METTERCI vs VOLERCI – How Long Does It Take in Italian? – Learn the Difference!

Volerci or metterci? How are they used? What are these verbs used for? Which verb should you use? Are they used in the same way? How long will it take learning this lesson? How fast can you learn? Write it in the comment section!


“VOLERCI” and “METTERCI” are two Italian verbs that express a time period.

BUT BE CAREFUL! They are not interchangeable, rather they must be used in a different way,  because their meaning is slightly different.

1) “volerci” generally indicates the time required to commit a particular deed.


Ci vogliono 5 ore per andare in treno da Bari a Roma. (It takes 5 hours to go to Rome form Bari by train)

So the subject of this kind of sentences is the time spent on doing the deed!

For this reason, the verb “volerci” can be only conjugated with the third person singular (to indicate a singular time as an hour, a minute, a week…) and with the third person plural (to indicate a plural time as two hours, three minutes, four weeks…).


Ci vuole un’ora per preparare la pizza. (It takes an hour to make a pizza)

Ci vogliono due giorni per pulire tutta la casa. (It takes two days to clean up the house)

Also learn the verb RACCOMANDARE!

2) “metterci”, instead, indicates the time required by a person or a thing to commit a specific deed.


Ci metto (io) un’ora andando con l’aereo. (It takes me an hour going by airplane)

Which is the subject of this sentence? No longer the time, as for “volerci”, but the person (or the thing) that commits the deed!

Therefore even if the time was in the plural form, the verb wouldn’t change, but it would remain accorded to the subject (Ci metto 5 ore per finire questo lavoro → It takes me five hours to complete this work)

In contrast to “volerci”, “metterci” can be conjugated with any person!

And you, how much time do you need to understand the difference between “volerci” and “metterci”? ?

What happens with the past form?

N.B. These verbs are different even in their past form! 

The verb “volerci“, for composed tenses, requires the auxiliary essere“(to be):


Ci sono volute* 2 ore per preparare questa torta! (It took two hours to make this cake)

*since we’re using “essere”, we must agree the past participle to the subject, that in this case is “2 ore”, so feminine and plural

The verb “metterci“, instead, requires the auxiliary “avere“ (to have):


Ci ho messo 2 ore per preparare questa torta! (It took me two hours to make this cake)

Now that you know the differences between these verbs, also learn the differences between FERMARE and SMETTERE!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

3 thoughts to “METTERCI vs VOLERCI – How Long Does It Take in Italian? – Learn the Difference!”

  1. Grazie ma che io sappia volerci si usa anche con altri tipi di soggetti,, ad es….. Ci sarà una grande festa stasera, quindi ci vogliono molte pizze. Sbaglio?

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