Good Morning in Italian: 9 Ways To Start Your Italian Day Right
I’ve never been much of a “morning person,” but four years in Italy have made me reconsider.
Mornings in Italy have a beautiful, bustling energy—and I’m not just talking about the caffeine buzz that comes with my caffè (coffee). From chatting with the barista to greeting my neighbors, morning interactions help me reawaken my Italian speaking skills and confidence.
From start-of-the-day greetings to describing your morning routine, this post has all the Italian vocabulary you’ll need to start your day off right.
- How to Say Good Morning in Italian: Buongiorno
- 8 More Ways to Say Good Morning in Italian
- 1. ‘ Giorno — Morning (informal)
- 2. Ciao — Hi (informal)
- 3. Salve — Hello
- 4. Buondì — Good morning (colloquial)
- 5. Buona giornata — Have a good day!
- 6. Le/Vi auguro una buona giornata — I wish you a good day
- 7. Buona mattinata — Have a good (rest of the) morning!
- 8. Hai dormito bene? — Did you sleep well?
- Useful Italian Morning Vocabulary and Phrases
How to Say Good Morning in Italian: Buongiorno
The most common greeting you’ll hear on a morning in Italy is buongiorno! It literally translates to “good day,” but it functions in the same way that “Good morning” does in English. (The literal translation of “Good morning,” buon mattino or buona mattina , is almost never used.)
It’s typically used from the morning to late afternoon, usually around 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., at which point Italians start greeting each other with buonasera (Good evening) instead. This timing was a little confusing for me when I moved to Italy.
Buongiorno is appropriate in both formal and informal contexts, and it’s easy to customize for the occasion. You can politely greet an older gentleman with Buongiorno, signore (Good morning, sir) or say good morning to a crowd with Buongiorno a tutti (Good morning, everyone). If you’re a movie buff, you can even reference Roberto Benigni’s masterpiece “La vita è bella” (Life Is Beautiful) by addressing your sweetheart with Buongiorno, principessa! (Good morning, princess!)
8 More Ways to Say Good Morning in Italian
While you can’t go wrong with buongiorno, learning a few other ways to wish someone a good morning will enrich your Italian vocabulary and leave you sounding like a natural! Here are some alternative morning greetings for specific situations and levels of formality.
1. ‘ Giorno — Morning (informal)
This one is simple—it’s just a shortened version of buongiorno. ‘Giorno is a pretty informal greeting, so be sure to use it only if you’re on friendly terms with the other person.
‘Giorno, fra, come va? – Morning, bro, how’s it going?
2. Ciao — Hi (informal)
Chances are you’ve heard this informal, friendly Italian greeting before! Ciao can be used at any time, but if you’re seeing a friend for the first time that day, it works perfectly well as a good-morning salutation.
Ciao, cara, come stai? — Hi, dear, how are you?
3. Salve — Hello
Salve is a little more refined than giorno or ciao. The Latin greeting salve originally represented a wish for good health. In modern Italy, it’s a polite but not overly formal conversation starter that can be used at any time of the day. Try it out with a barista or shop owner. (Be aware, though, that it might sound a little strange if you use it to greet a close friend.)
Salve, mi può fare un cappuccino con latte di mandorla, per favore? — Hello, can you please make me a cappuccino with almond milk?
4. Buondì — Good morning (colloquial)
Buondì is buongiorno’s quirky cousin. Friendly, fun, and a little old-fashioned, the greeting derives from buon (good) and dì (an archaic word for “day”). In some Italian regions, it’s used as an all-purpose morning greeting, while in others, it’s considered to be pretty informal. To play it safe, use buondì if you’re on familiar terms with the other person.
Buondì! Tutto bene? — Good morning! Everything okay?
5. Buona giornata — Have a good day!
While Italians say buongiorno at the beginning of a morning conversation, they use buona giornata to sign off before parting ways. Buona giornata is appropriate for all levels of formality, but remember that it should only be used at the end of the interaction.
Ciao, ci vediamo presto. Buona giornata! – Bye, see you soon. Have a good day!
6. Le/Vi auguro una buona giornata — I wish you a good day
Looking for a more elegant way to wish someone a good day? Le auguro una buona giornata (if you’re talking to just one person) or Vi auguro una buona giornata (for multiple people) add a little extra politeness to your standard buona giornata. Because these forms use the formal linguistic register, you can use them with people who are older or more senior than you.
Vi ringrazio tutti per la vostra attenzione, e vi auguro una buona giornata. – I thank you all for your attention, and I wish you a good day.
7. Buona mattinata — Have a good (rest of the) morning!
Buona mattinata is another great way to leave a morning conversation on a positive note. It’s similar to buona giornata, but instead of telling the other person to “have a good day,” you’re essentially saying “Have a good (rest of the) morning!”
È stato un piacere. Ti auguro una buona mattinata! – It’s been a pleasure. Have a good morning!
8. Hai dormito bene? — Did you sleep well?
After greeting your partner, host family, or flatmates with buongiorno or buondì, you might want to continue the conversation by asking them if they slept well.
Buongiorno, amore mio. Hai dormito bene? — Good morning, my love. Did you sleep well?
Useful Italian Morning Vocabulary and Phrases
Now that you’re equipped with the perfect Italian morning greeting for any situation, it’s worth your while to learn some key vocabulary words to describe your morning routine.
A word of caution: the verbs we use in English to talk about certain morning activities are not always the same ones that are used in Italian! These include eating breakfast and taking a shower—in both cases, Italians use the verb fare (“make” or “do”) to describe these actions. Similarly, Italians don’t “brush” their teeth—rather, they wash them ( lavarsi i denti ).
- Svegliarsi — To wake up
- Alzarsi — To get up
- Presto — Early
- Alba — Dawn
- Sorgere del sole — Sunrise
- (Mettere una) sveglia — (To set an) alarm
- Prima mattinata / Prima mattina — Early morning
- Tarda mattinata — Late morning
- (Fare la) colazione — (To have) breakfast
- Caffè latte — Coffee with milk
- Succo, spremuta — Juice
- Cornetto, brioche — Croissant
- Fette biscottate — Toasted bread/Rusks
- Marmellata — Jam
- Lavarsi i denti — To brush one’s teeth
- Pettinarsi — To comb one’s hair
- Truccarsi — To put on makeup
- (Farsi la) doccia — (To take a) shower
- Andare al lavoro — To go to work
- Andare a scuola — To go to school
- Chi dorme non piglia pesci — The early bird catches the worm (literally “He who sleeps does not catch fish”)
- Le ore del mattino hanno l’oro in bocca
— Morning hours are the most productive (literally “Morning hours have gold in their mouth”)
Note that you’ll commonly hear this Italian saying shortened to Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca.
- Il buongiorno si vede dal mattino — A good beginning bodes well (literally “You can see a good day from the morning”)
One of the best ways to learn this vocabulary and how to use it is by immersing yourself in Italian content like TV shows and movies. TV shows and movies will often have morning scenes, so you’ll be able to see this vocabulary used in context by native speakers.
Another useful resource is FluentU, a language learning program that uses authentic Italian videos—like movie clips, news and interesting talks—to teach you the language. All videos on this platform are accompanied by interactive subtitles, meaning that you’ll be able to simply hover over a word to find its definition and add any new terms to your personalized flashcard decks for later practice.
As well as practicing with resources, you could also start using this vocabulary in your daily life. For example, you could try writing or talking about your morning routine using these terms.
Starting your day with a well-timed Italian greeting is the perfect way to infuse your morning with energy and perk up your language skills.
With these vocabulary items and cultural tidbits under your belt, you’ll be ready to experience the beauty of Italian mornings from the moment your alarm goes off—whether you’re a “morning person” or not!