. Specifically, these words tell your girlfriend she is what gives you strength and helps you get out of bed.
Sei il mio primo pensiero al mattino e l’ultimo alla sera
How to translate it into English? Well, in our opinion, the best version is “you’re my first thought in the morning, my last thought before I fall asleep, and almost every thought in between”.
Tutto quello che voglio è vivere insieme a te
This is the Italian translation for “all I want is to live with you”. If you’ve been dating for some time and you’d like to ask your girlfriend to move in with you, these are the perfect words to do it.
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Voglio invecchiare con te
The meaning is “I want to grow old with you”. Unlike the previous phrase, this one is not a declaration of intent. Who says these words, in fact, is not asking the other party for anything but is only wishing to continue to share life together. We like it because it’s an expression used by young and both mature couples.
Voglio passare il resto della mia vita con te
It means “I want to spend the rest of my life with you”. It looks similar to “Tutto quello che voglio è vivere insieme a te”. Yet, Italians typically use the phrase above when they want to propose. In a nutshell, if you’d like to take the plunge, these are the right words to pair with a ring and the phrase “Vuoi diventare mia moglie?”
Mi hai cambiato la vita
Translating it into English is easy. This phrase, in fact, means “you changed my life”.
Of course, you should say these words to your girlfriend if you have been dating for some time. Plus, it’s something you should only tell if you really mean it.
Finally, these are strong words, so we suggest using them only on special occasions. If you don’t like how this phrase sounds, you can opt for “stare insieme a te mi ha cambiato la vita”.
Sei tu a rendere la mia vita luminosa
In our opinion, this is one of the best Italian phrases about love ever. The problem is there is not an English translation that does justice to this romantic saying. However, using our own words, we would translate it as “you make my life worth living”.
This version does not appeal you? Then you can opt for “sei tu che rendi la mia vita luminosa” or “sei tu che illumini le mie giornate”.
Sei la mia ragione di vita
It literally means “you are my reason for living”. People who have no grasp of the Italian language may think this is a toxic phrase, which underlines how you depend on the other person.
Yet, this is not the case. Italians, in fact, only use this phrase to express how deep-rooted their feeling is.
Avere te al mio fianco è il più bel regalo che potessi ricevere
If we had to create a chart about the best Italian phrases about love, this one would win second place. How do you translate it into English? “Having you by my side is the best thing I could ever wish for”.
La cosa più bella che esista è dividere la mia vita con te
This phrase is similar to the one above, yet we can’t tell which is better. Using our own words, we would translate it as “spending my life with you is the best thing that ever happened to me”. One of the most romantic sentences ever, don’t you think?
Italian phrases you can use during any stage of your relationship
While writing this post, we tried to give a specific connotation to each phrase and, depending on how it was categorized, include it in one paragraph or the other. The truth is, sometimes words don’t follow a logical pattern. For this reason, we decided to create a section containing phrases that you can say at every stage of your relationship.
Potrei stare a guardarti tutto il giorno
It literally means “I could watch you all day long”. This sentence looks similar to “ti ho pensata tutto il giorno,” but it’s got a deeper meaning. Thus, we suggest using it if you have been dating for some time.
When to say these words to your beloved? In our opinion, the best option is using it when you catch your partner doing something she loves. For example, if she likes to read or paint and you find her absorbed while engaging in her hobby, that is the right time to say it.
Sei così bella che non mi stanco mai di guardarti
Do you think your better half is the most beautiful thing on earth, and you’d like to look at her all day long? Then use this phrase to let her know.
Non vedo l’ora di stringerti tra le mie braccia
It’s the Italian translation for “I can’t wait to have you in my arms”. Why do we love this sentence? Because it’s easy to learn and is able to convey all your passion.
Mi manca il suono della tua voce
There are times you may have to part from your lover. It does not matter whether it’s a business trip or a study trip; the only thing you know is that you miss her. How to let her know? By telling your sweetheart the words above, which mean “I miss your voice”.
Sei così bella quando sorridi
Picture the scene: she shows up at your place totally angry. Maybe she had a bad day at work, or she had a fight with someone. The first thing you should do is, of course, console her. Then, when the storm has passed, and she smiles again, you can tell her the words above. You’ll see, you’ll make her laugh heartily!
This is something you tend to say at the beginning of the relationship. The English translation is “let’s run away,” but it has a deeper meaning. More specifically, it is used to propose a romantic elopement. Other romantic ways to propose a romantic weekend together could be “Fuggiamo via di qui, soli io e te”.
» Related: Have a great time on a tight budget with these Cheap Date Ideas.
Italian phrases to propose to your girlfriend
Ok, compared to the others, this section is not very long. Yet, since this post was about romantic phrases, there was no way we would not teach you how to propose to your girlfriend. So, here are three sentences you can use to make her say yes.
It literally means “will you marry me”. A classic phrase suitable for all who love the traditions.
Vuoi diventare mia moglie?
It just features two more words, but probably it’s even more impactful than the previous one. The reason we like it? It’s short and easy to memorize.
Sposami e mi renderai l’uomo più felice sulla terra
Yeah, we know it’s longer than the other ones and may be complex to learn for beginners. Yet, we believe in you. You can do it!
The meaning? It’s the Italian translation for “Just say yes and I’ll be the happiest man on earth”.
What is your favorite Italian phrase about love?
Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.
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