happy birthday in Italian

6 Best Ways to Say “Happy Birthday” in Italian [Plus Pronunciation]

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.


Happy Birthday in Italian

1. 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!

2. 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.”

3. 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.

4. 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?

5. 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!

6. 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 you’re likely to encounter at a birthday party attended by Italian speakers:

And some common birthday phrases:

How to Sing “Happy Birthday” in Italian

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 website and the iOS and Android app.

happy birthday in italian

The Italian birthday song is equipped with learning features, such as interactive subtitles with instant definitions and information on usage. For additional practice, you can click on the subtitles to add any word to a personalized flashcard deck or take post-video quizzes.

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.


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!


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