How to Flirt and Compliment in Italian

So you’ve arrived in Italy or you’re planning a short vacation but you’re equipped with nothing more linguistically than the words ‘pizza’, ‘pasta’, ‘ciao’, ‘bella’ and maybe ‘O sole mio’…

You don’t necessarily need to speak Italian to find the Colosseum, the bathroom or hail a taxi… but if you have hopes of perhaps falling in love (or just have some racy holiday fling!) then the ability to compliment your local flirt could very well come in handy.

Here are five very simple phrases that can be used whether you’re chasing a boy or a girl, a gentleman or a lady, a spring chicken or mature vintage… The Italians do flirting like no other nation in the world so you need to be prepared with at least a little linguistic reciprocity!

And for those who are happily in relationships and not seeking out a love affair, it’s still great to flatter in order to be culturally respectful. Paying someone a compliment is part of life here so it doesn’t necessarily mean that married waiter is wanting to run off with your wife – it’s just common courtesy and a bit of fun.

Good luck and long live amore!

1. You’re so funny – Sei molto simpatico/a  (this is the informal but if a waiter in a trattoria is telling you jokes or having a laugh with you then it’s okay to use this wording normally reserved for friends and family)

2. You have been very kind – Lei e’ stato molto gentile (this is the formal, which is good for situations with hotel managers who have looked after you or perhaps a restaurant owner who finds you a table even when the kitchen is closing)

3. Your English is excellent – Parli benissimo l’inglese (informal) or Parla benissimo l’inglese (formal)

4. You’re charming/enchanting – Sei affascinante (to a male) or Sei incantevole (to a female)

5. You’re so sweet – Sei carinissimo/dolcissimo (to a male) or Sei carinissima/dolcissima (to a female)

6. You’re hot/beautiful/fit/genetically blessed/I’d love to breed with you – Sei bellissimo (to a male) or Sei bellissima (to a female)

Want to read about real life dating in the Eternal City? You can find my ramblings on this subject in What’s it Really Like to Date an Italian and in 7 Deadly Dates or in What to Cook an Italian Lover.

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5 Comments

  • I am passing this blog along to my daughter! Thanks for your insights into Italian life. You must be very fluent after living there!

    • Thanks so much Linda!! 🙂 Yes, Italian comes very easily to me now. I saw how well Italians respond when you speak their language and how different your entire experience of Italy can be and decided it was worth burying my head in grammar books every day!

  • Hi Kylie,

    As a hopeless romantic myself, I love reading your posts and this one in particular is a great resource! I will be be putting (attempting anyway) your tips to use when I arrive in Rome a week from today. Travelling solo in another country is crazy exciting and I can’t wait to make my second visit – what an amazing city! My Italian is very basic, but armed with the knowledge you provide, I have no fear! Okay, a little 🙂

  • Hi!
    I really liked your post, I have a question about Italians behavior,
    I am learning Italian right now and I try to speak to italians for getting better in speaking, I have just get to know an italian man we are speaking with each other for about a week. He is much older than me (about 25 years!) when he said some nice things to me I just thought that he is nice and kind. but now he is telling me 2 times a day that he really likes talking to me, my voice, and every thing about me. Now I am becoming skeptical! Does he mean something or is he just nice?

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