Talk about time in Italian: Audio and Quiz

Il tempo” is the Italian word for both time and weather. Today we are going to talk about time

You can review the lesson point with a fun quiz ( about 5 minutes – cinque minuti).

I giorni – Days

Giorno is the Italian word for day and daytime. Some Italian days are named after the planets, following the Greek/Roman tradition: Luna (Moon) Marte (Mars) Mercurio (Mercury) Giove (Jupiter) Venere (Venus).

Sabato, Saturday, comes from the Hebrew Shabbat and Domenica (Dies Dominicus) is the Latin for “day of the Lord”. In Italy the first day of the week is lunedì and the name of days starts with a small letter (unless of course they are at the beginning of a sentence). The word is an obsolete version of giorno but it’s still visible at the end of the name of the days as suffix. Listen and repeat:

  • Lunedì – Monday
  • Martedì – Tuesday
  • Mercoledì – Wednesday
  • Giovedì – Thursday
  • Venerdì – Friday
  • Sabato – Saturday
  • Domenica – Sunday

Below, some common adverbs of time (avverbi di tempo). Pretty straightforward, they are of great importance. Please listen carefully, try the quiz and memorise them.

  • Ieri – Yesterday
  • Oggi – Today
  • Domani – Tomorrow
  • Dopodomani – The day after tomorrow
  • L’altroieri – The day before yesterday
  • Tra due giorni – In two days
  • Tre giorni fa – Three days ago

I mesi – Months

Nothing exotic here. Just memorize, listen and repeat.

  • Gennaio
  • Febbraio
  • Marzo
  • Aprile
  • Maggio
  • Giugno

Le ore – Hours

Che ore sono? – Che ora è? —> What time is it?

The question can be asked using both the singular or plural form of the verbo essere (to be). Normally, the answer is “sono le…” lit, “they are” as opposed to “è… – it is…”, since numbers different to one (l’una) are plural. In other words:

  • SONO LE … ore e minuti (hour and minutes)
  • e.g. 4:32 –> Sono le quattro e trentadue

In case of one, noon or midnight, we need to use the singular conjugation of essere.

  • È (it is) mezzogiorno (noon)
  • È mezzanotte (midnight)
  • È l’una
  • 13.32 è l’una e trentadue;
  • 12: 25 è mezzogiorno e venticinque

Other useful words are

  • e un quarto (a quarter past)
  • e mezza or …e mezzo (half past)
  • meno un quarto (a quarter to).

When the minutes are more than 30, we can use the …meno # rule. So for example:

  • 14:40 sono le tre meno venti – “lit. it’s 3 minus twenty…”
  • 12:45 è l’una meno un quarto
  • 17: 55 sono le sei meno cinque –

Meno means “minus”. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Please listen to the following podcast for more examples. Try to anticipate the answers.

I noticed that even expert students struggle with simple numbers. You have a good chance for refreshing this simple lesson point.

Sono le…

  • 5:32
  • 21: 50
  • 14:15
  • 11:27
  • 19:30
  • 22:40
  • 16:00


  • 13:15
  • 00:25
  • 01:30
  • 11:45
  • 23:40
  • 00:45
  • 12:55

Let’s practice! Q&A’s  – DOMANDE E RISPOSTE

A couple of words about this last podcast. First off, please listen to the DOMANDE (questions), focus on comprehension and pronuntiation. The second part, RISPOSTE (answers) is dedicated to logic. Try to anticipate the podcast and see if you get it right. You can pause the audio with the space bar (pc) or your thumb (pollice!) if you use a mobile. Read them first and get ready.


  • Che ore sono? – What time is it?
  • Che giorno è oggi? – What day is today?
  • Che giorno era ieri? – What day was yesterday?
  • Che giorno è (sarà) domani? – What day is tomorrow?
  • Che mese è? – What month is it?
  • A che ora pranziamo? – What time are we going to have lunch?
  • A che ore inizi a lavorare? – What time do you start working?
  • A che ora finisci di lavorare? What time do you finish working?


  • Sono le due meno un quarto – A quarter to two
  • Oggi è giovedì –  Today is Thursday
  • Ieri era mercoledì – Yesterday was Wednesday
  • Domani è domenica – Tomorrow is Sunday
  • È dicembre – It’s December
  • Pranziamo a mezzogiorno – We have lunch at noon
  • Inizio a lavorare alle 8:30 – I start working at 8:30
  • Finisco di lavorare alle 17:00 – I finish to work and 17:00

Please note: iniziare a … and  finire di … + the infinitive are / ere / ire.


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Milanese, graduated in Italian literature a long time ago, I began teaching Italian online in Japan back in 2003. I usually spend winter in Tokyo and go back to Italy when the cherry blossoms shed their petals. I do not use social media.

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