Are you planning a vacation in Italy and need to know how to ask something? Let’s have a look at how you can get rid of using English!


How To Ask Questions


One of the easiest ways to fare una domanda (ask a question) in Italian is to place a question mark at the end of a statement, effectively changing it into a question. When speaking, the intonation of the voice rises at the end of the sentence. For example:


  • Il treno è arrivato - The train has arrived.
  • Il treno è arrivato? - Has the train arrived?


Besides this method, the key words when asking questions are:


  • Chi? - Who? Can be used when referring to a person.
  • Chi sei? - Who are you?
  • Chi è quel ragazzo? - Who is that guy?
  • Che/cosa/che cosa? - What? Can only be used when referring to an object.


We use cosa when you don’t know anything about the thing we are talking about, and the reply is not limited to one category. Some examples:


  • Cosa è questo? - What is that?
  • Cosa ti piace? - What do you like?


Che cosa should be used when you haven’t heard what has been said, so you ask “che cosa?” to invite the person to repeat what they said.


The following are usually explained as being different in grammar books. However, in spoken Italian, they are often interchangeable:


  • Che cosa mangi?
  • Cosa mangi?
  • Che mangi?


All of the phrases above mean what are you eating?”


Che cosa hai detto? - What did you say?


Cosa fai? - What are you doing?


Quale? (Which/What?) It is the same for both masculine and feminine, but it has a plural form that is quali. Quale is used to ask questions about quality (quali progetti hai? or “What projects do you have?”) or about identity (in quale negozio vuoi andare? or “to what shop would you like to go?”). It is possible to find the form qual (instead of quale) when there is a vowel after it. For example:


  • Qual è? - Which one? (Please notice there is no apostrophe!)
  • Qual è l’autobus per il centro? - Which is the bus to downtown?


Quanto? (How much/how many?) Can be used as either an adjective or as a pronoun. If you use it as an adjective, it must agree with the noun’s gender and quantity, so it then becomes quanto, quanta, quanti, quante. Examples of it as an adjective are:


  • Quanti amici hai? - How many friends do you have?
  • Quanti anni hai? - How old are you? (literally “how many years do you have?”)


When quanto is used as a pronoun, its form doesn’t change.


  • Quanto costa questa giacca? - How much does this jacket cost?


Perché? - Why? Can be used both to ask a question and to reply.


  • Perché sei arrabbiato? - Why are you angry?
  • Perché non vai al lavoro oggi? - Why don’t you go to work today?
  • Perché sono malato - Because I am sick.


Dove? - Where?


  • Da dove vieni? / Di dove sei? - Where are you from?
  • Dov’è la penna? - Where is the pen?


Come? - How?


  • Come ti chiami? - What’s your name? (Literally “how are you called?”)
  • Come va? - How are you? (Literally “how is it going?”)
  • Come sei arrivato? - How did you arrive?


Quando? - When? This is the word used for asking the time. For example:


  • Quando parti? - When do you leave?
  • Quando parte l’aereo? - When is the plane leaving?


However, if we need to ask the specific time, we use che:


  • che ore sono? - What time is it?




Choose, for each statement, the correct question.


1. Adesso vado a casa.

  • Come vai a casa?
  • Quando vai a casa?
  • Perché vai a casa?
  • Sei a casa?


2. Vado a lavoro con la macchina.

  • Quando vai al lavoro?
  • Perché vai al lavoro?
  • Come vai al lavoro?
  • Ci sei al lavoro?


3. Sto a casa.

  • Dove sei?
  • Quando arrivi?
  • Come stai?
  • Perché stai a casa?


4. Mi metto i pantaloni rossi e una camicia bianca.

  • Perché ti vesti?
  • Come ti vesti?
  • Quanto ti vesti?
  • Quando ti vesti?


5. Non conosco bene l'italiano.

  • Quanto conosci l'italiano?
  • Perché parli poco?
  • Come parli in italiano con gli amici?
  • Quando parli in italiano?


Useful Vocabulary for Hotels


It seems a great place to start would be to learn how to say hotel in Italian. Well, we use the English word “hotel” but with Italian pronunciation, so the H is silent. We also have an Italian word of course, which is albergo, while “hostel” is known as ostello.


Everything starts from the booking; you can book three types of room:


Vorrei prenotare - I would like to book...

  • Una singola - A single room.
  • Una matrimoniale - A double room.
  • Una camera doppia con letti separati - A twin room.



Then you need to say for how many nights you would like to reserve your room. Let’s say that you want a single room for two nights.


  • Vorrei prenotare una singola per due notti (per due notti - for two nights).


You can change the number and you would have: per tre notti, per quattro notti and so on…


Or, if you would like the room for one week you would say: per una settimana.


In a hostel you have dorms, in this case:


  • Camerata maschile - Male dorm
  • Camerata femminile - Female dorm
  • Camerata mista - Mixed dorm


Click here for some useful vocabulary for rooms.


Regarding the bathroom, you have two possibilities:


  • Bagno condiviso - Shared bathroom
  • Bagno private - Private bathroom


Click here for some useful vocabulary for the bathroom.


We use many English words, so to ask what time check in and check out is, it is quite easy:


  • A che ora è il check in?
  • A che ora è il check out?


When you arrive at the hotel, you may want to say:


  • Buongiorno/Buonasera, ho prenotato una stanza per due persone a nome di *** - I have booked a room for two people under the name ***.
  • Prenotare - To book, ho prenotato is the Italian present perfect of the verb prenotare.
  • Prenotazione - Reservation; booking.


You probably already asked this question when you booked, but it’s better to double check:


  • la colazione è inclusa nel prezzo della stanza? - Is the breakfast included with my stay?


Or simply:


  • La colazione è compresa? - Is breakfast included?


If the answer is “yes it is”, you may want to ask when breakfast is served in the morning:


  • A che ora viene servita la colazione?


You may also want to ask some information about the hotel:


  • C’è una piscina? - Is there a pool?
  • C’è una palestra? - Is there a gym?
  • C’è una cassetta di sicurezza nella stanza? - Is there a safety deposit box in the room?


Other amenities you could be interested in, especially if you are staying in a hostel rather than in a hotel:


  • Lavatrice - Washer
  • Cucina - Kitchen
  • Asciugatrice - Dryer
  • Portiere - Doorman
  • Parcheggio gratuito - Free parking
  • Animali consentiti - Pets allowed


We always hope that fili tutto liscio (everything runs smoothly) but you could face some problems:


  • Posso avere un’altra stanza? Questa non è pulita / è troppo rumorosa - Can I have another room? This one is not clean/is too noisy.


Posso avere…. Per favore? - Can I have…. please?

  • Degli asciugamani - Some towels
  • Delle coperte in più - Extra blankets
  • Dei cuscini in più - Extra pillows
  • Del sapone - Some soap
  • Della carta igienica - Some toilet paper


Click here for some more useful vocabulary.


La…. è rotta - The …. is broken

  • Aria condizionata - Air conditioning
  • Doccia - Shower
  • Televisione - Television


Nowadays, almost every hotel has an internet connection, so why not take advantage of it?


  • Posso avere la password del wi-fi? - Can I have the password for the wi-fi?
  • Posso usare internet nella mia stanza? - Can I use internet in my room?


As you can notice, we really love foreign words. Here are a few more sentences:


  • Posso avere una cartina della città? - Can I have a map of the city?
  • Posso lasciare qui le mie valigie finché non vado all’aeroporto? - Can I leave my luggage in the hotel until I go to the airport?




Write an email saying what type of room you would like to book, how many nights you would like to stay there, and then ask the hotel some questions about their amenities and breakfast details. Remember that the more you write, the more you improve your language skills.


Thank you for reading this article. If you find it useful, please like it or leave a comment. And don’t forget to send me your exercises for corrections!


Image Sources


Hero Image by Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)