"I love you" in Italian: “Amore” and other romantic phrases

As you study Italian online and fall in love with the beauty of the language, you may want to explore the romantic side of Italian culture.

Whether you’re partial to Dante’s unrequited love for Beatrice or the glitz and drama of Love Island Italia, you may be searching for the right words to woo and win your special someone. We’ll discover the Italian words and phrases that will help you write your own epic love story.

Romantic Ways to Say “I Love You” in Italian

From a no-frills “I love you” to more poetic variations, here are several ways to express your tender feelings in Italian.

It’s a safe bet that you’ll be using the tu form with these expressions, to informally address an individual you know fairly well. 



I love you (to a serious romantic interest)

ti amo

I love you with all my heart

ti amo con tutto il mio cuore

I desire you

ti desidero

I will always love you

ti amerò per sempre

I adore you

ti adoro

I love you very much

ti amo tanto

I love you more [as a direct reply to ti amo]

io di più [understood as io ti amo di più]

I’m in love with you

sono innamorato di te [spoken by a man]; sono inamorata di te [spoken by a woman]

Regarding ti amo and its variations, you would reserve it for serious, committed, romantic love.

To express love for a family member or close friend, use ti voglio bene. It essentially means “I want good things for you” in English. Ti voglio molto bene means you care very deeply.

Significhi molto per me (You mean a lot to me) can be used either romantically or platonically. To avoid a misunderstanding, put it in context.

  • Romantic:
    • Significhi molto per me e ti amerò per sempre. (You mean a lot to me and I will always [romantically] love you.)
  •  Fond, yet simply friendly:
    • Significhi molto per me, come famiglia. (You mean a lot to me, like family). 
    • Significhi molto per me, come un caro amico. (You mean a lot to me, like a dear friend).

Baci e abbracci: Hugs and Kisses

When it comes to hugging and kissing, it’s important to be respectful of individual wishes, as well as Italian cultural expectations.

Friends in the same age group commonly share il bacio (the kiss) when they meet and part. It means a light – or air – kiss for each cheek, usually starting on the left side. Among good friends, il bacio is often accompanied by abbracci (hugs). It’s generally not used with new acquaintances, older people, or work colleagues. 

If you’re uncertain, you can take your cue from the person you’re greeting. This is especially true if you’re a man greeting a woman, as it’s considered polite to let the woman set the tone and the standards for personal space.

Contrary to the casual affection expressed by a cheek kiss, going lip-to-lip indicates romantic intentions and intimacy.

General “Hugging and Kissing” Words



a (big) hug

un (forte / grande) abbraccio

a kiss

un bacio

to kiss


to hug


to hug each other

abbracciarsi; scambiarsi un abbraccio

to cuddle

farsi le coccole / coccolare

Hug me


Kiss me!

Baciami! / Dammi un bacio! [literally, “Give me a kiss!”]

Love, hugs and kisses in Italian

“Kisses and Hugs” for Emails and lettere d’amore (Italian Love Letters)

Here are a few sweet sign-offs you can use in your affectionate or romantic correspondence.



a kiss and a hug

un bacio e un abbraccio

a warm hug

un caro abbraccio



kisses and hugs

baci e abbracci

you’re always in my heart

sei sempre nel mio cuore

with heaps of kisses

un sacco di baci [literally, “a sackful of kisses”]

Terms of Endearment in Italian: The Meaning of Tesoro and More

Pet names show affection in languages throughout the world. In Italian, we use vezzeggiativi (endearments) for love interests and family alike. Finding just the right endearment for the object of your affection can strengthen your bond.

  • Tesoro – Treasure
  • Tesorino – “Little Treasure”; sweetie; sweetheart

When you call someone il mio tesoro (my treasure), you’re showing their inestimable worth to you. It’s appropriate for a long-standing romantic relationship or a parent’s love for a child. You can also call someone un gioiello (a jewel).

Both tesoro and gioiello are nouns that always retain their masculine form, even if you’re telling a woman, Sei il mio tesoro (You are my treasure) or Sei un gioiello (You are a jewel). 

Endearing adjectives like caro (dear) and piccolo (little one) will change to match the gender of the person they’re describing.

  • Caro [masc.] / Cara [fem.] - Dear; Darling

If you use the possessive with this (for “my dear” or “my darling”), take care to say mio caro / mia cara. Caro mio (or cara mia) is a little sassy, like calling someone “Mister,” “Buster,” or “Missy” in English. For example:

Hai appena perso il tuo migliore amico, caro mio. – You’ve just lost your best friend, Buster.

Ti conviene fare la brava, cara mia. – You’d better watch it, Missy.

  • Carissimo / Carissima – Dear [used with friends]
  • Amore mio – My love

Even though it might sound somewhat romantic, amore mio (my love, or “love of mine”) can be used more casually, even with amici (friends) and bambini (kids). It’s a bit like “honey” or “hon” or “sweetie.”

  • Mio amato / Mia amata – My beloved
  • Piccolo / Piccola – Baby [literally, “little one”]

Piccolo / Piccola can be used in a flirty or romantic way. You can also address a small child with this word, in the same way we might say, “Hey, kiddo” in English.

  • Principessa – Princess
  • Dolcezza – Sweetness

Both Dolcezza and Principessa are endearments bestowed upon women.

  • Amorino / Amorina – Little Love
  • Innamorato / Innamorata – Lover
  • Anima Gemella – Soulmate [literally, “Twin Soul”]

Italian “pet names” based on animal names are often used with children. These include Passerotto / Passerotta (Little Sparrow [usually for girls]), Scoiattolino / Scoiattolina (Chipmunk), Cucciolotto / Cucciolotta (Little Puppy), Gattino / Gattina (Little Cat), Coniglietto / Coniglietta (Little Bunny), Topolino / Topolina (Little Mouse), and Paperotto / Paperotta (Little  Duckling).

You might also hear food-inspired endearments. Fragolina (Little Strawberry) is a nickname for females, whereas Caramellino (Caramel / Butterscotch) is often used for little boys.

While Patatino / Patatina (Little Potato / Potato Chip / French Fry) sounds innocent enough, it comes with a cautionary note: Beyond describing spuds, patatina can be used to refer to a very private part of a lady’s anatomy. As is often the case, the meaning is often determined by context and tone of voice.

Orsacchiotto (Teddy Bear) and Polpetta (Meatball) are sometimes used for men. Imagine hearing, Sei l’uomo della mia vita, Polpetta! (You’re the man of my life, Meatball!) from your lover. This is the stuff of dreams.

“I Miss You” in Italian

You can use these phrases to tell your loved one how their absence affects you. 



I miss you

mi manchi

I think of you always

ti penso sempre

I will miss you every day

mi mancherai ogni giorno

I can’t live without you

non posso vivere senza di te

Romantic Words for Dating in Italian     



to date [generally]

uscire con; uscire insieme

to date [as a couple who is going out together, long-term]


a date

un appuntamento [can also mean a regular appointment]

to court [to woo; to date with serious intentions]

corteggiare; fare la corte [somewhat old-fashioned, but still used]; fare il filo [literally, “to make the thread”]

to flirt / to make a move

flirtare / provarci

boyfriend / girlfriend

il ragazzo / la ragazza*

companion [often cohabitating]

il mio compagno / la mia compagna

romantic partner

il mio partner / la mia partner

*Around Milan and other northern cities, il moroso and la morosa can be used to mean “boyfriend” and “girlfriend,” respectively.

Words of love in Italian

Love and Marriage: The Basics

As it turns out, so-called “Italian Wedding Soup” has nothing to do with nuptials. But, take heart – the following words do:



in love with

innamorato di / innamorata di / innamorati di / innamorate di

to propose marriage

fare una proposta di matrimonio

fiancé / fiancée [or very serious boyfriend / girlfriend, especially among older people]

il fidanzato / la fidanzata


il fidanzamento

engagement ring

l’anello di fidanzamento

engagement party

la festa di fidanzamento

to marry


wedding day

il giorno delle nozze; il giorno del matrimonio


la damigella

maid of honor

la damigella d’onore


l’amico dello sposo

best man

il testimone dello sposo

wedding ceremony

la cerimonia di matrimonio / la cerimonia di nozze / la cerimonia nuziale

wedding ring

fede nuziale (or just fede)


la sposa

wedding vows

le promesse di matrimonio / le promesse nuziali


lo sposo

wedding cake

la torta nuziale

wedding dress

l’abito da sposa; l’abito nuziale


lo smoking


il matrimonio


il marito


la moglie

wedding anniversary

l’anniversario di matrimonio

Italian Love Phrases

There are numerous phrases you can use to express different degrees of romantic feelings.

  • Mi piaci molto. / Mi piaci tanto.* – I like you a lot.

You can use this phrase to express the start of a romantic interest in someone, without going overboard and scaring them off. It can ease you into a conversation about perhaps turning a friendship into a deeper, romantic relationship.

If you’re really uncertain about whether your feelings will be returned, you can start out even more simply, by just saying mi piaci (I like you). However, unless it’s paired with a qualifier, such as mi piace come canti (I like how you sing), saying mi piaci by itself still expresses romantic interest.

  • Ho preso una sbandata per te. – I’m falling for you / I have a crush on you.

Una sbandata literally refers to a person drifting, a car skidding, or a ship listing to one side. While this may not sound very romantic, just think of it as “falling” for someone.

  • Sono pazzo di te [said by a man] / Sono pazza di te [said by a woman] – I’m crazy about you.
  • Vuoi diventare il mio ragazzo / la mia ragazza? – Do you want to be my boyfriend / my girlfriend?
  • Sono qui davanti a te col cuore in mano. – I stand here before you with my heart in my hand.

Col cuore in mano (with heart in hand) shows your emotional vulnerability. This is when you put all of your cards on the table and open up about your feelings – no matter what the consequences.

Courting Romance: Italian Phrases for Flirting and Dating

Want to uscire (go out) with the person of your dreams? Here are a few phrases you can try to make those magical dates happen:

  • Qual è il tuo numero di telefono? – What is your phone number?
  • Sei libero stasera? [to a man] / Sei libera stasera? [to a woman] - Are you free tonight?
  • Ti va di bere qualcosa insieme? – Do you want to get a drink together?
  • Vuoi uscire a cena insieme? – Do you want to go to dinner together?

Other popular dating ideas include andare al cinema (going to the movies) and fare una passeggiate (taking a walk). Italian-style romance can mean sharing a moonlit Venetian gondola ride, visiting Tuscany’s fabled vineyards, or holding hands under Juliet’s balcony in Verona.

No matter where your romantic journeys take you, keep learning new Italian words so that you can eloquently and clearly express your deepest thoughts and feelings. 

Romantic Italian Phrases Poster

Feel free to print it for your study area, or share it on your website or blog.

I love you in Italian

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