Today is Valentine’s Day, known in Italian as la Festa di San Valentino or la festa degli innamorati (lit. the feast of people in love), and what better way to celebrate than by learning a common romantic Italian greeting.
Ciao, amore mio!
Hello, my love!
Hi, my love!
Let’s break it down into its component parts:
Ciao is a standard informal greeting in Italian that translates as hello / hi when you meet someone or bye when you part ways.
Mio is the first person masculine singular possessive adjective meaning my.
Note that mio is used when referring to both men and women. This is because it modifies the masculine noun amore, not the person themselves.
You will also hear Italian people say mio amore with the two words inverted, but used in this way, it is almost always preceded by the definite article il (the) and doesn’t function as an affectionate form of address. Consider the following sentences for example:
- Il mio amore per te è infinito. = My love for you is infinite.
- Il mio amore è andato via. = My love went away.
- Non meriti il mio amore. = You don’t deserve my love.
Note that Italians also use amore with their children, not just their romantic partners. For example, the sentence below could refer to either a husband/wife who is returning from a business trip, or a son/daughter who was away for a few days on a school trip.
Il mio amore torna a casa questa sera, finalmente!
My love is coming back home tonight, finally!
Because ciao can also mean bye, an alternative interpretation of this phrase could be Bye, my love! When the meaning is bye rather than hello, you can choose to repeat the word ciao twice (ciao ciao = bye bye).
When addressing your children or your family as a whole, it isn’t uncommon to use the plural Ciao, amori miei! (Hello, my loves!)