If you are planning to travel to Italy, it is a good idea to learn the language, even if it is just a few basic phrases to help you navigate day-to-day life. One of the best places to start is with greetings, such as learning how to say Good morning! in Italian.
Note: In Italian, morning translates as the masculine and feminine nouns mattino and mattina. If you’re curious to understand the difference between them, check out our dedicated article about mattino vs mattina.
Buongiorno: The standard way to say ‘good morning’ in Italian
If you are already familiar with a bit of Italian, you probably know how to say hello: Buongiorno! Well, the good news is that Buongiorno! is also the standard way of saying Good morning! in Italian! Have a listen to the pronunciation:
Literally translated, buongiorno (also written as two words: buon giorno) means good day. Buon is the Italian word for good, and giorno is the Italian word for day. Generally, Italians use buongiorno as a greeting until about 5 or 6pm, after which they switch to Buonasera! (Good evening!).
Usefully, Buongiorno! can be used when seeing a person for the first time and when saying goodbye.
Buongiorno Chiara. Come sta?
Good morning, Chiara. How are you?
Here are a few examples of how buongiorno is used to address different people:
- Buongiorno Signore = Good morning sir
- Buongiorno Signora = Good morning madam
- Buongiorno Signorina = Good morning miss
- Buongiorno a tutti = Good morning everyone
- Buongiorno a te / a voi = Good morning to you / to you all
- Buongiorno amore mio = Good morning my love
Buona giornata: Good morning when saying goodbye
Buona giornata also means good morning / good day but unlike buongiorno, it is only ever used to say goodbye at the end of a conversation. For this reason, the more accurate translation would be Have a good morning! or Have a good day!
Buona giornata, Michele! Ci vediamo domani!
Have a good morning / day, Michele! See you tomorrow!
Buona mattinata: The (alternative) literal translation
The literal translation of good morning in Italian is buona mattina, with buona meaning good and mattina meaning morning, but it is never used in Italy as a greeting.
In fact, the two words buona and mattina hardly ever appear together at all, even in normal speech, with a few exceptions like the name of a coffee machine you can find online! You will hear the masculine version buon mattino, but once again, not as a greeting.
There is a workaround with the expression buona mattinata, where mattinata refers to the duration of the morning. You’ll rarely hear it on its own as a greeting, but you can use it in the following way.
Ti auguro una buona mattinata!
I wish you a good morning!
Keep in mind that even in a situation like this, buona giornata remains the more common greeting.
Buon dì: The friendly alternative
Buon dì! is the combination of buon (good) and dì (an older form of giorno which means day). It is also written as a single word: buondì.
In the past, Buon dì was the primary form of greeting, and buongiorno a secondary option. Today, the roles have been reversed. Buon dì is considered an informal alternative to buongiorno and is used colloquially with people you know (source: Accademia della Crusca).
Buondì a tutti!
Good morning everyone!
The expression also appears in the well-known proverb Il buondì si vede dal mattino (lit: you can recognise a good day from the morning) which is an idiomatic way of saying that you can guess how something will go by how it begins. Note that the variation Il buongiorno si vede dal mattino also exists with the same meaning.
‘Giorno or ‘Ngiorno: The colloquial alternative
Just as English speakers abbreviate Good morning! to just Morning! or Mornin’, it is also possible to leave out the buon in Buongiorno! in informal situations, or if you don’t want to make the effort to say the whole word.