Why learn all the colors in Italian?

If your love for this beautiful language isn’t enough of a reason, here’s why you should learn to express yourself in Italian color.

Travelling in Italy

If you’re planning a trip to Italy, adding Italian colors to your vocabulary is a magnificent idea. Having a wide vocabulary foundation is one of the most important aspects of learning a language and navigating everyday life in another country.

You’ll be able to better understand directions (for example, metro lines are often defined by a color), do better shopping (if you’re a fashion enthusiast, Italy is great!) and just generally describe any object to Italian speakers.

Plus, the tables for “red in Italian” and “yellow in Italian” will be invaluable if you like to attend wine tastings!

Understanding expressions and proverbs

There are many idioms and informal expressions that include the names of colors in Italian. Knowing them will surely help you recognize them and start using them too. If you want a list of the most common ones, we got you covered, read on!

Appreciating Italian art

Italy is famous all over the world for its art, and it is a well-deserved fame. Anywhere you go, from the smallest mountain village to seaside towns, you’ll find frescos, statues, and paintings by famous artists.

If you love art, then understanding the Italian descriptions of these works of art will bring you great satisfaction. Learning the many shades in Italian is undoubtedly a great start!

Colors in Italian

Let’s get started then. First of all, how do you say “color” in Italian? Here the “just add a vowel at the end if you don’t know a word” rule works: il colore (eel coh-loh-reh) is the singular and i colori (ee coh-loh-ree) the plural.

Colors can be nouns or adjectives.

Il rosso è il mio colore preferito.Red is my favourite color.
Il libro rosso è mio.The red book is mine.

When they are adjectives, like in the second example, they go after the object they describe.

To add a description of the color, for example, if it is light or dark, you can add chiaro (light) and scuro (dark) after the color.

Il quaderno verde chiaro è di Giacomo.The light green book is Giacomo’s.
Ho un cappello blu scuro.I have a dark blue hat.

If, on the other hand, you want to ask what color something is, use:

  • Di che colore è … ?
  • Di che colore sono … ?

With some of the specific names of colors that you’ll find in the table, you’ll need to use the expression: color ___

La sciarpa è color lavanda.The scarf is lavender.

Colors can also take diminutives, this usually makes them “lighter”: Il pigiama giallino (the light yellow pyjamas).

Purple in Italian

Purple in Italian is viola. This is not only the name of a color – a viola or violetta is also a flower!

Le viole fioriscono dall’autunno alla primavera.Violets flower from fall to spring.

And it doesn’t end there. Viola or Violetta in Italian is also a girl’s name.

Mia figlia si chiama Viola.My daughter’s name is Viola.

So from fruits to flowers, we’ve got you covered for some wonderful shades of purple.


Remember to keep in mind that Viola does not change its ending according to the subject described, like some colors do. It always stays the same.

Orange in Italian

Orange in Italian is arancione which is also sometimes called arancio (like an orange tree!). Careful, though, the fruit is feminine: arancia.

Burnt Orangerosso aragostaroh-ssoh ah-rah-goh-stah
Marmaladearancio scuroah-raan-choh scoo-roh

Again, Arancione does not change its ending according to the subject described, like some colors do. It always stays the same.

Blue in Italian

There are two main ways of saying blue in Italian: blu and azzurro. The first describes a darker color, while azzurro is usually light blue.

Royal Blueblu realeblooh reh-ah-leh
Tealtè blublooh
Sky Blueazzurroah-dzur-roh
Navy Blueblu marinoblooh mah-ree-noh
Baby Bluecelestecheh-less-teh
Midnight Blueblu notteblooh noh-tteh

  • Similarly, Blu does not change its ending according to the subject described like other colors do. It always stays the same.
  • Azzurro, on the other hand, does.

Red in Italian

If you want to be able to order a good bottle of wine, you need to know how to say red in Italian… Rosso!

Red in Italian is one of the colors that change their ending according to what they describe, like a typical adjective.

Cherryrosso ciliegiaross-soh chee-lyeh-jah
Brick Redrosso mattoneross-soh maatt-oh-neh
Blood Redrosso sangueross-soh saan-gweh
Berryrosso scuroross-soh scoo-roh

Yellow in Italian

Giallo is “yellow” in Italian. This color is also used to talk about thriller/crime books or films:

Sto leggendo un giallo.I am reading a crime novel.

Giallo changes its ending according to what you’re describing: giallo, gialla, gialli, gialle.

Light Yellowgiallo chiarojaal-loh kyah-roh

Brown in Italian

To describe something brown in Italian, you need to use the word marrone, or marron. This is also a word to say “chestnut”, the actual fruit.

If you’re talking about someone’s brown hair or eyes, however, we prefer to use capelli/occhi castani.

Chestnutmarrone castagnamaar-roh-neh cass-tah-nyah
Cedarmarrone scuromaar-roh-neh scoo-roh

Remember that Marrone does not change its ending according to the subject described, like other colors do. It always stays the same.

Pink in Italian

Rosa, which is “pink” in Italian, also is a flower… Guess which? Yes, of course, it’s the word for “Rose”. It’s also a girl’s name.

Blushrosa chiaroroh-zah kya-roh
Hot Pinkfucsiafook-syah
Strawberryrosso fragolaross-soh kya-roh

Rosa does not change its ending according to the subject described like other colors do. It always stays the same.

Green in Italian

Green in Italian is verde. Read on if you want to learn all the idiomatic expressions you can use with the color of the forest!

SeafoamVerde acquaverr-deh ah-kwah
Forestverde mimeticoverr-deh mee-meh-tee-koh
Oliveverde olivaverr-deh oh-lee-vah

Verde does not change its ending according to the subject described like other colors do. It always stays the same.

Black in Italian

Nero is the Italian for “black”. It changes its ending according to the gender and number of what it describes.

Cool blacknero notteneh-roh noht-teh
Jet blacknero corvinoneh-roh corr-vee-noh
Midnightnero mezzanotteNeh-roh medz-zah-noht-teh

White in Italian

White in Italian is bianco. This describes white wine (vino bianco) and, in its feminine singular form Bianca (yes, it changes according to gender and number, becoming bianca, bianchi, bianche) is also a girl’s name.

For example, Biancaneve (Snow White!)

EnglishColor in ItalianPronunciation
Eggshellguscio d’uovogoo-shoh doo-oh-voh
Off whitebianco sporcobee-ahnn-coh sporr-koh

Songs in Italian color

Ma il cielo è sempre più blu

This song by Rino Gaetano will surely put you in a good mood, and the lyrics are clear, so it’s great practice, and not only for revising the colors in Italian: “Il cielo è sempre più blu!

Franco Battiato - Cuccurucucu

Do you think the world is gray or blue? This song from the great Franco Battiato is an Italian classic, you can’t miss it!

I Colori - Canzoni di Nuovi Sogni

If you want to hear the pronunciation of all colors and don’t mind children songs, then listen to this on how to make secondary colors…

Italian colors FAQs

Is colors in Italian masculine or feminine?

Even when they finish is “a”, like in rosa (pink) and viola (purple), colors in Italian are always masculine: il rosso (red), il viola (purple), il verde (green).

Colors that end in “o”, if used as adjectives, take the gender and number of the thing they describe:

Una giacca rossaA red jacket
Delle case biancheSome white houses
Dei gatti neriSome black cats

Are colors capitalized in Italian?

No, colors are never capitalized in Italian. Unless, of course, they are used as a proper name, like in the case of Bianca or Viola.

How do you say “gray” in Italian?

We learned how to say nero and bianco, but of course, things are not always black and white. Let’s not forget about grigio (gray).

Gray in Italian also changes according to the gender and number of what it describes: grigio, grigia, grigi, grigie.

Here’s a table with some types of grigio:

Pearl graygrigio perlagree-joh pehrr-lah
Charcoal graygrigio antracitegree-joh ann-trah-chee-teh
Dove graytortoratorr-toh-rah
Iron graygrigio ferrogree-joh fehr-roh
Steel grayacciaioah-chah-yoh

What are the colors of the rainbow (arcobaleno) in Italian?

The colors of the arcobaleno in Italian are:

  • rosso (red)
  • arancione (orange)
  • giallo (yellow)
  • verde (green)
  • blu (blue)
  • indaco (indigo)
  • violetto (violet)

How do you say color-blind in Italian?

Color-blind in Italian is daltonico.

A few colorful tips

Now that we’ve looked at all the colors in Italian, you just need to start practicing so that you memorize them! Let’s look at some tips to make it more easy and fun!

1. Play table games!

Playing table games, or Twister, in Italian can be a fun way of memorizing the Italian colors. Many games are color based, and repetition is always a language learner’s best friend!

2. Read about art

If you’re passionate about art, reading art magazines or watching art-related videos can be a great way of revising the colors!

3. Online shopping in Italian

Another great way of keeping up with the colors in Italian is to shop online for new clothes… On Italian websites! Here you’ll learn Italian sizes, the names of Italian clothes and, of course, the colors in Italian!

Expressions with colors in Italian

As we mentioned above, Italian speakers use a lot of slang, expressions and idioms that contain colors. Here are some of the most popular ones, with their literal translation and the actual meaning.

Italian expressionLiteral translationMeaning in English
Essere al verdeTo be in greenTo be broke / have no money
Essere verde d’invidiaTo be green with envyTo feel a lot of envy
Avere il pollice verdeTo have a green thumbTo be good at gardening
Essere (incavolato) neroTo be (angry) blackTo be very angry
Vedere tutto grigio / neroTo see everything gray/blackTo be very pessimistic
A luci rosseWith red lightsErotic or pornographic
Diventare / essere rosso dalla vergognaTo become/be red with shameTo blush
Di punto in biancoFrom point to whiteAll of a sudden
Settimana biancaWhite weekA skiing holiday
Passare una notte in biancoTo pass a white nightNot to sleep al night
Un assegno in biancoA check in whiteA check that isn’t actually covered
Mettere nero su biancoTo put black onto whiteTo write down clearly
Cronaca rosa / Cronaca neraPink / black tabloidsGossip news / crime news
Avere il sangue bluTo have blue bloodTo be royal
Dirne di tutti i coloriTo speak all colorsTo express anger in words

All the colors, nero su bianco

So, we’ve put all the colors nero su bianco in this article. Remember, practice is your best friend when you’re learning a foreign language, and the more pleasant and fun you make it to study, the faster you’ll make progress!