Colors in Italian – An Easy Guide: Pronunciation + Examples

It might sound trivial at first, but learning the colors in Italian is actually very useful. Whether you are traveling to Italy for a short vacation or planning to move for a longer period of time, knowing the Italian words for colors will help you on many occasions.

What would you need to know the colors in Italian for? For countless reasons, I would say, but one of the most important I think is to be able to buy your gelato! What if you are not sure about the names of the gelato flavors in Italian? You can point them by color!

Back to reality, knowing the colors in Italian is very important in situations like shopping, when in need to point something like a car, or to describe something like a person’s clothes. When you travel to Italy, you are likely to go sightseeing. Knowing the colors in Italian will also help you appreciate Italian art, paintings, and frescoes in the masterpieces of museums like the Uffizi in Florence, the museums of Rome, and The Last Supper in Milan.

In this very easy guide to the main Italian colors, I am going to reveal how the colors are actually used, and how we pronounce them. I will also give you several examples so that it will become easy for you to make your own sentences.

Image: Colors in Italian

List of colors in Italian – Translation and pronunciation

Colors in ItalianPronunciationEnglish translation
Biancobyahn-kohWhite
Rossorohs-sohRed
Verdevehr-dehGreen
Giallojaal-lohYellow
BlubloohBlue
Azzurroah-dzoohr-rohLight blu
Celestecheh-less-tehBaby blue
Blu scuroblooh skoo-rohDark blu
Neronehr-ohBlack
Marronemahr-roh-nehBrown
Arancioneah-rahn-choh-nehOrange
Violavee-oh-lahPurple
Rosaroh-zahPink
Grigiogree-johGrey
Orooh-rohGold
Argentoarr-jen-tohSilver
Bronzobrohn-dzohBronze

More colors very common in Italian

These are shades and nuances of the standard colors that find a large use in everyday spoken Italian, especially when shopping for clothes!

“The color” in Italian translates into “il colore“, while “the colors” becomes “i colori“. The adjective “colored”, in Italian translates into “colorato“. It needs to agree in both gender and number with the noun it describes becoming “colorati” (plural masculine), “colorata” (singular feminine), “colorate” (plural feminine).

Colors in ItalianPronunciationEnglish translation
Bordeauxbohr-dohBurgundy
Magentamah-gen-tahMagenta
Malvamaal-vahMauve
Fucsiafook-syahHot pink
Lavandalah-vaan-dahLavender
Lillaleel-lahLilac
Ambraahm-brahAmber
Ruggineroo-jee-nehRust
Turchesetoor-keh-sehTurquoise
Senapeseh-nah-pehMustard
Sabbiasaab-byahSand
Cremacreh-mahCream
Seppiasehp-pyahSepia
Verde acquaverr-deh ah-kwahSeafoam
Smeraldosmeh-rall-dohEmerald
BeigebehjBeige
Perlaperr-lahPearl
Avorioah-voh-ryohIvory
Grigio perlagree-joh pehrr-lahPearl grey

How to pronounce the colors in Italian – Audio

Il colore – The color

Bianco – White

Rosso – Red

Verde – Green

Blu – Blue

Azzurro – Light blue

Celeste – Baby blue

Blu scuro – Dark blue

Nero – Black

Marrone – Brown

Arancione – Orange

Viola – Purple

Rosa – Pink

Grigio – Grey

Oro – Gold

Argento – Silver

Bronzo – Bronze

Bordeaux – Burgundy

Magenta – Magenta

Malva – Mauve

Fucsia – Hot pink

Lavanda – Lavender

Lilla – Lilac

Ambra – Amber

Ruggine – Rust

Turchese – Turquoise

Senape – Mustard

Sabbia – Sand

Crema – Cream

Seppia – Sepia

Verde acqua – Seafoam

Smeraldo – Emerald

Beige – Beige

Perla – Pearl

Avorio – Ivory

Grigio perla – Pearl grey

How to use the colors in Italian

The colors in Italian are adjectives, so they need to agree with the noun they refer to in both gender and number. To English native speakers, this can be a little confusing. To spice things up and stave off any risk of boredom, we also have some colors that don’t need to agree with the noun they describe.

For example, rosso (red) needs to agree with its noun, so from singular masculine, it becomes singular feminine (rossa), plural masculine (rossi) and plural feminine (rosse).

On the other hand, colors like viola and magenta don’t need to agree with the noun they describe and remain unchanged. So we have “un maglione viola” (a purple sweater) and “un mazzo di fiori viola” (a bunch of purple flowers).

Arancione doesn’t change when it comes to gender, but it needs to agree in number. So the singular masculine and feminine “arancione” becomes “arancioni” when it’s plural, both masculine and feminine. So we have “un libro arancione” (an orange book) and “due libri arancioni” (two orange books).

The same goes for “marrone” that in its plural form becomes “marroni“, and “verde” which remains unchanged in its singular form while it changes when plural into “verdi“. Some examples:

  • Un cappotto marrone – A brown coat
  • Due cappotti marroni – Two brown coats
  • Il prato verde – The green meadow
  • I prati verdi – The green meadows

More color-related words + useful sentences

Words

  • Sfumatura = Nuance, shade, hue
  • Chiaro = Light
  • Scuro = Dark
  • Policromo = Polychrome
  • Arcobaleno = Rainbow
  • Daltonico = Color-blind
  • Colorato = Colored
  • Bianco e nero = Black and white
  • Trasparente = Transparent, see-through
Image: Scarpe rosse is red shoes, with rosso one of the colors in Italian

Common sentences

Qual è il tuo colore preferito?What’s your favorite color?
Di che colore è il tuo maglione?What color is your sweater?
Le mie scarpe sono rosseMy shoes are red
Adoro i miei pantaloni giallo senapeI love my mustard-yellow trousers
Quando il semaforo è verde puoi passareWhen the traffic light is green, you can pass
Quei fiori sono violaThose flowers are purple
I miei fiori preferiti sono le rose rosseRed roses are my favorite flowers
L’acqua è trasparenteWater is transparent
Ho comprato una borsa verdeI bought a green purse
Oggi il cielo è bluToday, the sky is blue

Idiomatic expressions in Italian using the colors

Italian idiomLiteral English translationEnglish meaning
Di punto in biancoFrom point to whiteAll of a sudden
Passare una notte in biancoTo spend a white nightNot being able to sleep all night
Avere il sangue bluTo have the blood blueBe a royal
Essere al verdeTo be at greenTo be broke
Essere neroTo be blackTo be furious
Avere il pollice verdeTo have the green thumbTo be very gifted with plants
Essere verde dall’invidiaTo be green from envyTo be very jealous
Mettere nero su biancoTo put black on whiteTo write down properly
Vedere tutto neroTo see all whiteTo be very negative
Vedere tutto rosaTo see all pinkTo be an optimist
Fare un assegno in biancoTo do a white checkGive a check that’s not covered
Dirne di tutti i coloriTo say in all colorsTo ill-speak about something or someone
Essere rosso dalla vergognaBeing red from shameFeeling embarrassed/ashamed
Romanzi/film gialliYellow novels/moviesThriller novels/movies

What colors are Italian?

The colors of the Italian flag

The Italian flag is called “tricolore“, tricolor, because it’s made up of three colors, green, white, and red. According to the myth, the green color is a reminder of the Italian meadows, the white color, of our ever-lasting snow, and the red color of the blood that has been given for the country during the war. This, however, finds no historical evidence.

Image: Italian flag with verde, bianco and rosso colors in Italian

The Italian flag was actually inspired by the French flag established after the French Revolution of 1789 with the three colors of blue, white, and red. When Napoleon invaded northern Italy in 1796, part of the Italian troops fought side by side with the French and started to wear cockades inspired by the French flag.

The Lombardy Legion was using a green, white, and red cockade, with green being the color of the uniform of Milan’s civic guard. The “Tricolore” was officially adopted as the local flag on January 7th, 1797 by the Cispadane Republic.

While the colors are not really linked to any meaning, they were soon given a symbolic message of hope for the green, faith for the white, and love for the red.

Why is blue an Italian color?

Another color often used in Italy is blue. You will find blue in the Italian Navy uniform and in the color of the soccer team t-shirts. But why is blue considered an Italian color to the point that we also call it “Azzurro Italia“?

There are several interpretations. Some claim that it was given after the color of the Italian sea and sky, while some say that it’s a copy of the French blue as a tribute to our “cousins”. However, the most probable explanation seems to take us to the former Italian royal family, the Savoys.

Apparently, this dates back to the 14th century when Count Amedeo VI of Savoy decided to join a Crusade promoted by pope Urban V. Upon departure, he ordered the men of his fleet of 17 ships to wave a blu flag together with the red and silver banner of the Savoys.

Image: Turquoise is the color of the Italian sea.

All the other colors of Italy

A beautiful and diverse country like Italy doesn’t lack in colors. Traveling around Italy you are going to be amazed at the green of the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside and the shades of blue and turquoise of the sea of Sardinia, Sicily, Puglia, Calabria, and Amalfi Coast.

Marvel at the white of the snow-covered peaks of Trentino Alto Adige’s Dolomites and Valle d’Aosta’s Alps and of the marble used for the wonderful sculptures and fountains.

Take a moment to admire the polychrome view of the houses of the Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera or in the Sardinian town of Bosa, the fire red of the sunset, and the warm orange, brown, and yellow hues of the falling leaves in the Fall.

Famous Italian songs with colors – Videos + lyrics

Azzurro – Adriano Celentano

These are the lyrics:

Azzurro

Cerco l’estate tutto l’anno
e all’improvviso eccola qua.
Lei è partita per le spiagge
e sono solo quassù in città,
sento fischiare sopra i tetti
un aeroplano che se ne va.

Azzurro,
il pomeriggio è troppo azzurro
e lungo per me.
Mi accorgo
di non avere più risorse,
senza di te,
e allora
io quasi quasi prendo il treno
e vengo, vengo da te,
ma il treno dei desideri
nei miei pensieri all’incontrario va.

Sembra quand’ero all’oratorio,
con tanto sole, tanti anni fa.
Quelle domeniche da solo
in un cortile, a passeggiar…
ora mi annoio più di allora,
neanche un prete per chiacchierar…

Azzurro,
il pomeriggio è troppo azzurro
e lungo per me.
Mi accorgo
di non avere più risorse,
senza di te,
e allora
io quasi quasi prendo il treno
e vengo, vengo da te,
ma il treno dei desideri
nei miei pensieri all’incontrario va.

Cerco un po’ d’Africa in giardino,
tra l’oleandro e il baobab,
come facevo da bambino,
ma qui c’è gente, non si può più,
stanno innaffiando le tue rose,
non c’è il leone, chissà dov’è…

Azzurro,
il pomeriggio è troppo azzurro
e lungo per me.
Mi accorgo
di non avere più risorse,
senza di te,
e allora
io quasi quasi prendo il treno
e vengo, vengo da te,
ma il treno dei desideri
nei miei pensieri all’incontrario va.

Volare (nel blu dipinto di blu) – Domenico Modugno

These are the lyrics:

Volare (nel blu dipinto di blu)

Penso che un sogno così
non ritorni mai più,
mi dipingevo le mani
e la faccia di blu,
poi d’improvviso venivo
dal vento rapito,
e incominciavo a volare
nel cielo infinito.

Volare oh oh
cantare oh oh oh,
nel blu dipinto di blu,
felice di stare lassù,
e volavo volavo
felice più in alto del sole
ed ancora più su,
mentre il mondo
pian piano spariva lontano
laggiù,
una musica dolce suonava
soltanto per me.

Volare oh oh
cantare oh oh oh
nel blu dipinto di blu
felice di stare lassù.

Ma tutti i sogni
nell’alba svaniscon perché,
quando tramonta la lunali porta con se,
ma io continuo a sognare
negl’occhi tuoi belli,
che sono blu come un cielo
trapunto di stelle.

Volare oh oh
cantare oh oh oh,
nel blu degl’occhi tuoi blu,
felice di stare qua giù,
e continuo a volare felice
più in alto del sole
ed ancora più su,
mentre il mondo
pian piano scompare
negl’occhi tuoi blu,
la tua voce è una musica
dolce che suona per me.

Volare oh oh
cantare oh oh oh
nel blu degl’occhi tuoi blu,
felice di stare qua giù,
nel blu degl’occhi tuoi blu,
felice di stare qua giù
con te..

Rose rosse – Massimo Ranieri

These are the lyrics:

Rose rosse

Rose rosse per te
ho comprato stasera
e il tuo cuore lo sa
cosa voglio da te

D’amore non si muore
e non mi so spiegare
perché muoio per te
da quando ti ho lasciato
sarà perché ho sbagliato

ma io vivo di te
e ormai non c’è più strada
che non mi porti indietro
amore sai perché
nel cuore del mio cuore
non ho altro che te

Forse in amore le rose
non si usano più
ma questi fiori sapranno
parlarti di me

Rose rosse per te
ho comprato stasera
e il tuo cuore lo sa
cosa voglio da te

D’amore non si muore
ma chi si sente solo
non sa vivere più

con l’ultima speranza
stasera ho comprato
rose rosse per te
la strada dei ricordi
È sempre la più lunga
amore sai perché
nel cuore del mio cuore
non ho altro che te

Forse in amore le rose
non si usano più
ma questi fiori sapranno
parlarti di me

Rose rosse per te
ho comprato stasera
e il tuo cuore lo sa
cosa voglio da te

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