Do you need to
-make a reservation at your favorite ristorante (restaurant)?
-ask a gorgeous Italian on a date?
-know if the farmacia (drug store) is open today?
Then you need to know your Italian days of the week, i giorni della settimana!
Stay tuned for all about how to pronounce them, abbreviations, information on their origins and meanings, how to use them in conversation, when to use the definite article, and tips about when things happen and are open during the Italian week. You’ll also find some fun songs to help you remember the Italian days of the week.
Table of Contents
THE ITALIAN WEEK: DAY BY DAY
|DAY OF THE WEEK IN ENGLISH||DAY OF THE WEEK IN ITALIAN||PRONUNCIATION||AUDIO|
Do you notice any patterns?
All of the Italian weekdays from da lunedì a venerdì (Monday to Friday) end in dì, which is an old-fashioned Italian word for day. The accent mark on the ì means it is stressed.
Another neat thing about Italian days of the week is that the weekdays derive from planet names.
The days of the week are not capitalized in Italian. All the days of the week are masculine singular nouns, except for domenica (Sunday), which is feminine singular.
Monday is the first day of the week, but the church considers Sunday to be the beginning of the week.
ITALIAN DAYS OF THE WEEK: MEANINGS AND ORIGINS
Settimana, the Italian word for week, contains sette, the Italian word for seven (brush up on your Italian numbers 1-10). Here is more about the Italian week’s seven days:
Lunedì comes from luna, or moon, and dì (day). So it is like “moon-day”. Not so different from Monday after all! Lunedì is the start of the Italian work week.
Read more about Monday in Italian.
Martedì comes from marte, or Mars, and dì (day). Mars-day!
An important Tuesday during the Italian and Catholic calendar year is the holiday martedì grasso, or Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras, the last day of Carnevale celebrations before Lent begins.
Read more about Tuesday in Italian.
Mercurio is the Italian word for Mercury. That makes Mercoledì like “Mercury-day”.
Read more about Wednesday in Italian.
Giovedì comes from Giove, the Italian word for Jupiter. So giovedì is like “Jupiter-day”.
Read more about Thursday in Italian.
Venere means Venus in Italian, so venerdì derives from “Venus-day”.
Venerdì santo, or Good Friday, is an important day of the Italian, and Catholic calendar. It is the Friday before Easter Sunday.
Read more about Friday in Italian.
Sabato derives from the Hebrew word “shabbat”, the day of rest. It is the first day of the Italian weekend, though some post offices and middle schools are opening in the morning.
Read more about Saturday in Italian.
Domenica derives from the Latin “dies dominica”, or day of God. In Italy today, it is the official day of rest. Almost all stores are closed. It is common for extended families to enjoy a long lunch together.
Good To Know: In larger cities, the supermarket is usually open on Sundays, possibly with reduced hours.
Read more about Sunday in Italian.
THE ITALIAN WEEK
When trying to decipher Italian parking signs and bus schedules, among other things, it’s important to know the difference between giorni feriali and giorni festivi. Giorni feriali are work days, including Saturday. Giorni festivi are holidays, including all Sundays.
Public offices are open from Monday to Friday, and standard full-time jobs run from Monday to Friday.
School days are Monday through Friday. However, some middle schools also have half days on Saturday.
If there is a holiday on a Thursday or Tuesday, often schools and offices close for a long weekend, which is called il ponte (bridge).
If you look carefully at store opening hours, especially in small towns, businesses often have a giorno di riposo (day of rest) or giorno di chiusura (closed day). It’s already a given that most shops are closed on Sunday. The giorno di riposo is an additional morning or afternoon (or both) during the week when the shop is closed. In small towns, it is common for all of the local shops to be closed at the same time on the giorno di riposo.
Be careful about opening times: many shops, banks and public offices are closed between 1 and 4 pm. Read our post on Time in Italy for more about what time things happen in Italy. When reading shop signs to find out ther hours, keep in mind that mattina means morning, pomeriggio means afternoon, and sera means evening.
ITALIAN DAYS OF THE WEEK: HANDY WORDS AND PHRASES
|Che giorno è?||What day is it?|
|Oggi è . . .||Today is . . .|
|A (+ day of the week)||See you (+ day of the week)|
|dopo domani||the day after tomorrow|
|ieri l’altro/l’altro ieri||the day before yesterday|
ITALIAN DAYS OF THE WEEK IN USE
Silvia: Ciao Marco. Tutto bene. Ma oggi non c’è il compito di italiano. Hi Marco, everything’s fine. But today’s there isn’t an Italian test.
Marco: Come? Che giorno è? What? What day is it?
Silvia: Oggi è mercoledì. Il compito di italiano è dopo domani. Oggi c’è il compito di matematica. Today is Wednesday. The Italian test is the day after tomorrow. Today is the math test.
Marco: Stai scherzando? Ieri ho studiato italiano tutta la sera! Are you joking? Yesterday I studied Italian all evening!
Silvia: Mi dispiace. I’m sorry.
Marco: Meno male ho studiato la matematica ieri l’altro. Fra l’altro grazie per l’aiuto con l’algebra giovedì scorso. Good thing I studied math the day before yesterday. By the way, thanks for your help with algebra last Thursday.
Silvia: Prego! You’re welcome!
Marco: Quando studierai per il compito di inglese? When are you going to study for the English test?
Silvia: Quello di martedì prossimo? Studierò tutto il fine settimana! The one next Tuesday? I’m going to study all weekend!
Marco: Anch’io! Studiamo insieme? Me too! Shall we study together?
Silvia: Perchė no? A sabato! Why not! See you Saturday!
DEFINITE ARTICLE OR NO DEFINITE ARTICLE?
DAYS OF THE WEEK WITHOUT THE DEFINITE ARTICLE
As we mentioned, domenica (Sunday) is a feminine singular noun, while all of the other days of the week in Italian are masculine. When you refer to a day without the definite article, you are referring to just that specific day.
For example, Lunedì (vado al mare) means This Monday (I’m going to the sea).
DAYS OF THE WEEK WITH THE DEFINITE ARTICLE
On the other hand when we use the definite article with a day of the week, it is like saying every, and refers to an action that will repeat.
For example, Il lunedì (vado al mare) means Every Monday (I go to the sea), or On Mondays (I go the sea).
You can also use the definite article to talk about days of the week in general.
Adoro la domenica perché posso dormire tutta la mattina! I love Sundays because I can sleep all morning!
SONGS FOR LEARNING THE ITALIAN DAYS OF THE WEEK
Sometimes the best way to learn something is to have it get stuck in your head. Here are two songs that should do the trick and help you learn the days of the week in Italian.
La Canzone dei Giorni della Settimana (The Days of the Week Song) is a children’s song by Carlo Rossetti about a little chicken:
The words are:
|Lunedì chiusin chiusino,|
martedì bucò l’ovino,
sgusciò fuori mercoledì,
“Pio, pio” fece di giovedì,
venerdì fu un bel pulcino,
beccò sabato un granino.
La domenica mattina aveva già la sua crestina.
|On Monday it was inside,|
On Tuesday it made a hole in the egg,
On Wednesday it hatched,
It said “peep peep” on Thursday,
On Friday it was a beautiful little chicken,
It pecked at a kernel on Saturday,
On Sunday morning it already had its little crest.
Discoteca (Discoteque) by Exchpoptrue is for an older crowd. Warning: the video is pretty bizarre.
The words of this dance tune from 2003 seem to repeat endlessly:
|Lunedì sera la discoteca,|
Martedì sera la discoteca,
Mercoledì che mal di testa ma sono andata alla discoteca,
Giovedì sera la discoteca,Venerdì sera non volevo andarci ma Fabio è venuto a cercarmi allora sono andata alla discoteca,Sabato sera la discoteca,Domenica . . . la discoteca.
|Monday night the discoteque,|
Tuesday night the discotheque,
Wednesday what a headache but I went to the discoteque,
Thursday night the discoteque,Friday night I didn’t want to go but Fabio came to look for me so I went to the discoteque,Saturday night the discoteque,Sunday . . . the discoteque.
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