18 fun & bizarre Italian tongue twisters to practice your speech


Valentina Fornelli

Maybe you’re a brilliant student who’s already mastered Italian grammar and is now looking for new challenges; or, on the contrary, you’re an Italian language beginner with a cocky attitude and you can’t wait to test yourself with the most difficult pronunciations.

Well, in both cases in this page you’ll find, like the Italians say, bread for your teeth.

We’ve indeed collected 18 Italian tongue twisters that will make spaghetti out of your tongue and also are a great way to improve your pronunciation. In order to help you progress, like they were trekking paths in the Alps, we’ve classified our tongue twisters into three difficulty levels: easy, medium and hard. So, let’s hydrate our mouths with a good glass of water (or wine, why not) and let’s start!

Friends trying some Italian tongue twisters over a glass of wine.

How to say tongue twisters in Italian

First, a little funny fact: the word for “tongue twister” in Italian is a sort of tongue twister in itself! It’s scioglilingua (pronounced ʃoʎilˈiŋɡwa or shoh-llee-leen-goo-ah) which more ot less translates to “something that unties the tongue”.

Now, if you’re a tongue twister champion you’re probably pawing at your desk to throw yourself in the arena like a modern day, linguistic gladiator. But before you start waving your tongue like a gladius, take some time to warm up!

Some warm up words and useful facts about Italian pronunciation

Italian pronunciation might be hard, especially for learners coming from languages where these sounds are unknown:

  • Voiced alveolar trill: a complicated name to designate the common Italian sound “r”, which is also used in Spanish, Arabic, Greek and many other languages, but it’s absent, for example, in English or French.
  • Voiced palatal nasal: another very long name to indicate the consonant “ɲ”, which is written “gn” in Italian and it’s also absent, for example, in English and Arabic, but commonly used in Spanish, French and many other European languages.
  • Voiced palatal lateral approximant: the longest name of all for a sound that’s far less common and that you can hear here. In the International Phonetic Alphabet its symbol is ʎ, while in Italian it’s written as “gl” followed by “i” or “e” - followed by “a” “o” or “u”, “gl” is pronounced as in “glory”.

Now, some hard to pronounce Italian words you should try out. If Italian tongue twisters are the Olympics, these are a county level competition:

Ramarrorah-mar-rohramˈarɾoGreen lizard
Ragliarerah-llah-rehraʎˈareTo bray

18 Italian tongue twisters to improve your pronunciation

Welcome to the first edition of the Italian tongue twisters Olympics! Are you ready to measure yourself against the most bizarre tongue twisters in the entire Italian tradition? Beware of the hardest ones! There’s a strong hazard of tongue knot.

A note: some of these tongue twisters simply don’t make much sense and are very weird - “ball of chicken skin”? Come on! - so don’t worry if you don’t understand them neither in Italian nor English! Before writing a complaint letter to Berlitz, please mind that it’s not the writer's fault!

Dogs trying Italian tongue twisters.


Tigre contro tigreTee-greh kon-troh tee-grehtˈiɡre kˈontro tˈiɡreTiger against tiger
Ramarro marroneRah-mar-roh mar-roh-nehramˈarɾo marɾˈoneBrown green lizard
Nove navi nuove navigavanoNoh-veh nah-vee nwoh-veh nah-vee-gah-vah-nohnˈɔve nˈavɪ nʊˈɔve naviɡˈavanoNine new ships were sailing
Sette sassi smussatiSet-teh sas-see smoos-sah-teesˈɛtːe sˈas͡sɪ zmʊs͡sˈatɪSeven rounded rocks
Precipitevolissimevolmentepreh-chee-pee-teh-voh-lees-see-meh-vol-meh-ntehpret͡ʃipitevolis͡simevolmˈenteVery precipitously
Sopra al terrazzo, c’è un cane pazzoSop-rah al ter-rah-tzoh cheh oon kah-neh pah-tzohsˈopra ˈal terɾˈat͡sːo, t͡ʃˈi’ˈɛː ˈun kˈane pˈat͡sːoOn the balcony there’s a crazy dog


Tre tigri contro tre tigriTreh tee-gree kon-troh treh tee-greetrˈe tˈiɡrɪ kˈontro trˈe tˈiɡrɪThree tigers against three tigers
Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepaSoh-prah lah pan-kah lah ka-prah kan-tah, sot-toh lah pan-kah lah ka-prah kreh-pahsˈopra lˈa pˈanka lˈa kˈapra kˈampa, sˈotːo lˈa pˈanka lˈa kˈapra krˈɛpaOver the bench the goat lives, under the bench the goat dies
Caro conte chi ti canta tanto canta che t’incantaKah-roh kon-teh kee tee kan-tah tan-toh kan-tah keh t’een-kan-tahkˈaro kˈonte kˈi tˈi kˈanta tˈanto kˈanta kˈe tˈɪ’inkˈantaDear Earl who sings for you is singing so much that is fooling you
Tre stecchi secchi in tre strette tasche stannoTreh steh-kee seh-kee een treh streh-tteh tas-keh stah-nnohtrˈe stˈekːɪ sˈekːɪ ˈiːn trˈe strˈetːe tˈaske stˈannoThree dry sticks are in three tiny pockets
Forse Pietro potrà proteggerlaFor-seh Pyeh-troh poh-trah proh-teh-jeh-rlahfˈorse pjˈɛtro potrˈa protˈed͡ʒːerla.Maybe Pietro will be able to protect her
Sopra quattro rossi sassi quattro grossi gatti rossiSoh-prah kwah-ttroh roh-ssee sah-ssee kwah-ttroh groh-ssee gah-ttee roh-seesˈopra kwˈatːro rˈos͡sɪ sˈas͡sɪ kwˈatːro ɡrˈɔs͡sɪ ɡˈatːɪ rˈos͡sɪOver four red rocks four big red cats


Trentatré trentini entrarono a Trento, tutti e trentatré trotterellando.Tren-tah-treh tren-tee-nee eh-ntrah-roh-noh ah Tren-toh, too-ttee eh tren-tah-treh troh-tteh-reh-llan-dohrentatrˈe trentˈinɪ entrˈarono ˈaː trˈɛnto, tˈutːɪ ˈeː trentatrˈe trotːerellˈando.Thirty-three Trentine man entered Trento, all of them toddling.
Sul tagliere gli agli taglia, non tagliare la tovaglia. La tovaglia non è aglio, se la tagli fai uno sbaglio.Sool tah-lleh-reh llee ah-llee tah-llee-ah, non tah-llee-ah-reh lah toh-vah-llee-ah. Lah toh-vah-llee-ah non eh ah-llee-oh, seh lah tah-llee fah-ee oon-oh sba–llee-ohsˈul taʎˈɛre ʎˈɪ ˈaʎɪ tˈaʎa, nˈon taʎˈare lˈa tovˈaʎa. lˈa tovˈaʎa nˈon ˈɛː ˈaʎo sˈe lˈa tˈaʎɪ fˈaːi ˈuno zbˈaʎo.Cut the garlic on the cutting board, don’t cut the tablecloth. The tablecloth is not garlic, if you cut it you make a mistake.
Se oggi seren non è, doman seren sarà, se non sarà seren si rasserenerà.Seh oh-jjee seh-ren non eh, doh-man seh-ren sah-rah, seh non sah-rah seh-ren see rah-sseh-ren-eh-rahsˈe ˈɔd͡ʒːɪ sˈeren nˈon ˈɛː, dˈoman sˈeren saɾˈa, sˈe nˈon saɾˈa sˈeren sˈi ras͡sereneɾˈa.If today the weather isn’t clear, tomorrow it will be, if it won’t be clear it’ll clear up
Apelle, figlio di Apollo, fece una palla di pelle di pollo. Tutti i pesci vennero a galla per vedere la palla di pelle di pollo fatta da Apelle, figlio di Apollo.Ah-pel-leh, fee-lloh dee Ah-pol-loh, feh-cheh oon-ah pal-lah dee pel-leh dee pol-loh. Too-ttee ee peh-shee ven-neh-roh ah gal-lah per veh-deh-reh lah pal-lah dee pel-leh fat-tah dah Ah-pel-leh, fee-lloh dee Ah-pol-lohapˈɛlle, fˈiʎo dˈi apˈɔllo, fˈet͡ʃe ˈuna pˈalla dˈi pˈɛlle dˈi pˈollo. tˈutːɪ ˈi pˈeʃɪ vˈennero ˈaː ɡˈalla pˈer vedˈere lˈa pˈalla dˈi pˈɛlle dˈi pˈollo fˈatːa dˈa apˈɛlle, fˈiʎo dˈi apˈɔllo.Apelles, son of Apollo, made a ball of chicken skin. All the fish came to the surface to see the ball of chicken skin made by Apelles, son of Apollo.
Una rara rana nera sulla rena errò una sera, una rara rana bianca sulla rena errò un po’ stanca.Oon-ah rah-rah rah-nah neh-rah sool-lah reh-nah eh-rroh oon-ah seh-rah, oon-ah rah-rah rah-nah bee-ah-nkah sool-lah reh-nah eh-rroh oon poh stah-nkahˈuna rˈaɾa rˈana nˈera sˈulla rˈena erɾˈɔ ˈuna sˈera, ˈuna rˈaɾa rˈana bjˈanka sˈulla rˈena erɾˈɔ ˈun pˈo’ stˈanka.A rare black frog one night wandered on the sand, a rare white frog wandered tiredly on the sand.
Sotto le frasche del capanno quattro gatti grossi stanno; sotto quattro grossi sassi, quattro gatti grossi e grassi.Sot-toh leh frah-skeh del kah-pah-nnoh kwah-ttroh gah-ttee groh-ssee stah-nnoh; sot-toh kwah-ttroh groh-ssee sas-see, kwah-ttroh gah-ttee groh-ssee eh grah-sseesˈotːo lˈe frˈaske dˈel kapˈanno kwˈatːro ɡˈatːɪ ɡrˈɔs͡sɪ stˈanno; sˈotːo kwˈatːro ɡrˈɔs͡sɪ sˈas͡sɪ, kwˈatːro ɡˈatːɪ ɡrˈɔs͡sɪ ˈeː ɡrˈas͡sɪ.Under the shed’s roof there are four big cats; under four big rocks, four big and fat cats.

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