The Italian sparrow (Passer italiae), also known as the cisalpine sparrow, is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean region. In appearance, it is intermediate between the house sparrow, and the Spanish sparrow, a species of the Mediterranean and Central Asia closely related to the house sparrow. The Italian sparrow occurs in northern Italy and neighbouring regions, with intermediates with the house sparrow in a very narrow contact zone in the Alps, a slow gradation in appearance from the Italian to Spanish sparrows across central and southern Italy, and more birds of intermediate appearance in Malta, Crete, and other parts of the Mediterranean.
The Italian sparrow is a small chunky bird, with grey and brown plumage. The sexes differ in their plumage pattern, and slightly in length. The male has a head patterned like that of the Spanish sparrow, with a chestnut crown, nape and sides of head, and white cheeks. The male's upperparts are bright chestnut, and its underparts are pale grey, lacking the black streaking of the Spanish sparrow. The male has a black patch on its throat and chest, known as a bib or badge. This patch, like much of the male's plumage is dull in fresh non-breeding plumage and is brightened by wear and preening. The female is nearly identical to the female house sparrow, but it differs from the female Spanish sparrow in its lack of black streaks on the underparts. Albinism is occasionally recorded. The Italian sparrow is about the same size as the house sparrow at 14–16 cm in length.
The vocalisations of the Italian sparrow are similar to those of both the Spanish sparrow and the house sparrow. Its vocalisations carry better in natural environments than those of the house sparrow. The male gives a chreep call like that of the Spanish sparrow to proclaim nest ownership, and a faster version of this as part of courtship display. Male song patterns grade slowly into those of the Spanish sparrow across southern Italy, but in the area of overlap between the house and Italian sparrows, the two birds sound alike.