How to say cheers in Italian: Italian toasting words and rules you need to know
How do you say cheers in Italian? Learn how to toast in Italian, common Italian drinking toasts Italian toasting etiquette for all occasions
Toasting is a big part of Italian culture.
Breaking bread together is at the center of most Italian celebrations and these special meals are always accompanied by a toast
If you have an Italian celebration coming up, you are invited to a wedding or birthday or you are throwing an Italian dinner party, knowing how to toast in Italian will be useful.
In this article, you will learn how to toast in Italian, Italian words for festive cheering, and the most important Italian toasting rules for perfect etiquette!
Learning Italian before a trip? Then do not miss our free guide to travelers’ Italian
How to say cheers in Italian
There are several ways to roast in Italian, some that you can use on all occasions and some that are specific to certain celebrations.
This is the most common way to say cheers in Italian and a pretty universal Italian toasting expression.
Salute in Italian means health and it is the equivalent to the French sante or the German prosit. You can use it in all occasions that do not require more specific toasting expressions (see below).
Hear how to say salute in Italian here (click on the small icon of the loudspeaker under the word ‘salute’ at the top of the screen).
‘Alla nostra’/ ‘alla tua’
‘Alla nostra’ means to our (heath) and it is another very common, safe and useful expression for toasting you can use in most situations.
You can use it anytime you want to toast to the people around the table as a whole, just like ‘cheers’ in English, sante in Frech and Prosit in German.
If you are cheering a specific person, you can say ‘alla tua’ meaning ‘to your health’, if you are addressing them directly, or use the name of the person if you want the whole table to direct the cheering towards a specific guest.
Ex ‘Ad Antonio!” would be appropriate if Antonio was the birthday person and you want to toast to him.
Viva is another common expression for toasts. In most instances, Viva means ‘hurray’ (Viva gli sposi – hurray to the bridge and grooms, Viva l’Italia – Hurray for Italy) but in the case of a toast it is also used on its own as equivalent to ‘cheers’ or ‘salute’
Viva and Salute are Italian for cheers.
Cin cin (pron. Chin Chin)
This is an old toasting expression that has fallen out of fashion several years ago but you can still come across
There are several stories around this toasting cheer and most trace it back to Chinese sayings: in this version of the story, ancient traders brought this expression into Italy where it then took hold.
Whether it is true or not, the expression started to lose its popularity when a more globalized world brought in the realization we were all using a word we do not know the meaning of in the original language and may even sound like a mocking of a different culture!
It is sometimes still in use but it is but salute is much more common now and avoids falling into awkward situations and cultural appropriation pitfalls.
Italian cheers for special occasions
If you are invited to a birthday party, a wedding or a specific occasion, then you may want less generic toasting sayings such as:
‘Auguri‘ – Auguri in Italian means ‘wishes’ as in ‘best wishes’ and it is in use to cheer at birthdays and all occasions when you want to wish someone well.
You can say Auguri, Tanti Auguri, Buon Compleanno or Cento di questi giorni.
Cento di questi giorni translated into ‘wishing you 100 days like this one’ meaning you are toasting to the person living 100 years more.
You can read the best ways to wish someone happy birthday in Italian here.
‘Congratulazioni‘ – congratulations
Just like in English, you would toast saying congratulations on occasions such as a college degree celebration, a job promotion and any time you want to highlight and celebrate an achievement
‘Buon Anno’ – Happy New Year
Learn here >>> how to wish someone a happy new year in Italian
‘Buon Natale’ – Happy Christmas, Merry Christmas
Learn here >>> how to say Merry Christmas in Italian
‘Viva gli sposi’
You will hear people toasting ‘viva gli sposi’ at Italian weddings.’ In this case, the toasting means ‘hurray to the bride and groom’.
‘Buon Giorno del Ringraziamento’ – Happy Thanksgiving (not an Italian tradition, but we have an Italian expression for it!)
Learn here >>> how to say Happy Thanksgiving in Italian
Toasting in Italian: etiquette rules
Ask etiquette experts and they will tell you there are several rules governing cheers in Italy.
It is important to know them if you are invited to a formal setting however, most of them do not apply to normal family dinners or gathering with friends so don’t be surprised if you see several of them ignored in real life!
If you like to be at the top of your etiquette game or you are heading to a formal event, this is what you need to know.
The only person allowed to start the toast is the dinner host. In the case of the birthday, it is the birthday person, usually starting off with a thank you speech or addressing the table for a common cheer
Getting the attention of the guests tapping culture against the glass is a no-no
Raising your glass towards the center of the table is the correct way to cheer, clinking glasses albeit very common is officially wrong.
Everyone does it and many Italians are surprised when they hear the etiquette rule however if you want to play by the book of Italian finishing school, don’t clink!
Don’t worry if you break this rule but don’t go out of your way clinking glasses with everyone either thinking it is expected.
The most common way to toast is for everyone to clink glasses in the center of the table, not with each individual guest.
Looking at each other straight in the eye is not an Italian tradition. This comes from northern European counties and while some people have adopted it, it is not standard nor traditional.
I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of Italian drinking toasts and you can soon put your new Italian cheers to the test at a true and fun Italian celebration!
This article is part of your series ‘lear Italian’ – find it HERE.