10 Italian Words That Are Super Hard to Pronounce

Most learners will agree that Italian, on the whole, is a fairly easy language to pronounce. It doesn’t have as many sounds as other languages (yes, English, I’m looking at you), nor as many complex consonant clusters. Still, there are a few words that can present a challenge to English speakers, even after years of studying and speaking the language on a daily basis. Here are some of the trickiest words that trip me up to this day!

10 italian words that are difficult to pronounce

1. Aereo (plane)

Aereo is problematic for English speakers because we aren’t used to clearly pronouncing so many vowels in one word. We are tempted to drop vowels (“air-eo”), or transform the second e into an i sound. To pronounce aereo correctly, you need to give each and every vowel importance.

Caucasian men pilots going away from aircraft tail on takeoff strip in the evening

2. Vulnerabilità (vulnerability)

Whenever I try to pronounce this particular word, it consistently comes out garbled. I can’t quite pinpoint whether it’s the word’s length or the combination of uln that causes the issue, but whatever the reason, it makes me strongly inclined to avoid saying it!

shy baby

3. Costruire (to build / construct)

I mentioned in the introduction that Italian doesn’t have many consonant clusters, but the ones it does have can be tricky to get your mouth around, like the str in costruire. I blame it on that pesky rolled r!

Wood Building frame builder at work with wooden roof construction

4. Disidratato (dehydrated)

When I go to pronounce this word, I tend to mix up the syllables disidra, or leave one of them out. Please tell me I’m not alone!

Woman with heatstroke sitting drinking water and drying herself with napkins

5. Ruolo (role)

The letter “r” is already difficult to pronounce for English speakers, but it becomes extra difficult when followed by two round vowels.

Job interview for a business woman at a hiring company talking to the HR manager about the role or .

6. Ninfee (waterlilies)

On the surface, ninfee (which is the plural of ninfea) may not look overly challenging but for English speakers, it can be hard to avoid pronouncing the double E as if it were the diphthong /eɪ/ (as in the words “hey” or “bake”).


7. Saetta (flash of lightning)

I have a tendency to pronounce the “e” in this particular word as an open “e” instead of a closed “e.” It may seem like a minor mistake, but my husband never fails to point it out!

Beautiful lightning with interesting sky over the Moscow

8. Cerebrale (cerebral)

I surely can’t be the only one who constantly swaps the Rs for the Ls in this word, can I? (And it usually comes out worse if I think about it beforehand!)

Man in tinfoil helmet watches TV, back view.

9. Leggerglielo (to read it to him/her)

Leggerglielo isn’t a single word but the combination of leggere (to read) + gli (to him/her) + lo (it). Personally, I find this combination almost impossible to pronounce without stumbling over the “r” or “gli” sounds. How about you?

10. Euro

When I encounter this word, my natural inclination is to pronounce it in the English manner, where it sounds like “yur-oh.” However, in Italian, it is necessary to emphasise each vowel individually, and remember that it consists of three syllables, not two.

dollar bills and euros

Are there any Italian words that you struggle to pronounce? Share them with us in the comments below!

10 Italian Words That Are Super Hard to Pronounce

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