Knowing how to say goodnight is an important first step when learning Italian, or any language for that matter. Here are six of the most common greetings that Italians use on a daily basis!
1. Buona notte! / Buonanotte!
The first way of saying goodnight in Italian that all learners will encounter sooner or later is buona notte (also written as the single word buonanotte). This useful expression can be used in both formal and colloquial situations, though if you use it with your children or partner, it is customary to follow up with a term of endearment such as amore (love) or tesoro (treasure).
Ciao, buona notte, ci vediamo domani!
Bye, goodnight, see you tomorrow!
Just as the English goodnight can be abbreviated to night, so too can buona notte be shortened to just ‘notte. It is normally heard in informal situations between friends.
‘Notte ragazzi. A domani. – ‘Notte!
Night guys. See you tomorrow. = Night!
3. Dormi bene!
Dormi bene is the informal way of saying sleep well in Italian. When speaking to two or more people, this becomes dormite bene, while dorma bene is the best choice when formally addressing someone.
Dormi bene! Ti aspetta una lunga giornata domani.
Sleep well! You have a long day ahead of you tomorrow.
4. Fai una bella dormita!
Fai una bella dormita, which literally means have a good sleep, is simply an alternative way of saying dormi bene. You may also hear fatti una bella dormita which means have (yourself) a good sleep, or vai a fare / vai a farti una bella dormita meaning go have a good sleep.
When speaking to a group, this becomes fate / fatevi una bella dormita while in formal situations, you would say faccia una bella dormita.
Buona notte, fai una bella dormita!
Goodnight, have a good sleep!
To children, you can also say fai la nanna, with nanna meaning beddy-bye and is often used towards kids (although some adults may use it too).
5. Sogni d’oro!
Sogni d’oro is the Italian equivalent of the English expression sweet dreams, though the literal translation is actually golden dreams.
Bene, ora spegniamo le luci. Sogni d’oro, amore!
Ok, lights out. Sweet dreams, (my) love!
If you know that your friend or family member has had a long and tiring day, you could substitute the verb dormire (to sleep) with riposare (to rest / relax). Risposati is how you would say have a (good) rest in Italian, with its plural and formal forms being riposatevi and si riposi respectively.
Two alternative phrases that mean more or less the same thing are Buon riposo! (lit: Good rest!) and Risposati bene! (lit: Rest well!).
Vado a letto, buona notte. – Fai bene. Riposati!
I’m going to bed, goodnight. – You’re doing the right thing, have a good rest.
Can you think of any other ways to say goodnight in Italian? If so, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below! 🙂
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.