Learn Italian Expressions: Allora?

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.comMany of my friends in our Conversational Italian! group on Facebook have been lucky enough to travel to Italy already this summer, and I know more will soon follow. Some have also moved to Italy this year, and it is so nice to see their lovely photos and hear all about their experiences.

The news from Italy made me think about my past trips to Italy and the fun my children and I had learning the many Italian expressions we encountered for the first time. I distinctly remember my daughter, who knows only a little bit of Italian, asking me in an exasperated way one day, “So, Mom, what is this ‘allora’ I keep hearing all the time?!!!”

I’ve put together a quick list of some common, short Italian expressions that have meanings that seem to defy explanation to the English speaker at first. Many of these expressions also change their meaning depending on the context, which also makes them confusing! But just watch the expressions on people’s faces and, of course, the hand gestures that are an important part of the Italian language, and before you know it, you will be using these expressions yourself. Ma dai!

How many more Italian expressions can you think of that were difficult or funny to understand when you encountered them? Please reply. I’d love to hear! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

If you need a travel companion to Italy, remember my Conversational Italian for Travelers pocket phrase book, “Just the Important Phrases,”  on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.


(A Few) Italian Expressions for Fun and Travel 

Allora… Well, Well then, So, In that case…
Ebbene… So, Well
Figurati! (in response to thanks received for performing a favor):
No problem, You’re welcome, It was my pleasure
Magari! If only! I wish!
Magari fosse vero! If only it were true!
Ma dai! (persuading tone) Come on!
(encouraging tone) Come on!
(exasperated tone) Come on!
Ma quando mai? When did I ever? Since when?  
(meaning: I never!)
Ma va! But really? You don’t say?
Ma và! (incredulous) Go away! Go on!


Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.


5 thoughts on “Learn Italian Expressions: Allora?

    1. Yes, I think we all have our “fall back” phrases and it’s hard to get out of our comfort zone. In my next blog on this topic I will talk about “figurati” a bit, because it sounds similar to an English expression but is used differently.


    1. Thanks for the reply. I always try to write about what I’ve come across as I am learning Italian. I am lucky to have many Italian friends who spend most of their time living in the Chicago area to help me learn. If you use the expressions in this blog, you will really sound like an Italian!


  1. I’ve always enjoyed, “Boh!” I like the way it’s pronounced, the expression on the face, the tilt of the head, the shrug of the shoulders. It just sounds funny to me, particularly when you hear it from someone you don’t expect – an older woman, a small child. By the way, for those unfamiliar with the word, it means: I don’t know, I don’t have a clue, It beats me – often with an indifference.

    Liked by 1 person

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