Che ora è? Che ore sono? : Telling Time in Italian

You have a flight at 15.00 and you have to get to the bank before it closes at 13.00. Telling time in Italian differs from telling time in English. Italians use military time to track the hours of the day, and they use a period where a colon would be used in English. It can be tricky, but the following guide will save you from missing your important appointments!

The questions Che ora è? and Che ore sono? both mean “What time is it?” and can be used interchangeably.

What time is it?

Che ora è? keh OHR-ah EH

What time is it?

Che ore sono? keh OHR-eh SOH-noh

It's 8:30.

Sono le otto e trenta. soh-noh leh OHT-toh eh TREHN-tah

The expression è l'… is used to express all times using the 1:00 hour.

It's 1:00.

è l'una. eh LOO-nah

It's 1:10.

è l'una e dieci. eh LOO-nah eh DYEH-chee

It's 12:55. (It's 1:00 minus 5.)

è l'una meno cinque. eh LOO-nah MAY-noh CHIN-kway

it's 1:45

è l'una e quarantacinque. eh LOO-nah eh kwah-rahn-tah CHIN-kway

And è … is used with the following time expressions:

It's noon.

è mezzogiorno. eh mehts-oh JOHR-noh

It's midnight.

è mezzanotte. eh mehts-ah NOHT-tay

The expression Sono le … is used to express all times from 2:00 on:

It's 12:20.

Sono le dodici e venti. soh-noh leh DOH-dee-chee eh VEHN-tee

It's 2:00.

Sono le due. soh-noh leh DOO-ay

It's 3:15.

Sono le tre e quindici. soh-noh leh treh e KWEEN-dee-chee

It's 4:30.

Sono le quattro e mezzo. soh-noh leh KWAHT-troh a MEHD-soh

It's 4:42.

Sono le quattro e quarantadue. soh-noh leh KWAHT-troh eh kwah-rahn-tah-DOO-ay

It's 5:05.

Sono le cinque e cinque. soh-noh leh CHIN-kway e CHIN-kway

It's 6:55.

Sono le sette meno cinque orSono le sei e cinquantacinque. soh-noh leh SEHT-teh MAY-noh CHIN-kway or soh-noh leh say eh chin-kwahn-tah-CHIN-kway

It's 7:58. (It's 8:00 minus 2.)

Sono le otto meno due. soh-noh leh OHT-toh MAY-noh DOO-ay

It's 8 A.M.

Sono le otto di mattina. soh-noh leh OHT-toh dee maht-TEE-nah

It's 10 P.M.

Sono le dieci di sera. soh-noh leh DYEH-chee dee say-rah


In Italy, it's common to see the twenty-four-hour clock used for scheduling purposes. Expect to see it when you look at train or plane schedules, conference schedules, television programming, and so on.

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