Italian Colors Adjectives – Learn Them Off By Heart Today (With 2 Videos: 1 New Lesson & 1 Song Clip)!

Italian ColorsHere are the Italian colors adjectives and their different rules and meanings:


In English, the word orange can signify both color and fruit, as well as the flavor of that fruit.

Frequently, we describe other, less basic colors in terms of well-known objects of the same color: chestnut, violet, aquamarine, etc.

In Italian, the tendency to name colors for other objects is even more common, and the grammar rules for these object-adjectives are different than for other adjectives.

Common Italian Colors Adjectives

The following Italian color words have no meaning other than the colors for which they are named, made an exception for “orange” which has 2 meanings as in English. In fact, it indicates both the orange tree and the color.

Italian English Italian English
giallo yellow arancio orange
blu/azzurro blue bianco white
grigio gray nero black
rosso red verde green

You should also know that in Italian the fruit and the orange tree are the same words but they have different genders:

L’arancio (masculine) = the orange tree

L’arancia (feminine) = the orange fruit

Grammar Rules for Italian Colors Adjectives

Like other adjectives, the Italian colors adjectives follow and agree with the nouns they modify. However, colors may be modified by additional adjectives, like navy blue, light green, dark red, or bright yellow. When this happens, the color adjective becomes invariable—it does not change to agree with the noun. Observe:

Italian English Italian English
pantaloni azzurri blue pants scarpe verdi green shoes
pantalones blu scuro navy pants scarpe verde chiaro light green shoes
una camicetta rossa a red blouse una camicia gialla a yellow shirt
una camicetta rosso scuro a dark red blouse una camicia gialla vivo a bright yellow shirt

How To Name And Pronounce Italian Colors


Italian Color Pronunciation
Rosso ROH-soh
Blu bloo
Verde VEHR-deh
Giallo JAH-loh
Nero NEH-roh
Bianco BYAHN-koh
Grigio GREE-joh
Marrone mahr-ROH-neh
Arancione ah-rahn-CHEE-oh-neh
Viola vee-OH-lah
Azzurro a-ZZUR-ro
Ciano CHEE-ah-no
Celeste ce-LES-te
Magenta mah-JEN-tah
Porpora por-POH-rah
Rosato roh-ZAH-to
Smeraldo smer-AHL-doh
Turchese toor-KEH-zeh

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Italian Colors Adjectives

Dark & Light Italian Colors


The Italian word for “dark” is “scuro”, so if you want to talk about dark shades, you can just add the word “scuro” after the name of each color. The only exception is “blu” which in Italian already means “dark blue”. To say “light blue” the Italians use the word “azzurro”.

Dark blue – Blu

Dark red – Rosso scuro

Dark green – Verde scuro

Likewise, the Italian word for “light” is “chiaro”, so if you want to talk about light shades, you can just add the word “chiaro” after the name of each color. As we already said above, the exception is “azzurro” which in Italian already means “light blue”.

Light blue – Azzurro

Light red – Rosso chiaro

Light green – Verde chiaro

For light shades we have 2 peculiar Italian expressions:

Baby blue – Celeste

Baby pink – Rosa confetto

Unique Italian Colors

Here are 3 peculiar Italian expressions to indicate the variation of the red color:

rosso lucido = shiny red

rosso vermiglione = vermilion red

bordeaux = maroon

And here are other Italian idiomatic expressions about colors:

Rosa shocking = hot pink

Below you can find 2 color words often used to describe the eyes colors:

verde acqua = blue green

For example occhi verde acqua = blue green eyes

nocciola = hazel brown

For example occhi color nocciola = hazel brown eyes.

lilla = lilac

indaco = indigo

Derived Italian Colors Adjectives

Our rainbow isn’t finished yet. The following color words are derived from flowers, fruits, or minerals, and they follow slightly different rules:

Word Meaning Color Word Meaning Color
arancio orange (tree) orange caffé coffee brown
marrone chestnut brown rosa rose pink
violetto violet purple vino wine reddish purple

* Arancio is used in many places to denote the color as well as the orange tree. When using this form, the rules below apply.

Normally the Italian color words, like other adjectives, follow the nouns they modify. However, since the colors listed above are also nouns themselves, they are invariable: they do not necessarily agree with the nouns they modify.

So, sometimes you will hear marrone change to a plural form (pantaloni marroni), but strictly speaking, it should not change to agree with the noun (pantaloni marrone).

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Italian Colors Adjectives – Cultural Notes

Whereas in English it is necessary to specify “the black woman” or “the white man,” in Italian it is sufficient to say la nera or il bianco. “I bianchi” o “i neri” refers to the entire race, or to a specific group of whites or Blacks within a community or other specific situation.

Neither phrase is considered derogatory in Italian. It is important to note that the racial make-up of Italian-speaking countries is very different from that of the United States.

In the States, we consider white/Caucasian, Black and Latino/Hispanic to be three individual races. In Italian-speaking countries, the tendency is to consider everyone (all mixed descendants of natives, Spaniards, and, depending on the area, African slaves and/or European immigrants) a member of the same race, which they call razza.

Color variations are expressed using different words, with many people characterized as meticci, light-brown-skinned. In US English the correct translation is “mestizos”. Another typical Italian word is mezzosangue that can be translated with a mixed breed or half-breed.

A mestizo(a word of Spanish origin) was the individual born from the cross between a European settler and a person of the pre-Columbian Amerindian population.

Mulatto is a word equal to English and means a person of mixed white and black ancestry, especially a person with one white and one black parent.

Similarly, the word Indio is the same as English and refers to the original inhabitants of Central and South America.

Pellerossa is instead the word commonly used in Italian to indicate Native Americans.

Finally, aborigeno is the term used to indicate the Australian natives.

Negro is considered a derogatory word as well as yellow to indicate Asians such as Japanese, Chinese, etc. Vice versa, the word red is never used to refer to Native Americans.

Language note: the word vice versa is practically the same in Italian: viceversa, just leave out the space! This happens because originally it was a Latin word.


Italian Colors Adjectives – Exercises

All of the following phrases were used in today’s lesson, but were not specifically translated! Using the color words you have learned, write the Spanish phrase from the lesson next to its English translation.

English Italian English Italian
1. light green shoes ? 2. dark brown pants ?
3. a bright yellow T-shirt ? 4. a dark red blouse ?
5. navy blue pants ?

Express the following in English:

Spanish English Spanish English
6. una camicia blu scuro ? 7. pantaloni gialli ?
8. scarpe color caffè ? 9. una famiglia bianca ?
10. una mora ?

Italian Colors Adjectives – Answers to Exercises

1) scarpe verde chiaro

2) pantaloni marrone or marroni

3) una T-shirt giallo vivo

4) una camicietta rosso scuro

5) pantaloni blu scuro

6) a navy shirt

7) yellow pants

8) brown shoes

9) a white family

10) a brunette

Learn The Italian Colors Singing Along With Lucio Battisti

From Lucio Battisti you can learn the names of some Italian colors: the song is “La Canzone del Sole”. Start the video and try to sing along by scrolling the text in the window below, and, above all, have fun!

Le bionde trecce, gli occhi azzurri e poi le tue calzette rosse
The long blonde hair, the sky-blue eyes and then your red socks
e l’innocenza sulle gote tue, due arance ancor più rosse
and the innocence on your cheeks, two still more red oranges
e la cantina buia dove noi respiravamo piano
and the dark cellar where we were breathing slowly,
e le tue corse e l’eco dei tuoi “no”, oh no, mi stai facendo paura.
and your running and the echo of your “no”, oh no, you scare me.Dove sei stata, cosa hai fatto mai?
Where have you been, what have you done till now?
Una donna, donna dimmi, cosa vuol dir: “Sono una donna ormai.
A woman, woman, tell me what does it mean “I’m a woman now.”
Ma quante braccia ti hanno stretto, tu lo sai, per diventar quel che sei…
But how many arms have clasped you, you know, to become what you are…
Che importa tanto tu non me lo dirai, purtroppo…
What does that matter, you won’t tell me, unfortunately…

Ma ti ricordi l’acqua verde e noi, le rocce, bianco il fondo?
But do you remember the green water and us, the rocks, the white bottom?
Di che colore sono gli occhi tuoi? Se me lo chiedi non rispondo…
What’s the color of your eyes? If you will ask me I won’t reply.
Oh mare nero, oh mare nero, oh mare nero,
Oh black sea, oh black sea, oh black sea,
tu eri chiaro e trasparente come me….
you were bright and transparent like me…

Le biciclette abbandonate sopra il prato
The bicycles ee left abandoned on the meadow
e poi noi due distesi all’ombra,
and then the two of us lying down in the shade,
un fiore in bocca può servire sai, più allegro tutto sembra
a flower in the mouth is useful, you know, everything looks brighter
e d’improvviso quel silenzio tra noi e quel tuo sguardo strano,
and suddenly that silence between us and your strange look,
ti cade il fiore dalla bocca e poi, oh no, ferma ti prego la mano…
the flower falls from your hand and then, oh no, stop your hand, please…

Dove sei stata, cosa hai fatto mai? Una donna, donna dimmi,
Where have you been, what have you till now? A woman, woman, tell me
cosa vuol dir: “Sono una donna ormai.”
what does it mean “I’m a woman now.”
Io non conosco quel sorriso sicuro che hai,
I don’t kow the confident smile you show,
non so chi sei, non so più chi sei,
I don’t know who you are, I don’t know who you are anymore,
mi fai paura oramai, purtroppo…
you scare me now, unfortunately…

Ma ti ricordi le onde grandi e noi, gli spruzzi e le tue grida?
But do you remember the big waves and us, the splashes and your screams?
Cos’è rimasto in fondo agli occhi tuoi, la fiamma è spenta o è accesa?
What’s left deep down in your eyes, is the flame extinguished or lit?
Oh mare nero, oh mare nero, oh mare nero,
Oh black sea, oh black sea, oh black sea,
tu eri chiaro e trasparente come me….
you were bright and transparent like me…

Il sole quando sorge sorge piano e poi,
When the sun rises it rises slowly and then
la luce si diffonde tutta intorno a noi…
the light spreads all around us…
Le ombre di fantasmi nella notte
The shadows of ghosts in the night
sono alberi e cespugli ancora in fiore,
are trees and bushes still blooming,
sono gli occhi di una donna ancora pieni d’amore…
are the eyes of a woman still full of love…

All Common Italian Colors

Italian English Italian English
Rosso Red Marrone Brown
Nero Black Viola Purple
Giallo Yellow Grigio Gray
Verde Green Blu Blue
Arancione Orange Rosa Pink

Italian Colors AdjectivesClick Here to Learn Italian Personal Pronouns!


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