Time in Italian: how to tell the time in Italian

Every beginner who learn Italian needs to learn the vocabulary to tell the time in Italian. In this article I will explain all of it.

First of all, it’s good to know that in Italy, as in most of Europe there is a system called official time (equivalent to military time in the United States) in train schedules, performances, movie timetables, radio, TV, office hours, and so on.

In Italy to make plans, appointments, and travel arrangements you need to be able to state dates and other calendar terms in Italian. Understanding the days of the week, the months of the year, the seasons, and how to tell time in Italian are just some examples that can help you to avoid confusion.

Calendar terms

The days of the week (i giorni della settimana) aren’t capitalized in Italian.

Monday lunedì
Tuesday martedì
Wednesday mercoledì
Thursday giovedì
Friday venerdì
Saturday sabato
Sunday domenica

Like the days of the week, the months of the year (i mesi dell’anno) aren’t capitalized in Italian.

January gennaio
February febbraio
March marzo
April aprile
May maggio
June giugno
July luglio
August agosto
September settembre
October ottobre
November novembre
December dicembre

It’s also very important to consider that Italians write dates in a different order than in English. Dates are shown as day-month-year. For example, to express January 09, 2010, you would write 9/1/10 instead of 1/9/10. If you write it 1/9/10, it would be assumed you were talking about September.

The following sentences can be very useful when you are discussing dates in Italian:

Che giorno è oggi? What day is today?
Oggi è lunedì. Today is Monday.
Che giorno parti? What day are you leaving?
Parto venerdì. I’m leaving on Friday.
In che mese vai in Italia? What month are you going to Italy?
A luglio. In July.
Quando è il tuo compleanno? When’s your birthday?
Il nove novembre. November 9.
Che giorno è oggi? What day is today?
É il quattro settembre. It’s September 4.

Now it’s time to talk about the seasons (le stagioni).

-La primavera: spring

-L’estate: summer

-L’autunno: autumn

-L’inverno: winter

Telling time

di mattina (in the morning)

del pomeriggio (in the afternoon)

di sera (in the evening)

di notte (in the night)

giorno (day)

ieri  (yesterday)

domani  (tomorrow)

mezzogiorno (noon)

mezzanotte (midnight)

oggi (today)

In Italy is commonly used a 24 hour clock. When you want to know What time is it? Che ore sono?.

When expressing time between the hours, say the hour + minute, for example, e un quarto (and a quarter), e cinque (and five), e mezzo (thirty). When you get past the half hour, start going the other say the number of minutes until the next hour, for example, say meno un quarto (a quarter to) and meno dieci (ten minutes to).

Here you have some examples:

  • É l’una.(It’s 1 a.m.)
  • É l’una e dieci.(It’s 1:10 a.m.)
  • É mezzogiorno.(It’s noon.)
  • É mezzogiorno e mezzo.(It’s 12:30 p.m.)
  • É mezzanotte.(It’s midnight.)
  • Sono le due.(It’s 2 a.m.)
  • Sono le due e un quarto.(It’s 2:15 a.m.)
  • Sono le quindici.(It’s 3 p.m.)
  • Sono le ventidue meno dieci.(It’s 9:50 p.m.)
  • A che ora parte il treno?(At what time does the train leave?)
  • Parte all’una.(It leaves at 1.)
  • A che ora inizia l’opera?(At what time does the opera begin?)
  • Inizia alle venti.(It begins at 8 p.m.)
  • A che ora chiude l’ostello?(At what time does the hostel close?)
  • Chiude a mezzanotte e mezzo.(It closes at 00:30 a.m.)

Now I’m sure you’re ready to go to Italy and ask for the time, the date… If you liked this article, feel free to leave a comment!

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