Why learn the days of the week in Italian? You need the days of the week to make plans, to understand a story, and to engage in conversation about schedules. Whether you are a student, a tourist, or have business in Italy, schedules are important.
First, let’s start with la settimana—the week. This word gets its name from sette, the number seven in Italian. Of course, you can guess why. There are seven giorni –days – in a week. You can remember giorno from the greeting Buongiorno!/Good day! or from its close cousin journal, a daily writing habit.
A great phrase to learn is Che giorno è…? – Which day is…? Or in more formal written communication, Qual giorno è… ?
With this phrase, you can ask:
Che giorno è oggi?
What day is today?
Quale giorno è la festa?
What day is the party?
Once you have this basic vocabulary, you’re ready to learn the names of the Italian days of the week.
Introducing the Italian days of the week
Italian days of the week: Extra vocabulary
|Che giorno è oggi?
What day is it?
|È il mio compleanno questa settimana.
It’s my birthday this week.
|Fine settimana / weekend
|Il sabato inizia il fine settimana.
The weekend starts with Saturday.
|Domani è domenica.
Tomorrow is Sunday.
It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
|Non posso venire martedì mattina.
I can’t come on Monday morning.
|Andiamo al cinema sabato sera.
Let’s go to the movies Saturday night.
How to use the Italian days in a sentence: 3 things to bear in mind
Knowing the names of the days isn’t enough to be able to communicate. You also need to know how to use them in context. Here are a few tips and tricks to using the Italian days correctly:
Italian days of the week are never capitalised unless they start a sentence.
Il lunedí vado a scuola.
On Mondays, I go to school.
2. Articles & prepositions
Italian speakers don’t say days with a preposition like in English (on Wednesday). When an Italian speaker says a day with no article, you can assume that they mean the next instance of that day.
Cosa fai venerdì?
What are you doing (this) Friday?
When you hear a day of the week with an article before it, this changes the meaning to be all instances of that day. This can be confusing for English speakers who associate a singular article with a single day.
Cosa fai il venerdì?
What do you do on Fridays?
All of the Italian days of the week (il lunedì, il martedì, il mercoledì, etc.) are masculine, except for Sunday. Sunday (la domenica) is feminine.
3. Last, this & next
Communicating the right day can be a pain in English, let alone another language – so here’s a words to make sure you don’t get your weeks mixed up!
To clarify dates, you can ask questions like these:
Your Italian friend may tell you giovedì scorso (last Thursday), or giovedì successive (the following Thursday).
And remember, you don’t need an article for this Thursday (just giovedì will suffice), but if you want to check everyone’s on the same page, you can say: questo giovedì (this Thursday).
Cool method for memorising the Italian days of the week
Want tips and tricks for remembering each Italian day of the week? We’ve got you covered.
Most Italian days of the week were named after planets and Roman gods.
The weekend days have a different origin. Sabato comes from the Latin sabbatum, the traditional seventh day of the week and the same root word as sabbath. In modern Italy, Sunday is the seventh day of the week as the week starts on Monday. The word for Sunday is domenica, which comes from the Latin name for God, dominus.
Suffering from information overload and want to take it day by day? We can do that, too.
Monday in Italian
Lunedì comes from luna or moon, like lunar.
Tuesday in Italian
Martedì sounds like its namesake, Mars, god of war.
Wednesday in Italian
Mercoledì is named after the planet, Mercury. It’s also the longest Italian day name, just like Wednesday is in English.
Thursday in Italian
Have you heard the expression “by Jove” in English? This old expression of surprise is short for “by Jupiter” and can help you remember giovedì, the day named for Jupiter.
Friday in Italian
Venerdì comes from Venus, goddess of love. Remember Friday as date night—the day for romance.
Saturday in Italian
Sabato is very close to sabbath, the Jewish Holy day.
Sunday in Italian
Domenica is the holy day in the Catholic church, based in Vatican City in Italy. Think of the domes on the roofs of many beautiful Italian churches to remember this one!
General top tip: five of the Italian days of the week end in -dì, which is easy to remember since it’s so close to the English “day”.
Now you know all about the Italian days of the week
With all this new knowledge, you’re ready to go out and book coffee dates, sign up for boat tours, and anything else that requires intimate knowledge of how to say ‘Monday’.
But there’s so much more to Italian than counting the days...
Busuu’s award-winning free online Italian course is the place to find more essential, everyday language you’ll actually use like this.
Don’t put it off ‘til next sabato. Take your Italian to the next level with Busuu!