You’re enjoying a delicious pranzo (lunch) with your friend when you suddenly notice a shiny ring on her finger.
She smiles at you and announces, “Mi sono fidanzata!” (“I got engaged!”)
You’re thrilled to hear the news and want to congratulate her right away.
But with so many different ways to say congratulations in Italian, how do you know which saying is best for your situation?
There’s no need to stress, because we’re here to help break down each word and phrase for you. Whether you’re sending your well wishes to a recently married couple or wishing someone luck on a big exam, finding the right words is a lot easier than you think.
Let’s get started!
Bravo! Brava! How to Say Congratulations in Italian with 12 Key Phrases
Basic Ways to Say Congratulations in Italian
To begin, we’ll discuss several standard ways to congratulate someone in Italian.
These common sayings can be applied to a wide range of situations, so it’s important to keep them in mind the next time you want to send someone your well wishes.
Complimenti! (well done!) is the most common way to say congratulations in Italian.
It literally translates to “compliments” and lets you acknowledge what the other speaker has achieved. Because complimenti is such a versatile saying, you can use it to congratulate someone on anything from a wedding to a job promotion.
Additionally, Italians use complimenti to convey a sense of appreciation towards the other person. Whether you’re complimenting your friend’s new outfit or their English speaking abilities, you can use complimenti to let them know that their efforts didn’t go unrecognized.
Here are some examples of how to use complimenti in Italian conversation:
Complimenti per la laurea! (Congratulations on your graduation!)
Complimenti, tu canti molto bene. (Nice job. You sing very well!)
No matter how well you know Italian, you’re probably familiar with the common saying, bravo/a (good job).
This word is even more versatile than complimenti and can be used in countless situations. Not only is bravo/a completely suitable for special occasions, it’s also a good word to use when you want to let someone know they’ve done a great job. For example, you might say bravo/a! to an English learner after they successfully string together a complex sentence in English.
Complimenti, on the other hand, would only be appropriate in that context if you followed it with an expression of praise. For example: Complimenti, parli molto bene l’inglese! (Wow, you speak English very well!)
If you wish to congratulate someone by telling them bravo/a, it’s sufficient to use the word all on its own. Remember to say bravo if you’re addressing a male speaker and brava if you’re addressing a female speaker.
Unlike the previous two sayings, congratulazioni (congratulations) is considered a more formal way to express congratulations in Italian.
It’s worth noting that congratulazioni is more commonly seen in written language as opposed to everyday speech. However, if you wish to congratulate someone in a more official manner, congratulazioni is an appropriate choice.
These example sentences illustrate how to use congratulazioni properly:
Congratulazioni per il vostro matrimonio! (Congratulations on your wedding!)
Congratulazioni per la promozione di lavoro! (Congratulations on the job promotion!)
Felicitazioni (congratulations) derives from the Italian word felicità, which means “happiness.”
When you’re eager to express your joy about a happy occasion, you can use felicitazioni to offer someone your heartfelt congratulations.
Fai le mie felicitazioni a tua sorella per il nuovo lavoro. (Congratulate your sister for me on her new job.)
If you’re trying to learn to differentiate between words like complimenti, bravo/a, congratulazioni and felicitazioni, FluentU is a great resource.
Each video comes with interactive subtitles, a transcript and a vocabulary list for fun and effective learning. And since all FluentU videos feature native Italian speakers, you’ll learn the correct usage of similar words like these.
Plus, you can practice and review with flashcard decks and built-in quizzes. It’s free to sign up—check it out!
Congratulations in Italian: Well Wishes for the Future
New beginnings are the perfect opportunity to send someone your congratulations in Italian.
Here are some specific phrases you can use to congratulate someone as they embark on the next chapter in their life.
Tanta felicità (literally: lots of happiness) can be applied to a number of different situations.
Whether you’re attending a wedding or a graduation ceremony, you can use this phrase to let the person know you wish them plenty of happiness in their future. It’s sure to help lift everyone’s spirits at the event.
Cento di questi giorni!
This phrase, which literally translates to “a hundred of these days,” is considered the Italian equivalent of “many happy returns.”
Saying this to someone who’s enjoying a fresh start in their life will let them know that you hope they have plenty more days filled with joy and good fortune.
Auguri (well wishes) is heard throughout Italy in a number of different scenarios. The most common usage of this word is to wish someone all the best.
While it isn’t a direct translation for “congratulations,” it’s still a great way to acknowledge and celebrate happy occasions in other’s lives.
Tanti auguri a te! (Happy birthday to you!)
Auguri di buone feste! (Happy holidays!)
Auguri per la gravidanza! (I wish you all the best with your pregnancy!)
You might notice that auguroni (well wishes) is very similar to auguri.
That’s because these two words essentially have the same meaning, but auguroni is more emphatic than auguri. If you’re particularly excited about a certain event, you can use auguroni to let the other person know that you want the absolute best for them.
Here are a few examples:
Auguroni di Buon Natale a tutti! (Best wishes for a Merry Christmas to you all!)
Auguroni di buon compleanno, Giulia! (Happy, happy birthday, Giulia!)
How to Say “Congratulations” on Specific Occasions
Certain special moments—like weddings, engagements and birthdays—have dedicated phrases. If you want to congratulate a happy couple, or a birthday boy or girl, you can easily reach for the following phrases and make your joy known:
Evviva gli sposi! (For weddings)
This phrase is considered the standard way to say congratulations to the bride and/or groom at an Italian wedding.
It literally translates to “long live the bride and groom,” and it’s the perfect way to send the couple your wishes for a long and happy life together.
Tanti auguri per una vita felice insieme! (For engagements)
If a couple you know has just announced that they’re engaged, you can tell them tanti auguri per una vita felice insieme (many wishes for a happy life together).
This phrase is also a great way to express congratulations to a recently married couple.
Buon anniversario! (For anniversaries)
As you may have guessed, buon anniversario (happy anniversary) is the phrase Italians use to wish others a happy anniversary.
It’s a simple phrase that you can use in both formal and informal settings. The next time you want to wish your colleagues or close friends a happy anniversary, you can’t go wrong with a simple buon anniversario!
Buon compleanno! (For birthdays)
What better way to make someone’s special day even more special than to wish them a happy birthday?
In Italian, you can accomplish this by telling them buon compleanno (happy birthday). If you’re feeling extra festive, you can even sing the Italian birthday song, “Tanti auguri a te” (happy birthday to you)!
Life is full of moments to celebrate and offer someone your congratulations.
After learning these common ways to say congratulations in Italian, you’ll be ready to express your happiness for others’ accomplishments, whether it’s an engagement, a graduation ceremony or anything in between.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.