What does “dolce” mean in italian?

stefano lodola italian teacher
Italian language tutor, course author. MEng, MBA. Member of the International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA). After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. I couldn’t find an app to recommend to my students, so I made my own one. With my method, you’ll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.
Struggling with new words? An Italian polyglot has valuable advice about spaced repetition. A quick guide to memorize vocabulary fast, from pain to joy!
What makes a good method of learning a language? To me, a study method is good if it delivers results. Typically, people want to learn Italian to communicate. Thus, progress...
Language learning is an artificial exercise that occupies time, money, and effort that could be better spent doing language acquisition. Learn to communicate!
Struggling with listening? An Italian polyglot has valuable advice about comprehensible input. A quick guide to master any language fast. From pain to joy!
How to practice speaking alone? For best results, turn virtually any study time (reading, listening, writing) into speaking practice for language immersion!
Activities to improve communication skills in a foreign language shift the focus of teaching from the language itself to actually doing things in that language.
What is active recall? In the last years, there has been so much hype around active recall as it is believed to improve your study results and get you better...
How long does it take to learn Italian? Is it hard? How fast you improve depends on your study method. Learn why in this honest guide by an Italian polyglot!
Italian for beginners can be a pain to learn. Not with this polyglot's video guide with 8 solutions to get started! The best way to survive and avoid pitfalls.


Discover the sweet versatility of the Italian word dolce! From tantalizing desserts to gentle climates, learn how this delectable term can add a sprinkle of sweetness to your Italian vocabulary and everyday conversations. 🍰🍯

  • Expand Your Vocabulary: Embrace the adjective dolce to describe anything from a sugary treat to a mild climate. It’s a go-to word for all things pleasantly sweet or mild in Italian. 🍬
  • Describe People: Use dolce to compliment someone’s sweet nature or gentle demeanor. It’s perfect for highlighting a kind personality or a tender smile. 😊
  • Discuss Flavors: Chat about your favorite desserts or the sweetness of your coffee by incorporating dolce into the conversation. It’s a tasty way to share your culinary preferences! ☕️🍰
  • Use It as a Noun: Remember, dolce isn’t just an adjective. Use it as a noun when you’re craving a dessert or discussing the concept of sweetness itself. 🧁
  • Embrace Italian Culture: Get cultural and drop phrases like il dolce far niente to express the joy of relaxation, or dolcetto o scherzetto during Halloween festivities. 🎃
  • Compliment Generously: Next time someone cooks for you, tell them how dolce their dish is. It’s a sweet way to show your appreciation and practice your Italian. 👩‍🍳
  • Express Love: Call your significant other your dolce metà (sweet half) to add a touch of Italian romance to your relationship. 💖
stefano lodola cover
Play Video about stefano lodola cover

If you have a fondness for sugary foods such as chocolate, cakes, and sweets, you should immediately add the adjective dolce to your Italian lexicon.

what does dolce mean in italian sweet

The meaning of dolce in italian

The first definition of dolce in the dictionary is that it is pleasant to taste what is neither bitter, sour, nor salty: “the drink is dolce“, and “honey is too dolce for me.”

Another definition of sweet is without salt: “the dolce water of rivers.

Also means pleasant to the eye: “a dolce show”.

But dolce can also be used as a noun to refer to a dessert.

Let’s see some examples.

The adjective dolce

Dolce is one of those adjectives whose form changes only for the plural, not for the gender. For example:

un mandarino dolce (masculine, singular)

a sweet tangerine

una fragola dolce (feminine, singular)

a sweet strawberry

dei mandarini dolci (masculine, plural)

sweet tangerines

delle fragole dolci (feminine, plural)

sweet strawberries

It can refer to foods or drinks that are naturally sweet, like fruit (frutta), that have been sweetened like coffee (caffè), that are sweeter than other foods or drinks of their kind like a dessert wine (vino), or that have a mild taste like fresh cheese (formaggio fresco).

Just as in English (sweet), dolce has various meanings, all of which denote something pleasant or agreeable.

For example, you can use dolce to describe different facets of a person, including temperament, appearance, personality, or action.

un carattere dolce

a sweet character

un sorriso dolce

a sweet smile

un gesto dolce

a sweet gesture

un viso dolce

a sweet face

When you use the word dolce to talk about the temperature or climate of a place, it means mild or temperate.

un clima dolce

a mild climate

It can also mean malleable in reference to metals or gentle when talking about the steepness of a slope or a breeze.

While hard water is literally called acqua dura, soft water is known in Italian as acqua dolce (literally sweet water).

The term marinaio d’acqua dolce refers to an inexperienced person.

Dolce also has the meaning alternative when referring to medicine.

medicina dolce

alternative medicine

Dolce as a noun

Dolce is not only an adjective but also a masculine noun meaning dessert.

Although occasionally the word dessert is used, dolce is more common.

Vuoi ordinare un dolce?

Do you want to order a dessert?

Another meaning for the noun dolce is sweet to taste or sweetness, in which case it is preceded by the determiner il (which).

You can find it this way in the phrase il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing), made famous by the movie Eat Pray Love.

You may also hear the diminutive dolcino or dolcetto, both meaning small cakes or small pastries.

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

The latter is also the name of a famous black Italian grape variety that is widely grown in the Piedmont region.

Dolcetto also appears in the Halloween expression Dolcetto o scherzetto! (Trick or treat!)

Others example of dolce

Some common words and expressions in which dolce occurs are:

casa dolce casa

home sweet home

la dolce vita

the sweet life

la mia dolce metà

my other (better) half

essere in dolce attesa

to be pregnant

essere al dolce

to be just finished (with a meal)

ghiotto di dolci

to have a sweet tooth

Do your dolce vita

Try complimenting your partner in Italian, and you’ll see how she responds to the dolce sound of Italian words.

Tell your mother how delicious the dolce she baked is.

Sweeten your vocabulary with this versatile Italian word.

Learn in the car with Think in Italian
Play Video about Learn in the car with Think in Italian
Italian word of the day
Vorrei un cappuccino, per favore.
I’d like a cappuccino, please.
Follow me to fluency​

Receive my free resources once a week together with my best offers! 

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.

One Response

  1. “Dolce” in Italian means “sweet”! It’s often used to describe desserts and anything that’s pleasurable to the taste buds. It’s a beautiful word that perfectly captures the essence of indulgence.

Leave a Reply


Take a free lesson today!

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lessons and other resources.

I’ll also deliver my free resources my best offers to your mailbox (opt out at any time).

Read more about Italian words
Origin and Etymology of Pronto The word pronto comes from the Italian verb prontare, which means “to prepare” or “to make ready.” The word first appeared in the Italian language in the...
Enhance your Italian vocabulary with our top 5 ‘Italian Word of the Day services. Elevate your language skills effortlessly! Learn an Italian Word Every Day Why should you learn a...
Our list of Italian words goes on with a new entry. Today I’ll tell you something about the meaning of pure, an Italian word that can be a noun, an...
Top 1000 most common Italian words: the ultimate list! But... how to learn them? Not with flashcards! The smartest way is to put the most used words in context!
Try my courses for free​

Log in

Reset password or get in touch.

Not a member yet? Join today!

How long to fluency?

Find out how long it will take you to master Italian!
Get on the right track in 3 minutes.

dolce vita logo

We're already friends!

Coming from Luca and Marina?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
all language resources

We're already friends!

Coming from All Language Resources?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
50% OFF

To receive free resources once a week together with my best offers, just tell me where to send everything. Opt out at any time.

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.