Here is a quick guide to greetings in Italian. Let’s see which is the proper way to greet each other in Italy, in both formal and informal situations.
Italian greetings come with a story: some of them derive from ancient Latin words!
Learn Italian Greetings
Memorize these words if you want to be prepared for all the people you will greet in every situation once you come to Italy!
It literally means Good morning. It is a formal greeting, and it is usually used until 1 pm. Its use can vary from region to region.
It stands for a good afternoon. It is a formal greeting and it is very rarely used from 1 to 5 in the afternoon. We normally switch up to Buonasera!
It is a formal greeting to wish a good evening. It is used from 5 pm onwards.
Buonanotte means goodnight! and it is both a formal and informal greeting.
Arrivederci, means goodbye in Italian. It is used in a formal situation to say you wish to see each other again.
Pronto is the most common way to answer the phone, and it is used at the beginning of a phone call. Unlike other Italian words, it is unchangeable for men and women. (Women don’t say “Pronta”)
Ciao means Hello. It is an informal way of greeting each other. It is probably one of the most Italian words used as a greeting in every corner of the world. It drivers from a Venetian word, “sciao”, which derives from the word “slave”. When you greet someone saying ‘ciao’, you are saying that you are not a risk (as a slave).
This is an alternative to ‘ciao’, but it is more formal. It derives from the Latin “salvus”, i.e. safe.