How do you say where are you from in Italian?

How exactly do you say where are you from in Italian? What’s more appropriate to say depending on the relationship between you and the other person?

In this lesson, we will take a look at the different ways you can translate this sentence into Italian. Read on to learn them all!

Da…?
Where…?

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

how do you say where are you from in italian - let's start - iniziamo - athlete woman running

How do you say where are you from in Italian?

Singular: Di dove sei?

Di dove sei? is how you translate where are you from in Italian when you are addressing only one person you know well, such as a friend or relative.

Di dove sei?
Where are you from? (singular, informal)

eskimo boy holding a fish, an igloo and a wolf

This common sentence in Italian is made up of only three elements.

Di
Of

Dove
Where

Sei
Are you

Di dove sei? – Sono giapponese. E tu?
Where are you from? – I’m Japanese. And you?

Di dove sei? – Sono di Venezia. Piacere di conoscerti!
Where are you from? – I’m from Venice. Nice to meet you!

gondola in venice

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
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Pages: 672

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If you want to say you are from a particular country, use the nationality:

sono… (I am)

  • americano / americana (American, male / female)
  • inglese (British)
  • francese (French)
  • tedesco / tedesca (German, male / female)
  • spagnolo / spagnola (Spanish, male / female)
  • cinese (Chinese)
  • russo / russa (Russian, male / female)
  • egiziano / egiziana (Egyptian, male / female)
  • etc.

If you want to say you are from a particular city, use the preposition di + the name of the city itself in Italian:

sono… (I am)

  • di Roma (from Rome)
  • di New York (from New York)
  • di Londra (from London)
  • di Parigi (from Paris)
  • di Madrid (from Madrid)
  • di Mosca (from Moscow)
  • etc.
torero with bull

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll see what other alternatives there are to introduce what country or city you’re from.


Other ways to say where you’re from

As you may already know, Italian verb endings change for all subject pronouns, so you can actually do without the pronouns in the sentence. The subject is implied thanks to the verb ending!

Sei is a conjugation of the verb essere, which means to be. Sei is basically the second person singular present conjugation of essere. This is an irregular verb.

Present tense conjugation for essere

iosono
tusei
lui, leiè
noisiamo
voisiete
lorosono

For example, you could say…

È l’una del pomeriggio.
It is one o’clock in the afternoon.

I miei genitori non sono in casa al momento.
My parents are not at home at the moment.

Io e Luca siamo sposati dal 1996.
Luke and I have been married since 1996.

old couple marrying

Now, what do you have to say to ask where are you from in Italian to more than one person? You need to conjugate the verb essere in the second person plural. You may have guessed what this is from the table above, but let’s look at the exact form in the next paragraph.


Plural: Di dove siete?

Di dove siete? is how you translate where are you from in Italian when addressing groups of people, in both formal and informal situations.

Di dove siete?
Where are you from? (plural)

In Italian, unlike English, there are two kinds of “you”. There is a singular “you” and then there is a plural “you”. If you are addressing two or more friends, you must conjugate the verb essere according to the latter pronoun, which is voi.

From the table in the previous paragraph, you can see that the conjugation you have to use is voi siete.

Di dove siete, ragazzi? – Siamo di Berlino.
Where are you guys from? – We are from Berlin.

Di dove siete? – Siamo egiziani.
Where are you from? – We are from Egypt.

sphinx and a pyramid

Now, how do you say where are you from in Italian when you need to be formal? Read on to find out!


Polite: Di dov’è?

If you are just visiting Italy and often meet new people, unless you both agree to use the informal pronoun tu, you will have to stick to the formal pronoun Lei when talking to other adults and people you are not familiar with. With children, it’s customary to use tu regardless of familiarity.

So, how do you formally ask where are you from in Italian to one person at a time?

Di dov’è?
Where are you from? (formal)

More commonly, however, you will find these expressions instead:

Lei di dov’è?
Where are you from? (formal)

Di dov’è lei?
Where are you from? (formal)

This is because di dov’è is the contracted form of di dove è, which can also be translated as where is it/he/she from. To avoid any confusion, the formal subject pronoun Lei is added to the sentence.

This question uses the third-person singular conjugation. Basically, Italians use the subject “she”, lei, when speaking formally.

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Da dove vieni?

The verb venire literally means to come and it’s another translation for where are you from in Italian, literally translating to “where do you come from?”. It’s used in the same way as the other expressions we’ve already seen.

Da dove vieni?
Where are you from? (informal, singular)

people surrounding the globe and holding hands

Da dove venite?
Where are you from? (plural)

Lei da dove viene?
Where are you from? (formal)

What’s different is the answer you’ll give.

If you want to say that you are from a particular country or city, you have to use the preposition da + the name of the country or city itself.

Beware! When you introduce a country by its name in Italian, you must always add its definite article to the sentence. You don’t need to add an article when introducing a city.

vengo… (I come)

  • dall’America (from America)
  • dall’Inghilterra (from England)
  • dalla Francia (from France)
  • dalla Germania (from Germany)
  • dalla Spagna (from Spain)
  • dalla Cina (from China)
  • dalla Russia (from Russia)
  • dall’Egitto (from Egypt)
  • da Roma (from Rome)
  • da New York (from New York)
  • da Parigi (from Paris)
  • da Pechino (from Beijing)
  • etc.

And that’s the end of our lesson on how to say where are you from in Italian in all its forms!


What next?

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