One of the first terms everyone wants to learn how to say in Italian is beautiful, but unlike other words which have just one precise translation, this particular word can be expressed in multiple ways.
In this article, we’ve listed six of the most common terms for beautiful you’ll come across while learning Italian. If you can think of any others that we’ve missed, feel free to leave us a comment below! 🙂
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Perhaps the most straightforward and recognised translation for beautiful in Italian is bello (masculine). Even those who aren’t learning Italian have probably encountered the cliché phrase Ciao bello! / Ciao bella! (Hello beautiful!) at some point in TV shows or movies about Italy.
As is the case with many adjectives, the ending of bello changes according to the gender and number of the noun it describes. When it comes after the noun, it behaves like a normal adjective:
- bello = masculine singular (bambino bello = beautiful boy)
- bella = feminine singular (bambina bella = beautiful girl)
- belli = masculine plural (bambini belli = beautiful boys)
- belle = feminine plural (bambine belle = beautiful girls)
When it comes before the noun however, it follows the rules of the definite articles (il, lo, la, i, gli, le and l’):
- bel = masculine singular (bel bambino = beautiful boy)
- bello = masculine singular in front of nouns starting with s + consonant, z, y, x, ps, pn, pt or gn (bello sguardo = beautiful gaze)
- bella = feminine singular (bella bambina = beautiful girl)
- bell’ = in front of singular nouns starting with a vowel (bell’albero)
- bei = masculine plural (bei bambini = beautiful boys)
- begli = masculine plural in front of nouns starting with a s + consonant, z, y, x, ps, pn, pt or gn (begli sguardi = beautiful gazes)
- belle = feminine plural (belle bambine = beautiful girls)
Non mi stuferò mai di questa bella vista.
I’ll never get tired of this beautiful view.
Keep in mind that bello / bella can be translated in many other ways besides beautiful including handsome, nice, fair, good, quite and virtuous.
If you want to be even more emphatic, you can add the suffix -issimo (masculine) to the end of bello to form the absolute superlative bellissimo. The literal English translation would be very beautiful or extremely beautiful but beautiful on its own can often suffice.
The feminine and plural forms are as follows: bellissima (feminine), bellissimi (masculine plural) and bellissime (feminine plural).
C’era una volta una bellissima principessa che viveva in un mondo incantato.
Once upon a time there was a princess who lived in an enchanted world.
3. Molto bello
Another way of saying bellissimo is molto bello, which is formed by adding the adverb molto (very) in front of the adjective. Whereas bello and bellissimo can either precede or follow the noun they describe, molto bello must follow it as in the following example.
Lei ha un viso molto bello e un sorriso ammaliante.
She has a very beautiful face and a bewitching smile.
In English, we don’t tend to use the word stupendous very often, but in Italian, it is a very common adjective that often translates as beautiful.
Stupendo is the masculine form, whereas stupenda is the feminine. Their respective plural forms are stupendi and stupende.
Sofia Loren è una donna stupenda e una grande attrice!
Sofia Loren is a beautiful woman and a great actress!
Some other possible translations for stupendo include wonderful, stunning and splendid.
Marvellous is another one of those words that doesn’t crop up in English all that often but its Italian equivalent, meraviglioso, is very much alive and well, and works as a very plausible translation for beautiful.
As with the other adjectives on this list, simply change the last letter to a, i, or e to create the feminine and plural forms.
Che tramonto meraviglioso che abbiamo visto!
What a beautiful sunset we saw!
It too can be translated using other adjectives such as wonderful, magnificent, astonishing or extraordinary.
Our final synonym for beautiful in Italian is magnifico which, as you might have guessed, means magnificent. Out of all the words listed here, I would say this one translates as beautiful the least often, but it is still a possibility.
Magnifica is the feminine form, magnifici the masculine plural and magnifiche the feminine plural.
Once again, you can change the last letter to create the feminine and plural forms.
Ho visto un magnifico gatto rosso con gli occhi verdi.
I saw a beautiful orange cat with green eyes.
‘Beautiful’ Bonus Expressions!
If you want to learn some additional words and expressions containing bello and bellissimo (which tend to be the default translations for beautiful), we’ve got you covered!
You are beautiful.
You are very beautiful.
You are so beautiful.
How beautiful you are.
Tu sei bello(a).
Tu sei bellissimo(a) / molto bello(a).
Tu sei così bello(a).
Come sei bello(a).
Life is beautiful!
La vita è bella!
Hi / Bye beautiful!
Ciao bello / bella!
My beautiful love.
Il mio bellissimo amore.
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.