Did you know that we have Italy to thank for La Festa di San Valentino (Saint Valentine’s Day)?
Saint Valentine, or San Valentino as he is known in Italian, was a Roman priest. Legend has it that he began marrying persecuted Christian couples in secret, and after being discovered by Emperor Claudius Gothicus and refusing to renounce his faith, was martyred on February 14th AD 269.
Just over 200 years later, La Festa di San Valentino was established by Pope Gelasius I in honour of the Christian martyr.
Valentino’s association with romantic love truly began in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished, and by the 18th century, the day had become an occasion for couples to expression their love for each other with gifts, flowers and greeting cards known as valentines. That tradition carries on to this day, not only in Italy but across the world!
If you’re in the mood for romance this Valentine’s Day, why not channel your inner Valentino and give some of these romantic Italian phrases a try on your beloved? As always, if you can think of any others, do let us know in the comments below! ❤️
1. Ti amo.
English translation: I love you.
Let’s begin with the most important romantic phrase of them all: Ti amo! (I love you!)
This phrase should be reserved for married couples or those in a very serious and committed relationship. If you say ti amo to someone you’ve only been dating for a few months, you might scare them off, even if you do feel that strongly about them!
2. Ti voglio bene.
English translation: I love you. / I care for you.
Ti voglio bene also translates as I love you but unlike ti amo, it can be used with a wider range of people, including children, relatives, friends and someone you’ve only been seeing for a short time. A more appropriate translation is perhaps I care for you.
If you use this with your partner, you are highlighting your tender feelings for them, rather than your romantic or sexual feelings. The literal translation is I want you well.
3. Mi sono innamorato di te.
English translation: I’m in love with you. / I’ve fallen in love with you.
Unlike in English, there is a specific verb in Italian for to fall in love: innamorarsi. As you can see, it contains the verb for to love which is amare. Remember to use the form mi sono innamorato if you are a man, and mi sono innamorata if you are a woman!
4. Sono pazzo di te.
English translation: I’m crazy about you.
Pazzo is the word for crazy in Italian. It becomes pazza if the speaker is a woman.
5. Mi sono perso nei tuoi occhi.
English translation: I’m lost in your eyes.
This phrase literally translates as I’ve lost myself in your eyes because the verb perdersi is reflexive. Once again, make sure to choose the right ending: for a man it is perso and for a woman it is persa.
6. Sei la cosa più bella che mi sia mai capitata.
English translation: You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
In the case of this phrase, the feminine forms bella and capitata don’t become bello and capitato if you are talking about a man because the word they modify is the feminine noun cosa, not the person!
7. Resta con me per sempre.
English translation: Stay with me forever.
This one is pretty straightforward! Note that it is possible to replace the verb restare with stare (stai con me…) or rimanere (rimani con me...).
8. Voglio passare il resto della mia vita con te.
English translation: I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
The verb passare can be translated as to pass but it also means to spend when talking about time. (Spendere on the other hand is used when talking about money or energy.) An alternative, slightly loftier-sounding translation is trascorrere which also means to spend (time).
9. Non posso vivere senza di te.
English translation: I can’t live without you.
There isn’t much to say about this phrase except that it is a direct translation of the English!
10. Farei qualsiasi cosa per te.
English translation: I would do anything for you.
It is common to hear qualunque instead of qualsiasi. Both translate as whatever, whichever or any.
Do you have a romantic Italian phrase to add to this list? Let us know in the comments section below!