Hello in Italian: 17 Italian Greetings With Audio Pronunciation

“Hello” is one of the most important words to learn in any language and often the first word used in any situation, from informal to formal encounters.

However, like in English, there are many different ways to say “hello” in Italian, depending on factors such as the time of day and levels of formality.

In this post, we’ll share 17 Italian greetings, so you’ll know how to say “hello” in any situation!


How to Say Hello in Italian


It looks simple. It seems effective. It should do the job, doubling as both “hello” and “goodbye,” and you’re probably already familiar with it…sort of.

Its origins are found in the Venetian dialect: s-ciao or s-ciavo (I am your slave). It directly references the Italian word for slave, schiavo . When used in vèneto, this turn of phrase typically has the connotation of “I’m here if you need me!”

Across Italy as a whole, however, the way the phrase is looked at tends to differ.

Ciao is primarily considered highly informal, and the reason for this lies in its origins and the historical meaning that comes with it.

In everyday conversation, it’s often used among people who are already close.

If you’re in Italy and conversing with a native speaker, don’t consider it the go-to greeting. It’s a misconception to think that everyone uses it all the time.

Above all, avoid using it in polite company and never use it with strangers.

Due to the level of informality, you won’t want to use this in situations that require any kind of formality.

There are plenty of better terms at your disposal, and ones that require less guesswork for someone who’s not a native speaker.


Salve is a good choice for when you don’t know where you stand in a conversation, and it’s considered a solid alternative to ciao.

Italian, like many languages, has strong notions of “formal” and “informal” that go back to cultural standards.

Salve, however, is interesting in that it can be considered both polite and informal, depending on the context of the conversation in which it’s being used.

It ought to be said, however, that it does tend to lean towards the formal side of things, so don’t be surprised if someone you’ve known for years doesn’t use it with you.

It’s a good standby for when you’re dealing with a conversation where you’re just not sure, at any time of the day.


With ever-evolving languages, it’s common for new words to appear and become a part of everyday language and slang.

In Italian, a casual greeting you could use in informal settings with people you know well is weilà. This slang phrase doesn’t have a direct translation in English, however it is used in a similar way to “Hey there” in English.

This word is mostly used by younger people as a greeting for friends or people they know very well.

If you find yourself in a more formal setting or speaking to people you don’t know very well, it would be best to use another Italian greeting like ciao or salve depending on the formality of the situation.

Ehi / Ehilà  

While ciao might be one of the most popular ways of saying “hello” in Italian in many situations, you may also hear an Italian say ehiehilà or even see ehi in a text. These are all used to say “hey” and their meaning may vary depending on the tone used by the speaker.

As well as sometimes being used as an informal “hey,” these words are commonly used in Italian to attract someone’s attention, like in English.

For example, you might bump into someone you know in an unexpected place: 

Ehi, Antonio! Cosa stai facendo qui? 
(Hey, Antonio! What are you doing here?)


This phrase, which literally means “ready,” is used for answering the phone in Italian.

It supposedly dates back to when phone calls were placed through human operators.

Once the operator connected the caller to the recipient, the recipient would say Pronto (and likely their name as well), to indicate that they were on the line and “ready” to talk.

Now pronto is commonly used as a greeting when answering the phone:

Pronto, chi parla? 
(Hello, who’s speaking?)

It can also be combined with another greeting when you answer the phone to say something like, “Hello, good morning!”

Pronto, buongiorno!
(Hello, good morning!)

Time-specific Italian Greetings


This is another one that many non-Italian speakers might be familiar with.

Literally translated, it means “good day,” but it’s also a pretty standard way of saying “good morning.” It can be used for greeting people until the early hours of the afternoon.

It tends to run a bit on the formal side, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you use this with anyone you already know.

It also doubles as a catch-all way of saying “hello,” but only in the morning and early afternoon.

Buon dì

Saying “good morning” with buon dì is not particularly common, so there’s a good chance you’ll impress some native Italian speakers if you use it. It’s mostly used informally.

The phrase is a combination of the word “good” (buon) and an old, Latin-based form of the word “morning” ().


As you may have guessed, this is the abbreviated form of the typical “good morning” phrase above.

You can use it as a more casual greeting to essentially say, “Mornin’!”

Buon pomeriggio!

Buon pomeriggio is a standard way of saying “good afternoon” once it starts to get well past the morning.


Buonasera literally translates to “good evening” and that’s exactly what it means.

Use this during that time of day between afternoon and night when people are getting out of work, school, etc. 

More Italian Greetings

How Are You in Italian — Come stai?

This translates to “how are you?” 

If you want to be a bit more respectful in a conversation, using Come sta? makes the phrase sound a bit more formal.

Stai comes from the conjugation of stare (to stay) that’s used for tuSta is the more formal conjugation.

This simple tweak can make a big difference in how you come off to your conversational partner, depending on the tone you’re trying to convey.

Just note that when using these phrases, you’re inviting a variety of potential answers. Be sure to brush up your vocabulary on subjects such as moods and feelings beforehand, or you might end up lost in a conversation that only just started!

How’s it Going in Italian — Come va?

As in most languages, introductions in Italian go beyond just “hello” and “goodbye.” There have to be other ways to greet someone.

This one means “how’s it going?” and tends to be a bit informal. 

This is also a great way to start a conversation and get it going beyond the simple greetings.

Other Helpful Words and Phrases

Nice to Meet You in Italian — Piacere di conoscerti!

If this feels a bit too formal, it’s perfectly acceptable to say Piacere!” (Pleasure!).

My name is… — Mi chiamo…

When you meet a person for the first time, the most important thing to share is your name, so introduce yourself with this simple phrase.

However, if you want to ask a person their name, there are two main options, the first is informal and the second is formal: 

Come ti chiami? (What’s your name?—Informal)

Come si chiama? (What’s your name?—Formal)

I’m from… — Sono di… / Vengo da…

Letting someone know you’re a visitor or that you relocated from somewhere else is a good ice-breaker.

There’s no need to get fancy with this; just insert where you’re from in English to get the conversation moving.

For example, “Vengo dalla California” (I’m from California) works just fine!

Good night — Buonanotte!

In Italian, when you or another person is ready to go to bed, you can say buonanotte (good night). This phrase can be used in both formal and informal situations, like “good night” in English.

For more phrases to say “good night” in Italian, plus extra Italian sleep vocabulary with audio pronunciation, take a look at this post.

Goodbye — Arrivederci!

As with greetings in Italian, there is also a variety of different words and expressions to say goodbye such as arrivederci and ciao.

To learn more ways to say goodbye in Italian, check out this post.

Using a variety of phrases and expressions will help you understand and blend in with native speakers.

Why Learn Italian Greetings?

Greetings are an essential part of any language. Not only do they help you make a good impression when meeting someone new for the first time, but also when speaking to someone you are familiar with. 

Sure, saying “hi” is as easy as a wave and a smile—but to start a conversation the right way, it’s important to know what to say and when, and greetings are the key to this. 

A warm, appropriate introduction can make all the difference when chatting in Italian, especially when you’re focusing on what’s formal versus what’s casual.

Being mindful of these important differences shows respect for the person you’re talking to.

For additional context, try diving into an Italian TV series or using a language learning program, like FluentU.

FluentU uses bite-sized authentic Italian videos like movie trailers and inspiring talks to immerse you in the Italian language. Each video features interactive subtitles which you can hover over for more information about the words used in the video.

You can also use FluentU to search for videos with specific words and phrases if you want to check how one of these greetings is used by native speakers.

FluentU is available to download on iOS and Android, so you can learn wherever you are!


As you can see, there are many different ways to say “hello” in Italian.

Learning them will help you not only understand native Italian speakers, but also blend in and start to sound like a native speaker yourself!

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