Bless you!

How do you say bless you in Italian?

Salute!

Salute is how you translate bless you into Italian after someone sneezes. It literally means health.

Salute!
Bless you!

Why do Italians say salute? It’s a way of wishing people “good health”.

In the Middle Ages, when the plague claimed thousands of victims, people began to say salute to each other after sneezing (starnutire) as a way to ward off the disease. After all, a sneeze (starnuto) is often a sign of a coming cold!

The plague eventually subsided, but salute as a wish survived to this day.

Ora non ho te-e-e-eeetciù! – Salute!
Now I don’t have t-a-a-aaachoo! – Bless you!

boy sneezing

This is not the only case in the language of wishing people well: salute is related to the verb salutare, which means “to greet”, and the noun il saluto, which means “the greeting”.

You could literally translate salutare as “to send good vibes of health”. Saying salute! to mean bless you in Italian after a sneeze is no different.


Grazie mille!

You do NOT translate bless you in Italian as salute when you want to show gratitude to a person. Instead, you use grazie or one of its many variations, which simply means “thank you”.

Two of the most heartfelt ways to thank someone in Italian are grazie mille and grazie di cuore.

Grazie mille
Thank you very much, a million thanks, bless you
Literally: A thousand thanks

If you’re very grateful for something and have an informal relationship with the person you want to thank in Italian, you can use grazie di cuore.

Grazie di cuore
Thank you very much, bless you
Literally: Thanks from [the] heart

Cuore is the Italian word for heart. Did you know that? It rhymes with amore, love! 😉

thank you in italian - grazie di cuore . heart with a "thank you" inside

For example, you can say…

Grazie mille per la tua disponibilità.
Thank you very much for your availability.

Grazie mille per la splendida cena.
Thank you very much for the wonderful dinner.

Grazie di cuore, sei un tesoro!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you are a treasure!


How do you say God bless you in Italian?

The verb to bless is translated in Italian as benedire, literally “to say well”, from bene, well, and dire, to say.

Benedire
To bless

To translate God bless you in Italian you would say…

Dio ti benedica!
God bless you! (informal)

Dio la benedica!
God bless you! (formal)

woman praying and crying of joy

Why two translations?

If you are just visiting Italy and often meet new people, unless you both agree to use the informal pronoun tu “you,” you will have to stick to the formal pronoun Lei “you” when talking to other adults and people with whom you are not familiar. With children, it’s customary to use tu regardless of familiarity.

You can also say che Dio ti/la benedica, which means “may God bless you”.


More free Italian resources

You might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

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