Italian Word of the Day: Volentieri (willingly / with pleasure)

An extremely useful word in Italian is volentieri and if you learn to use it correctly, you’ll be one step closer to sounding like a native speaker! It comes from the French word volontiers which in turn derives from the Latin voluntarie.


Volentieri can translate in numerous ways depending on the context, though in every case, it indicates a sincere willingness to do something. These translations include:

willinglyAndrei volentieri, ma non posso.
I’d go willingly, but I can’t.
readilyAccetto volentieri il vostro invito.
I readily accept your invitation.
with pleasureMangiò volentieri due pizze intere.
He ate two whole pizzas with pleasure.
gladly / happilyMe ne occupo volentieri.
I’ll happily take care of it.
to be happy toVado volentieri in macchina.
I’m happy to drive.
to enjoy / to loveAscolto volentieri la musica rock.
I enjoy listening to rock music.

Molto volentieri, ben volentieri, assai volentieri, the superlative form volentierissimo and più che volentieri all mean very willingly or more than happy.

Tornerei a Venezia molto volentieri.

I would very willingly go back to Venice.

Grand Canal in Venice at the dawn, Italy

The expression spesso e volentieri literally translates as often and willingly but it actually means very often. In this case, volentieri takes on the role of highlighting or reinforcing spesso. It can be used for both positive and negative things.

Ci vediamo spesso e volentieri con i nostri vicini di casa.

We see our neighbours very often.

Su questa strada le auto vanno troppo forte. Capitano spesso e volentieri incidenti.

Cars go too fast on this road. Accidents happen very often.

Volentieri can also function as an affirmative and enthusiastic response to a request for help or an invitation, similar to the expressions certainly, of course, sure or I’d love to in English.

Vieni con noi stasera? – Volentieri!

Will you come with us tonight? – Sure!

proud pastry chef in his confectionnery
Vuoi assaggiare un “macaron”? – Volentieri! – Do you want to try a macaron? – I’d love to!

The opposite of volentieri is malvolentieri (also spelled mal volentieri) or poco volentieri. It is close in meaning to the words reluctantly or unwillingly in English.

Oggi vado in ufficio malvolentieri.

Today I’m reluctant to go into the office.

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