Buongiorno or buona giornata?


If you heard the expression, buona giornata, you might wonder why buongiorno wasn’t used instead. Here is the difference in 3 clear points:

First - Buona giornata is used to wish a "good day" in its wholeness; giornata indicates a day of activities from the morning till the evening.

Buona giornata is something I would say to my husband when he leaves the house to go to work ; I use buona giornata with my kids when I drop them off to school or when they are going on a picnic.

So the best way to translate this in English would be have a nice day, have a great day.


Second - Is this formal? Nope, it’s used both in formal and informal contexts.

As well as my partner and kids, I could wish buona giornata to my boss, my colleague, the postman and the shop assistance BUT only when I depart from them. It’s a nice wish I’m leaving them with.


Third - Because we use buona giornata to wish someone a good day when we leave them, we could technically replace arrivederci (a greeting used when we depart from someone) with buona giornata, right? Yes, you can. Let’s try this:

I enter the shop: buongiorno

I leave the shop: buona giornata


I see my boss in the morning: buongiorno

I go back to my workstation and my boss leaves for the day: buona giornata


Ok, you might now wonder when to use buongiorno, then? Buongiorno is simply the greeting good morning much more limited in its use and usually formal.

We use buongiorno when we greet someone or depart from them; but the difference when I use buongiorno is that I don’t really desire to say anything further. Perhaps I'm not that happy that day or don't care or don't know the person at all.

I personally love buona giornata and encourage my students to use it. It’s a nice wish, like a little gift of joy you leave to someone, until next time you see them.

Buona giornata is life a gift

And speaking of gifts, you can now sign up for my free mini session, where we explore what your goals are in learning Italian and how to achieve them.  

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