happy birthday in Italian

“Happy Birthday” in Italian: 60 Words and Phrases for Best Birthday Wishes [With Audio]

Every language has its own special ways of saying “happy birthday!”

Knowing how to say it is essential if you’re learning Italian, or have an Italian friend you want to celebrate.

From birthday vocab and greetings to the birthday song, let’s take a closer look at how to say “happy birthday” in Italian.


How to Say Happy Birthday in Italian

Tanti auguri — Best wishes [for your birthday]

Tanti auguri is the most common way of wishing someone a happy birthday in Italian.

Auguri derives from the Italian verb augurare (to wish), so the literal translation of tanti auguri would actually be “many wishes” or “best wishes” in English. 

It’s a versatile phrase and can be used in many different situations: For example, you could say it to a couple getting married, and it would mean something like “all the best.” It really depends on the context!

Buon compleanno Happy birthday

Buon compleanno is another popular way of wishing someone a happy birthday in Italian, like tanti auguri.

But be careful when wishing someone a happy birthday in this way: In English we use the word “happy,” while in Italian you should use buon (good) instead of felice (happy).

Buon compleanno translates literally into English as “good birthday.”

Auguri — Best wishes

Like our first phrase, auguri is derived from the Italian verb augurare (to wish). This is a great word for you to learn given that you can use it in so many different situations!

Short and easy to remember, auguri is perfect for anyone learning Italian.

From wishing a happy birthday to congratulating someone for something else, it is definitely worth adding auguri to your Italian vocabulary.

Tantissimi auguri Very, very best wishes

If you want to express even more love and kindness when wishing someone a happy birthday, then this is the option for you!

Tantissimi auguri literally means something like “many, many wishes” in English. Tantissimi is the absolute superlative of tanti—an adjective meaning “many” in the masculine plural form.

Why not try saying Tantissimi auguri the next time someone you love celebrates their birthday?

Auguri di buon compleanno — Happy birthday wishes

While it is correct to say auguri di buon compleanno to someone in person, this phrase is perfect for a special birthday message, either in a handwritten birthday card or as a message on social media.

It is slightly more formal than the other options on this list but a great option if you are looking for something special to add to a birthday message.

If you want to sound super nice and kind, you can add tanti (many) at the beginning!

Tanti auguri in ritardo Happy belated birthday

How many times have you accidentally forgotten about someone’s birthday, or realized that it was your colleague’s birthday the week before?

Tanti auguri in ritardo (happy belated birthday) is a great way of politely wishing someone a happy birthday a few days later.

Even if you are good at remembering important dates, it is worth learning this phrase. You never know when you might need to use it!

Italian Birthday Vocabulary and Phrases

As well as learning how to wish someone a happy birthday in Italian, it is just as important to learn the vocabulary and phrases you’re likely to encounter at a birthday party attended by Italian speakers:

ItalianMeaningExample Sentence (Italian)Example sentence (English translation)
Compleanno Birthday Oggi è il mio compleanno! Today is my birthday!
La festa di compleanno Birthday party Domani organizzeremo una grande festa di compleanno per mia sorella. Tomorrow we will organize a big birthday party for my sister.
Il festeggiato / la festeggiata Birthday boy / birthday girl Il festeggiato è circondato da amici e familiari che gli augurano un felice compleanno. The birthday boy is surrounded by friends and family who are wishing him a happy birthday.
Il biglietto di auguri — the birthday cardBirthday card Ho ricevuto un bellissimo biglietto di auguri dalla mia migliore amica I received a beautiful birthday card from my best friend
Il regalo Present Ho ricevuto un bellissimo regalo di compleanno. I received a wonderful birthday gift.
Le candeline Birthday candles Abbiamo acceso le candeline sulla torta. We lit the candles on the cake.
La tortaCake Ho preparato una torta per il tuo compleanno. I made a cake for your birthday.
Palloncini Balloons Abbiamo decorato la sala con i palloncini colorati. We decorated the room with colorful balloons.
Festa Party Organizziamo una festa a sorpresa per il tuo compleanno. We're throwing a surprise party for your birthday.
Invito Invitation Ho ricevuto un invito per una festa di compleanno. I received an invitation to a birthday party.
Augurio Wish Ti faccio i miei migliori augurio per il tuo compleanno. I send you my best wish for your birthday.
Sorpresa Surprise La festa è stata una grande sorpresa! The party was a big surprise!
Divertimento Fun Spero che tu abbia una giornata piena di divertimento. I hope you have a day full of fun.
Amici Friends Ho invitato tutti i miei amici alla mia festa di compleanno. I invited all my friends to my birthday party.
Famiglia Family La mia famiglia mi ha preparato una sorpresa per il compleanno. My family prepared a surprise for my birthday.
Buon umore Good mood Spero che tu sia sempre di buon umore nel giorno del tuo compleanno. I hope you're always in a good mood on your birthday.
Brindisi Toast Abbiamo fatto un brindisi al tuo compleanno. We made a toast to your birthday.
Serata Evening Passeremo una piacevole serata per il tuo compleanno. We'll have a pleasant evening for your birthday.
Musica Music Abbiamo ballato e ascoltato musica alla festa di compleanno. We danced and listened to music at the birthday party.
Dolce Sweet Ho preparato un dolce speciale per il tuo compleanno. I made a special sweet treat for your birthday.
Ballare Dance Abbiamo ballato fino a tarda notte alla festa di compleanno. We danced until late at night at the birthday party.
Auguri di felicità Wishes of happiness Ti mando tanti auguri di felicità per il tuo compleanno. I send you many wishes of happiness for your birthday.
Torta di compleanno Birthday cake La torta di compleanno è decorata con candeline colorate. The birthday cake is decorated with colorful candles.
Felicità Happiness Ti auguro tanta felicità nel giorno del tuo compleanno. I wish you much happiness on your birthday.
Giorno speciale Special day Oggi è il tuo giorno speciale. Buon compleanno! Today is your special day. Happy birthday!
Trascorrere una grande giornata Have a great day Spero che tu trascorra una grande giornata visto che è il tuo compleanno. I hope you have a great day since it's your birthday.
Brindare alla vita Toast to life Brindiamo alla vita nel giorno del tuo compleanno. Let's toast to life on your birthday.
Far festa fino a tardi Party late into the night Abbiamo intenzione di far festa fino a tardi per il tuo compleanno. We plan to party late into the night for your birthday.
Un anno più saggio One year wiser "Oggi sei un anno più vecchio, ma anche un anno più saggio. Today, you turn one year older, but also one year wiser.
Ricordare i bei momenti Remember the good times Nel giorno del tuo compleanno, ricordiamo insieme i bei momenti trascorsi. On your birthday, let's remember together the good times we've had.
Trascorrere del tempo con gli amici Spend time with friends Non c'è niente di meglio che trascorrere il tuo compleanno con gli amici più cari. There's nothing better than spending your birthday with your dearest friends.
Spegnere le candeline Blow out the candles Fai un respiro profondo e spegni tutte le candeline sulla torta di compleanno. Take a deep breath and blow out all the candles on the birthday cake.
Serata indimenticabile Unforgettable evening La tua festa di compleanno sarà una serata indimenticabile. Your birthday party will be an unforgettable evening.
Giochi di compleanno Birthday games Abbiamo organizzato dei giochi divertenti per la festa di compleanno. We've organized fun games for the birthday party.
Celebrare con stile Celebrate in style A mio fratello piace celebrare il suo compleanno con stile. My brother likes to celebrate his birthday in style.
Augurare una vita piena di successo Wish a successful life Ti auguro una vita piena di successo e realizzazioni nel giorno del tuo compleanno. I wish you a life full of success and accomplishments on your birthday.
Un giorno pieno di sorprese A day full of surprises Ti aspettano tante sorprese e regali nel giorno del tuo compleanno. Many surprises and gifts await you on your birthday.
Esprimi un desiderio Make a wish Prima di soffiarle, esprimi un desiderio per il tuo compleanno! Before blowing them out, make a birthday wish!
Spegni le candeline! Blow out the candkes! Spegni le candeline sulla torta e i tuoi desideri si avvereranno. Blow out the candles on the cake, and your wishes will come true.
Quando è il tuo compleanno? When is your birthday? Mi scuso per la mia mancanza, ma quando è il tuo compleanno? I apologize for my ignorance, but when is your birthday?
Quanti anni hai? How old are you? (informal) Mi chiedo, quanti anni hai? I wonder, how old are you?
Quanti anni ha? How old are you? (formal) Posso chiederle quanti anni ha? May I ask you how old are you?
Ho [numero] anni. I am [number] years old. Ho 25 anni e mi sento molto grato per tutto ciò che ho vissuto finora. I am 25 years old, and I feel very grateful for everything I have experienced so far.
Tanti auguri di compleanno! Many happy returns of the day! Tanti auguri di compleanno! Che la vita ti sorrida sempre! Many happy returns of the day! May life always smile upon you!
Buon compleanno e felicitazioni! Happy birthday and congratulations! Buon compleanno e felicitazioni! Hai raggiunto un traguardo importante! Happy birthday and congratulations! You've achieved a significant milestone!
Che il tuo compleanno sia pieno di gioia! May your birthday be filled with joy! Che il tuo compleanno sia pieno di gioia e sorprese meravigliose! May your birthday be filled with joy and wonderful surprises!
Ti auguro un anno pieno di successi! I wish you a year full of success! Ti auguro un anno pieno di successi, felicità e realizzazioni! I wish you a year full of success, happiness, and accomplishments!
Che il tuo giorno speciale sia straordinario! May your special day be extraordinary! Che il tuo giorno speciale sia straordinario come te! Auguri di cuore! May your special day be as extraordinary as you are! Best wishes from the heart!
In questo giorno speciale, ti auguro tutto il meglio! On this special day, I wish you all the best! In questo giorno speciale, ti auguro tutto il meglio che la vita ha da offrire! On this special day, I wish you all the best that life has to offer!
Buon compleanno! Che ogni giorno sia un'avventura! Happy birthday! May every day be an adventure! Buon compleanno! Che ogni giorno della tua vita sia pieno di avventure straordinarie! Happy birthday! May every day of your life be filled with extraordinary adventures!
Ti auguro un anno pieno di amore e felicità! I wish you a year full of love and happiness! Ti auguro un anno pieno di amore, felicità e successo in tutto ciò che fai! I wish you a year full of love, happiness, and success in everything you do!
Che il tuo compleanno sia solo l'inizio di un lungo viaggio pieno di avventure! May your birthday be just the beginning of a long journey full of adventures! Che il tuo compleanno sia solo l'inizio di un lungo viaggio straordinario fatto di sorprese e realizzazioni! May your birthday be just the beginning of a remarkable journey filled with surprises and accomplishments!

The “Happy Birthday” Song in Italian (With Lyrics)

The “Happy Birthday” song translates to Tanti auguri a te (Happy Birthday to You) in Italian:

Tanti auguri a te (Happy birthday to you)
Tanti auguri a te (Happy birthday to you)
Tanti auguri [name] (Happy birthday, [name])
Tanti auguri a te (Happy birthday to you)

In the video, the word felici is inserted in the third verse, which means “many happy wishes.”

In the third line, it’s normally customary to say the name of the person whose birthday you’re celebrating, like in English. You can even include more than one name in the wish—connecting the names with the Italian word e (and).

To learn more about the song and see related vocab in other contexts, Tanti auguri a te is available to access on the FluentU program.

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Just like the “Happy birthday” song in English, in Italian there are also many different versions of Tanti auguri a te. Check out these renditions by the following artists:

  • Il Volo, meaning “The Flight,” is an Italian operatic pop trio who represented Italy in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

    For this rendition of Tanti auguri a te, they perform in their signature operatic style. The lyrics are identical to the traditional version, so feel free to sing along!

  • Marcella Bella is a famous Italian singer who released this rendition of Tanti auguri a te in 1987.

    While the chorus of the song follows the lyrics of the traditional birthday song, two additional verses have been added. This version borders more on being directed to an ex-lover.

    This rendition is full of birthday vocabulary such as compleanno (birthday) and la festa (the party). 

  • Orchestra Roberto Scaglioni is an Italian band that has released over 30 albums throughout their career.

    This version of Tanti auguri a te keeps the main lyrics of the original during the chorus but has added other lyrics as well.

    The tune of this song is also different from the traditional version and contains lyrics related to celebration and friendship.

Italian Birthday Traditions

Italians like to celebrate in style! There are some traditions and special ages when celebrating birthdays in Italy. Here are a few worth knowing:

  • Special ages: The 18th birthday, called diciottesimo compleanno , holds special significance in Italy, marking the transition from childhood to adolescence. Families may celebrate this occasion with a special party, as it means you can start doing “adult” things such as voting and getting your driver’s license.
  • Regali a Sorpresa : Italians love surprises, and surprise gifts are a common birthday tradition. Friends and family members often plan unexpected gifts or outings for the birthday person.
  • Toccare Ferro : This is an Italian superstition commonly observed on birthdays. It involves touching iron (such as a key or a piece of jewelry) after expressing a hope or making a positive statement about the future. It’s believed that touching iron will protect the person from jinxing their good fortune.
  • Torta in Faccia : While not exclusive to Italy, this tradition involves playfully smashing a piece of cake into the birthday person’s face.


Now you’re all ready to have an awesome birthday party or impress someone on their birthday with your Italian! Get your cake, candles and invitations ready!


And One More Thing...

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