Italian Word of the Day: Sognare (to dream)

A dream is an involuntary succession of random images, emotions, and sensations that normally occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep when brain activity is at its highest. Sometimes you might wake up from a deep sleep and remember every detail of your dream, whereas other times, they fade from memory as soon as you open your eyes.

The verb for to dream in Italian is sognare, whereas the noun dream is sogno (masculine, plural: sogni). Both originate from the Latin word “somnium” meaning – you guessed it – dream.

IPA: /so·gnà·re/

Sognare can be used to describe the actual act of dreaming (1) or it can be used in the figurative sense of desiring something (2).

(1) Ho sognato un angelo stanotte.

I dreamed about an angel last night.

(2) Sogno di andare in Canada un giorno.

I dream of going to Canada one day.

child dreaming with the earth, a rocket and a space ship drawn on a blackboard in the background

Another way of saying sognare is fare un sogno (lit: to make a dream). It usually translates to have a dream in English.

Ho fatto un sogno bellissimo!

I had a wonderful dream!

Faccio dei sogni strani in questi giorni!

I’m having some weird dreams these days!

If you want to say that you are daydreaming in Italian, the best expression is sognare ad occhi aperti (lit: to dream with open eyes). Likewise, a daydreamer is a sognatore / sognatrice.

Using dream as an adjective requires you to put the preposition da in front of the word sogno. Below are some common examples:

  • un viaggio da sogno = a dream trip
  • una vacanza da sogno = a dream vacation
  • una macchina da sogno = a dream car
  • una casa da sogno = a dream home

The adjective sognante (dreamy) describes something unreal and fantastic.

Questo bosco ha un’atmosfera sognante quando c’è la nebbia.

These woods have a dreamy atmosphere when there is fog.

Some other common expressions using the word sogno are:

  • sogno nel cassetto = a childhood dream
  • un sogno diventato realtà = a dream come true
  • sogno proibito = forbidden dream
Little boy with aerostat in the field at sunset

And if someone asks you to give them a million dollars? Well, you can respond by saying…

Neanche per sogno!

In your dreams!


One of my favourite songs by the Italian musician Zucchero is Il Volo. At the beginning of the chorus, you’ll hear the line “Sogno, qualcosa di buono” (I’m dreaming of something good).