Ti Voglio Bene & Ti Amo

What do they mean in Italian?

In Italian, there are two different phrases that equate to the English "I love you" and learning how they differ is extremely important.

Ti amo is used towards someone with whom you have a romantic relationship. It is best to use it only if you’ve been intimate for quite some time.

Ti voglio bene places emphasis on the tender feelings you have for the other person, without any sexual or deeply romantic undertones. It is used a lot towards family members.

A good phrase that juxtaposes the two expressions is ti voglio bene ma non ti amo. The implication is that although you are fond of the person in question, you wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with them.

One exception to the rule is your children. It is not uncommon to hear parents say ti amo or ti amo tanto, especially if the kids are very young.