How exactly do you say good night in Italian? What is more appropriate to say depending on the relationship between you and the other person?
As you’ll see in this lesson, there is more than one way to wish your family and friends in Italy sweet dreams. We will look at the most common expressions and see how they are pronounced. Hopefully this lesson won’t make you sleepy! 😉
Let’s get started! Iniziamo!
The most common translation for good night in Italian
Nine times out of ten, you can say good night in Italian with the word buonanotte, also written as buona notte.
Pronunciation: boo-oh-nah not-teh
Buonanotte, buona notte
Make sure your t has a longer sound than a t as in “attack” (see how to pronounce all Italian consonant clusters here), and remember not to add an -y sound to the final -e. Italian vowels sound clean.
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If you are lazy enough, and the informal setting allows it, you can cut the buona part out of the sentence and go your separate ways for the night, saying…
Buonanotte, ragazzi. Ci vediamo domani.
Good night, guys. I’ll see you tomorrow.
Good night, mom.
Buonanotte a tutti.
Good night, everyone.
Good night, sweetheart.
Sweetest good night in Italian
When you want to wish someone a good night in Italian you can also say say buona notte e sogni d’oro, which literally means good night and golden dreams.
Pronunciation: boo-oh-nah not-teh eh soh-ñee doh-roh
The ñ sound is the same as the one in the Spanish word piraña.
Buona notte e sogni d’oro
Good night and sweet dreams
You read that right: it’s golden dreams (oro is gold), not sweet dreams. Sweet is translated as dolce in Italian, but we don’t usually wish people dolci sogni.
This is more commonly used between parents and their children, so it’s not appropriate for use in formal situations. Other terms of endearment may also be used in the sentence.
Buona notte e sogni d’oro, Mattia.
Good night and sweet dreams, Mattia.
Buona notte e sogni d’oro, amore.
Good night and sweet dreams, love.
Other ways to say good night in Italian
Fai una bella dormita
Fai una bella dormita is an informal way of wishing a good night in Italian and can be literally translated as “make a good sleep”. It’s the equivalent of have a good sleep in English.
Pronunciation: fah-ee oo-nah bell-lah door-me-tah
Fai una bella dormita
Have a good/nice sleep (singular)
If you need to address a group of people, you can use fate una bella dormita.
Fate una bella dormita
Have a good/nice sleep (plural)
Fai una bella dormita, Sergio. A domani!
Have a good sleep, Sergio. See you tomorrow!
Dormi bene is often heard in informal settings, ideally between a parent and a child.
Pronunciation: dohr-mee beh-neh
Dormi bene! Devi arrivare riposato all’esame.
Sleep well! You need to show up rested for the exam.
There are two variations of this: dorma bene and dormite bene.
Pronunciation: dohr-mah beh-neh
Sleep well! (formal)
Pronunciation: dohr-mee-teh beh-neh
Sleep well! (plural)
Dormite bene, ragazzi. Ci vediamo domani mattina.
Have a good sleep, guys. See you in the morning.
You will say dorma bene to say good night to someone to whom you must show some respect, although you won’t hear it very often. You will say dormite bene to groups of people.
Riposati comes from the reflexive verb riposarsi, which literally means “to rest oneself”. You can use it in informal situations.
Rest well (informal)
Devi essere stanco per il lungo viaggio. Riposati un po’.
You must be tired from the long journey. Get some rest.
Use riposatevi to address groups of people.
Rest well (plural)
In a more formal setting, you may want to use si riposi.
Pronunciation: see ree-poh-see
Rest well (formal)
Another way to say good night in Italian: Buona serata
In addition to buonanotte, there is another Italian greeting that is used at the end of a conversation in the evening.
(Have a) good evening!
Sera and serata can both be translated as evening.
Why is that? What’s the difference between wishing a buona serata and a buona notte?
When I wish you a buona serata, I’m saying goodbye for the evening, thinking that you’ll do something else after we part. Maybe you’ll go to a party or have a late aperitivo. I don’t think you’re going to turn in for the night.
On the other hand, if I wish you a buona notte in Italian, I think you’re going straight to bed.
That’s it! Now you have everything you need to start saying good night in Italian!
Just remember: all the expressions we have covered in this lesson are used when you are saying goodbye for the evening. When you meet someone in a formal setting, whether in the evening or in the middle of the night, you never say buonanotte, you say buonasera.
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