Saying the date in Italian is one of the basics you should acquire early in your language-learning journey.
To organize your daily life, you will definitely need to be familiar with the days of the week and the name of the months in Italian, and learn how to talk about dates.
Let’s get to it now!
Basic calendar-related terms in Italian
Before we proceed to the different names of days and months, let us tackle the basic words first.
Calendario – Calendar
Giorno – Day
Oggi – Today
Ieri – Yesterday
Domani – Tomorrow
L’altro ieri – The day before yesterday
Dopodomani – The day after tomorrow
Settimana – Week
Fine settimana – Weekend
Mese – Month
Bimestre – Bimester, two-month period
Trimestre – Quarter, trimester
Quadrimestre – Four-month period
Semestre – Semester, half-year
Anno – Year
Biennio – Biennium, two-year period
Triennio – Triennium, three-year period
Quinquennio – Five years, period of five years
Decennio – Decade, ten years
Secolo – Century
Millennio – Millennium, period of 1000 years
Data – Date
The days of the week
Just like telling the time, knowing the days of the week (giorni della settimana) in Italian is a basic, but super-important skill.
Here are the Italian days of the week:
lunedì – Monday
martedì – Tuesday
mercoledì – Wednesday
giovedì – Thursday
venerdì – Friday
sabato – Saturday
domenica – Sunday
Unlike in English, the days of the week are not capitalized, which means that we use a lower case first letter when writing them.
Remember: the Italian week starts on Monday rather than Sunday.
The accent mark on lunedì, martedì, mercoledì, giovedì, and venerdì lets you know where to put the stress. In this case, the stress falls on the last syllable. Like all other accented nouns in Italian, lunedì, martedì, mercoledì, giovedì, and venerdì are invariable and don’t change in their plural form, while sabato and domenica have regular plural forms when needed.
Let’s look at some examples:
Ci vediamo mercoledì! – See you on Wednesday!
Hai da fare venerdì prossimo? – Are you busy next Friday?
Vuoi venire a cena da noi domenica sera? – Would you like to come over for dinner on Sunday night?
I martedì sono giorni impegnativi – Tuesdays are busy days.
Qual è il vostro giorno di chiusura? Siamo chiusi tutte le domeniche mattina – When is your day off? Our day off is every Sunday morning.
The days of the week are all masculine except for domenica (Sunday), which is feminine. As you can see from the above examples, definite articles are not used before the days of the week.
Oggi è sabato – Today is Saturday.
Ieri era venerdì – Yesterday was Friday.
Domani è domenica – Tomorrow is Sunday.
You use a definite article when you mean every Friday, every Sunday, and so on.
Have a look at these examples to get an idea of how it works:
L’ufficio è aperto al pubblico il martedì e il giovedì – The office is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Ho lezione di yoga il lunedì pomeriggio – I go to a yoga class every Monday afternoon.
Il sabato dormo fino a tardi – All Saturdays I sleep late.
Set the Italian days of the week to music
There are some great children’s songs out there that can work as mnemonics. One of the most popular is “I giorni della settimana” (the days of the week).
Here are the lyrics:
Lunedì faccio un saltello,
Martedì con mio fratello,
Mercoledì mangiamo la pizza,
Giovedì giriamo la piazza,
Venerdì è una bella giornata,
Sabato bevo un’aranciata,
Domenica è l’ultimo giorno, con la mia famiglia torno.
Monday I take a jump,
Tuesday with my brother,
Wednesday we eat pizza,
Thursday we walk around the square,
Friday is a beautiful day,
Saturday I drink orange juice,
Sunday is the last day, with my family I return.
Months in Italian
Now let’s move on to the months of the year. In Italian, most of the words for months are rather similar to those in English.
gennaio – January
febbraio – February
marzo – March
aprile – April
maggio – May
giugno – June
luglio – July
agosto – August
settembre – September
ottobre – October
novembre – November
dicembre – December
Just like the weekdays, the names of the twelve months are not capitalized in Italian.
Here are some examples:
Il compleanno di Emanuele è a giugno – Emanuele’s birthday is in June.
Luglio è il settimo mese dell’anno – July is the seventh month of the year.
A settembre i bambini dovranno tornare a scuola – The children will have to go back to school in September.
Ottobre è il mio mese preferito – October is my favorite month.
Pronunciation note: gennaio (jehn-nah-yoh), febbraio (fehb-brah-yoh), marzo (mahr-tsoh), maggio (mahj-joh), giugno (joo-nyoh), and luglio (loo-lyoh) can be quite tricky to pronounce. So be careful!
All months have 30 or 31 days, except for February which has 28 days or 29 in a leap year. Do you remember the children’s song that begins: “Thirty days has September, April, June, and November”? The exact same song exists in Italian! Listening to it will help you remember how many days each month has in the Gregorian calendar.
Here are the lyrics:
Trenta giorni ha novembre,
con aprile, giugno e settembre,
di ventotto ce n’è uno,
tutti gli altri ne han trentuno.
Thirty days has November,
with April, June, and September,
there’s just one with twenty-eight,
all the rest have thirty-one.
How to say the date in Italian
Knowing how to talk about the date is essential for making plans, appointments, reservations and travel arrangements. So, being able to say, ask, write and read the date in Italian is imperative.
It can be trickier than you’d think. Dates are a little bit different in Italian than in English, but they are not so difficult once you learn the formulas and rules. As you can imagine, knowing the numbers in Italian is essential for formulating dates.
There are two different formulas to ask the date in Italian:
Che giorno è oggi? – What day is it today?
Quanti ne abbiamo oggi? – (Literally: How many do we have today?) What’s the date today?
You can also ask for a more specific date:
Che giorno è Pasqua quest’anno? – What day will Easter be this year?
Che giorno parti? – What day are you leaving?
Qual è la tua data di nascita? – What is your date of birth?
Saying the date
To say what the date is, the most important thing to remember is that in Italian the month is said after the day.
Oggi è il 15 maggio – Today is May 15th.
Ieri era il 22 luglio – Yesterday was July 22nd.
Domani è il 3 marzo – Tomorrow is March 3rd.
Che giorno è Pasqua quest’anno? Il 4 aprile – What day will Easter be this year? April, 4th.
Use this construction for saying dates in Italian:
Il (definite article) + cardinal number + month + year
To write the date, the order you would use is definite article+day+month+year, with no punctuation in between.
Il 6 dicembre 2019 – December 6th, 2019
Il 29 settembre 2020 – September 29th, 2020
As you might have noticed, cardinal numbers are used when talking about dates in Italian. The first day of the month is a little different, as you have to use the ordinal number.
See some examples below:
Oggi è il primo settembre – Today is September first.
Domani è il primo maggio, la Festa dei lavoratori – Tomorrow is May first, International Workers’ Day.
Ieri era il primo marzo – Yesterday was March first.
For all other dates, you use the equivalent of two, three, four, and so on.
Some examples will make it clearer:
Ilaria è nata il 20 gennaio 2015 – Ilaria was born on January 20, 2015.
Cristoforo Colombo scoprì l’America il 12 ottobre 1492 – Columbus discovered America on October 12, 1492.
La presa della Bastiglia è avvenuta il 14 luglio 1789 a Parigi – The Storming of the Bastille took place in Paris on July 14, 1789.
When writing the date in numeric form, the format is the same as in much of Europe:
giorno-mese-anno (day-month-year) → dd/mm/yyyy.
So, to express February 05, 2003, you would write 05/02/2003 instead of 02/05/2003. If you write 02/05/2003, it would be assumed you were talking about May.
To sum up…
- Unlike in English, the days of the week DON’T have a capital letter in Italian.
- The names of months are not capitalized in Italian.
- The Italian week starts on Monday rather than Sunday.
- The day always comes before the month in Italian.
- The ordinal number is used only on the first day of the month. For all the other days you use the equivalent of two, three, four and so on.
- To write the date, the order you would use is article+day+month+year, with no punctuation in between.
Well done for making it to the end of this lesson! It will help to brush up on the Italian numbers before learning how to say and write the date.