One of the beauties of Italian is that it is a very specific language. I would say I love that, but that would be very un-Italian indeed.
For example, one uses a different word to indicate playing a sport (giocare) versus playing an instrument (suonare). Or for painting a wall (tinteggiare) versus creating something with paint — like a masterpiece — (dipingere).
So it’s no surprise that in Italian one wouldn’t just express one’s feelings for a pizza, or a movie, or any of the countless other things we English speakers “love”, with the same word that we would use for the love of our lives.
The word love is reserved for romantic love only, used exclusively to describe your feelings for your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse. Other things which you feel strongly about, instead, are “pleasing” to you: mi piace la tua macchina nuova (which more accurately translates as “I like your new car.”)
Knowing this distinction makes expressing your love in Italian even more powerful.
Ready to give it a try?
I love you: Ti amo
Kiss me: dammi un baccio
Fun fact: Legend says that kissing under the bridge at sunset on a gondola will bring eternal love and bliss. However, the Bridge of Sighs (Il Ponte dei Sospiri) was named for a different kind of sigh. Long ago, the bridge connected the prison to the interrogation rooms at the Doge’s Palace. When prisoners where taken to their cells, the last glimpse they would see of Venice came while crossing the bridge…hence,*sigh*.
I’m falling in love with you: Mi sto innamorando di te
Fun fact: Verona is home to Juliet’s balcony, and La Casa di Giulietta is one of the most popular attractions in Verona. Three of Shakespeare’s works are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew.
You are my treasure: sei il mio tesoro/ la mia tesora
You are my life: Sei la mia vita
‘I love you’ for family and friends: ti voglio bene