Italian Word of the Day: Pipistrello (bat)

Today’s ‘word of the day’ is part of our Italian Halloween Word series. On the days leading up to Halloween, we’ll post a word that is related to this spooky time of year. Enjoy! 🦇

The Italian word for everyone’s favourite winged Halloween creature is pipistrello (masculine, plural: pipistrelli). It comes from the Latin vespertilio, a derivative of vesper meaning evening.

/pi.pisˈtrɛl.lo/

If you’re clued up on bats, you might already be familiar with the word pipistrelle, the name given to bats in the genus Pipistrellus. It was imported into English via French.

Il pipistrello più grande al mondo è la volpe volante.

The largest bat in the world is the flying fox.


Bats are unique in that there are the only true flying mammal in the world (mondo). They can be as small as a bumble bee or as large as a small dog (cane).

Grey long eared bat
L’orecchione grigioGrey long-eared bat

Using echolocation to navigate in the dark (buio), the average tiny pipistrelle is capable of devouring thousands of insects in one night. Although most bats eat insects (insetti), some prefer frogs (rane), fruit (frutta), nectar (nettare), blood (sangue), pollen (polline), fish (pesci) and even other bats!

Did you know that…?
Despite their rodent-like appearance, pipistrelli are actually more closely related to humans than they are to mice.

Like many mammals, bats go into hibernation during the winter (inverno) months, usually between November and February.

I pipistrelli passano l’inverno in ibernazione.

Bats spend the winter in hibernation.


Bats came to be associated with Halloween for a few obvious reasons, the first being, of course, Bram Stoker’s Dracula! But even before the novel was written, bats were considered frightening (spaventosi) because of their nocturnal lifestyle (vita notturna), the fact that they live in caves (caverne) which in some cultures are considered the gateway to the underworld (mondo sotterraneo), and their unusual hybrid appearance (apparenza).

Close up of funny Halloween bats flying up on orange background
Pipistrelli di Halloween – Halloween bats

Pipistrello has another meaning which is a cape or cloak without sleeves. Maniche a pipistrello means batwing sleeves.

We can’t talk about pipistrelli without mentioning one of the most famous superheroes, Batman, which translates as l’Uomo Pipistrello in Italian. I’ll conclude this article with the theme song of my husband’s favourite TV show when he was a child, Batman: The Animated Series.

Batman… Batman (x3)

Corre, corre, Batman, Batman
E con agilità, in un attimo è qua, proprio qua
Ci piace Batman, ci piace com’è

Corre, corre, Batman, Batman
Gira per la città
Per difendere la libertà

La criminalità a gambe se la dà
Con lui giustizia c’è

di forza ne ha per tre

Non dice mai di no, fa sempre tutto quel che può
Di notte corre e va, si mimetizza nell’oscurità

È l’uomo pipistrello, è Batman
Si avvolge nel mantello, è proprio Batman
È rapidissimo, è furbissimo, è giustissimo
Combatte con lealtà, con caparbietà, con abilità
E corre, corre, Batman

Batman… Batman (x2)

Corre, corre, Batman, Batman
È sicuro di se, e ci piace com’è, si com’è
Ci piace Batman, ci piace com’è

Corre, corre, Batman, Batman
Gira per la città, per difendere la verità

È l’uomo pipistrello, è Batman
Si avvolge nel mantello, è proprio Batman
È rapidissimo, è furbissimo, è giustissimo
Combatte con lealtà, con caparbietà, con abilità

È rapidissimo, è furbissimo, è giustissimo
Combatte con lealtà, con caparbietà, con abilità
E corre, corre Batman

Batman… Batman

Batman… Batman (x3)

He runs, he runs, Batman, Batman
And with agility, he’s here in an instant, right here
We like Batman, we like him as he is

He runs, he runs, Batman, Batman
He goes around the city
to defend freedom

Crime runs for the hill
With him there is justice

he has the strength of three men

He never says no, he always does anything he can
He runs and goes in the night, he blends into the darkness

He is the bat man, he’s Batman
He wraps himself in his cape, he’s really Batman
He’s very fast, he’s very smart, he’s very just
He fights with integrity, with stubbornness, with skill
and he runs, he runs, Batman

Batman… Batman (x2)

He runs, he runs, Batman, Batman
He’s confident, and we like him as he is, yes as he is

We like Batman, we like him as he is

He runs, he runs, Batman, Batman
He goes around the city
to defend the truth

He is the bat man, he’s Batman
He wraps himself in his cape, he’s really Batman
He’s very fast, he’s very smart, he’s very just
He fights with integrity, with stubbornness, with skill

He’s very fast, he’s very smart, he’s very just
He fights with integrity, with stubbornness, with skill
and he runs, he runs, Batman

Batman… Batman