How To Say The Date And Time In Italian? 3 Easy Ways

Would you like to learn how to say the date and time in Italian? If you go to Italy or have Italian friends, one of the most common things that can happen is to be asked what time it is.

You might also need to ask others what is the time or the date. In this case, knowing how to tell it in Italian is helpful.

This article goes over how to say the date and time in Italian.

Basic Rules About The Date And Time In Italian

Let’s start with the fundamentals of the date and time in Italian and then all the variations.

1. How To Say The Date In Italian

In the Italian language, the date is expressed with cardinal numbers, and we must indicate the day in numbers, the month, and the year. For example:

  • Oggi è l’12 settembre 2018 – Today is 12 September 2018.

For the first day of each month, however, it is necessary to use the ordinal number 1 (il primo – the first). For example:

  • Maria compie gli anni il 1° (primo) Novembre – Maria’s birthday is on 1st November

In addition to saying the day, month and year, we can also indicate the day of the week without expressing the year. For example:

  • Oggi è martedì, 4 Giugno – Today is Tuesday, June 4th.

If you want to ask, ” what day is today?” you can use:

  • Che giorno è oggi?

2. Additional Rules About The Italian Dates

Let’s start with the dates expressed by the year alone. Here are some rules to remember:

  • First, the year number must always be indicated in numbers.

For example, 2022.

  • In date ranges, the second year can be written in full (2021-2022) or shortened to the last two digits (2021-22).
  • The centuries following the year 1000 are indicated with the Roman numeral or are written in full with a capital letter.

For example:

a. XV secolo – The 15th century.

b. Il tredicesimo secolo – The thirteenth century

  • For the centuries preceding the year 1000, only the form with the Roman numeral is used. If it is necessary to put the abbreviation a.C. (BC) or that d.C. (after Christ), this abbreviation should preferably be indicated immediately after the Roman numeral.

For example:

Secolo VIII a.C. e non VIII secolo a.C. – 8th century BC and not 8th century BC.

  • When writing the decades of a century, the number that indicates them should preferably be written in letters with a capital initial, while the word “years” (anni) must be written with a lowercase initial.

For example:

Gli anni Quaranta, gli anni Settanta… – The forties, The seventies…

In addition, on dates that also indicate the day and month, the day and year are generally written in numbers, while the month is written in letters.

For example:

25 giugno 2020 – June 22, 2020.

3. How To Say The Hours In Italian

“What time is it?” … Good question, right?

A timetable is essential for any communication because it allows us to make appointments and orient ourselves over time. But how does it work in Italian? And what are the basic words to use?

If you need to know the time, you can ask:

  • Che ora è ?- What time is it?


  • Che ore sono? – Literally, it means “What hours are they,” but it is used to ask, “what time is it?

Both forms are correct.

If, on the other hand, you have to answer these questions, you will have to use: ” Sono le…” (its…).

For instance:

Sono le 4:00 – It’s four o’clock

There are a few exceptions; instead of using “Sono le…,” you have to use “È…” in the following cases:

  • h. 01:00 → È l’una – It’s one o’clock
  • h. 12:00 → È mezzogiorno – It is noon
  • h. 24:00 → È mezzanotte – It is midnight

What Are The Italian Systems To Tell The Time?

Date and Time in Italian

Now you must know that in Italy there are two ways to tell the time:

1) 24-Hour System

In this system, the numbers are used to tell the hours, which are 1 to 24, followed by the numbers 1 to 60 for the minutes.

For instance:

  • h. 08:50 → Sono le 8 e 50 – It’s 8.50 am
  • h. 17:35 → Sono le 17 e 35 – It’s 5:35 pm
  • h. 09: 15 → Sono le 9 e 15 – It’s 9:15 am

2) 12-Hour System

This system uses the numbers from 1 to 12 to tell the hours, followed by the numbers from 1 to 60 for the minutes, and then, if it is necessary to specify, we add “in the morning” and “in the afternoon,” “in the evening” or “at night. “

Here is how you translate them:

  • Di mattina – In the morning
  • Nel pomeriggio – In the afternoon
  • In serata/di sera – In the evening
  • Di notte – At night

For instance:

  • h. 16:20 → Sono le 4 e 20 di pomeriggio – It’s 4:20 in the afternoon
  • h. 20:00 →Sono le 8 di sera – It’s 8 in the evening
  • h. 03:00 → Sono le 3 di notte -It is 3 in the morning ( although it translates into 3 o’clock in the night)

Other Peculiarities To Know About Telling Time In Italian

Now let’s see some peculiarities. If you want to say that the time is 20:15, you can do it in different ways.

For example, question:

Che ore sono? – What time is it?

You can answer:

Sono le 8:15 di sera – It’s 8:15 pm or 8:15 pm

But you can also say:

  • Sono le 8 e un quarto (di sera) – It’s a quarter past 8 (in the evening)

Furthermore, starting from 40 minutes, it is possible to say the time in this way:

number of the following hour + MINUS + number of minutes missing for the next hour

For example:

  • h. 05:40 → Sono le 6 meno 20 –It is 20 minutes to 6 (although the literal translation is “six minus 20”)
  • h. 10:45 → Sono le 11 meno un quarto – It’s a quarter to 11 (although the literal translation is “11 munus a quarter”)
  • h. 06:55 → Sono le 7 meno 5 – It’s 5 to 7 ( although the literal translation is “7 minus 5”)

In addition, if you want to say that it is half past [an hour], in Italian, you can say:

  • The hour and add “e mezza” (and a half)

For example:

  • Sono le 8 e mezza – It’s 8:30

These formulas (“and a quarter,” “and a half,” “minus”) are generally used only with the 12-hour system!

How To Write The Hours?

Another crucial Italian lesson is about how to write the hours. The figures indicate the hours if you want to make precise time references.

In this case, the hours, minutes, and seconds are separated by a colon with no spacing.

For example,

  • 22:48
  • 18:44:12.

You should also learn about Italian numbers to know how to say all the times and dates.

Would you like to learn more about the Italian language?

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With Ling, you can learn the Italian days of the week, the grammar, and many important words, improve your vocabulary, and practice.

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Do you want to learn more about Italian culture? Check out Italian Love Phrases and Italian birthday phrases.

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