How to Say AUNT in Italian

Mia zia è unica. My aunt is one of a kind. 

Here is your one-stop shop to learn all about how to say aunt, or zia, in Italian, how to pronounce it, and examples of how to use it. Find out about related words, for aunts (zie), auntie (zietta), great aunt (prozia), and what’s up with the possessive and family member names, as well as slang.


Zia means aunt in Italian. Una zia is an aunt, while la zia means the aunt.

The pronunciation zia of is: TSEE-ah 

Listen to how to pronounce zia here:

Just like the English word aunt, a zia is the sister of someone’s mother or father, or the wife of someone’s uncle or aunt. 

Sometimes Italians make the distinction between these two types of aunts. A zia acquisita (an acquired aunt) is an aunt by marriage (the wife of someone’s uncle or aunt).

Una zia materna is an aunt on your mother’s side, while una zia paterna is an aunt on your father’s side.

Ho una zia che fa le lasagne più buone del mondo.
I have an aunt who makes the best lasagna in the world.

Good To Know: Though Italian and Spanish have many words in common, the word for aunt is not one of them, even though they are similar. The Spanish word for aunt is tìa, not zia.


Zie means aunts in Italian. Zie is the plural of zia

The pronunciation zie of is: TSEE-eh

Listen to how to pronounce zie here:

Tutte e due le zie di Marco hanno tre figli, allora lui ha tanti cugini!
Both of Marco’s aunts have three children, so he has a lot of cousins!


Zietta means auntie in Italian. It is a term of endearment that literally means little aunt.

The pronunciation zietta of is: tsee-EH-tah

Listen to how to pronounce zietta here:

Zietta quanto ti voglio bene!
Auntie I love you so much!


Prozia means great aunt in Italian. However, many people simply call their great aunt their zia (aunt) if they are fairly close with her.

The pronunciation prozia of is: proh-TSEE-ah

Listen to how to pronounce prozia here:


Little girl talking on an orange vintage telephone.  In a graphic speech bubble, she asks, "Zia, quando vieni a trovarmi?"


When addressing your aunt and speaking to her, call her zia. Though the translation into English doesn’t feel very natural, in Italian it is normal.

Zia, quando vieni a trovarmi?
Aunt, when are you coming to visit me?


To say my aunt, use mia zia. Usually possessives in Italian also require the direct article (the). For example: la mia amica means my (female) friend. However, family members are a big exception.

Do not use the direct article with the SINGULAR, unaltered nouns of most family members. If there is an adjective before or after the family member, use the article. Also, use the article with the possessive loro. 


mia zia is my aunt
tua zia is your aunt (informal you) 
sua zia is his/her/your aunt (formal you) 
nostra zia is our aunt
vostra zia your aunt (plural you) 


La loro zia is their aunt
La mia fantastica zia is my fantastic aunt
La mia zietta is my auntie


To be specific when speaking to or about a certain aunt, you can use their name as you would in English.

Zia Caterina is Aunt Caterina

Zia Paola abita lontano ma zia Serena abita accanto.
Aunt Paola lives far away but aunt Serena lives next door. 


Teenagers in Italy have been using the word zia (aunt) and zio (uncle) as a way to say friend.

For example: a 16-year old may say Ciao zia! Come butta? or Hi aunt! How’s it going? to another 16-year old female friend, like saying Hey sis! What’s up?

This slang has been taken one step further to refer to any female in (very) casual conversation, not necessarily even someone you know.

Scusa il ritardo, ho dovuto spiegare alla zia dov’è la metro.
Sorry I’m late, I had to explain to the woman where the metro is.  

In some areas of Italy, people use the word zia (aunt) to describe or tease someone who is slow on the uptake:

Dai zia, ho detto che ci troviamo in pizzeria, non al ristorante.
Come on aunt, I told you we’d meet at the pizzeria, not the restaurant. 


Aunts are known for spoiling their nieces and nephews and Italian aunts are no exception. Here are some terms of endearment that aunts use, which both translate to Aunt’s sweetheart in English

Amore della zia means Aunt’s sweetheart (literally aunt’s love)
Bello/bella della zia means Aunt’s sweetheart (literally Aunt’s handsome boy/Aunt’s beautiful girl)


Zio means uncle in Italian. To learn more, read Uncle in Italian.

The pronunciation zio of is: TSEE-oh

Listen to how to pronounce zio here:


There are two ways to say aunts and uncles in Italian.

The first is zie e zii (literally: aunts and uncles).

However, because of how Italian word genders work, the plural masculine word zii (uncles) can be used for a mixed group of aunts and uncles. This is true even if there are 100 aunts and 2 uncles: just one man trumps a feminine group and turns the noun masculine, to zii.

You may want to read more about Relatives in Italian.


This song, Avanti e Indrè (Forward and backward) is nicknamed La Zia Evelina (Aunt Evelina). It was a hit in 1949 performed by Nilla Pizzi e Luciano Benevene, and is now a childrens’ song. The first verse is:

Quand’ero piccolina la vecchia zia Evelina
in cambio di un inchino mi dava mezza lira,
e io me ne andavo di corsa sui bastion
salivo sulla giostra a suon di un organino
e sul cavallo a dondolo cantavo una canzon.
When I was a little girl, old aunt Evelina
Would give me a coin in exchange for a curtsy,
And I would run up to the bastion.
I’d get on the carousel to the sound of the little organ
And sing a song on the rocking horse.