Learning how to say goodbye in Italian is one of the first feats you should concentrate on when starting your language journey, as well as learning how to say “hello” in Italian, of course!
Learning and practicing these simple expressions will not take much of your time, but it will surely make a great difference in your communication skills and the impression you will leave on native Italian speakers – whether you are travelling around Italy or just sending an email to an Italian speaker.
The verbs “to say hello” and “to say goodbye” are translated with just one word in the Italian language: salutare (to greet / to say goodbye).
In this article, we will look at all the ways to bid farewell, both with words, gestures (yes, they really are essential in Italian!), and in writing.
Read on if you want to always have the right thing to say when leaving work, a group of friends at a bar or a family Sunday lunch.
Ciao is one of the most famous words used to say goodbye all over the world, and it is also the most common in Italian.
You can use it to say goodbye to your friends after a night out, or shout it in the office at the end of the day. When leaving a group of people, you can say “ciao a tutti” (“bye, everyone”) or you can double it up as “ciao ciao” to make it even more informal and sweet.
TIP: Remember, “ciao” is also the word for “hello” in Italian: you can use it both to greet and say goodbye to someone.
- Io vado a casa, ciao a tutti!
I am going home, bye everyone!
This is another classic way to say goodbye in Italian. It literally translates as “we see / hear each other”, meaning “see you” or “speak soon” if you’re not planning to see each other, but you know you will be talking soon over the phone.
TIP: You can add it after “ciao”, and also specify when you will be seeing or speaking to each other.
- Ciao ciao, ci vediamo domani.
Bye bye, I will see you tomorrow.
- Ciao Carlo, ci sentiamo stasera.
Bye Carlo, I will talk to you this evening.
A presto is the equivalent of “see you soon”. You can use it in person, when talking on the phone or when writing a message or an email. It usually implies you will actually see the person soon, maybe after a while you have not seen them.
TIP: You can also just add the word presto (soon) after the expression ci vediamo / ci sentiamo.
- Ciao, a presto.
Bye, see you soon.
- Ciao ciao, ci sentiamo presto.
Bye-bye, I will talk to you soon.
A dopo is very similar to “see you later”, but it is only used to say goodbye in Italian when you intend to see the person later on the same day.
TIP: If you are not planning to meet later on the same day, do not use a dopo or a più tardi. You can use another expression, like a presto, ci vediamo, a domani, etc.
- – Ciao, io vado. Stasera esci? (Bye, I am leaving. Are you coming out tonight?)
– Sì. (Yes.)
-Ok, a dopo allora. Ciao. (Ok, I’ll see you later then. Bye.)
This is an abbreviation of alla prossima volta (until next time) and it is quite informal.
TIP: Use it as a casual way to say goodbye in Italian when you’ve met someone by chance, you had a good time, but you’re not sure when or if you will meet them again.
- Ciao Giorgia, è stato un piacere chiacchierare. Alla prossima!
Bye Giorgia, it was nice to chat with you. Until next time!
This is often used to let someone know you are leaving or have to hang up the phone. Maybe you are in a hurry and the other person is busy doing something… Saying ti saluto will catch their attention and let them know you are off.
You can also say ti devo salutare (I must say goodbye) to give it a bit more urgency!
TIP: If you’re addressing more than one person use vi saluto; in a formal situation, use la saluto.
- Signora Gatti, la devo salutare, sennò perdo il treno!
Mrs. Gatti, I must say goodbye now, or else I’ll miss my train!
- Ciao Lucas, ti saluto, devo andare ora.
Bye Lucas, I am off, I need to go now.
Let’s now see some more formal ways of saying goodbye in Italian. You can use these at work or as a sign of respect when talking to older people and strangers.
This will help you practice rolling your Rs. It is a beautiful word, and it is very common to hear it in formal settings like in a bank, at a doctor’s office, or even when leaving shops and restaurants.
TIP: You would not really say arrivederci to friends and family, too formal!
- Grazie, arrivederci.
Thank you, goodbye.
- Arrivederci, signor Ballerini.
Goodbye, Mr. Ballerini.
Just like ciao, these greetings can be used both for saying hello and goodbye.
TIP: Remember, you can say buongiorno after lunch too, up until 4 or 5pm! Then, you start saying buonasera.
- Grazie, buonasera.
Thank you, good evening.
These expressions can be used both in formal and informal contexts. They mean “have a good day / evening”.
TIP: Unlike buongiorno and buonasera, you can only use these when saying goodbye. Usually, you can combine them with another expression!
- Arrivederci, buona serata.
Goodbye, have a good evening.
- A dopo, buona giornata.
See you later, have a good day.
Addio, a bit like “farewell” in English, is not really used in everyday language: it sounds quite dramatic, like… you will actually never see the person again, ever! You might hear it in period films or books, or used sarcastically or emphatically.
TIP: While the Spanish “adios” is a common daily expression, in Italian addio really is restricted for cinematic scenes.
- Addio, Mr. Darcy.
Farewell, Mr. Darcy.
- Se le cose non migliorano, puoi dire addio al bonus di fine anno.
If things do not get better, you can forget about the end-of-year bonus.
Now that you’ve learned all the basic ways to bid your farewell in Italian, both in formal and informal settings, let’s look at some more useful phrases that you can add when saying goodbye.
The following sentences are useful when you want to end a conversation and take your leave, or to add after you’ve said goodbye, just to give a little extra attention
- ORA DEVO ANDARE.
I must be going now.
- E STATO UN PIACERE (CONOSCERTI / VEDERTI / PARLARE CON TE…)
It was a pleasure (to meet you / see you / talk to you…)
- SPERO DI RIVEDERTI PRESTO.
I hope to see you again soon.
Send my regards to…
- FAI IL BRAVO / LA BRAVA!
Be good / take care!
TIP: This is very informal, but quite common among friends. It literally means “behave yourself”, but it is just a playful way of saying “take care”.
These will not only allow you to express all your best wishes to the people in your life (which is so important!), they will also make you sound like a native speaker.
Here’s a list of the most common ones:
- BUON VIAGGIO!
- BUON LAVORO!
Have a good day at work!
- BUONE VACANZE!
- BUON PROSEGUIMENTO!
- BUON DIVERTIMENTO!
Enjoy! / Have fun!
Another important part of saying goodbye to someone is bidding them a goodnight before they go to sleep, even if you will see each other first thing in the morning. Here are some of the most common Italian expressions to say goodnight.
- BUONA NOTTE / BUONANOTTE!
TIP: Careful, you only say goodnight in Italian when you are actually going to sleep. If you are just saying goodbye, even if it’s evening, you would say buona serata! (have a good night!).
- SOGNI D’ORO.
Sweet dreams (lit. golden dreams).
Here are some expressions you can use when you want to show your affection before leaving!
- (TI MANDO) UN ABBRACCIO / UN BACIO
(Sending you) a hug / a kiss
- TIP: Use this over the phone or texting… In person, just give your friends a real hug or kiss!
- TI VOGLIO BENE.
I love you.
TIP: This is the version of “I love you” you say to friends… It’s like saying “I care for you!”
- MI MANCHERAI!
I will miss you!
If you are writing an informal letter or email, you can use any of the expressions learned above. On the other hand, if you need to send a formal communication, the most common ways of saying goodbye are:
- DISTINTI SALUTI,
- LA SALUTO CORDIALMENTE,
I send you kind regards,
- In attesa di una Sua cortese risposta, porgo i miei cordiali saluti.
Waiting for your courteous response, I send my cordial regards.
The last but essential aspect to take into account when saying goodbye in Italian are gestures!
When leaving a place, Italians kiss (1,2, 3 times… or as many as you want!) hug, shake hands, pat each other on the back and, of course, wave their hands!
My advice? Don’t be shy! Look at what native speakers are doing around you and just imitate them.
Body language is a huge part of the Italian culture and your language skills will not be complete if you can’t move your hands the right way (joking, but kind of true!).
I hope this guide helped you learn some new useful ways of expressing yourself when leaving any kind of situation. Try to find a way to use them all, and feel free to mix and combine them – there is no goodbye that is too long, so get practicing!
So… Ciao for now, a presto… È stato un piacere, buona giornata! Mi mancherete tutti! 😉