This information can be useful to know what to expect on your next trip to Italy.

For example:

  • Do Italians speak Italian or dialects?
  • Do Italians speak foreign languages? What about English?
  • Does that change with regions and age?

Let’s find out!

The report

In 2017, the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) published the report “Use of Italian language, dialects, and foreign languages”.

It’s the most recent report on the topic.

Have you heard about it?

No, because this interesting report has been mentioned virtually nowhere online.

Here are some of the findings from the report.

Main facts

Key facts about dialects in Italy:

  • Dialects are stronger in the North-East and in the South
  • Dialects are still popular among the elderly
  • 14 per cent of the population use predominantly dialect at home

Interesting facts about native languages other than Italian:

  • Languages other than Italian are spreading due to immigration
  • 9.6 per cent of the population have a native language other than Italian

Figures about foreign languages in Italy:

  • 60.1 per cent of the population aged six and over know at least one foreign language
  • The knowledge of foreign languages is still relatively limited, but is better among the younger generations and in the North

Tips for your next trip

Who do these facts mean for you as a traveller to Italy?

  • It’s not always your fault if you don’t understand each other, because many Italians speak a dialect
  • You’ll have a harder time in the North-East and the South
  • Most Italians speak some English, especially the younger generations
  • Some basic French and Spanish can help, too

Learn more detailed facts about the Italian language taken from the report.