Learn to use Italian numbers in everyday situations

Buying things, telling your age, or sharing your phone number. To do any of these basic activities, you have to be familiar with Italian numbers. Numbers are everywhere, so you better learn how to use Italian numbers in everyday situations.
learn to use italian numbers in everyday situations

Why Numbers Matter When Learning A New Language

Nobody believes that numbers are hugely significant when learning a foreign language.

Typically, vocabulary and grammar take an unreasonable amount of a student’s study time.

But, when you think about it, all of those nouns, verbs, and adjectives must be quantified.

Numbers help us communicate more clearly and expand our ideas. So when learning a new language, numbers matter… a lot.

It’s not only about eggs; but, how many eggs are in the basket? Or how many boys are on the field? When did you get here?

Or how much does that phone cost? Or, how far are we from the nearest pizzeria?

All of these require numbers, and if you want to know them like a native speaker, you should get as much exposure to them as possible.

They are true, vital to day-to-day, real-life conversation.

If you need to review Italian numbers from 1 to 10 check out this lesson.

Exchanging Telephone Numbers In Italian

It’s time for you to start engaging in more social interactions with the Italian language.

To be fair, everyone needs to keep in contact by phone at some point, so you will need to be able to give out your local number, and also understand other people’s phone numbers.

While in Italy, you will soon learn about ‘prefisso’ which is the area code or the international dialing code.

If you want make calls abroad, you will need to use it, and if you are giving your Italian phone number, make sure to include it, so he or she can reach you.

For example, we can say

Il prefisso dell’Inghilterra e +44 (più quarantaquattro)

The UK dialing code is +44.

Or, you can ask

Qual’e il prefisso di Roma?

What is Rome’s city area code?

The Italian country code is +39!

What’s left do to now is give your telephone number to someone.

You can simply say ‘Il mio numero di telefono è 100-40-13-555 (“uno uno uno quattro zero uno tre cinque cinque cinque” or “cento quaranta tredici cinquecento e cinquantacinque”).

It’s all about the version you are most comfortable with.

Shopping Using Italian Numbers

In Italy, shopping is one of the most popular activities, so you will definitely go and visit the stores while you’re at it.

There’s nothing more beautiful than finding a ‘mercato’ and buying all the fruits and vegetables you can find.

These ‘little markets’ usually appear once a week and early in the morning, so you may need to ask a local about when you will find it.

In shopping, there are a few useful sentences you need to know.

You will be able to say the prices using the Italian cardinal number you learned, but you also need to know how to ask about the prices and other Italian words.

If you want to ask ‘what’s the price’ or ‘how much is it’ in Italian, you will ask ‘quanto costa?’ or ‘quant’e’?

You will probably get a response starting with ‘costa’ or ‘è’ or ‘viene’, as they are all synonyms to ‘it costs,’ or maybe a formal answer, such as

Le fragole costano otto euro e dieci

The strawberries cost eight euros and ten.

By learning the Italian numbers, you will have a very nice experience shopping in Italy!

Saying Your Age In Italian

When it comes to saying your age in Italian, things are a little different than in English. For starters, Italians don’t say ‘I am 24 years old.’

They will say ‘I have 20 years’, and this is the only correct way to say it.

You can simply tell your age by saying ‘Ho 20 (venti/vent’) anni.’ It’s very easy, and you only need to know the numbers.

You can also say that you are older or younger than someone.

Ho due anni più/meno di te.

I have two years more/less than you.

On the same topic, someone may ask you what year you were born in.

It’s a common thing to ask, so it’s important to be able to talk about the year you were born in, or maybe about the year a specific event occurred.

Whether you will be talking about art, music or just when you met someone, these are things you need to know.

For starters, if you want to say what year we are in, you can simply say ‘siamo nel 2022’ meaning that ‘we’re in 2022.’

If we are talking about an earlier date, the Italians will say ‘Era il 2005‘ or “It was 2005.’

Do you know how we often refer to the sixties? Well, Italians do too, and they will say ‘gli anni sessanta’ for the sixties, and ‘gli anni ottanta’ for the eighties.

Do you want to know a few more Italian phrases? But of course.

If you want to say that you were born in the ’80s, you can simply say ‘Sono nata negli anni ‘80.

Or maybe you really love the 80’s music, and you may find yourself saying ‘Amo la musica anni ‘80.

Keep in mind that Italians shorten the years too, so if you want to say 1984, you can simply go ahead and say ‘84’ or ‘l’ottantaquatro.’

If you’re reminiscing about when you met someone, you can say

Ci siamo conosciuti nell’ottantaquattro.

We first met in ‘84.’

If you want to go back in time, you will need to learn to talk about centuries, and we will do that, by reviewing the ordinal Roman numbers.

XXI – Il ventunesimo secoloThe twenty-first century (2001-2100)

XX – Il ventesimo secoloThe twentieth century (1902 – 2000)

XIX – Il diciannovesimo secoloThe nineteenth century (1801 – 1900)

XVIII – Il diciottesimo secoloThe eighteenth century (1702-1800)

XVII – Il diciassettesimo secoloThe seventeenth century (1601-1700)

XVI – Il sedicesimo secoloThe sixteenth century (1501-1600)

So now, you can use the numbers in Italian to tell all your friends about a certain event that happened in the eighteenth century, and they will completely understand what you are talking about.

Math Operations In Italian

The Italian operations are simple, and you must know them. If you learn the Italian numbers, then these will be incredibly easy for you.

“+” – Piu

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“-” – Meno

“x” – Per

“:” – Diviso

“=” – Uguale/Fa

So, if you want to make a simple operation, you can say

2 più 2 uguale 4

2 plus 2 equals 4

6 diviso 3 fa 2

6 divided by 3 is 2.

You don’t need to be a Math teacher to use them, but I’m sure these will be very helpful the next time you need to prove your argument.

Numbers in Italian are a little different compared to the English ones. They use the periods to mark the thousands and a comma for decimals.

To give an example, it is as follows.

1.000 mile One thousand, in English would be 1,000

1,4 uno virgola quattroOne point four, in English would be 1.4

Italian numbers in proverbs

Some common Italian proverbs involving numbers:

  • Chi fa da sè fa per tre.

It literally means:”Someone who does for himself does for three (people)”.

It really means: If you want something done well, do it yourself.

  • Andare a fare quattro salti.

It literally means:”To go make four jumps”.

It really means: To go dance.

  • Dare i numeri.

It literally means: “To give numbers” — Originally about people who picked lottery numbers based on signs or superstition.

It really means: To be crazy/raving/mentally imbalanced.

For common Italian phrases that are not related to numbers, check out this collection of funny idioms, common Italian proverbs, and famous quotes.

Final thoughts

So there you have it! Those are Italian numbers and how to use them.

With these new language skills in your back pocket, you’ll be able to chat comfortably with native speakers, travel to Italy, and navigate the maze of exciting experiences you’ll have while speaking real-world Italian.

You will undoubtedly create memories that will last a lifetime. Count on it!

If you want to be able to count from zero to very big numbers check out this post.

If you want to learn Italian online, remember you can always join the course, Ripeti Con Me, where you can learn in no time how to speak Italian, and use it whenever you have the chance.

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!


I was born in Italy but after graduating from University I decided to travel around the world. I loved Asia and that’s why I decided to move, first to South Korea and then to China where I am currently working as a teacher.

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