Goodbye! So long! Farewell! Toodle-loo! In English, there are dozens of ways to say goodbye besides the standard textbook phrases everyone learns in class, so it should come as no surprise that Italian has plenty of expressions of its own! In this article, we cover all the most important expressions you need to enrich your Italian vocabulary. 😉
1. Arrivederci / ArrivederLa
One of the very first words you’ll learn for goodbye in Italian is arrivederci, and as expressions go, it is pretty safe to use at any formal occasion. Formed from the reflexive verb rivedersi, it literally means to see each other again. It can be used to address an individual or a group of people.
Arrivederci, signori. È stato un vero piacere.
Goodbye, gentlemen. It has been a real pleasure.
A lesser known alternative to arrivederci is arrivederLa. It has exactly the same meaning but can only be directed towards one person in a formal context. This is because La (with a captial L) is the formal way of saying you (object pronoun) in Italian. It is often used when addressing doctors, lawyers, or any other mainstream professional.
ArrivederLa, dottoressa Verdi. Grazie per essere venuta stasera.
Goodbye, Dr. Verdi. Thank you for coming tonight.
2. Buongiorno / Buon pomeriggio / Buonasera / Buona notte
If you want to make reference to the specific time of day when saying goodbye to someone, you may want to use buongiorno (good day), buon pomeriggio (good afternoon), buonasera (good evening) or buona notte (good night).
As in English, these expressions are all formal and would rarely be used between friends and close family, with the exception of buona notte. In fact, they are often used when dismissing another person in a cold or aloof manner (e.g. a shopkeeper who isn’t interested in making conversation).
You may also hear buona serata between acquainted people.
Buona notte signore, e grazie per la cena. Era squisita.
Goodnight sir, and thank you for dinner. It was exquisite.
Salve is another formal way of saying goodbye that is almost always used in conjunction with arrivederci or buongiorno/buonasera. You can hear it most frequently in interactions between customers and employees.
Although it depends on the tone of voice, salve can sound cold and detached but not impolite. Many people use it when they aren’t interested in fostering any kind of relationship with the other person.
[Al telefono] Le interessa cambiare gestore telefonico? – No grazie, non mi interessa. Salve.
[On the phone] Are you interested in changing phone companies? – No thank you, I’m not interested. Goodbye.
4. Ciao / Ciao ciao
Ciao or the doubled-up ciao ciao is about as colloquial as you can get in Italian. It is the perfect way of saying goodbye to a friend or a family member. Ciao on its own can be used to say both hi and bye whereas ciao ciao is always used when parting.
Ciao Marco! Spero di rivederti presto!
Bye Marco! Hope to see you again soon!
5. A dopo / A più tardi / A stasera / A domani / A presto / A risentirci / Alla prossima
There are many words you can use after the preposition a (to) in Italian to see someone off. All of these expressions translate to See you ____! or Until ___! in English. Here are a few of the most popular:
- A dopo = See you afterwards / later
- A più tardi = See you later (on)
- A stasera = See you tonight / Until tonight
- A domani = See you tomorrow / Until tomorrow
- A presto = See you soon
- A risentirci = Until we speak again
- Alla prossima = See you next time* / Until next time
*A + la prossima becomes alla prossima
Magari ci vediamo più tardi per mangiare qualcosa? – Perfetto. – OK ciao, a dopo.
Maybe we can meet later to eat something? – Perfect. – OK bye, see you later.
6. Ci vediamo dopo / più tardi / stasera / domani / presto
Ci vediamo (we see each other) is another popular way of seeing someone off. It also translates as See you …! in English. It can be used on its own (especially with friends) or it can be combined with many of the expressions mentioned in the previous section.
- Ci vediamo dopo = See you afterwards / later
- Ci vediamo più tardi = See you later (on)
- Ci vediamo stasera = See you tonight
- Ci vediamo domani = See you tomorrow
- Ci vediamo presto = See you soon
- Ci vediamo la prossima volta = See you next time
Ciao Francesca, ci vediamo domani se ci sei!
Bye Francesca, see you tomorrow if you’re around!
Addio is very similar to the English word farewell in that it is dated, quite formal and dramatic, and rarely used in speech, if not in an ironic or humorous way. It also has a definite rather than a temporary feel to it. Situations where you would use addio include funerals and at the end of a romantic relationship.
È forse arrivato il momento di dirci addio per sempre!
It is perhaps time to say goodbye forever!
8. Buon proseguimento / viaggio / lavoro / serata / giornata / rientro / divertimento
When speaking to someone who is about to take part in an activity such as a trip or a night out, you can use the expression buon proseguimento which literally means good continuation. There isn’t an equivalent expression in English but it is similar in meaning to Enjoy! or Have a good time!
Ti ringrazio per la tua mail. È un piacere sentirti. Buon proseguimento di giornata!
Thank you for your email. It’s a pleasure to hear from you. Enjoy the rest of your day!
If you want to be more specific than proseguimento, you can use other words such as: viaggio (trip), lavoro (work), serata (evening), giornata (day), rientro (return to work, journey back home) or divertimento (enjoyment, fun).
Buon viaggio, ragazzi. Divertitevi!
Enjoy your trip, guys. Have fun!
9. Stammi bene! / Si riguardi
Stammi bene (and the formal equivalent Mi stia bene or Si riguardi) are both ways of saying Take care (of yourself)! in Italian. The former is used a lot when seeing off friends and close family members in person, but may also be used in writing. They literally translate as stay well in English.
Stammi bene, Giulio. – Anche tu!
Take care, Giulio. – You too!
10. Un bacio / Un abbraccio / Baci
Italians love ending their texts, emails and letters with hugs and kisses as an expression of affection. In fact, I rarely receive a text from my friends and family in Italy that don’t end with un bacio (a kiss), un abbraccio (a hug) or baci (kisses). Other alternatives include:
- Un forte/caro abbraccio = A strong/dear hug
- Un abbraccio affettuoso/sentito = An affectionate/heartfelt hug
- Ti abbraccio forte = I hug you tightly
- Un abbraccione = A big hug
- Tanti baci = Lots of kisses (used between couples)
- Un bacione = A big kiss
- Ti mando un bacio / un abbraccio = I send you a kiss / hug
- Baci e abbracci = kisses and hugs
Ciao Anna, ci vediamo presto. Un bacio ed un abbraccio a te e famiglia.
Bye Anna, see you soon. A kiss and a hug to you and your family.
11. Un saluto / Saluti / Ti saluto / La saluto
Another common way of ending a written correspondence is by using un saluto or the plural saluti. Used on their own, they become an informal way of saying goodbye. They are a little more distant and less warm than the expressions seen above.
Ci sentiamo la prossima settimana! Saluti!
We’ll be in touch next week! Bye!
You can use saluto in spoken conversation to extend the goodbye to the family of the person, or his colleagues and friends. You can also say salutami (informal) or mi saluti (formal) which is the conjugated verb of salutare (to greet, to say hello):
- Grazie Mario, un saluto a te e famiglia = Thanks Marco, greetings to you and the family
- Grazie Mario, salutami la tua famiglia = Thanks Marco, say hi to the family for me
You can also use the expressions ti saluto (informal) or La saluto (formal).
Va bene Maria, ora ti saluto. Spero di risentirti presto.
OK Maria, bye for now. (lit: I’m saying goodbye now). I hope to hear from you soon.
When accompanied by the following words, they transform into a formal greeting along the lines of best wishes or kind regards:
- Cordiali saluti
- Con i migliori saluti
- Distinti saluti
Can you think of any other ways of saying goodbye in Italian? Let us know in the comments below!