Italians use different phrases to express different aspects of love, like romantic love, attraction, and platonic and familial love. Make sure to use the right one!
Should you say ti amo or ti voglio bene to your boyfriend or girlfriend? Should you use sono innamorato di te or mi piaci when you’re attracted to someone? How do you say I love you to your Italian family? We’ve got you covered so you can avoid making any awkward mistakes!
Learn about ti amo, ti voglio bene, ti adoro and many other phrases that mean I love you in Italian, and when to use them. Find out how to respond to I love you in Italian if you love the person back. We’ll arm you with plenty of Italian pet names for the person you love. Read about how Italians express love in other ways, and what to call your significant other in Italian.
Table of Contents
ROMANTIC LOVE IN ITALIAN
Ti amo means I love you in Italian. It is used to express romantic love. Use it with your boyfriend, girlfriend, romantic partner, lover, or significant other.
Ti amo is a serious romantic declaration to make to someone, and isn’t thrown around the same way I love you is used among friends in the US. If you use it with a platonic friend, they will probably get the wrong idea.
Oggi è la Festa di San Valentino e non posso più stare zitto. Confesso che ti amo con tutto il cuore!
Today is Valentine’s Day and I can’t stay silent anymore. I confess that I love you with all my heart!
To say I love you romantically to more than one person at a time, say vi amo. Maybe you’re in a throuple, or you’re in love with two people at once!
Mario, Francesco, il problema è che vi amo tutti e due!
Mario, Francesco, the problem is I love both of you!
The pronunciation of ti amo and vi amo is: tee AH-moh, vee AH-moh
Listen to how to pronounce ti amo and vi amo:
Amo means I love, and is conjugated from the verb amare, which means to love. In Italian, it isn’t usually necessary to use the subject because the conjugated verb ending tells you who is speaking.
|ami||means you (singular informal) loves|
|ama||means he/she/it/you (formal singular) love|
|amate||means you (plural) love|
|amiamo||means we love|
|amano||means they love|
SAYING “I LOVE YOU” TO YOUR FAMILY IN ITALIAN
Ti voglio bene also means I love you in Italian, but it is used for platonic love, like the love between family members and close friends. It literally means I want you well, and shows you love someone platonically.
If you say ti voglio bene to a boyfriend or girlfriend, they will understand that you care for them deeply, but they may also feel disappointed if they were hoping for a full-on romantic I love you declaration. In the same vein, ti voglio bene is a good way to let someone down gently if you’re not in love with them.
Babbo ti voglio bene.
Dad I love you.
To say I love you to a group of friends or family members, say vi voglio bene.
Carissimi amici vi voglio bene!
Dearest friends, I love you!
The pronunciation of ti voglio bene and vi voglio bene is: tee VOH-lyee-oh BEH-neh, vee VOH-lyee-oh BEH-neh
Listen to how to pronounce ti voglio bene and vi voglio bene:
Pronunciation Tip: GLI in Italian makes a kind of LYEE sound, almost like the LLI in million. Listen to how to pronounce the GLI sound:
“I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU” IN ITALIAN
If you’re worried about using the wrong phrase to explain how you love someone, the verb essere innamorato, which means to be in love in Italian, leaves no doubt about what you mean.
Sono innamorato di te means I (a man) am in love with you (someone I know well)
Sono innamorata di te means I (a woman) am in love with you (someone I know well)
Tesoro mio sono innamorata di te.
My treasure, I am in love with you.
Sono innamorato di voi means I (a man) am in love with you (a group)
Sono innamorata di voi means I (a woman) am in love with you (a group)
If you’re in love with two people and want to declare your love to them at the same time, or if you’re in a polyamorous relationship, these are the phrases for you.
Carla e Petra sono innamorato di voi.
Carla and Petra I’m in love with you.
“I ADORE YOU” IN ITALIAN
Another way to say I love you in Italian is to use the verb adorare, which means to love, as in to adore, to worship or to revere. You can use this with people you love romantically, as well as people you love platonically, or people in your family– as long as you adore them.
Use ti adoro to tell a person you know well that you love and adore them.
Amore mio ti adoro. Buon San Valentino.
My love I adore you. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Use vi adoro to tell more than one person at a time that you love and adore them.
Siete i migliori genitori del mondo, vi adoro!
You’re the best parents in the world, I love you!
The pronunciation of ti adoro and vi adoro is: tee ah-DOH-roh, vee ah-DOH-roh
Listen to how to pronounce ti adoro and vi adoro:
“I LIKE YOU” IN ITALIAN
In English we often say I like you and we mean I like you like you. To tell someone you are attracted to them, say I like you in Italian by using the verb piacere, which means to please.
(Tu) mi piaci means I like you/I’m attracted to you (literally: you please me).
Use mi piaci with someone you know well, or whom you can address informally.
Pietro so che siamo solo amici ma tu mi piaci.
Pietro I know we’re just friends but I like you.
(Voi) mi piacete means I like you/I’m attracted to you (literally: you please me).
Use mi piacete if you’re talking to more than one person at once.
Non so con chi uscire, mi piacete tutti e due.
I don’t know who to go out with, I like both of you.
The pronunciation of mi piaci and mi piacete is: mee pee-AH-chee, mee pee-ah-CHEH-teh
Listen to how to pronounce mi piaci and mi piacete:
“I LIKE BEING WITH YOU” IN ITALIAN
Tell someone you feel good when you’re with them in Italian by saying sto bene con te.
Sto bene con te literally means I am well with you. It is like saying I like being with you.
The pronunciation of sto bene con te is: stoh BEH-neh cohn teh
Listen to how to pronounce sto bene con te:
ADDING INTENSITY: MOLTO AND TANTO
Molto and tanto both mean a lot, or very much in Italian. Moltissimo and tantissimo take it a step further, and mean so much, or extremely. Italians often use these words to add intensity to the phrases we’ve learned for saying I love you in Italian.
Ti amo tanto.
I love you very much. (romantically)
Ti voglio molto bene.
I love you very much (for family members and friends)
Mi piaci moltissimo.
I like you so much/I’m extremely attracted to you.
Sto tanto bene con te.
I like being with you very much.
HOW TO RESPOND TO “I LOVE YOU” IN ITALIAN
How can you respond in Italian if you’ve received a declaration of love? If you feel the same way, it’s easy. Say anch’io, which alone means me too. If you add anch’io to a phrase that means I love you, it means I love you too. For example:
A: Ti amo Pino. I love you, Pino (romantically)
B: Ti amo anch’io Luigi. I love you too Luigi.
A: Giuseppe ti adoro. I adore you Giuseppe.
B: Ti adoro anch’io Paola. I adore you too Paola.
PHRASES ABOUT LOVE IN ITALIAN
Here are some more Italian phrases to say to someone you love:
Penso di amarti means I think I love you (romantically)
Sono pazzo/a di te means I’m crazy about you
Ho voglia di te means I want you
Ho bisogno di te means I need you
On the other hand,
Non ti amo più means I don’t love you (romantically) anymore
HOW ITALIANS EXPRESS LOVE
Italians are known for being warm and affectionate people. In general, even when expressing platonic love, Italians are quite physical.
Therefore it may surprise you that Italians usually don’t greet their friends and relatives with full body hugs. Instead, Italians warmly greet people they know with two light air kisses on the cheeks (first the left, then the right. That means you head to your right first!).
Italians give these two kisses when they say hello, and when they say goodbye. They even greet their close family members this way. While it’s less intimate in terms of full body contact, air kissing on the cheek is actually quite intimate when you consider you’re getting right up into someone else’s face.
Indeed, the polite boundaries of personal space are closer in Italy than in the US. For example, Italians often stand quite close when speaking to each other, at a distance that many people in the US would consider an invasion of personal space. Even after living here for over 15 years, I still feel crowded when I’m standing in line and it feels like the stranger behind me is breathing down my neck.
Men can be quite physical with platonic friends, putting their hands on each others’ shoulders, and even walking arm in arm in some parts of Italy. Platonic female friends, especially girls and teenagers, will often lock arms, or hold hands.
Romantic couples hold hands, and you will often see Italian men with their arm around their female significant other’s shoulder.
Visitors to Italy are often shocked by young lovers’ public displays of affection. Whether kissing and hugging on park benches, on church steps, in front of fountains, lying down at the beach . . . Italian teenagers seem to be all over each other, all over the place.
Another way that Italians express love is through food! My Italian mother-in-law regularly sends us home from her house with food for the week, without us having asked for anything. Meals are where Italian families and friends convene and catch up with each other, discuss big decisions and spend time together. And if you are ever a guest at an Italian’s house without being offered a coffee, let me know.
ITALIAN PET NAMES FOR YOUR LOVER
Italians have many sweet terms of endearments for the people they love. Try them with your special someone!
|Caro (masculine), cara (feminine)||Dear|
|Caro mio, cara mia||My dear|
|Amore mio||My love|
|Amore della mia vita||Love of my life|
|Bello mio||My handsome|
|Bella mia||My beauty|
|Gioia mia||My joy|
|Tesoro mio||My treasure|
|Principessa, principessa mia||Princess, my princess|
|Cuore mio||My heart|
Use these Italian pet names with the phrases we learned above for I love you to put it all together. For example:
Ti amo bella.
I love you beautiful (woman).
Bella and bellissima are famous Italian words for describing a beautiful girl or woman. Like in English, this is sleazy if you’re talking to someone you don’t know well or harassing a woman on the street.
On the other hand, bella and bellissima can be nice compliments and well-appreciated pet names for someone you know well. The trick is to use them affectionately and respectfully.
ITALIAN SIGNIFICANT OTHERS
Here are the words you need for talking about your significant other in Italian:
|Il mio ragazzo||My boyfriend|
|La mia ragazza||My girlfriend|
|Il mio amante (masculine), |
la mia amante (feminine)
|Il mio fidanzato||My serious boyfriend, my fiancé|
|La mia fidanzata||My serious girlfriend, my fiancée|
|Il mio compagno||My partner (male)|
|La mia compagna||My partner (female)|
|Mio marito||My husband|
|Mia moglie||My wife|
I LOVE YOU IN ITALIAN FAQ
Je t’aime means I love you in French. Italians speak French in the Val d’Aosta region in northwestern Italy along the border with France and Switzerland.
Ich liebe dich means I love you in German. Italians speak German in South Tyrol (Alto-Adige) in the Dolomite mountains near the Austrian border in northern Italy.