Italian conversation: what does salve mean?

Italian conversation: what does salve mean?

When it comes to Italian greetings, most people only know ciao, buongiorno and buonasera when they begin to learn Italian. Then they come across salve. But what does salve mean?


We saw in the very first post that we always have to use different greetings in different contexts.


We have to use ciao with friends and family and we have to use buongiorno or buonasera with strangers.


But there are times when buongiorno and buonasera feel a little bit too formal.


We’re being less and less formal as time goes by.


There are moments when you walk into a shop and you’re greeted by a friendly ciao.


Which is great. Personally, I love it when a sales assistant welcomes me with a ciao instead of a distant buongiorno. Especially because I can avoid being called signora. But that’s a whole other story.


But, let’s be realistic. I put myself in your shoes, and I know it can be confusing to not know exactly what to say.


This is especially true if you’re going to Italy for the first time and you want to give the right impression.


You want to be polite, but you don’t want to sound overly formal.


Does that sound familiar?


You’re lucky, because Italian has got a greeting for that.


It’s called salve, and I first introduced it in the previous post about how to say hello in Italian.


To put it in simple terms, salve can be used


  • with people who are not friends or family,


  • only when arriving,


  • when buongiorno or buonasera feel a bit too much.


I mentioned the classical shop conversation, but the examples are many more.


There are plenty of other contexts where you can use salve.


So, why not watching this video to find out what does salve mean and when exactly can you use it?


Press and play and then think of any other possible situation where salve could come in handy 🙂


Don’t forget to join my private Facebook group Fun Italian for Beginners. It’s a great place to ask any question and have even more fun with the Italian language.

Gloria Spagnoli
Gloria Spagnoli
I help beginners of Italian take their first steps, speak from day one and learn Italian at their pace and by having fun.