Summer is here and many people find themselves travelling from place to place. If you’re trying to describe your movements in Italian then it’s important to know all about prepositions of place. The words listed above are all examples of prepositions in Italian that indicate location—where a person, place or thing is or where the noun is going. When considering these prepositions we have to ask: Dove? Where?

IN = It is used to speak about places, countries or regions.

The complement di stato in luogo indicates where the subject is and accompanies an action. It is dependent on the verb in the sentence, words like vivere, stare, abitare, trovarsi, dimorare, rimanere; sede, domicilio, dimora, soggiorno, sosta, etc.

eg. The question is: Where are you going next year? =  Dove andrai il prossimo anno?

Il prossimo anno andrò in Italia = Next year I’m going to Italy

Io abito in Italia = I live in Italy

Mia zia abita in America = My aunt lives in America.

Mi frullano strane idee nel cervello =  Strange ideas are circling in my mind.

Giorgio è in cucina = George is in the kitchen (used when we speak about a restricted area)

Dove trascorrerai le tue vacanze quest’anno? Abbiamo prenotato una settimana in montagna = Where are  you going to spend the holidays this year? We booked one week in the mountains.
SOPRA/SU/SOTTO = Usually this preposition is used with the complement of “moto a luogo” and it is a complement that indicates where the subject is heading.

C’è un libro sul tavolo = There is a book on the table.

Fuffy si era nascosto sotto il letto = Fluffy was hiding under the bed.

Il gatto riposava sotto l’albero = The cat was resting under the tree.

TRA/FRA = The usage of these prepositions can vary depending upon the context and what you are trying to express (time, place, etc.)

Tra un mese Claudio ed io ci sposeremo = Claudio and I are getting married in a month.

Claudia arriverà tra le 5 e le 6 = Claudia will arrive between five and six o’clock.

Spero che queste notizie rimanga tra me e te = I hope that this stays between me and you. (Tra/fra can be used to refer to two people, things or distinct groups.)


Le colline attorno alla città sono meravigliose = The hills around the town are beautiful.
Claudia e Carlo stanno parlando attorno al fuoco = Claudia and Carlo are talking around the fire.
A FIANCO DI / DI FIANCO A = Used when saying the subject is beside something else

Elena camminava al mio fianco = Elena was walking by my side.

Sarò al suo fianco qualunque cosa accada = I will stand by him, no matter what happens.

La ragazza si stava addormentando su di un fianco = The girl was sleeping on her side.
DAVANTI A= In front of

Questa sera ci vediamo di fronte al teatro = This evening we’ll meet in front of the theater.

Il soldato fuggì di fronte al nemico = The soldier fled before the enemy.

Davanti l’albergo c’è l’ufficio postale = The post office is in front of the hotel.

DENTRO = Inside

Andiamo dentro a datre un’occhiata = Let’s go and have a look inside.
Non c’era nessuno dentro la casa = There was no one inside the house.
In inverno giochiamo dentro casa = In winter we play inside.

DIETRO = Behind

Dietro la casa c’è il garage = The garage is at the back of the house.

Claudio camminava avanti, l’altro dietro = Claudio walked in front and the other behind.

ACCANTO = Nearby, near adjacent to

Accanto> alla mia casa c’è la banca = The bank is near my house.

La casa accanto è disabitata =  The house nearby is uninhabited.

I pianeti che orbitano accanto sono Venere e Marte = The planets orbiting nearby are Venus and Mars.

DI FRONTE = In front of, opposite.

La casa di fronte è la mia = The house opposite is mine.

Il divano è di fronte al tavolo = The sofa is in front of the table.


Fill in the blanks with the correct prepositions of place:

La tenda è _____________al tavolo = The curtain is behind the table

La lampada è _____________ tavolo = The lamp is on the top of the table

La foto è _____________la lampada e I libri = The photo is between the lamp and the books

Lei è la donna che sta _____________ al Numero 4 = She is the woman in front of Number 4

E’ molto caldo qui _____________ = It’s very hot in here
1. Dietro, 2. Sopra, 3. Tra, 4. Davanti a, 5. Dentro

By Elisa Bressan

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