15 Italian Tongue Twisters to Improve Your Pronunciation

Italian is generally straightforward to read, but there are certain sound clusters that can be challenging for non-native speakers. To help you practice some of the most difficult Italian sounds, such as the “r“, the double consonants, the “z”, and consonant clusters like “gli” “sci/sce,” or “gn“, I’ve put together a set of well-known Italian tongue twisters (that almost everyone in Italy knows). These tongue twisters (“scioglilingua“, in Italian) can be a fun way to improve your pronunciation skills and tackle those tricky Italian sounds.

Tips to improve your Italian pronunciation through these tongue twisters:

  • Listen to my recording where I read out each tongue twister twice. 
  • In the beginning, articulate every word at a slow pace.
  • Once you have mastered the sound, it will become more natural for you to say the tongue twister at a normal pace.

Tongue twisters for rolling your Italian Rs better.

Tongue twisters for rolling your Italian Rs better.

  1. Tre tigri contro tre tigri.
  2. Trentatré trentini entrarono in Trento, tutti e trentatré trotterellando.
  3. Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa.
  4. A quest’ora il questore in questura non c’è.
  5. A che serve che la serva si conservi la conserva se la serva quando serve non si serve di conserva?

Tongue twisters for rolling your Italian Rs better

1. Tre tigri contro tre tigri (three tigers against three tigers)

2. Trentatré trentini entrarono a Trento, tutti e trentatré trotterellando (thirty-three Trents entered Trento, all thirty-three trotting)

3. A quest’ora il questore in questura non c’è (At this time the commissioner is not at the police station)

4. A che serve che la serva si conservi la conserva se la serva quando serve non si serve di conserva? (What is the use of the maid keeping the preserves if the maid does not use preserves when needed?)

5. Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa (On the bench the goat lives, under the bench the goat dies)

Tongue twisters for practicing SCI and SCE

6. Asciuga l’asciugamano asciutto (dry the dry towel)

7. Se i pesciolini scemi vanno a sciami da Pescia a Altopasci e piove a scroscio l’uscita va a scatafascio (if the silly little fish flock in swarms from Pescia to Altopasci and it rains heavily, the exit goes to waste)

Tongue twisters for practicing GLI

8. Sul tagliere gli agli taglia, non tagliare la tovaglia, la tovaglia non è aglio, e tagliarla è un grave sbaglio (on the chopping board the garlic cuts, do not cut the tablecloth, the tablecloth is not garlic, and cutting it is a grave mistake).

9. Un coniglio che sbadiglia s’impigliò dietro un cespuglio (a yawning rabbit got caught behind a bush)

Tongue twisters for practicing GN

10. Lo gnomo Ignazio, che non è mai sazio, divora i bignè con gnocchi e caffè e fa sogni perfetti (the gnome Ignazio, who is never satisfied, devours cream puffs with gnocchi and coffee and has perfect dreams)

Tongue twisters for practicing the double consonants

11. 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 (Apelles son of Apollo made a ball of chicken skin. All the fish came to the surface to see the chicken skin ball made by Apelles son of Apollo)

12. Sette zucche secche e storte stanno strette dentro al sacco (Seven dried and crooked gourds are squeezed inside the sack)

13. Due tazze strette in due strette tazze (Two narrow cups in two narrow cups)

14. Al pozzo dei pazzi una pazza lavava le pezze. Andò un pazzo e buttò la pazza con tutte le pezze nel pozzo dei pazzi (At the well of fools a madwoman was washing the cloths. A madman went and threw the madwoman with all the rags into the well of madmen)

15. Sotto le frasche del capanno, quattro gatti grossi stanno; sotto quattro grossi sassi, quattro gatti grossi e grassi (Under the branches of the shed, four large cats are; under four big stones, four big fat cats.)

Correct pronunciation of Italian is important! especially if you plan to engage in conversation with locals when in Italy. If you want to refresh your knowledge of general Italian pronunciation rules at a beginner level, I recommend checking out this post. If that’s not enough, I also suggest purchasing this textbook, which has been designed to help students improve their pronunciation skills.

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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