How to say good night in Italian

How exactly do you say good night in Italian? What’s more appropriate to say depending on the relationship between you and the other person?

As you will see in this lesson, there’s more than one way to wish sweet dreams to your family and friends in Italy. We will take a look at all the most common expressions and see how they are pronounced. Hopefully, this lesson won’t make you sleepy! 😉

Let’s start! Iniziamo!

how do you say good night in italian - let's start - iniziamo - athlete woman running

The most common translation for good night in Italian

Nine times out of ten, Italian will wish good night to each other with a buonanotte, also written as buona notte.

This is a pretty standard way to bid anyone a good night in Italian, as it’s appropriate to use in any setting.

Pronunciation: boo-oh-nah not-teh

Buonanotte, buona notte
Good night

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 vowel sounds are clean.

If you are lazy enough and the informal setting allows it, you can cut the buona out of the expression and part ways for the night saying…

‘notte!
‘ night!

Buonanotte, ragazzi. Ci vediamo domani.
Good night, guys. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Buonanotte, mamma.
Good night, mom.

Buonanotte a tutti.
Good night, everyone.

Buonanotte, tesoro.
Good night, sweetheart.

good night in italian - buonanotte - girl counting sheep to fall asleep

Sweetest good night in Italian

When Italians wish someone a good night, they say buona notte e sogni d’oro, which literally translates to good night and golden dreams.

Pronunciation: boo-oh-nah not-teh eh soh-ñee doh-roh

The ñ sound is just like 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 in Italian as dolce, but we don’t usually wish people dolci sogni.

This is more commonly used between parents and their kids, so it’s not suitable to use in formal situations. Other terms of endearment may also be 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.

sogni d'oro - kid sleeping and dreaming of fighting godzilla

Other ways to wish a good night in Italian

Fai una bella dormita

Fai una bella dormita is an informal way to wish a good night in Italian and it 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

Dormi bene is commonly heard in informal settings, ideally between a parent and a child.

Pronunciation: dohr-mee beh-neh

Dormi bene!
Sleep well!

Dormi bene! Devi arrivare riposato all’esame.
Sleep well! You need to show up rested for the exam.

There are two variants of this: dorma bene and dormite bene.

Pronunciation: dohr-mah beh-neh

Dorma bene!
Sleep well! (formal)

Pronunciation: dohr-mee-teh beh-neh

Dormite bene!
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 wish a good night to someone you have to show a degree of respect to, although you won’t hear that often. You will say dormite bene to groups of people.


Riposati

Riposati comes from the reflexive verb riposarsi, which literally translates to “to rest oneself”. You can use it in informal situations.

Pronunciation: ree-poh-sah-tee

Riposati
Rest well (informal)

Devi essere stanco per il lungo viaggio. Riposati un po’.
You must be tired from the long journey. Get some rest.

If you want to address groups of people, use riposatevi.

Pronunciation: ree-poh-sah-teh-vee

Riposatevi
Rest well (plural)

In formal settings, you can use si riposi.

Pronunciation: see ree-poh-see

Si riposi
Rest well (formal)


Buona serata as a good night in Italian

Along with buonanotte, there is another Italian greeting that is used to end a conversation in the evening.

Buona serata!
(Have a) good evening!

good night in italian - buona serata - friends drinking beer together

Sera and serata both translate to evening.

Why is that? What’s the difference between wishing a buona serata and a buona notte?

If I’m wishing you a buona serata, I’m saying bye for the evening and think that you will do something else after we part ways. Maybe you’ll go to a party or have a late night aperitivo. I don’t think you’re turning in for the night.

If, however, I’m wishing you a buona notte in Italian, I’m thinking you’re going straight to bed.

confused kid on whether to say buonasera or buonanotte

That’s it! Now you know everything you need to know to start bidding people a good night in Italian.

Just remember: all the expressions we have covered in this lesson are used when you part ways for the evening. When you meet someone in a formal setting, be it in the evening or in the middle of the night, you never say buonanotte but buonasera.


What next?

Now that you’ve seen how to say good night in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

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