Italian Terms of Endearment and Affection

Italian is a melodic, expressive, and romantic language. Interesting fact: the world’s most famous (and notorious) seducer, Casanova, was from the city of Venice, though it should be mentioned that due to his unhinged lifestyle, he had to flee from Venice and go to France.

In this article, we will explore a variety of Italian terms of endearment and affection, some for romantic situations and others for platonic ones.

The most common Italian terms of endearment

Before we proceed to talk about declaring love, flirting, and complimenting someone in Italian, let’s learn what the different people involved in a romantic relationship are called in Italian.

Italian translation
ragazza girlfriend
ragazzo boyfriend
fidanzato in a steady, serious relationship
fidanzata in a steady, serious relationship
compagno partner
compagna partner
marito husband
moglie wife

Have a look at the following table, and get ready to expand your vocabulary with Italian “nomignoli” (nicknames) you can use with your Italian partner and loved ones.

Italian translation
amore love
amore mio my love
tesoro sweetheart (literally, treasure)
tesoro mio sweetheart (literally, my treasure)
gioia sweetheart (literally, joy)
angelo angel
mio angelo my angel
piccolo, piccola little one
caro dear
caro mio my dear
cara darling
mia cara my darling
principessa princess
principe prince
mio amato, mia amata my beloved
cucciolo, cucciola honey (literally, puppy)
stella honey (literally, star)
stellina honey (literally, little star)
bellissimo, bellissima beautiful
cuore mio my heart
vita mia my life
baby baby
bambolina little doll
zuccherino sugar
polpetta meatball
topolino, topolina little mouse
paperino gander
paperina little duck
passerotto sparrow
orsacchiotto teddy bear
patatino, patatina little potato

Italian nicknames for friends

English speakers usually call their friends “buddy,” “bro,” “mate,” “dude,” or “pal.” Let’s learn the Italian equivalents and other terms of endearment and affection that don’t involve a romantic interest or attraction.

Table: Italian nicknames for friends
Italian translation
fratello brother
fra bro
sorella sister
sorè sis
zio mate (literally, uncle)
zia mate (literally, aunt)
compa (short for compagno) buddy
bello handsome
bella beautiful
grande dude (literally, great)
bomber buddy (literally, goalscorer)
ciccio, ciccia buddy (literally, chubby)
campione buddy (literally, champion)
carissimo, carissima dear
raga guys

Royal terms like “principessa” (princess), and “principino” (little prince) are frequently used as terms of endearment and sweet nicknames for children.

Italian phrases to tell someone you like or love them

Now, let’s learn the most common ways to express love and affection in Italian to your significant other. Before we proceed, it’s crucial to know that there are different degrees of affection, and appropriate expressions for each.

There are two different ways to say “I love you” in Italian, and they are not interchangeable.

1 Ti voglio bene
(I love you)

The phrase “ti voglio bene” is used to express love to family members, and close friends. You can also use it in uncommitted relationships, with someone you are just dating casually, or when the relationship has just started.

2 Ti amo
(I love you)

“Ti voglio bene” is much less serious than “ti amo,” which is very strong and means that you love someone romantically.

Let’s have a look at other phrases to tell someone you like or love them, ranked in order of romanticness.

3 Mi piaci
(I like you)

Saying “mi piaci” to someone means that you find them nice.

4 Ti adoro
(I adore you)

“Ti adoro” is considered a very sweet thing to say to someone you like.

5 Sei speciale e importante per me
(You are special and important to me)

If you are dating someone who is becoming more and more important to you, tell them “sei speciale e importante per me.”

6 Ho bisogno di te
(I need you)

If you want to tell someone that you need them, use this sweet sentence.

7 Sei tutto per me
(You are everything to me)

When you love someone dearly, use this sentence to express very deep feelings towards them.

Other very romantic phrases are:

8 Non posso vivere senza di te
(I can't live without you)
9 Sono pazzo di te, sono pazza di te
(I’m crazy about you)
10 Ti amo immensamente
(I love you immensely)
11 Sei la persona a cui tengo di più
(You are the person I care about most)
12 Sei il mio universo
(You are my universe)
13 Sei il mio tutto
(You are my everything)
14 Sei la cosa più bella che mi sia mai capitata
(You are the best thing that ever happened to me)
15 Senza di te, la vita non ha significato
(Without you, life has no meaning)
16 Sei la mia vita
(You are my life)
17 Senza di te, non sono niente
(Without you, I'm nothing)
18 Sei il grande amore della mia vita
(You are the love of my life)

Italian phrases to express love and affection to friends and family

Here we have collected useful phrases that you can use to express love and affection to a close friend, a family member, or even a pet animal.

Italian phrase translation
ti voglio bene, mamma i love you, mom
ti voglio bene, papà i love you, dad
ti voglio bene, nonna i love you, grandma
ti voglio bene, nonno i love you, grandpa
vi voglio bene i love you all
ti voglio bene, amico mio i love you, my friend
ti voglio bene, amica mia i love you, my friend

The phrase “ti voglio bene” literally means “I want you well” in Italian. In this case, the little word “ti” is an indirect object pronoun.

Flirting in Italian

Here are some phrases and questions that you can use to start flirting with someone in Italian.

1 Ti ha mai detto nessuno che hai degli occhi bellissimi?
(Has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful eyes?)
2 Posso offrirti qualcosa da bere?
(May I buy you a drink?)
3 Sei single?
(Are you single?)
4 Vuoi uscire con me?
(Do you want to go on a date with me?)
5 Posso invitarti a cena?
(Can I invite you to dinner?)
6 Posso avere il tuo numero di telefono?
(Could I get your number?)
7 Mi piacerebbe rivederti
(I'd love to meet up again)
8 È stato bello conoscerti
(It's been nice knowing you)
9 Mi è piaciuto molto parlare con te
(I really enjoyed talking to you)

How to compliment someone in Italian

Here are some Italian phrases to romantically compliment someone you are interested in and have a strong attraction to:

1 Sei bellissimo, sei bellissima
(You look beautiful)
2 Sei stupendo, sei stupenda
(You look gorgeous)
3 Sei una meraviglia
(You are marvelous)
4 Sei uno spettacolo
(You are a sight to behold. Literally, you are a spectacle)
5 Sei uno splendore
(You are such a beauty)
6 Sei molto carino, sei molto carina
(You are so cute)
7 Sei una bella persona, dentro e fuori
(You are a beautiful person, inside and out)
8 Stai benissimo
(You are really good looking)
9 Ti trovo in gran forma
(You look great)
10 Ti trovo bene
(You look good)
11 Questo abito ti sta d'incanto
(This dress looks great on you)