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The Italian consonant system has 29 obstruents and 14 sonorants. The obstruents are classified along two dimensions, voiced vs. voiceless and single vs. geminate; the sonorants are (by definition) all voiced, but are also distinguished on the single-geminate axis, with the exception of two semivowel glides.

The voiced vs. voiceless distinction is normally manifested acoustically by the presence vs. absence of periodicity resulting from vocal fold vibration (cf. French).

There are six single and six geminate plosives, p b t d k g, pp bb tt dd kk gg, as follows:

p pane "pane
b banco "banko
t tana "tana
d danno "danno
k cane "kane
g gamba "gamba
pp coppa "kOppa
bb gobba "gObba
tt zitto "tsitto
dd cadde "kadde
kk nocca "nOkka
gg fugga "fugga

The plosives t, tt, d, dd have a dental, not an alveolar place of articulation.

There are four single and four geminate affricates, ts dz tS dZ, tts ddz ttS ddZ:

ts zitto "tsitto
dz zona "dzOna
tS cena "tSena
dZ gita "dZita
tts bozza "bOttsa
ddz mezzo "mEddzo
ttS braccio "brattSo
ddZ oggi "OddZi

There are five single and four geminate fricatives, f v s z S, ff vv ss SS:

f fame "fame
v vano "vano
s sano "sano
z sbaglio "zbaLLo initial only in cluster
S scendo "Sendo
ff beffa "bEffa
vv bevvi "bevvi
ss cassa "kassa
SS ascia "aSSa

There are three single and geminate nasals, m n J, mm nn JJ, three single and three geminate liquids, r l L, rr ll LL, and two semivowels, j w:

m molla "mOlla
n nocca "nOkka
J gnocco "JOkko
mm grammo "grammo
nn panna "panna
JJ bagno "baJJo
r rete "rete
l lama "lama
L gli Li only in function words
rr ferro "fErro
ll colla "kOlla
LL foglia "fOLLa
j ieri "jEri
w uomo "wOmo

Note: The velar nasal N is an allophone of n used before a velar. It may be written either way, thus <banco> banko or baNko.

There is no single-geminate opposition for the following six consonants in intervocalic position (including across word boundaries):

Five are always geminate: tts ddz SS JJ LL
One is always single: z

The vowel system comprises seven vowels, i e E a O o u:

i mite "mite
e rete "rete
E meta "mEta
a rata "rata
O moto "mOto
o dove "dove
u muto "muto

In unstressed position, the oppositions e - E and o - O are often neutralised.

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