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  • Writer's pictureItalian voice actor

The ten most popular accents in Italy

A map showing the city of Rome with the embossed white inscription the 10 most popular accents in Italy

The Italian language is one of the best known thanks to a series of words and expressions used in practically every country in the world, such as pizza, spaghetti, cappuccino, espresso, mozzarella, bravo, allegro, etc.

Anyone who has the opportunity to visit our country immediately understands that, thanks to the vast Italian culinary tradition, the Belpaese appears very different from one region to another and often even from one city to another. In fact, it is not uncommon to find different typical dishes even if you move just a few kilometres within the same province. This also happens with regional accents and dialects, which make the Italian language extremely interesting and entertaining.

Although the neutral Italian accent is obviously the one most used by the Italian population, there are also real alternative languages to Italian, such as Sardinian, Friulian or Ladin (, but their diffusion is limited to the region they belong to and few Italians are able to understand and speak them correctly.

For an Italian voice over, however, it is important to know and use, if required, the main dialects and regional accents in order to give the characters the right intensity and also a good dose of comedy depending on the script.

So how are dialects and accents used by Italians in everyday life?

To recap: in Italy, around 70 million people understand Italian with a neutral accent and at the same time speak different accents depending on the region in which they live.

Here are the top 10 most used Italian accents

10th - Sardinian

(spoken by about 2 million people)

It ranks last only because of its limited use in the region of Sardinia, but it is one of the most distinctive Italian accents, not least because 'Il Sardo' is a real alternative language to Italian. The Sardinian accent is comprehensible to all Italians as long as the use of Sardinian terms is limited during the conversation.

9th - Piedmontese

(spoken by around 2 million people)

This accent is used in the cities of the Piedmont region such as Turin, Cuneo, Alessandria, Vercelli, Biella, Novara and Asti. Creating an Italian voice-over with this accent is very challenging because it is characterised by a particular intonation that is very different from standard Italian. It is perhaps a dialect that is still little used in animated characters, even though it has great comic and expressive potential.

8th - Calabrese

(spoken by about 2 million people)

It is an unmistakable Italian accent but at the same time very difficult to reproduce for Italian voice overs, requiring many hours of study. It is typically used in the cities of Reggio Calabria, Cosenza, Catanzaro, and the neighbouring region of Basilicata.

7th - Emiliano - Romagnolo

(spoken by about 2 million people)

A very funny accent in which people use the letter "s" instead of "z" and in some cities, such as Parma, the French-style "R" is introduced. This is the typical accent of the Emilia - Romagna region and the cities of Bologna, Rimini, Modena, Ravenna and Ferrara. For an Italian voice artist, creating voices with this accent is almost as much fun as kicking a ball around!

6th - Lombard

(spoken by about 3.5 million people)

The Italian accent spoken in the Lombardy region and in the cities of Milan, Brescia, Bergamo, Monza. It is often used by actors and Italian voice actors to create characters related to the world of business and entrepreneurship, with some notes of narcissism and vanity.

5th - Roman

(spoken by about 3.5 million people)

From Italy's capital city Rome and the region of Lazio comes the funniest and most engaging accent. There are countless comedians, theatre and film actors, television personalities and Italian dubbers who have built their careers in Italy and abroad on this accent.

Strong, intuitive and surprising, the Roman accent is able to involve everyone.

4th - Veneto

(spoken by about 4 million people)

Marco Polo was the greatest Italian traveller in history, who knows what the Chinese thought when they first heard his strong Venetian accent when he arrived?

It is also the same accent that Romeo and Juliet used to say 'I love you' to each other in the city of Verona. It is also used in the cities of Vicenza, Padua and Trento.

3rd - Tuscan

(spoken by about 4 million people)

From Florence to Grosseto, passing through Siena and the enchanting valleys where the most appreciated Italian wine in the world is produced, this accent is also the one used by the Oscar-winning "Roberto Benigni" for the film "Life is beautiful". For an Italian voice over artist, it is stimulating to interpret a Tuscan character for its variety of expressions and contagious hilarity.

2nd - Sicilian

(spoken by about 5 million people)

The typical accent spoken in Palermo, Messina and throughout the beautiful region of Sicily.

This accent has become famous all over the world thanks to the masterpiece film "The Godfather" and is often used by Italian voice actors to emphasise the voice of mobster / gangster-style animation characters.

1st - Neapolitan

(spoken by about 7.5 million people)

Here we are at the top!

This accent is widespread in the Campania region and is used mainly in Naples, Salerno, Avellino and in many regions of southern Italy, but also in the north it is widely spoken thanks to typical dialectal expressions that have become commonplace for all Italians.

Many Neapolitan actors and Italian voiceover , using their natural accent, have made the history of Italian cinema and theatre, one of them being the famous Totò.

For an Italian voice actor, the possibility of interpreting scripts that require the use of one of these accents is always a great opportunity for growth: both when it comes to creating an Italian voiceover of an animation or advertising character, but also when it is required to add a small shade of colour during an Italian or English dubbing.

In all Italians there are very marked cultural contaminations that determine their expressiveness through the voice and this is a very important aspect to consider for all Italian voice actors.

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