Passato Remoto

The Passato Remoto is one of the four past tenses of the mood called Indicativo.

As you probably know, in Italian there are different past tenses with specific functions and uses.

When you approach them, it is important to distinguish between the contexts where you have to use one or the other in order to become able to express different actions and situations.

So when do we use the Passato Remoto in Italian?

In general, it is used to express finished actions happened in the past that don’t have any effect on the present.

It means that there is a clear chronological and psychological distance between the fact expressed with the Passato Remoto and the present.


Let’s see how to make the Passato Remoto of Regular Verbs.

IO Arrivai Temetti (Temei)
TU Arrivasti Temesti
LUI/LEI Arrivò Temette (Temé)
NOI Arrivammo Tememmo
VOI Arrivaste Temeste
LORO Arrivarono Temettero (Temerono)


IO Partii Capii
TU Partisti Capisti
LUI/LEI Partì Capì
NOI Partimmo Capimmo
VOI Partiste Capiste
LORO Partirono Capirono


And here you have the Irregular Verbs Essere and Avere.

IO Fui Ebbi
TU Fosti Avesti
NOI Fummo Avemmo
VOI Foste Aveste
LORO Furono Ebbero


Normally, in the spoken language it is used to express emotional distance from what we say, whilst in the written language it is a stylistic choice.

Made exception for some parts of Italy (Tuscany and some areas of the South), in the spoken language this tense has been widely replaced by the Passato Prossimo.

And now, some useful examples to better understand how to use this tense!

Italian English
Il mio bisnonno nacque a Milano nel 1807. My great-grandfather was born in Milan in 1807.
Vittorio Emanuele II fu il primo re d’Italia. Vittorio Emanuele II was the first King of Italy.
Lo scorso Natale nevicò molto. Last Christmas it snowed a lot.


Watch our useful video tutorial about the difference between Passato Prossimo and Passato Remoto!

Can you think of any good example to use this new tense?


If you want to learn more at this level join the Italian Evening Intermediate 3 course!


If you enjoy video tutorials, check our Youtube Channel.