happy birthday in italian

The 6 Most Common Ways to Say “Happy Birthday” in Italian [Plus Birthday Vocabulary, Phrases and Songs]

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

Knowing how to say it in Italian 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.


The 6 Main Ways to Say “Happy Birthday” in Italian

Tanti auguri! (Happy birthday!)

Buon compleanno! (Happy birthday!) 

Tanti auguri felici! (Many happy wishes!)

Auguri! (Best wishes!)

Auguri di buon compleanno! (Happy birthday wishes!)

Tanti auguri in ritardo! (Happy belated birthday!)

Italian Birthday Vocabulary and Phrases

Here’s some of the vocabulary you’re likely to encounter at a birthday party attended by Italian speakers:

compleanno (birthday) 

la festa di compleanno (the birthday party)

il festeggiato/a (the birthday boy/girl)

il cartolina di compleanno (the birthday card)

il regalo (the present)

le candeline (the birthday candles)

la torta (the cake)

And some common birthday phrases:

Esprimi un desiderio di compleanno! (Make a birthday wish!)

Spegni le candeline! (Blow out the candles!)

Quando è il tuo compleanno? (When is your birthday?)

Quanti anni hai? (How old are you?—informal)

Quanti anni ha? (How old are you?—formal)

Ho ____ anni. (I am ____ years old.)

How to Sing “Happy Birthday” in Italian

The “Happy Birthday” song translates to “Tanti auguri a te” (“Happy Birthday to You”) in Italian! Have a listen to the song in the video below:

It sounds pretty similar to the English version, right?

Well, the lyrics are similar as well! Check them out:

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.”

However, in the third verse, it’s normally customary to say the name of the person whose birthday you’re celebrating. For example, if you were singing the song to me you would say “Tanti auguri, Michael” (Happy birthday, Michael).

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 on the language learning app and website FluentU.

happy birthday in italian

Just like the other fun media clips on the program, the Italian birthday song is equipped with learning features, such as interactive subtitles with instant definitions and information on usage. The subtitles are also connected to the video library so you can see how the same words manifest in various videos.

For additional practice, you can click on the subtitles to add any word to a personalized flashcard deck or take post-video quizzes.

Other Renditions of “Happy Birthday” in Italian

Curious about other versions of “Tanti auguri a te”? Check out these renditions of the Italian birthday song below:

Il Volo

Il Volo is an Italian operatic pop trio whose name means “The Flight.”

They’re quite famous in Italy and have also toured around the world. In fact, they represented Italy in the 2015 Eurovision contest!

For this rendition of “Tanti auguri a te,” they perform in their signature operatic style with some fantastic harmonizing at the end. The lyrics are identical to the traditional version, so feel free to belt along!

Marcella Bella

Marcella Bella is a famous Italian singer who continues to create music to this day. Her rendition of “Tanti auguri a te” was released in 1987.

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

If you’re interested in this version, it’s full of birthday vocabulary such as compleanno and la festa (the party). It also contains lyrics like non è il tuo compleanno, non so dove sei” (it’s not your birthday, I don’t know where you are).

Orchestra Roberto Scaglioni

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. However, other lyrics are added as well.

In contrast to Marcella Bella’s version, the sentiment of this version remains positive. For example, the song opens with “Oggi è il tuo compleanno, e noi siamo qui per te” (Today is your birthday, and we are here for you).

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

Carmela Bruno Mancuso

Are you ready to practice singing Tanti auguri a te” on your own? Well, this version by Carmela Bruno Mancuso is an instrumental song accompanied by piano. In fact, its reasonable tempo makes it a great version for singing along.

Even better, some of the words are presented on the screen—making it great for karaoke and they’re repeated three times.


Looks like you’re all ready to have an awesome birthday party or sing along at someone else’s. Get your cake, candles and invitations ready!


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