Italian greetings
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Learn how to greet people in Italian, at any time of day or night.

What to say (and when)

Buongiorno means hello, good morning, good afternoon, or good day – but only as a greeting. To wish someone a good day upon leaving, say buona giornata.

Buonasera means good evening or even good afternoon as it is often used as early as 4pm. To wish someone a good evening upon leaving, say buona serata.

 Note that the greetings are usually single words: buongiorno and buonasera. It’s possible, though much less common, to write them as two words: buon giorno and buona sera. In contrast, the good wishes upon leaving are always two separate words: buona giornata and buona serata.

Salve can be used at any time of day: Hello.

Ciao is an informal greeting: Hi.

  What not to say

While the expressions buona mattina (good morning) and buon pomeriggio (good afternoon) exist, they are very rare. It’s far more common to say buongiorno or salve.

 Related lessons

Learn Spanish En español

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How to say hello in Italian

Virtual Italian Teacher at Lawless Languages | Website | + posts

Ciao! I’m Laura K Lawless, creator, writer, editor, and CLO (Chief Lawless Officer) of this free online Italian learning site.

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Ciao! I’m Evelyn Reid and I am utterly thrilled to be involved in the making of Lawless Italian. In addition to creating sound files, I handle social media, including mini tests every week.