Italian sayings

In this post, you’re going to find the best Italian sayings to learn the Italian language.

Sometimes there’s no exact equivalent in English, so we’ll just give you a literal translation.

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The value of Italian sayings

Italian sayings are a treasure of popular wisdom!

Nothing defines a culture as distinctly as its language, and the element of language that best encapsulates a society’s values and beliefs is its sayings.

Italian Sayings

Italian sayings are used in conversation by adults more than children, partially because adults have learned more sayings than children.

With this list of Italian sayings, you can show off your wisdom and understanding of the Italian culture during your next conversation with a native speaker.

famous italian sayings

Italian sayings add color to a language and make you sound competent and comfortable.

Using sayings (may) make Italians think you know more of their language than you actually do.

Following are common Italian phrases that not only will make you sound more Italian but also will help you to understand Italian better.

Whether you’re a beginner in learning Italian or an advanced speaker, learning some Italian sayings and colloquialisms can really help you in your studies.

Undoubtedly, Italian sayings and colloquialisms reflect the historical and cultural circumstances in which they have evolved.

Italian sayings are useful to understand native material like news and stories.

italian sayings

Best Italian sayings and meanings

Here’s a collection of sayings, phrases, and sayings in Italian by famous poets, proverbs, actors, etc. together with their English translation.

Feel free to use them on a t-shirt design, for a piece of writing, or for a tattoo.

The Italian language is derived from the language of the Ancient Romans.

Although Latin can never be surpassed as the language of wisdom, brevity, and gravitas, Italian has its own charm and beauty. Italian sayings are often used in art and music.

Great inventors and artists often have more to say than what they can convey through their work.

Are you curious about what wisdom well-known have Italians shared with the world? Here’s a list of Italian sayings!

best italian sayings

Italian sayings about life can help you

A saying is a brief saying or phrase that expresses an opinion or makes a statement of wisdom without the flowery language of a proverb.

The Italian sayings below are all conveying some sort of truth in a direct, sometimes witty, manner that makes this kind of message powerful.

After all, everyone needs a little inspiration from time to time.

Whether you’re going through a breakup, you’ve just lost your job, or you simply woke up feeling a little insecure this morning—we’ve all had these days.

Feeding your mind with inspiring sayings daily is a great practice to boost your positivity.

italian sayings about life

Italian common sayings about love and friends

Here’s a collection of famous Italian sayings about different aspects of life:

La gatta frettolosa ha fatto i gattini ciechi.

Haste makes waste.
Literally: The hasty cat gave birth to blind kittens.

Al povero mancano tante cose, all’avaro tutte.

The poor man is lacking many things, the greedy man all.

Chi non va non vede, chi non vede non sa e chi non sa se lo prende sempre in culo.

If you don’t go you won’t see, if you don’t see you won’t know, if you don’t know you’ll take it in the ass every time.

Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco.

Not all doughnuts come out with a hole.
Literally: Not everything turns out as planned.

Bevici su – Il bar non porta i ricordi. Sono i ricordi che portano al bar.

Drink up, the bar doesn’t bring memories. Memories bring you to the bar.

Chi lavora mangia. Chi non lavora, mangia, beve e dorme.

He who works, eats. He who doesn’t work, eats, drinks, and sleeps.

A buon intenditor poche parole.

A nod’s as good as a wink.
Literally: Few words to a good listener.

famous italian sayings

Old Italian sayings

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Some old Italian sayings:

Dai nemici mi guardo io, dagli amici mi guardi Iddio!

I will protect myself from my enemies, may God protect me from my friends.

Noi non potremo avere perfetta vita senza amici.

We can’t have a perfect life without friends.

La povertà è la madre di tutte le arti.

Necessity is the mother of invention.
Literally: Poverty is the mother of all arts.

Mal comune, mezzo gaudio.

A trouble shared is a trouble halved.
Literally: Common bad, half rejoice.

Meglio tardi che mai.

Better late than never.

Fa quello che ami.

Do what you love.

Lascia che la vita ti sorprenda.

Let life surprise you.

Niente che valga la pena di avere è facile.

Nothing worth having comes easy.

Il meglio deve ancora venire.

The best is yet to come.

Ogni muro è una porta.

Every wall is a door.

Non rimpiangere mai ciò che ti ha fatto sorridere.

Never regret anything that made you smile.

Se puoi sognarlo, puoi farlo.

If you can dream it, you can do it.

Tutto ciò di cui hai bisogno è l’amore.

All you need is love.

italian sayings about food

Italian sayings about life and family

My favorite Italian sayings about life:

Ogni pazzo vuol dar consiglio.

Every fool is ready with advice.

Parla bene, ma parla poco.

Speak well, but speak little.

Quel ch’è fatto, è fatto.

What is done is done.

Rosso di sera, bel tempo si spera.

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight.
Literally: Red sky in the evening, one hopes for good weather.

Tempo al tempo.

All in good time.
Literally: Time to time.

Traduttore, traditore.

Translator, traitor.

Tutte le strade conducono a Roma.

All roads lead to Rome.

Tutto è bene ciò che finisce bene.

All is well that ends well.

A tavola non si invecchia.

At the table, you don’t get old.

funny Italian sayings

Funny Italian sayings

Here are some funny Italian sayings:

Se obbedisci alle regole, ti perdi tutto il divertimento.

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.

Due cose sono infinite: l’universo e la stupidità umana; ma riguardo l’universo ho ancora qualche dubbio.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe!

Non aspettare. Non sarà mai il momento giusto.

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.

Fate ciò che potete, con ciò che avete, dove siete.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Il modo migliore per predire il futuro è crearlo.

The best way to predict your future is to create it.

Una buona mamma vale cento maestre.

A good mother is worth a hundred teachers.

L’ affetto verso i genitori è fondamento di ogni virtù.

Loving one’s parents is fundamentally the greatest virtue.

Chi si volta, e chi si gira, sempre a casa va finire.

No matter where you go or turn, you’ll always end up at home.

A ogni uccello il suo nido è bello.

Every bird finds its own nest beautiful.

italian sayings about family

Popular Italian sayings about food

Here’s a list of popular Italian sayings:

Tutto fa brodo

Every little bit helps.
Literally: everything makes broth, soup.

Fare polpette di qualcuno

To make mincemeat of someone.
Literally: To make meatballs of someone.

Cercare il pelo nell’uovo.

To be picky, to nitpick.
Literally: to look for hair in the egg.

Essere in un bel pasticcio.

To be in a pickle.
Literally: to be in a nice pie.

Avere le mani in pasta.

To have a finger in many pies.
Literally: to have your hands in the dough.

L’erba del vicino è sempre più verde.

The grass is always greener on the other side.
Literally: Neighbor’s grass is always greener.

I frutti proibiti sono i più dolci.

Forbidden fruit is the sweetest.

Il vero segno dell’intelligenza non è la conoscenza, ma l’immaginazione.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

Morta la bestia, morto il veneno.

When the beast is dead, the venom is dead.

Necessità non ha legge.

Necessity knows no law.

A chi fa male, mai mancano scuse.

Who does evil is never short of excuses.

A nemico che fugge, fa un ponte d’oro.

Make a golden bridge for a fleeing foe.

italian sayings about friends

More insight into Italian culture

What’s your favorite Italian saying?

Do you need more wisdom? Check out this collection of Italian proverbs, Italian idioms, and Italian quotes. Italian hand gestures are fun, too!

For more insight into Italian culture, learn Italian with Lucrezia Borgia and the Italian experiment Galileo Galilei.

If you want something more practical, here’s a list of common Italian sentences for travel.

Basic Italian for travel includes giving directions, reading a menu, etc.

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!

FAQs on Italian sayings

What are some famous Italian sayings?

Here are some famous Italian sayings: a caval donato non si guarda in bocca (don't look a gift horse in the mouth), chi dorme non piglia pesci (you snooze, you lose), parla bene, ma parla poco (speak well, but speak little), tutto è bene ciò che finisce bene (all is well that ends well).

What is a good Italian saying?

A good Italian saying is: a buon intenditor poche parole (A nod’s as good as a wink. Literally: few words to a good listener.)

What is the most famous Italian quote?

Veni, vidi, vici. (“I came, I saw, I conquered.”) Venni, vidi, vinsi is the sentence in Italian. Of all the well-known Italian sayings, this one, which dates back to ancient times, is arguably the oldest and most unforgettable.

Stefano

Italian language tutor, course author, and polyglot. After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. With my method, you'll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.

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