How to say good morning in Italian + other generic greetings

Stefano

Italian language tutor, course author. MEng, MBA. Member of the International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA). After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. I couldn't find an app to recommend to my students, so I made my own one. With my method, you'll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.

Summary

Discover the Italian secret to a cheerful ‘good morning’! This guide not only teaches you the perfect phrase, buongiorno, but also when to use this universal greeting to charm everyone you meet in Italy. 🌞

  • Master the Morning: Forget “buona mattina”; the real deal is buongiorno. Use it to sound like a true Italian when you’re sipping that morning espresso. ☕
  • Timing is Everything: Buongiorno is your go-to phrase before lunch. After that, switch to buon pomeriggio or buonasera as the sun sets. 🕒
  • Universal Charm: Whether it’s the barista or your boss, buongiorno works for all. It’s the Swiss Army knife of greetings! 🤝
  • Evening Etiquette: When the clock strikes 6, it’s buonasera time. And for farewells under the stars, nothing beats a heartfelt buonanotte. 🌙
  • Pop Culture Reference: Channel your inner Truman from The Truman Show with his iconic line that rolls through all the Italian greetings. 🎬
  • Spread Kindness: Embrace the Italian way and greet everyone with warmth. It’s about making connections, not just speaking a language. ❤️
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How to say good morning in Italian?

If you want to translate good morning into Italian, the word you are looking for is buongiorno. Yes, that’s not a literal translation.

“Morning” should be translated with mattina, but nobody says “buona mattina” in Italy.

If you want to use that word, then you should say something like: “passa una buona mattinata“, which means “have a nice morning”, but it’s still an uncommon phrase.

Buongiorno means “Have a good day!” and can be used as a general greeting on any occasion. Some people shorten it to buondì (as is an archaic synonym for “day” in Italian), which has a more cheerful sound.

Here’s how to pronounce buongiorno:[IPA: /bwonˈd͡ʒor.no/]

This is only one of the many greetings you can use when traveling through Italy. Let’s see when it’s best to use it.

when to say buongiorno in Italian

When to say good morning in Italy

Unlike ciao, which you should say only to people you know, buongiorno is a catch-all greeting that you can say to everyone regardless of age, class, or level of acquaintance.

Weirdly enough, although giorno means day, Italians tend to say it only in the morning. After that, they use other generic greetings like buon pomeriggio, buonasera or buonanotte.

Tip: use buongiorno when entering a bar or a shop. It’s the proper way to say good morning in Italian to people you don’t know. You can also use it to greet co-workers when going to work. When you’re departing, change it into buona giornata.

The Italian word for good morning is it buona mattina or buongiorno

Buon pomeriggio is the most common way of saying good afternoon in Italian. It’s very formal and can be used from noon to sunset.

After 6 pm, you can also say buonasera, which means good evening in Italian.

Finally, if you’re parting with someone before going to bed, you can say buonanotte (good night in Italian).

Here’s how to pronounce each of these Italian greetings:

  • buon pomeriggio: [IPA: /ˌbwɔn po.meˈrid.d͡ʒo/]
  • buonasera: [IPA: /ˌbwɔ.naˈse.ra/]
  • buonanotte: [IPA:/ˌbwo.naˈnɔt.te/]

The meaning of buongiorno

Trivia:
If you’ve watched The Truman Show, you can repeat the protagonist’s catchphrase to remember some of these words: “E casomai non vi rivedessi, buon pomeriggio, buonasera e buonanotte!”

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Now you know how to say good morning in Italian as well as many other generic greetings.

Italians love greeting each other. People in small towns will often salute everyone they meet, even without them.

Don’t be rude and do the same, using the words you’ve just learned.

And if you want more options, check our post about Italian greetings to learn them all.

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FAQs on How to say good morning in Italian + other generic greetings

What is a typical greeting in Italian?

The standard verbal greeting is "Ciao" (Hello). This is quite informal. For a more formal greeting, people may alternatively use "Buongiorno" or "Buonasera."

How do you greet good morning in Italian?

To say "good morning" in Italian, use the traditional "buon giorno." You can use it till the afternoon, just as "good morning" in American and British English.

How do you reply to Buongiorno?

As a general rule, when someone addresses you, you should respond with the greeting they have chosen. If they say "Buongiorno," respond similarly, and if they say "Ciao," do the same. If you have to greet someone, it is recommended to be formal rather than informal.

Italian word of the day
contento
Example
Finalmente abbiamo finito! Sono proprio contento.
Finally we’re done! I’m really glad.
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