How to Say Goodbye in Italian: 12 Phrases for a Graceful Exit

If you have ever been to an Italian gathering, you’ll know that saying goodbye is no small feat.

Kisses, back pats, cheek squeezes…and when all is said and done, it can take over 30 minutes to say goodbye to an intimate group of 10 people.

Italian is a language of social codes and the goodbye you’ll choose will depend on your company, the context and formality required

Here we will teach you the 12 most common ways to say goodbye in Italian, as well as how to practice these important phrases!


1. Ciao  (Bye)

Ciao means “hello” and “goodbye” in Italian. It is an informal word and really should not be used with strangers. You can say ciao to your friends when you leave them at a bar or to your colleagues after a long day at work.

When leaving a group of friends or family members, you can also say “Ciao a tutti”  (Bye, everyone).

It is up to you whether you wish to bid everyone goodbye individually with a kiss on the cheek. If you want to kiss, remember this: left cheek first, then right cheek and finally “ciao!” If you mess up the order, you will probably end up accidentally kissing someone on the mouth.

You can also use ciao to end phone conversations with friends and family. For example, if you are finally ending a long phone call with your mother, you can say, Ciao, mamma!” (Bye, mom!). You may also say, “Un bacio” (A kiss), as you are unable to offer a real kiss over the phone.

2. Arrivederci  (Goodbye)

For a native English speaker, arrivederci , along with ciao , is probably among the most widely-known ways to say goodbye in Italian.

Arrivederci literally means “until we see each other again.” It can sound slightly over-dramatic in casual or familial situations. However, you can use it in formal or commercial settings.

For example, after finishing your espresso while standing up at an Italian bar, you can say (to nobody in particular), “Grazie, arrivederci!” (Thank you, goodbye!). It is most acceptable to say this at the bar where you have your daily espresso, as it means you will see the bar staff again.

You can also say arrivederci on business calls. If you have a conference call with colleagues around the world, you can say, “Grazie a tutti, arrivederci” (Thank you everyone, goodbye). This is polite, formal language.

However, if you were to use arrivederci in a familial context, it would be like saying “farewell” to your mother after stopping by her house to pick up some flour. Sure, it is grammatically correct, but it sounds strange in certain social situations.

3. A presto  (See you soon)

Presto means “soon” or “early” in Italian. When you say “a presto,” it means “see you soon.” Italians take these salutations quite literally, so only use this phrase when you mean it.

For example, upon leaving work and saying goodbye to colleagues you will see again very soon, you could say, “A presto!”

4. A dopo  (Later)

Dopo means “after” in Italian. When saying goodbye, “a dopo”  means “later” as in “see you later.” Only use this phrase if you actually intend to see the person later. Otherwise, it will confuse your audience. For example, if you call a friend to confirm plans to meet later in the day, you can say “A dopo” to end your call.

5. A domani (See you tomorrow)

Domani means “tomorrow” in Italian. A domani is used when you are sure that you will see the other person the next day, like “see you tomorrow” in English. For example, at work you could say “Ciao, a domani” (Bye, see you tomorrow) to your colleagues if you will see them the following day.

Only use this phrase if you will see them the next day. If you are not sure when you will see them, the best option would be to avoid using this phrase and instead opt for “a presto!” or “ci vediamo presto” which both mean “see you soon.”

6. A tra poco  (In a bit)

A tra poco means “in a bit.” It can be used fairly interchangeably with a dopo . Perhaps you are on your cell phone, running late to meet up with your friend. You can say, “Sono quasi lì… a tra poco!” (I am almost there… see you in a bit!).

7. Ci vediamo  (See you)

Ci vediamo comes from the reflexive verb vedersi  (to see oneself). It means “we see each other.” You can combine it with the phrases listed above to say:

Ci vediamo presto (see you soon)

Ci vediamo dopo (see you later)

Ci vediamo tra poco (see you in a bit)

The meaning does not change by adding ci vediamo in front of it.

8. Alla prossima (Until next time)

This is a fairly casual way to conclude a conversation with someone you see regularly. If you have a standing weekly tennis match with a friend, you might say, “Alla prossima” after ending your game.

9. Fai il bravo  (Be good)

Bravo in Italian means “good.” Fare il bravo  is the verb phrase for “to be good.” Parents often like to tell their children (even adult children) “Fai il bravo!” (Be good!) in place of a formal goodbye.

It is important to remember your audience when using this phrase. The gender of the audience determines how to use bravo . If you are speaking to one man, you say il bravo . If you are speaking to one woman, you say la brava . If you are speaking to a mix-gendered group, you say fate i bravi , and if you are speaking to a group of women you say fate le brave .

There are also three forms of “you” in Italian. There is singular informal (tu ), singular formal (lei ) and plural (voi ).

Fai il/la bravo/brava (Be good! — If you are speaking to one person that is your friend or family member.)

Fate i/le bravi/brave (Be good! — If you are speaking to more than one person.)

It would be very unusual to use this somewhat playful form of goodbye with a superior. It would be like telling your boss, “Behave yourself” as she leaves for lunch. Therefore, we very rarely use the formal you version below:

Faccia il/la bravo/brava

10. Addio  (Farewell)

Now, here is one dramatic word. Addio  is for serious situations in which you will probably never see the person to whom you are speaking again. Similar to “farewell” in English, addio is a word that will make you sound like Scarlett O’Hara swanning around her antebellum mansion.

For example, if you are on a ship departing the port of Naples for the Americas, you may shout to your remaining family members, “Addio, addio!”  You might even wave a handkerchief for an added flourish.

Just keep in mind that while adiós (goodbye) is a common daily expression in Spanish, addio is for truly cinematic moments in Italian.

11. Buona giornata / Buon pomeriggio / Buona serata (Have a good day / Have a good afternoon / Have a nice evening)

The most common way to bid a formal goodbye in Italian is to simply say buona giornata (have a nice day), buon pomeriggio  (have a good afternoon) or buona serata  (have a nice evening).

The time of day is important to consider when selecting which salutation to use. If it is before 2:00 p.m., you can say buona giornata. From around 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., you can say buon pomeriggio and after 5:00 p.m. you should say buona serata (have a nice evening).

This is used in place of or in addition to arrivederci . For example, if you have bought something from the local butcher, you may say upon exiting the store, “Grazie, buona giornata” (Thank you, have a nice day).

You may also use these phrases with your supervisor at work as she leaves for the evening, saying “Arrivederci, buona serata” (Goodbye, have a good evening).

Sera (evening) is different from notte (night).

12. Buonanotte (Goodnight)

Buonanotte is used when you are ready to relax and go to sleep, like “goodnight” in English.

You may also see buonanotte spelled as buona notte, like “goodnight” and “good night” in English. Both spellings are accepted when they are used as a farewell, although buonanotte is slightly more common than the latter.

Note that, when used as a noun instead of a farewell, e.g., “dare la buonanotte”  (to say goodnight), it is always written as one word. For example: “Volevo solo dare la buonanotte alla mia nonna” (I just wanted to say goodnight to my grandma).

Buonanotte can also be shortened to ‘notte like “night” in English. For example: “‘Notte, papà”  (Goodnight, Dad). 

Resources for Practicing How to Say Goodbye in Italian

Direct translations rarely get us very far when learning a new language and inhabiting a new culture. To say goodbye correctly and appropriately in Italian, it is best to observe native speakers in authentic contexts and then later mimic them in similar social situations.

It can be tempting to try to memorize all of these phrases, and there is no harm in trying. But again, the best way to learn and use these goodbye phrases correctly is to observe and imitate Italians in a myriad of situations.

The good news is that there are a lot of web-based resources and apps available to prepare you for your next trip to Italy. 

goodbye-in-italianFluentU is a language learning program that uses authentic content such as videos and news clips made by and for native speakers to help immerse you in the language. Each video comes with interactive subtitles that you can click to see in context definitions. You can also use personalized flashcards and quizzes to practice new vocabulary.


You can access FluentU on your browser or on iOS and Android.

Listen to Podcasts

You do not need to speak fluent Italian to use podcasts as a learning tool. Just listening to how the host interacts with guests and listeners will provide insight into common Italian goodbye words.


The Coffee Break Italian podcast is a good place for beginners to start. It is an Italian language and culture podcast that offers lessons and dialogues. Episode one covers how to say hello and goodbye in Italian. And, all of the episodes can be useful when practicing salutations. Listen to and mimic the host as he greets and bids farewell to listeners.

goodbye-in-italian For more advanced learners, Podcast Italiano (Italian Podcast) provides fully immersive Italian episodes. The podcast is still geared toward learners, so while it is entirely in Italian, the cadence of the dialogue is slower. The hosts cover the latest news in Italian. Pay special attention to how they say goodbye at the conclusion of each short podcast. Make lists of expressions for goodbye that you hear.


For the fluent or nearly-fluent Italian speaker, Italiano Automatico Podcast (Automatic Italian Podcast) is an interview-style podcast that covers culture and grammar. The hosts provide learning and pronunciation tips in this advanced-level podcast that even native speakers can learn from. Write down the phrases you hear as the hosts bid guests and listeners goodbye.


Once you are thrust into a new social situation in Italy, the correct words for goodbye will come naturally, but practicing ahead of time always helps.

Just remember your audience and know that most goodbyes in Italy take forever!

Ciao a tutti! In bocca al lupo! (Goodbye, everyone! Good luck!)

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