What’s the difference between giorno and giornata?

What’s the difference between giorno and giornata in Italian? Why are there two different words for saying “day”?

In this lesson, we will look at the difference between these words along with many examples and audio recordings. Read on to learn everything you need to know!

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The difference between giorno and giornata in Italian

Giorno

Giorno refers to the 24-hour day as seen on a calendar. When you refer to weekdays, you say giorni della settimana, literally “days of the week”. You never use giornata to talk about a generic 24-hour period. Let’s hear how it is pronounced.

Giorno
Day

Its pronunciation is close to johr-no. If you have trouble pronouncing Italian sounds, refer to the Italian pronunciation guide.

Now, let’s see a couple of example sentences with giorno in Italian.

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Ci sono sette giorni in una settimana.
A week has seven days.

Un dipendente ha almeno 20 giorni di ferie all’anno.
An employee has at least 20 off days per year.

Faccio colazione alle 8 ogni giorno.
I eat breakfast at 8 a.m. every day.

Mio figlio è a casa ammalato da tre giorni.
My son has been home sick for three days.

boy sick in bed with a hot water bag

Now let’s see what the use of giornata is to better understand the difference between giorno and giornata.


Giornata

Giornata is the time of day you go about your errands. The sun is visible in the sky and people are all awake.

Another difference between giorno and giornata in Italian is that you use giornata for talking about the weather and about a specific day.

Giornata
Day

Buongiorno is a greeting. Good day!
Buona giornata is a wish. Have a good day!

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For example, you could say…

Oggi è una bellissima giornata.
It is a beautiful day today.

Che giornata! Lavoro da stamattina e non ho ancora finito.
What a day! I’ve been working since this morning and haven’t finished yet.

Le giornate di sole sono ideali per andare a passeggiare.
Sunny days are ideal for going for walks.

Famous festive days like Mother’s day or Valentine’s day, however, are not translated as giornata in Italian. They use festa, feast, or party, such as…

La festa della mamma
Mother’s day

La festa della donna
Women’s day

La festa della Repubblica
Republic Day

La festa di San Valentino (also called il giorno di San Valentino)
Saint Valentine’s day

You use giornata for minor festive days, such as…

La giornata della Terra
Earth day

La giornata internazionale della pace
International day of peace

smiling earth

Common idioms with giorno and giornata in Italian

There are a number of common idiomatic expressions featuring the words giorno and giornata in Italian. Some of these are…

  • tutto il santo giorno (the whole darn day)
  • da un giorno all’altro (from one day to the next)
  • il buon giorno si vede dal mattino (a good beginning bodes well)
  • vivere alla giornata (to live day to day)

And that’s it, now you know the difference between giorno and giornata in Italian!


What next?

Now that you’ve seen the difference between giorno and giornata in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

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