Means of transportation: Italian grammar lesson 171

Key Takeaways

Readers will learn how to discuss various means of transportation in Italian and how to use related verbs and prepositions effectively.

  • Learn the Italian names for common means of transportation like la macchina (car) and il treno (train).
  • Understand how to use the verb andare (to go) with the preposition in to describe traveling by different modes.
  • Discover the use of a for going on foot and how it differs from other prepositions.
  • Explore the use of con to emphasize the means of transportation in a sentence.
  • Learn to use the verb prendere (to take) when discussing public transport options.

Quick facts

How do you say "car" in Italian?

"Car" in Italian is "la macchina," "l’automobile," or "l'auto."

What's the Italian word for "bus"?

The Italian word for "bus" is "l’autobus," a masculine noun.

How do you express "go by" in Italian?

Use the verb "andare" followed by the preposition "in" for "go by."

How do you say "I go to work by car" in Italian?

"Io vado a lavorare in macchina."

What preposition is used for "go on foot" in Italian?

The preposition "a" is used for "go on foot," as in "andare a piedi."

How can "venire" be used in the context of transportation?

"Venire" can be paired with "in" or "a" to indicate how someone comes, e.g., "verrò a piedi."

Are there alternatives to "in" for public transportation?

Yes, "con" can be used, especially to emphasize the means of transport, like "con l’autobus."

How do you say "I took the bus" in Italian?

"Ho preso l’autobus per venire qui."

What verb is commonly used with public transport in Italian?

The verb "prendere," meaning "to take," is commonly used with public transport.

How do you ask "Shall we take a taxi?" in Italian?

"Prendiamo un taxi, no?"

My Thoughts

How to talk about transport in Italian?

First of all, let’s have a look at a list of the possible mezzi di trasporto (means of transportation) in Italian:

  • car is lamacchina, l’automobile o l’auto
  • bus is l’autobus (masculine noun)
  • train is il treno
  • bicycle is la bicicletta o la bici
  • airplane is l’aereo (masculine noun)
  • motorbike is la motocicletta, la motoil motorino
  • boat is la barca
  • taxi is il taxi
Prendo la barca ogni estate.

How to say go by… in Italian?

With all of the above, when you are describing how you go somewhere, you can use the verb andare (to go) followed by the preposition in, which in this case stands for the English by.

  • Andare in

Io vado a lavorare in macchina.

I go to work by car.

Mi piace andare in bici.

I like riding a bike.

Andremo in Puglia in treno, non voglio andare in aereo.

We’ll go to Puglia by train; I do not want to go by plane.

Sono andata in taxi, non mi andava di camminare.

I went by taxi; I didn’t feel like walking.

As is the case in English, go on foot uses another preposition. In this case, the preposition a.

  • Andare a

Andiamo a piedi o in bici?

Shall we go on foot or by bike?

Vai a piedi, non è lontano!

Go on foot, it is not far!

You can also use this same construction with other verbs of movement, such as venire (to come), arrivare (to arrive), partire (to leave or depart):

Siamo arrivati in macchina.

We arrived by car.

Stasera verrò a piedi.

Tonight I’ll come on foot.

Sono partiti in aereo ieri.

They left by plane yesterday.

Devo prendere il treno per Roma.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Transport in Italian: examples

Sometimes, you will hear the preposition con instead of in, especially when talking about public transport or when we want to emphasize the means of transportation in the sentence.

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This is also acceptable in Italian, although far less commonly used.

Sono andato con l’autobus.

I went by bus.

Sono arrivati fino alla cima con la macchina.

They arrived at the top by car.

Si può arrivare solo con l’aereo.

You can only get there by plane.

With public transport, we use the verb prendere (to take).

Ho preso l’autobus per venire qui.

I took the bus to come here.

Non mi piace prendere l’aereo.

I do not like taking planes.

Prendiamo un taxi, no?

Shall we take a taxi?

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions


What is Italian slang for car?

The term "automobile" can be shortened to "auto" for a less formal tone. In formal Italian, the term "autovettura" may be used, which can also be shortened to "vettura". However, the most commonly used informal term for "car" in Italian is "macchina". This term has a dual meaning of "machine" or "car" depending on the context in which it is used.

What is the main way of transportation in Italy?

If you plan on visiting popular Italian cities such as Rome, Florence, and Venice, the optimal mode of transportation is by train. Italy boasts a comprehensive railway system that encompasses both high-speed inter-city trains and regional services that link the smaller towns and cities.

Italian word of the day
Non capivo più niente dal sonno.
I was so tired that I couldn’t think.
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