“Love” – Amore [pronounced: ah-more-ay]
Perhaps it’s the melody of the language when spoken, or maybe it’s the perfect combination of lilt and flow. Could it be something to do with the essence of Italy itself?
Whatever the reason, and you may have your own opinion and ideas as to why, Italian is the most romantic language in the world.
As well as officially being a ‘Romance language’ – one of a family of languages derived from Latin that also includes Spanish, French and Portuguese – it’s romantic and poetic in nature too.
Words such as amore (love), bella/bello (beautiful) and Ti amo (I love you) are all part of the global language of love and romance, spreading from Italy to all parts of the world.
Maybe that is what led Roman emperor Charles V to declare, as far back as the 16th century: “I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.” By this he meant that Spanish was a language of religion; French was the language of diplomacy and politics in the Royal courts of the time; German was a language of strength and power and Italia was the language of love.
“I love you” – Ti amo [pronounced tee am-oh]
There’s a long tradition of beautifully-written poetry, prose and opera in Italian, and it’s melodic rhythm, when spoken, often makes the speaker sound like they are singing.
With many Italian words ending in a vowel and not-so-many words combining a series of consonants in a row, not only does the language sound musical, it’s perfect for singing too.
Some of the most famous operas were written in Italian and audiences associate seminal works such as Madama Butterfly by Puccini or La Traviata by Verdi with the language.
Indeed, one of the most famous opera arias of all time is Puccini’s Nessun Dorma – forever associated with the Italian 1990 football World Cup – from the opera Turandot, with the lyrics translating as ‘none shall sleep’. Few people could sleep through Pavarotti’s memorable and dramatic renditions of it!
“My Love” – Amore mio [pronounced: Ah-more-ay mee-oh]
Not all famous songs associated with Italy are operatic. Italian-American singer and actor, Dean Martin, a member of the Rat Pack along with Frank Sinatra (who also had Italian parents) made That’s Amore a hit in the 1950s. While’s it’s now associated with Italy it’s not actually an Italian song at all and was written specifically for a movie starring Martin.
However, it did help to popularise the word ‘amore’ – Italian for ‘love’ – and made it familiar to English-language speakers in the middle of the 20th century. It also helped to firmly plant the idea of Italy as a land of love, glamour and romance in the minds of people around the world.
In 1958 Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti) also made the song Volare famous, which actually was an Italian song, originally recorded by Italian singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno.
Meaning ‘to fly’, Volare’s proper Italian title is Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (In the Blue Painted Sky). With lyrics including the lines “I keep dreaming in your beautiful eyes, which are as blue as a sky quilted with stars’ it’s no wonder that the song was chosen as the Italian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1958, where it came third. Since then it has become a popular classic, heard in movies and TV programmes as well as on concert stages.
“I miss you” – Mi manchi [pronounced: mee man-key]
If you want to sprinkle some Italian words of love into your conversation – or surprise a special someone with some Italian love poetry or song that you have written yourself – try starting with these words and phrases.
“I adore you” – Ti adoro [pronounced: tee a-door-oh]
“Hello beautiful” (to a woman) – Ciao bella [pronounced: chow bell-a]
“Hello beautiful” (to a man) – Ciao bello [pronounced: chow bell-oh]
“Kiss me!” – Baciami! [pronounced: ba-ch-yamee]
“My sweetheart” – Tesoro mio [pronounced: tay-saw-roh mee-oh]
“Baci” – Kisses [pronounced: bah-chee]