Ciao e Arrivederci!


The Italian salutation with an unusual history.

“Ciao” is the Italian way of saying “hi” and also “bye” in a casual, friendly  manner.

It actually has its origins in the Venetian “s-ciào vostro” or “s-ciào su”, which translates to something along the lines of “I am your slave”. Luckily it didn’t really mean an offer of servitude, but rather something more akin to “at your service”. Over time, the saying became just “ciào” before spreading throughout all areas of Italy as just “ciao”.

Ciao is used mostly with friends and family, but not in formal or official situations nor with people you have only just met. In this case, a more formal salutations, such as “Buongiorno” (Good morning) or “Salve” (Greetings) may be used.

If meeting someone for the first time, it is likely that a handshake and “Piacere” (“Pleasing” – as in, “My pleasure/Pleased to meet you”) will be exchanged. However, Italians will often give an enthusiastic and warm “ciao” to their friends and family, followed by a double cheek kiss. And since Italians are beautiful people, on any trip to Italy, you are also likely to hear “Ciao, bella” and “Ciao, bello” (“Hi, beautiful”) said to gals and guys alike.




Italian for “goodbye”

“Arrivederci” is the way of saying not just “farewell”, but “see you later” in Italian. More literally, “arrivederci” can be translated to “until we see each other again”. You’ll need to practice that wonderful way Italians roll their r’s to get the sound just right. Saying “Arrivederci” is usually accompanied by a kiss on each cheek, as is tradition in Italy. 


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