Light year in Italian

How do you translate light year in Italian?

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at this very expression, also known as collocation, and we will even mention a few words you can use along with anno and luce to expand your Italian vocabulary.

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

Light year in Italian

First of all, let’s translate light year in Italian.

Anno luce
Light year

light year in italian - anno luce - spaceship travelling through space

Light year in Italian – Let’s break it down!

Anno luce is made up of two words.



What’s an anno luce? It is not a period of time, a periodo di tempo, but a distance, una distanza.

It is basically the distance that light travels in one year. It is known that the speed of light is about 300.000.000 m/s, which you would read in Italian as trecento milioni di metri al secondo, three hundred million meters per second.

L’anno luce non definisce un periodo di tempo, ma una distanza.
The light year does not define a period of time, but a distance.

Because the universe is so vast, astronomical distances are calculated in light years, anni luce.

Note that anno, year, changes to anni, years. You can’t say anni luci in Italian in the plural because luce is used here as an uncountable noun.

If you want to ask how far is the distance between this and that object, you can ask…

Qual è la distanza da/tra…?
What’s the distance between…?

Quanto dista…?
How far away is…?

light year in italian - quanto dista - the universe with stars and planets

You can also use anno luce as a figure of speech to mean that something is much more advanced than something else or simply to mean that that we don’t yet have the means to achieve something in the foreseeable future.


We said that the translation for light year in Italian is anno luce. Anno is a masculine noun. It is often followed by certain adjectives.

Un anno
A year

Degli anni
Some years

The year

Gli anni
The years

anno - year - man looking at calendar on the wall

What kinds of anno are there in Italian? Let’s see some.

Anno accademico
Academic year

Anno bisestile
Leap year

Anno sabbatico
Sabbatical year

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

Learn to speak Italian like a native? Easy.
Italian All-in-One For Dummies appeals to those readers looking for a comprehensive, all-encompassing guide to mastering the Italian language. It contains content from all For Dummies Italian language instruction titles, including Italian For Dummies, Intermediate Italian For Dummies, Italian Verbs For Dummies, Italian Phrases For Dummies, Italian Grammar For Dummies, and Italian For Dummies Audio Set.

For example, you could say:

L’anno accademico inizia a settembre.
The academic year begins in September.

Qual è stato l’ultimo anno bisestile?
What was the last leap year?

Voglio prendermi un anno sabbatico per vedere il mondo.
I want to take a sabbatical year to see the world.


Luce is a feminine noun.

Una luce
A light

Delle luci
Some lights

La luce
The light

Le luci
The lights

light year in italian - light surrounded by butterflies

Accendi la luce, per favore. Non si vede niente.
Turn on the light, please. I can’t see anything.

C’è troppa luce in questa stanza.
There is too much light in this room.

Unlike a language like German, where compound words take the gender of their last element, the gender of an Italian compound word is not always so straightforward.

In this case, anno luce in Italian is a masculine noun and this is also the gender of the compound noun.

That said, let’s see what we can accompany luce with.

Luce del sole

Gioco di luce
Light play

Mettere in buona/cattiva luce
To put in a good/bad light

For example, you could say…

La luce del sole entra dalla finestra.
The sunlight comes in through the window.

La lampada di cristallo crea giochi di luce sulla parete.
The crystal lamp creates a light play on the wall.

Questo scandalo metterà in cattiva luce la nostra azienda.
This scandal will reflect badly on our company.

Light year in Italian – Examples

Qual è la distanza tra la Terra e la Luna?
What is the distance between the Earth and the Moon?

La distanza tra le stelle si misura in anni luce.
The distance between the stars is measured in light years.

La Galassia di Andromeda dista circa 2 milioni e mezzo di anni luce.
The Andromeda galaxy is about 2.5 million light years away.

La nostra azienda è ad anni luce da qualsiasi altra impresa.
Our company is light years ahead of any other company.

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