Buona domenica! Have a good Sunday!
This is your guide to domenica, or Sunday in Italian. Learn how to pronounce domenica, how to use it and the important grammar details you need, all in one place. I’ve included plenty of examples too.
Not only that, find out about what’s open and what’s not on Sunday in Italy, as well as what Italians do on Sundays. All of this from someone who actually lives there!
Andiamo! Let’s go!
Table of Contents
ALL ABOUT SUNDAY IN ITALIAN
The word for Sunday in Italian is domenica. In Italy today, it is the official day of rest.
Domenica derives from the Latin “dies dominica”, or day of God.
Dom. is the abbreviation for domenica (Sunday in Italian).
Domenica is a masculine singular noun.
All of the other Italian days of the week are masculine too, except for domenica (Sunday) which is a feminine singular noun.
HOW TO PRONOUNCE DOMENICA
The pronunciation of domenica is: doh-MEH-nee-koh
Listen to the pronunciation of domenica here:
IS SUNDAY IN ITALIAN CAPITALIZED?
Like all of the other Italian days of the week (and months of the year), domenica is not capitalized.
HOW TO USE DOMENICA
The grammar rules in this section hold true for all of the days of the week in Italian, not just Sunday.
WITHOUT THE DEFINITE ARTICLE
When you use domenica alone without the definite article, you are referring to that specific Sunday.
For example, Domenica (vado a casa di mia nonna) means This Sunday (I’m going to my grandma’s house).
WITH THE DEFINITE ARTICLE
The correct definite article for domenica is la, because it’s a feminine noun. When we use the definite article with domenica (or any other day of the week), it is like saying every, and refers to an action that will repeat.
For example, La domenica (vado a casa di mia nonna) means Every Sunday (I go to my grandma’s house), or On Sundays (I go to my grandma’s house).
You can also use the definite article to talk about Sundays in general.
For example: Adoro la domenica perché vado a casa di mia nonna! I love Sundays because I always go to my grandma’s house!
IN THE PLURAL
Another way to say every Sunday is tutte le domeniche. Literally, tutte le domeniche means all the Sundays.
Vado a casa di mia nonna tutte le domeniche.
I go to my grandma’s house every Sunday.
WITH THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE
The correct indefinite article for domenica is una. You can use the indefinite article in a couple ways.
To talk about a Sunday, for example:
Una domenica di settembre siamo andati al mare.
On a Sunday in September we went to the beach.
Non mi ricordo la data del concerto, ma era una domenica.
I don’t remember the date of the concert, but it was on a Sunday.
To talk about something that will take place on a Sunday, or some Sunday coming up:
Perchè non andiamo a prendere un caffè una domenica?
Why don’t we go get a coffee on a Sunday/some Sunday?
NEXT AND LAST SUNDAY
To talk about a Sunday in the past or in the future, use scorsa (next) and prossima (last).
Domenica prossima andiamo a Milano per 2 giorni.
Next Sunday we’re going to Milan for 2 Days.
Domenica scorsa siamo andati a Ravenna.
Last Sunday we went to Ravenna.
HELPFUL ITALIAN WORDS TO USE WITH DOMENICA
Here are some helpful Italian words that we often use with domenica and the other days of the week:
Domenica mattina il bar è aperto.
Sunday morning the bar is open.
Domenica pomeriggio il supermercato è chiuso.
Sunday afternoon the supermarket is closed.
And of course, you can also talk about a specific time on Sunday, for example domenica alle 15 (Sunday at 3pm). Read this post for all about how to talk about the time of day in Italian.
WHAT IS CLOSED ON SUNDAY IN ITALY?
In Italy today, Sunday is the official day of rest. It is taken as a given that public Italian offices, schools, business and most shops are closed on Sunday. Cities and towns are much quieter on Sundays (except in tourist areas).
In Italy, Sundays are officially considered holidays, or giorni festivi. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to decipher Italian bus schedules and parking signs!
While most museums are open, the Vatican Museums in Rome are not (except the 4th Sunday of the month, when they’re open).
Most churches are closed to the public during mass on Sundays. If you do enter a church during services, be sure to be quiet and respectful.
WHAT’S OPEN ON SUNDAY IN ITALY?
Even though most shops and businesses are closed on Sunday, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a coffee. There is almost always at least one (coffee) bar open in every town.
Pastry shops (pasticcerie) and ice cream shops (gelaterie) are usually open on Sundays. Italians like to bring a treat like fresh pastries to Sunday lunch. And gelato is an important part of many a Sunday afternoon passeggiata (stroll).
Many restaurants are open as well— but I always recommend checking ahead of time, and making a reservation.
Shops in city centers with lots of tourists (like Rome, Venice and Florence) are usually open on Sundays, as well as some chain stores.
Some supermarkets are open on Sunday morning. Very large supermarkets may be open in the afternoon as well.
Museums are usually open (except the Vatican Museums!).
WHAT DO ITALIANS DO ON SUNDAY?
So if most things are closed, what do Italians do on Sunday? They relax! It’s a day of rest, after all.
And Italians eat. It is common for extended Italian families to spend time together at the table, enjoying a long Sunday lunch. Afterwards, it’s time for a passeggiata, or a stroll, to work it off.
Often there’s a Formula 1 race or la partita (the match) to watch– soccer is a religion in Italy. As for the other main religion–Catholicism– Sunday is the day to go to la messa (the mass) at church.
Sunday is also a great day for a scampagnata, or excursion to the countryside. Small towns and villages hold festivals on the weekends called sagre, which are devoted to a specific food.
On Fridays and Saturdays, Italians will tell each other Buon weekend! (Have a good weekend!). However, Sundays are so important that just as often they will specifically say Buona domenica! (Have a good Sunday!) instead.
SPECIAL EVENTS ON SUNDAYS IN ITALY
Many Italian towns, and big city neighborhoods, have a weekly outdoor market. Market day is a special day, with more people coming in from the area to come shopping. Depending on the market, there may be everything from housewares to hats to food!
Some places in Italy that hold their weekly outdoor market on Sunday mornings are:
- Marina di Cecina on the Tuscany’s Etruscan coast, in the summer
- Forte dei Marmi, a town on the Tuscan coast, on Wednesdays and Sundays
- Porta Portese, Rome’s largest market
- La Fierucola, Florence’s farmers and artisan market, every 2nd Sunday in Piazza del Carmine and every 3rd Sunday in Piazza Santo Spirito
WHAT IMPORTANT ITALIAN HOLIDAYS ARE ON SUNDAY?
Most important Italian holidays, like Ferragosto and Christmas, are on the same date every year, so from year to year they fall on a different day of the week. Not so for pasqua, or Easter, which is always on a Sunday.
Easter Sunday (pasqua) is a public holiday in Italy. Most businesses are closed anyway because it’s a Sunday, but on Easter only some bars and restaurants are open in Italy. It ranks second only to Christmas as the most important holiday of the year in Italy. As you might imagine, food plays a big part in Italian Easter celebrations.
Another movable feast that always falls on Sunday is Domenica delle Palme, or Palm Sunday. It is the Sunday before Easter, and commemorates Jesus’s entry to Jerusalem. If you are in Italy on Palm Sunday, you may see Italians holding olive branches, which were blessed during Palm Sunday mass and are a sign of peace and faith.