When you meet someone for the first time in Italy, it’s extremely important to know how to introduce yourself.
The classic textbook phrase everyone learns on their first day of Italian lessons is Ciao, mi chiamo… which means Hello, my name is… but literally translates as Hello, I call myself...
Ciao, mi chiamo Matteo.
Hello, my name is Matteo.
(Lit: Hello, I call myself Matteo.)
Important: My name is… translated word-for-word is Il mio nome è… Although not grammatically incorrect, it is never used as an introductory greeting in Italian.
In the place of the informal greeting ciao, you can use buongiorno (good morning / hello) or buonasera (good evening / hello) in situations that call for more formality.
Buongiorno, mi chiamo Enzo. Piacere di conoscerLa.
Good morning, my name is Enzo. Nice to meet you.
In English, it isn’t unusual for people to introduce themselves with the shorter expression Hello, I’m X and the same applies in Italian. I’m or I am in Italian is (Io) sono. Note that the personal pronoun io (I) is usually dropped.
Ciao, sono Marco. Piacere!
Hello, I’m Marco. Nice to meet you!
If a person introduces themselves to you first, there is also the option of responding with just your name as in the following example:
Ciao, mi chiamo Gianni. – Piacere, Dario.
Hello, my name is Gianni. – Nice to meet you, I’m Dario.