How To Say GOODBYE In Italian – Common Greetings And How To Use Them

How do you say goodbye in Italian?

In Italy the answer depends on:

  • who it is
  • whether you have a formal or informal relationship
  • the context
  • the time of day

Showing respect and good manners (buone maniere) are important to Italians. Being polite extends to how you say hello and goodbye.

Here’s an easy breakdown so you’ll know:

  • what to say
  • how to say it
  • the right body language

When in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to listen and observe. When it comes to saying goodbye, you can often take the other person’s lead, whether it’s with someone you know very well, or you’re saying goodbye to someone you just met.

Many of the ways to say goodbye in Italian are the same, or similar, to ways to say hello

Read on to learn a variety of ways to say goodbye in Italian, like ciao and arrivederci. You’ll also find out how to say goodbye at specific times of the day, like buona serata and buonanotte. I’ll also explain what the deal is with kissing goodbye and body language. It’s important to have some other phrases up your sleeve when parting ways, like a presto, and a dopo. Find out how to say good luck in Italian; and how to say goodbye in a letter.

CIAO: Bye (informal)

Little boy on bicycle riding away from the camera on a paved path in the Dolomites in Italy.  There are low mountains on either side and the grass is green on both sides of the path.  The boy is saying 'ciao' in a graphic speech bubble.  The sky is blue and there are puffy white clouds.  Up ahead of the boy is another cyclist pulling a small trailer.

Ciao is an easy and simple way to say bye to friends and family at any time of the day. You can also say Ciao ciao!, or Bye bye!

Know that: Ciao is appropriate for informal relationships. It’s not scandalously rude to say ciao to a boss or in a formal setting, but it’s definitely not polite. To make sure you’re not being rude, use arrivederci, arrivederla, or another one of the formal phrases below.

Ciao also means hi! You can use ciao to say hello to good friends and family. So it’s a great, versatile word to know. 

The pronunciation of Ciao is: ch-OW.

Listen to how to pronounce Ciao here:

ARRIVEDERCI: Goodbye (informal and formal)

Man says Arrivederci in graphic speech bubble to another man at a market stall in Forte dei Marmi.  The goods on display are linens for the home in plastic packaging.  There are numerous signs with prices throughout the displays.  You can see other stalls in the background.

This is another phrase that means goodbye which you can use at any time of day, but you can use it in both formal and informal settings. Arrivederci is like saying goodbye for now. A close direct translation of arrivederci is until we see each other again, or until we meet again

In Italy, just like when you enter a store, when you exit it is polite to say goodbye. Arrivederci is perfect for saying goodbye to the staff as you leave a bakery, a bar, a pasta shop, or any other business. 

To be more formal, you can use Arrivederla when speaking to a boss or someone who you’d like to be extra polite to. A close direct translation of arrivederla is until I see you again, or until we meet again.

The pronunciation of Arrivederci is: ah-ree-veh-DAYR-chee

Listen to how to pronounce Arrivederci here:

TI SALUTO, LA SALUTO and VI SALUTO: Goodbye (informal, formal and plural)

Self-portrait of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (aka Raphael) in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.  There is a graphic speech bubble that says "Vi Saluto," or goodbye to you all in Italian.

This phrase means goodbye and you can use it at any time of day. A close direct translation is I salute you, or I say goodbye to you. However, it is a bit complicated to use because you must make sure you are using the correct form, depending on who you are saying goodbye to. 

Use ti saluto (informal singular) to say goodbye to a close friend or family member, and la saluto (formal singular) for a boss, an elder, someone you don’t know well or someone you must pay proper respect to. Use vi saluto (plural) to say goodbye to more than one person at once, like a group of your friends.

The pronunciation of ti saluto, la saluto and vi saluto is: tee sah-LOO-toh, las sah-LOO-toh, and see sah-LOO-toh

Listen to how to pronounce ti saluto, la saluto and vi saluto here: 

BUONA GIORNATA: Have a good day (informal and formal)

Use buona giornata in the morning and up until lunchtime when you part ways with someone in order to wish them a good day. The direct translation of buona giornata is good day, but it can only be used when saying goodbye. It is a nice way to bid farewell to anyone, from mom or dad to a new client.

The pronunciation of Buona giornata is: boo-OHN-ah jor-NAH-tah

Listen to how to pronounce Buona giornata here: 

BUON POMERIGGIO: Have a good afternoon (informal and formal)

Scene from olive grove in Puglia with top of stone wall in foreground. There is an old woman walking with wooden walking sticks and some leaves.  A close up hand waves goodbye and there's a speech bubble with 'buon pomeriggio!'

In the afternoon, use buon pomeriggio to wish someone a good afternoon when you say goodbye. You can use it when you leave a shop, say goodbye to your grandmother (or mom or friend), or to anyone else you’d like to wish a good afternoon.

The pronunciation of Buon pomeriggio is: boo-OHN poh-may-REE-joh

Listen to how to pronounce Buon pomeriggio here:

BUONA SERATA: Have a good evening (informal and formal)

Wish someone a nice evening by telling them buona serata! It is a very handy phrase to use anytime after about 4 pm, unless you are bidding someone good night before they go to sleep. It is another phrase that can be used for people you have a formal, casual or a close relationship with.

The pronunciation of Buona serata is: boo-OHN-ah say-RAH-tah

Listen to how to pronounce Buona serata here:

BUONANOTTE: Goodnight (informal and formal)

Woman sleeping in white tank top on white pillow and sheets.  There is a sleep thought bubble and 'buonanotte, sogni d'oro' is in text below.

Use buonanotte to wish someone a good night, whether it’s a child, a family member, a friend or a new acquaintance. This phrase is appropriate when you or the other person is heading off to bed to sleep for the night after you say goodbye.  

The short version of buonanotte is ‘notte.

To someone you know well, you may also like to add Dormi bene, which means Sleep well

Another lovely phrase to use is Sogni d’oro, which means Dreams of gold, in order to wish someone Sweet dreams

The pronunciation of Buonanotte is: boo-OHN-ah NOH-tay

Listen to how to pronounce Buonanotte here: 

ADDIO: Farewell (formal and informal)

Addio is a way to say goodbye to someone for the last time. Because it is so final, it isn’t usually used in everyday conversation. In fact, it is considered unlucky to tell someone addio if you will hopefully see them again soon!

Instead, use addio if you must bid someone farewell either for a long time, or forever

The pronunciation of Addio is: ah-DEE-oh

Listen to how to pronounce Addio here:


Italians are known for using their whole body to communicate. They are physically expressive when speaking and when greeting each other hello. Saying goodbye is no exception.

For people who like having plenty personal space, this can sometimes feel awkward. To figure out the polite body language when you say goodbye, here are some guidelines.

First of all, how well do you know the person you’re saying goodbye to?

Just like when saying hello, if you are saying goodbye to someone you know well, it is normal to give them an air kiss on both cheeks (you don’t need to make contact with your lips, usually you just touch cheeks). Start with their left cheek, then the right. That means head to your right first!

Italians don’t often do full frontal body hugs when saying goodbye. Instead two cheek kisses, or a brief friendly hug are more common with friends and family.

Since the Covid pandemic, however, this custom has changed. Instead of getting too close, people often blow air kisses from a distance to say goodbye. Before the pandemic, many people gave a pat on the back or the arm when parting ways, and this has continued. Waving is also Covid-proof.

If you are saying goodbye to someone you just met, especially someone in a business or formal setting, kisses are not appropriate! A handshake is probably suitable for an office or formal relationship. Even if someone is your peer, or you’re in a casual social setting, it’s usually better not to kiss until you know them better. 

When in doubt, follow the other person’s lead! 


To say goodbye to certain people, you can include more specific words. Make sure that the formality level of your greeting matches the relationship with the person!

Informal relationships:

Ciao . . . 

Arrivederci . . .

amico (mio)(my) friend (when speaking to a he)
amica (mia)(my) friend (when speaking to a she)
tesoro (mio)(my) treasure (when speaking to a he)
tesora (mia)(my) treasure (when speaking to a she)
amore (mio)(my) love
caro (mio)(my) dear (when speaking to a he)
cara (mia)(my) dear (when speaking to a she)
bellohandsome (when speaking to a he)
bellabeautiful (when speaking to a she)

Formal relationships:

Arrivederla . . . 

La saluto . . .

ProfessoreProfessor (when speaking to a he)
ProfessoressaProfessor (when speaking to a she)
DottoreDoctor (when speaking to a he)
DottoressaDoctor (when speaking to a she)


Young man and woman hugging in front of the Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence, Italy.  There is a graphic speech bubble with 'stammi bene.' coming from one of them.

Here are some other things you can say when taking your leave of someone. You can use the following phrases after you say goodbye.

To say how nice it was to see the person:

È stato un piacereIt was a pleasure (informal and formal)
È stato un piacere vedertiIt was a pleasure to see you (informal singular)
È stato un piacere vederlaIt was a pleasure to see you (formal singular)
È stato un piacere vederviIt was a pleasure to see you (plural)
È stato un piacere rivedertiIt was a pleasure to see you again (informal singular)
È stato un piacere rivederlaIt was a pleasure to see you again (formal singular)
È stato un piacere rivederviIt was a pleasure to see you again (plural)

For example:

Arrivederla Professoressa Bianchi. È stato un piacere rivederla. Goodbye Professor Bianchi. It was a pleasure to see you again. 

To say take care:

Stammi beneTake care, Be well (singular informal)
Statemi beneTake care, Be well (plural informal)

For example:

Addio amici, statemi bene! Farewell friends, be well!

To say you’ll see them or talk again:

Ci sentiamoWe’ll talk/be in touch (informal)
Ci vediamoSee you (informal)
Ci si vedeSee you (informal)

Buonaserata Giuseppe! Ci vediamo! Have a good evening Giuseppe. See you!

To express when you will see them again (or hope to):

A prestoSee you soon (informal and formal)
A domaniSee you tomorrow (informal and formal)
A dopoSee you later (informal)
A più tardiSee you later (informal and formal)
A fra pocoSee you in a bit (informal and formal)
Alla prossimaUntil next time (informal)
A staseraSee you this evening (informal and formal)
A lunedì/martedì etcSee you on Monday/Tuesday etc (informal and formal)

For example:

Ciao Carlo, a dopo! Bye Carlo, see you later!

Arrivederla Signore, a più tardi. Goodbye Sir, I’ll see you later.

Buonanotte tesoro mio, a domani. Goodnight my treasure, see you tomorrow.

To give a spoken hug or kiss: 

Un bacioA kiss (informal)
Un abbraccioA hug (Informal)

For example: Ciao amore mio! Un bacio! Goodbye my love! Here’s a kiss!

To wish good luck:

In bocca al lupoGood luck* (informal)

*It means good luck, but the direct translation of in bocca al lupo is into the mouth of the wolf! Wondering what this peculiar phrase is about? Read How to Say Good luck in Italian (coming soon!). And remember, no matter what, to receive good luck you must respond with Crepi il lupo!

To give your best wishes for the future, or for a specific occasion:

Buon proseguimentoAll the best for what’s coming up, Enjoy what’s next (informal and formal)
Buon viaggioHave a good trip (informal and formal)
Buon lavoroAll the best for your work, Good luck with your work, Have a good day at work (informal and formal)
Buon divertimentoHave fun (informal and formal)
Buon rientroHave a good/safe trip back, All the best going back to work/normal routine (informal and formal)
Buono studioAll the best for your studies, Enjoy studying (informal and formal)
Buone vacanzeHave a good vacation (informal and formal)
Buon nataleMerry Christmas (informal and formal)
Buona pasquaHappy Easter (informal and formal)
Buon annoHappy New Year (informal and formal)

Colleghi vi saluto! Buon natale e buone vacanze! Goodbye colleagues! Merry Christmas and have a good vacation!


How to say goodbye in an Italian letter or email depends on whether you’re writing a formal letter (for work or business, for example), or an informal one (like to a friend or family member). 

Here are some ways to sign a formal letter or email in Italian:

Distinti salutiBest/Distinguished regards
Cordiali salutiKind/Cordial regards

Here are some ways to sign an informal letter or email in Italian:

Cari salutiWarm regards
Un abbraccioWith a hug
Un bacioWith a kiss
A prestoSee you soon


Time to Say Goodbye is a duet by tenor Andrea Bocelli and soprano Sarah Brightman. The song’s original version in Italian is called Con Te Partirò. This means I’ll go away with you

So how do you really say Time to Say Goodbye in Italian? It’s È l’ora di salutarci, È ora di salutarci, or È il momento di salutarci. Cue the violins!

Now that you know all about saying goodbye, how do we greet people and say hello in Italian? Read How to Say Hello in Italian to learn more.

Arrivederci and buona giornata!

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