In Italy, bellissimo is often used in everyday life. And if you’re just getting started with the Italian language, we can use it to talk about some grammatical forms you might want to know and how to pronounce certain letters.
Bellissimo: meaning and pronunciation
Have you ever noticed that there’s a lot of words in the Italian vocabulary that end in -issimo, -issima or -issimi?
This is because these suffixes are used to construct the Italian absolute superlative form.
Bellissimo is the absolute superlative of bello, a masculine adjective that means “beautiful“. We have already talked about it in some other posts.
The suffix –issimo simply intensifies the meaning of an adjective, much like the English adverb very.
So, “bellissimo” can be translated as “really beautiful” or “handsome“.
Ho incontrato un uomo bellissimo in panetteria.
I’ve met a handsome man at the bakery.
Bellissimo can also refer to the beauty of an experience, or a thing. So, it’s very common to hear things like: “bellissima vacanza“, “bellissima serata“, etc.
In those cases, it can translate as “wonderful“, “amazing” or “really nice“.
È stata una vacanza bellissima. Dobbiamo rifarla l’anno prossimo!
It was such a wonderful vacation. We have to do it again next year!
Ho passato una bellissima serata con te. Non vedo l’ora di incontrarti di nuovo!
I’ve had a very nice evening with you. I can’t wait to see you again!
How do you pronounce bellissimo in Italian?
Bellissimo has two double consonants, which are often difficult for English-speakers to pronounce. Therefore, it is good to dwell on its pronunciation for a moment.
Bellissimo can sound more or less like “bell | lees | see | mo“, with an accent on the second syllable. But how do you pronounce “ll” and “ss” in Italian?
When you double a vowel, all you do is simply stop your mouth and tongue in their position for a little while longer.
The same applies to consonants. Doubling them can be difficult at first – after all, it’s like learning a whole new set of phonemes. But it’s really just that.
Letters like L or S should be easy to double, as there are some English words that have similar sounds, but you should try to practice with every consonant in the Italian alphabet.
The first few times it may be helpful to forcefully stress the consonants you want to double. However, try to make them sound as natural as you can.
Let’s not sound like Sméagol from Lord of the Rings 😀
If you want to know more about Italian pronunciation, here’s a → beginner’s guide written by the University of Stanford.
Feminine and plural forms
“Sei bellissimo” (you are very beautiful) is a wonderful thing to say to someone, but be careful not to misgender them.
Italian adjectives should be declined according to the gender of what they describe, and the same goes for their superlative form.
Bellissima is the feminine form of bellissimo, as you may have guessed. The adjective bella is combined with the absolute superlative –issima.
Bellissima is a feminine adjective that can be used to describe females or feminine nouns.
If you’re referring to several people or things, bellissimo / bellissima become bellissimi / bellissime, respectively.
La mostra era bellissima, devo assolutamente portartici prima o poi.
The art show was amazing, I have to bring you there sometime.
Mario fa dei disegni bellissimi.
Mario makes some wonderful drawings.
Potrei inventarmi delle frasi bellissime da usare come esempio, ma oggi la mia fantasia si è presa un giorno libero.
I could come up with some beautiful sentences to use as an example, but my imagination took a day off today.
Being a very important word, bellissimo has many synonyms.
Here are some of the most common ones:
- stupendo – amazing;
- fantastico – wonderful / fantastic;
- splendido – splendid;
- affascinante – fascinating;
You can also simply say molto bello or davvero bello, which are two even more literal translations of “very/really beautiful“.
Bellissimo VS. molto bello & davvero bello
Some might argue that there is a little difference between bellissimo and molto bello. It is a very small difference, but it can be very important in some cases.
To make it short, molto bello and davvero bello are somehow perceived as less intense than bellissimo.
So, it’s better to keep them for situations in which you’re not supposed to show emotional involvement.
On the contrary, bellissimo will make you sound more enthusiastic and sincere.
Rosalba è davvero bella, ma sono innamorato di Giovanna.
Rosalba is really beautiful, but I’m in love with Giovanna.
If you want to put some more emphasis on them, you can repeat molto or davvero for a few times. But I think that they would still sound less intense than bellissimo.
Ho appena finito di leggere un libro molto, molto bello.
I’ve just finished reading a very, very good book.
And speaking of beautiful…
… today is a very nice day, so I’m going to stop here. After all, that was everything you need to know about this common adjective and its meaning.
And you also got a new guide to check if you want to work on your pronunciation.
Of course, the best way to learn how to pronounce Italian words is by mimicking native speakers. That is one of this website’s mantras and applies particularly to this situation.
Go check our Italian song section, find a song you like, and try singing it out loud.
I recommend “Buonanotte Fiorellino” by Francesco de Gregori, as it’s one of my favorite songs and it’s full of double consonants to make practice.
Buon ascolto, e fai tanti esercizi!
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