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Grand Canal Venice with Gondolas

Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with “Sentirsi”

Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with “Sentirsi”

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog    Valentines Day Sayings for the one you love with the Italian verb “Sentirsi” !

In this blog, “Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with Sentirsi, “ we will focus on how to conjugate and use the Italian verb sentirsi when talking to your speacial someone on Valentines Day. Or, any day, for that matter!

The heart of any language is its verbs.  I believe that to speak fluently in any language, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of how each verb is used in real life situations. And what can be more important than telling the one you love how special they are to you?

Enjoy the second topic in my blog series about Italian verbs: Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with Sentirsi.  —Kathryn Occhipinti

Special thanks to Italian instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

Parts of this blog have been reposted from Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – “How to Say ‘I feel…’ on Valentines Day with ‘Sentirsi'” from Conversational Italian! a blog by the same author.  Check out this blog as well if you are interested in phrases to use every day!  


Valentines Day Sayings in Italian:

Italian Verb Sentirsi



The verb sentirsi means “to feel” in Italian and therefore sentirsi is the verb Italians use to describe their deepest emotions.

You will immediately notice from the -si ending that sentirsi is a reflexive verb. English, on the other hand, does not consider “feeling” a reflexive activity; so when we English speakers put our emotions into words, we do not use a reflexive verb. Because of this important difference, we will really have to learn how to think in Italian to express our feelings with sentirsi!  

Learning how to use the verb sentirsi is really not all that tricky, though, once you understand the general idea of how to conjugate a reflexive verb.  Just remember to add one of the reflexive pronouns (mi, ti, si, ci, vi, si) before the conjugated form of sentirsi. Then finish the sentence by saying how you feel, just as you would in English.

Sentirsi has been conjugated in full in the table below. Sentirsi is a regular -ire verb, so its conjugations are presented in green.  The reflexive pronouns that go with each conjugation are in blue. Since we do not use reflexive pronouns with the equivalent verb “to feel” in English, the Italian reflexive pronouns will not appear in the translation.

Sentirsi to feel

io  mi sento I feel
tu ti senti you (familiar) feel
Lei lei/lui si sente you (polite) feel she/he feels
noi ci sentiamo we feel
voi vi sentite you all feel
loro si sentono they feel



Sentirsi vs. Stare

People across the globe commonly talk about how they are feeling. and Italians are no different! Let’s try  to use our newly conjugated Italian verb sentirsi by creating some simple sentences  to describe how we may feel.

From the table above, we can see that the common statement, “I feel…” is, “Io mi sento…” But, of course, we always leave out the Italian subject pronoun, so the phrase that Italians use is conversation is just, “Mi sento…” To complete the phrase, just add how you are feeling after the verb!

One way to use the verb sentirsi in conversation is to say, “Mi sento bene!” which means, “I feel well!” (Notice Italians do not say, “I feel good,” which is actually grammatically incorrect, although we say this in English all of the time.) If we remember how to use our reflexive verbs, we know that if we want to ask someone how they are feeling, we can simply say, “Ti senti bene?”  “Are you feeling well?” (By the way, if you need a review of Italian reflexive verbs, please see previous blogs on this topic or our Conversational Italian for Travelers book, “Just the Important Verbs.”)

To have a conversation with one person about another person’s health, we can use the same phrase to relay a fact or to ask a question: “Si sente bene.”  “He/she is feeling well.” “Si sente bene?” “Is he/she feeling well?” 

(Io) Mi sento bene. (Io) Non mi sento bene. (Io) Mi sento male. I feel well. I don’t feel well. I don’t feel well.
(Tu) Ti senti bene. Do you feel well?
(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene. She/he feels well.
(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene. Does she/he feel well?

You may have read our Conversational Italian! blog about  stare    and learned that stare is also used to talk about general well-being, either “good” or “bad,” similar to the sentences above.” Since both stare and sentirsi are used to describe how we feel, the difference in meaning between these verbs  can seem insignificant. But, by convention, stare is always the verb used when greeting someone. And, although sentirsi can be used to make generalizations, the use of sentirsi is more often a specific referral about how we feel, either to a health issue or actual feelings of happiness, sadness, etc.



Adjectives to Use with Sentirsi

The table below is a list of adjectives that you can use to describe how you are feeling.  Just add one of these adjectives after the words, “I feel…” in Italian, just as you would in English. Remember that male speakers must use the “o” ending and female speakers the “a” ending for these adjectives that refer back to the subject.  If the adjective ends in an “e,” the ending does not need to be changed, of course.

bene well
contento(a) / felice happy 
male badly, unwell
nervoso(a) emotionato(a) nervous excited/thrilled
triste sad

Some simple example sentences:

Mi sento conteno. I am happy. (male speaker)
Mi sento contenta. I am happy. (female speaker)
Mi sento triste. I feel sad. (male or female speaker)

Notice, that both “contento(a)” and “felice” mean “happy” in Italian.  But when an Italian wants to describe an internal feeling of happiness, the word chosen is usually “contento(a).”  

Contento also translates into the English word, “content,” meaning to feel comfortable with or about something. The phrase, “Contento lui!” translates as, “Whatever makes him happy!” 

Also, a note about feeling “excited” about things.  In America, a very common phrase is, “I am excited…” about what I am about to do, or perhaps an event I will attend. In Italy, the word for “excited” or “thrilled” is “emotionato(a).” Although the Italian word emotionato sounds to the English speaker like “emotional,the Italian adjectives for emotional are actually, “emotivo(a),” or “emozionale.” Be careful! The Italian adjectives emotivo(a) and emozionale are most commonly used to mean “excited” with a negative connotation.

The words emotionato and emotional, which sound like they should have similar meanings in each language, but do not, are often called, “false friends.”



Valentines Day Sayings with Sentirsi

Now that we know how to make sentences with the verb sentirsi, let’s see how we can tell others how we feel on Valentines Day, or La Festa Degli Innamorati, as the Italians call this day.

One of the legends surrounding Saint Valentines Day is that San Valentino, a priest in the Christian church who was jailed by the Romans, wrote the girl he loved a farewell love letter and signed it ‘Your Valentine.”  He knew that this lettera d’amore, would be the last he would write to her before his execution as a Christian. What do you imagine he could have written in this letter?

The Italian phrase for “I love you,” — when talking about love in a romantic way — is easy. It takes just two short words to relay your special feelings for someone: “Ti amo.”  But after that, what do you say? How do you tell someone how wonderful they make you feel when you are with them?

Below are a few expressions that one can use on Valentines day, some of  which use the verb sentirsi.

Quando ti vedo… mi sento contento(a). When I see you… I am happy.
…mi sento un uomo fortunato. I feel like a lucky man.
…mi sento una donna fortunata. I feel like a lucky woman.
…sento che la mia vita è appena cominciata.* I feel like my life has just begun.
… sento che il mondo è tutto mio.* I feel like the world is all mine.

*You will notice from two of our examples above that the verb sentire was chosen for the Italian verb that means “to feel,” rather than the reflexive sentirsi. In these two cases, sentire is used in order to make a general comparison about how one’s feeling relates to something else, rather than to state one’s exact feeling. This type of comparison is called a simile and is used to make an idea more vivid — or in our examples,  more “flowery” and romantic.  It is easy to spot a comparison in Italian, because “che” will be used to link one’s feeling to the descriptive phrase.  In English we can translate che into “like.” 

Sentire is used in the following to phrases in our table below as well, but for a different reason.  These two examples use the sentence structure, “You make me feel…” which requires sentire to be used in it’s infinitive form.

Mi fai sentire molto contento(a). You make me feel very happy.
Mi fai sentire che tutto è possibile. You make me feel that everything is possible.


If the time “feels right” for you and your Italian love to “officially” declare your  feelings for each other,  you may want to try the important phrases listed here.

  Vuoi essere la mia fidanzata? Do you want to be my girlfriend?
Vuoi essere il mio fidanzato? Do you want to be my boyfriend?
Vuoi stare insieme a me per sempre? Do you want to stay together forever?
Vuoi fidanzarti con me? Do you want to get engaged (engage yourself to me)?
Vuoi fidanzarti con me? Will you be my fiancée/finance?
Vuoi sposarti con me? Do you want to get married (marry yourself to me)?
Vuoi sposarti con me? Will you marry me?


How would you use sentirsi to tell your love how you feel? Please leave some examples. I’d love to hear from you!

One last note…

Italians do not use the words contenta or felice, to wish each other a “Happy Valentines Day,”  but instead use “buon/buono/buona,” as for other holiday expressions, as in: Buona Festa degli Innamorati! Click on this blog from expoloreitalianculture.com if you are interested in learning more about the traditions of Valentines Day in Italy.

Buon Festa degli Innamorati a tutti voi!


Cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Verbs book resting on an Italian red-checkered tablecloth
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs” book to learn Italian. Fina an introduction to the Italian subjunctive mood in this book.

Valentines Day Sentiments in Italian with “Sentirsi”

Ricotta Cheesecake with Champagne

Italian Ricotta Cheesecake for Valentines Day

Italian Ricotta Cheesecake for Valentines Day

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog Italian ricotta cheesecake — is a light, fresh cheesecake perfect for  your Valentine!

Italian Ricotta Cheesecake for Valentines Day 

When I was growing up in New York, my mother made a version of light, fresh-tasting cheesecake that my family loved.  After I became older and moved away from home,  I would often order what was called “New York Style” cheesecake in restaurants, hoping for a dessert that that would come close to the memory I had of my mother’s heavenly version.

What I came to realize over the years was that “New York Style” cheesecake is not at all like the cheesecake that my  used to make  while we were living in New York.  I could not understand why the restaurant cheesecake served to me often had an off flavor (can you say artificial ingredients?) and a texture that was heavy, and even gooey or sticky.

Of course, as I discovered when I finally asked my mother for her recipe, the reason the cheesecake I had at home was so different from what I found in restaurants was the type of cheese my mother used.  The ricotta cheese that my  mother would get freshly made from the Italian deli  after church every Sunday yielded a delicious, light, and almost crumbly cheesecake,  gently held together by a few  fresh eggs, flavored lightly with vanilla and given a fresh taste with a bit of lemon zest.  Which is not to say the other, more creamy versions made with cream cheese are not good if made with fresh ingredients.  They are just not Italian ricotta cheesecake!

The Italian crust my mother makes for her ricotta cheesecake also yields another subtle layer of flavor.  The method used to make the Italian version of a smaller fruit “crostata” or “tart” transfers to the thicker cheesecakes made in Italy.  A  “pasta frolla,” or “sweet pastry” crust lines the bottom of the tart and a lattice crust nicely decorates the top of the tart, and a true Italian cheesecake will have a lattice crust!  The crust for this cheesecake is flavored with a bit of lemon zest and brandy, which nicely compliments the taste of the fresh ricotta.

I modified the traditional lattice crust for Valentines Day by cutting an open heart into the top lattice crust.  After  baking the cheesecake, I let it cool a bit and then  I spread some good raspberry jam into the center of the heart for color and a little extra flavor.

Making the Italian ricotta cheesecake in the recipe below was even more fun for me than usual because I was able to use my new time-lapse photography software for my  cell phone.  If you want to see the video of my home cooked Italian ricotta cheesecake in the making, just click on the link below for the magic of Instagram!

My family loved this cheesecake as an early Valentines Day present.  I hope your loved ones will too!   -Kathryn Occhipinti

Italian Ricotta Cheesecake 

Ricotta Cheesecake with raspberry jam
Slice of Italian Ricotta Cheesecake with Raspberry Jam topping and coffee

(Makes One, 9″ Cheesecake)

Pasta Folla for the Crust
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp brandy
1 tsp grated lemon zest

Ricotta Filling 
2  1/2 lbs. fresh ricotta cheese*
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
2 large eggs beaten lightly

powdered sugar
raspberry jam
fresh raspberries


Before starting to make the cheesecake,  set an oven rack into the lower third of your oven and preheat your oven to 350°.

Assemble the Springform pan and lock the bottom in place.  (If you don’t have a Springform pan, you can use a deep dish pie pan.)

For the crust:

In a large, wide bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together with a fork.

Cut in 3/4 cup unsalted butter with a pastry cutter or your hands, running your thumb across your fingers to create small, flat, “flakes” of butter (method shown in Instagram video).

Add the lightly beaten eggs, brandy and lemon zest.

Mix together with a fork gently and then your hands gently until the dough comes together to form a disk.

Pull off pieces of the dough and use this to line the bottom of a 9″ Springform pan.  Reform the remainder of the dough into a disk and refrigerate in plastic wrap 30 minutes.

Pop into the oven and bake 8 – 10 minutes at 350°, or until lightly brown and set, but not cooked through.

Take out of oven and let cool before filling.

For the filling:

Using a large spoon or an electric mixer on low, gently mix together the ricotta cheese, sugar, flour salt, vanilla and lemon zest.

Add the 2 beaten eggs and mix gently to combine.

Pour the filling into the pre-baked, cooled crust in the Springform pan.

Take out the disk of reserved dough from the refrigerator.  Roll the dough out on a floured board.

Cut  one side of the rolled out dough into 4 long strips and place each strip onto the periphery of the filling to create the four sides of a square. Cut out a heart the size to fit into the center of the square. (You can cut the heart out of paper at first until you get the right size and then use this as a stencil to trace when cutting the dough if  you are not comfortable cutting the heart free hand.  And if it doesn’t work the first time, just put the dough back together and try again!)

Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake at 350 degrees about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until set and lightly brown on the edges.

Complete the  Cheesecake:

Let the cheesecake cool a bit.

Sprinkle all over with powdered sugar.

For a special occasion such as Valentines Day, spread a thin layer of raspberry jam into the cheesecake, in the center of the heart and/or between the lattice crust.

Top with fresh raspberries if desired.

Let set in the refrigerator overnight or at least 3 hours before enjoying!


*How to Find Good Ricotta Cheese
Today, I live near two small grocery store chains that make ricotta cheese fresh daily, and I would advise using this ricotta cheese instead of the mass produced (and preservative filled) ricotta cheese found on the shelves in most grocery stores.  If you have access to good, farm-fresh milk, it is actually easy to make your own cheese – but that is the subject of another blog!

— by Kathryn Occhipinti

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blogKathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
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Italian Ricotta Cheesecake for Valentines Day