How to say good luck in Italian


Discover the charming ways Italians wish each other luck! From the classic buona fortuna to the quirky in culo alla balena, this guide will have you cheering like a local. 🍀

  • Go Traditional: Stick with buona fortuna for a straightforward “good luck” or auguri for “best wishes” – perfect for any occasion!
  • Get Superstitious: Embrace Italy’s love for the mystical with incrociamo le dita, literally “let’s cross our fingers,” to hope for the best outcome.
  • Theatrical Flair: Say in bocca al lupo to actors instead of “break a leg,” and don’t forget the response, crepi il lupo, meaning “may the wolf die!”
  • Whale of a Time: Use in culo alla balena for a humorous twist, and if you get the response speriamo che non caghi, laugh along with “let’s hope it doesn’t poop!”
  • Stage Presence: Before a performance, join actors in shouting Merda! three times for a cheeky way to wish success on stage.
  • Win Friends: Impress locals by using these colorful expressions – they’re funnier and more informal than the usual, earning you extra points for authenticity.

My thoughts

6 ways to wish good luck in Italian

The most common way of wishing good luck in Italian is buona fortuna.

It is the literal translation of “good luck”, and there’s not much else to say about it. Another common expression is auguri, which means “best wishes” and can be used interchangeably with buona fortuna.

Buona fortuna per il tuo esame!

Good luck with your exam!

Auguri per il tuo colloquio!

Good luck with your interview!

These were the 2 most literal ways of saying good luck in Italian. But they’re not the only ones.

There is also incrociamo le dita, which is the Italian translation of “fingers crossed”.

And then, the Italian language has many scaramantic best wishes, some of which are kinda… colorful, so to speak.

Here are the 3 most common ways to say good luck in Italian.

1) In bocca al lupo! This is the most common Italian equivalent of “break a leg. It means “into the mouth of the wolf“, and like its English counterpart is used in a superstitious way.

Both expressions date back to a time when it was thought that the forces governing the world made the opposite of what people wished out loud to come true.

So wishing for your friends to be mauled by wolves was meant to trick these dark forces into keeping them safe. The traditional reply to this wish is “crepi il lupo!” (“may the wolf die”).

2) In culo alla balena! This one means “into the ass of a whale”. Like the previous expression, it is used to mean the contrary of what you’re saying out loud. The standard reply is: “speriamo che non caghi!” (“let’s hope it doesn’t shit”).

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3) Merda!This one is used by stage actors when they are about to start a play. It just means “shit”, and actors usually yell it three times altogether just before going to their positions.

Cheer for your buddies

The best way to make new friends in Italy is to be kind and supportive. Cheer for them and wish them good luck in Italian with the expressions you just learned.

Also, using the superstitious expressions you’ve read above will earn you extra sympathy points, as they are considered much funnier and informal than buona fortuna.

Which one did you find funnier? Let me know in the comments 🙂

How do you say good luck and best wishes in Italian?

4 ways to say good luck in Italian: Buona fortuna! (Good luck!), In bocca al lupo! (Into the wolf's mouth!) In culo alla balena! (In the whale's bottom!) , and Auguri! (Best wishes!).

How do you say I wish you luck in Italian?

In Italian, you should say "in bocca al lupo" if you want to wish someone good luck. 

What is Buona fortuna?

It's an expression of support given to someone who is getting ready to compete, take a test, etc. It means "Good luck".

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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