Italian proverbs and meanings,

I love Italian proverbs as they just sound better when you say them in Italian. Of course, most are very similar to English proverbs and sayings. Somehow though, to me, the Italian ones seem to be a bit more profound and have a bit of depth to them.

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You probably have heard your parents or grandparents use many of these phrases. Please feel free to comment on the post as we’d love to hear all about it!

Disclaimer:  Translating is always difficult, especially between languages. I have done my best to get these twenty-five proverbs and sayings correctly translated. Please no scolding if I’ve messed up on a word or two.

General Italian Proverbs and Sayings:

A chi vuole, non mancano modi

Where there is a will, there is a way

A Caval Donato non si guarda in bocca

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. This means every gift received can be very useful so don’t judge its quality.

A buon intenditor, poche parole

 Someone doesn’t need much explanation – A word to the wise

A mali estremi, estremi rimedi

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Chi dorme non piglia pesci

You snooze, you lose. Who sleeps does not catch fish.

Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il visio

Old habits die hard. The wolf sheds its fur but not to be seen.

A chi dai il dito si prende anche il braccio

Give an inch and they’ll take a mile

La gatta frettolosa fa i figli ciechi

Haste makes waste. Everything must be done it its own time. The hasty cat has blind children.

Italian proverbs and meanings,

General Italian Continued

Buon principio fa buon fine

A good beginning makes a good ending

L’erba del vicino è sempre più verde

The neighbor’s grass is always greener – it’s all about envy!

Bisogna prima pensare e poi fare

A closed mouth catches no flies. Think before you act. If you can’t say something nice or necessary, don’t say anything at all.

Meglio solo che male accompagnato

Better alone than in bad company

Ride bene chi ride ultimo

Who laughs last laughs best. This one is a warning – don’t celebrate ahead of time as you are never quite sure about the end.

Can che abbaia non morde

Barking dogs don’t bite

Il buon giorno si vede dal mattino

A good day starts in the morning. When a day starts in a good way – it will continue that way too.

Tra I due litiganti il terzo gode

When two people argue – the third person benefits

Non è tutto oro quello che luccica

All that glitters is not gold. Appearances can be deceiving.

Marriage Proverbs and Sayings

Italian proverbs and sayings along with their meanings

Una casa senza donna è come una lanterna senza lume

This refers to the fact a woman makes a house a home. A house without a woman is like a lantern without a light.

Tra moglie e marito non mettere il dito

Don’t put a finger between a husband and wife, the bond is a tight one so don’t attempt to come between them.

Weather-Related Italian Proverbs and Sayings

Dopo la pioggia, arriva il sole

After the rain comes sunshine. Skies will inevitably clear, and things are bound to improve.

Una bella giornata non fa estate

One beautiful day doesn’t make a summer. One day of happiness doesn’t necessarily make a person entirely happy.

Proverbs and Sayings About Wine

Italian proverbs and sayings along with their meanings

Non puoi avere sia una botte piena, che la moglie ubriaca

Meaning you can’t have it all! You can’t have a full wine barrel and a drunk wife.

Vino rosso fa buon sangue

Red wine makes good blood. It suggests that wine is so healthy is can make your blood good.

Hope you enjoyed this fun post. It’s even more fun for me now that I am really focused on learning the language!

As a result, if you enjoyed this one, check out a previous post, Italian Superstitions
Italian proverbs and meanings,


  1. I love all you post, can’t wait to see you in Italy again… gosh, when we’ll start travel again…, I plan winter Venice…., but will see… All the best!

  2. What a fun post! I love Italian proverbs! It’s so funny how we have sayings with the same meanings but we use different words to express them!

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