Regular verbs in the passato remoto (past historic tense)

The passato remoto (past historic tense) is generally used for actions that both started and ended in the distant past.

Nel 1990 partecipai a una maratona a Roma.

In 1990 I took part in a marathon in Rome.

Regular -are, -ere and -ire verbs are conjugated as follows:

Io mangiai
Tu mangiasti
Lui/lei mang
Noi mangiammo
Voi mangiaste
Loro mangiarono
Io ricevetti/ricevei
Tu ricevesti
Lui/lei ricevette/ricevé
Noi ricevemmo
Voi riceveste
Loro ricevettero/riceverono
Io partii
Tu partisti
Lui/lei partì
Noi partimmo
Voi partiste
Loro partirono

La scorsa estate mangiammo al ristorante di Carolina.

Last summer we ate at Carolina's restaurant.

Gli amici ricevettero la notizia il mese dopo il funerale Betty.

The friends received the news the month after Betty's funeral.

Anna partì per Berlino molti anni fa.

Anna left for Berlin many years ago.


  • Many regular -ere verbs have two correct forms for io (I), lui/lei (he/she) and loro (they).

Luisa temette / temé di aver perso le chiavi.

Luisa feared that she had lost the keys.

Io credei / credetti alla notizia sul giornale.

I believed the news in the newspaper.

  • In spoken Italian, it's very common to replace the past historic tense (e.g. visitai, I visited) with the passato prossimo (perfect tense – e.g. ho visitato, I visited / I have visited), even when talking about actions that started in the distant past.

Visitai Parigi nel 2017 → Ho visitato Parigi nel 2017.

I visited Paris in 2017 → I visited Paris in 2017.

L’Italia nacque oltre 150 anni fa → L’Italia è nata oltre 150 anni fa. 

Italy came into being over 150 years ago → Italy came into being over 150 years ago.

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