In English, the prepositions "opposite" and "in front of" have a subtle difference:

  • opposite: in a position facing someone or something but with something between both (eg street, river, table)
  • in front of: close to the front of something or someone

I have learned that "di fronte a" is a translation of "opposite" and I thought back then that the Italian word had the exact same meaning. However, I have recently read at a Quora answer that "di fronte a" is in fact used when I'm in front of something and facing it, while "davanti a" is used when I'm in front of something, but not necessarily facing it. Supposedly there is no need of having something between both people/objects in "di fronte a", unlike in "opposite" in English. Is that correct? I have looked for a precise definition of "di fronte a" in the Treccani dictionary, but I have not found it.

  • 1
    Is this different from italian.stackexchange.com/q/10898/70 ?
    – egreg
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 13:12
  • @egreg My question there was if "di fronte a" could be used as a translation of "in front of", the question here is about the precise meaning of "di fronte a". I suppose both questions could be answered with precise and detailed definitions of "di fronte a" and "davanti" (instead of English translations). Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 13:17
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    You can find the definition of "di fronte" at number 2.h of Treccani dictionary.
    – Charo
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 13:42
  • @Charo Thanks for the link, but Treccani defines "di fronte a" as "di faccia, di contro, davanti" and I think that "davanti" and "di fronte a" are not synonyms? I'm confused. I'd really appreciate if someone could confirm if what I have read in the Quora answer linked above is true. Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 16:33
  • Does this answer your question? "Di fronte a" means "opposite" and "in front of"?
    – DaG
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


What you read from Quora is right, "di fronte a" is used when you are facing something, "davanti a" is used when you are in front of something, but you are not necessarily facing it.

  • 1
    Benvenuto su Italian.SE, @Leonardo!
    – Charo
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 11:15
  • Beh, grazie! @Charo Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 7:27

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