English in Italy


I know that a lot of Europeans are bilingual, or even multilingual, but how common is it for Italians to know how to speak English? When I went to Rome, I was surprised by how many people knew English. I’m curious if this was just a stroke of luck, something that is common in locations with a lot of tourists, or if it’s prevalent throughout the country. Does anyone know?


The more touristy the area is, the more people can speak/understand English, basically. It is pretty much prevalent throughout the country from a tourist perspective. Although knowing even just a bit of Italian won’t hurt.


Thanks for the info, Dan! I got the feeling that’s how it was, but I just wanted to make sure before I made any grand assumptions. I’m definitely planning on learning a bit of Italian before I go.


I would expect that much from European countries. Many are working on their tourism section and learning a foreign language is not as hard as it used to be. It’s definitely reassuring for tourists with limited Italian knowledge.

I’m glad to hear that they respond well, @MissT. A friend visited South Korea around two years ago and she was ignored when she asked questions in English, probably because they didn’t want to deal with people who use English.


I think the amount of tourist is another factor for them to learn English, beside, English is the universal language, most of the country are familiar to this language. The only problem sometimes, people understand the English language but unable to talk that language.


I know many Italians are very fluent in English. But for other ordinary Italian people, how can they understand or speak English? It English subject included in the Education system?


I think most of the Italian population speak English. I don’t think you just lucked out. If ever you get to a place that doesn’t speak English, you should have a translation app for your smartphone to make it easier to ask for help there.


I also remember that people of all ages were able to speak English in the capital. But we visited several other cities as well, and the elderly do not speak English there. Young people know it quite well and speak English as fast as they speak Italian. I like their accent! It is very plesant. I have noticed that they use the phrase “my friend” quite often.


We all know that English is a universal language and aside to it, once you have this language you know how to speak and understand this language you can survive in a foreign land right? But still there are place/s that really loves and embracing their own culture and not really set English as one of their major priority in learning since in Italy is a foreign language and English is not their main language, we can say that they maybe as not so fluent as the others, but still they can speak and understand it :slight_smile: