Italian Proverbs

A Collection of Some Amusing Italian Proverbs on Varying Subjects

The Italian language is as much a delight to learn as is the country's culture and cuisine. Go through these proverbs and sayings to get better acquainted with the mellifluous Italian language.
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: Mar 8, 2018
Like any other culture in the world, Italian culture too boasts of wise sayings and proverbs that have been passed down from generation to generation. Many of these have been translated into English to make them more accessible to people all around the world. Let's take a peek at the wise things that the Italians have had to say...
... as Teachings
Proverb: Uno sciocco e il suo denaro son presto separati
English Translation: A fool and his money are soon parted.
Proverb: Siccome la casa brucia, riscaldiamoci
English Translation: Since the house is on fire let us warm ourselves.
Proverb: Amico di tutti e di nessuno e tutt'uno
English Translation: A friend to all and a friend to none is one and the same.
Proverb: Non affoga colui che cade in acqua - ma affoga chi male incappa."
English Translation: Who falls in water doesn't drown - but who falls badly will.
Proverb: Chi la sera i pasti li ha fatti, sta agli altri lavare i piatti."
English Translation: If one cooks the meal then the others wash up.
Proverb: Donna che piange, uomo che giura, cavallo che suda, tutta impostura.
English Translation: A woman who cries, a man who swears, a horse that sweats, all imposture.
... about Family
Proverb: "Tempo, marito e figli vengono come li pigli."
English Translation: Weather, husbands, and sons come as you take them.
Proverb: Una buona mamma vale cento maestre.
English Translation: A good mother is worth a hundred teachers.
Proverb: Chi ha la mamma sua non piange mai.
English Translation: He who has his own mother never cries.
Proverb: La madre degli idioti è sempre incinta."
English Translation: The mother of idiots is always pregnant."
Proverb: La lettera C è la più soggetta al tradimento - cugino, cognato, e compare.
English Translation: The letter C is most likely to betray - cousin, brother-in-law, friend.
Proverb: I figli nati da appena tre dii - gli si deve dare i vizzi: non piu di li.
English Translation: Children of three days - one has to spoil them: not more than that.
Proverb: Amicu ca non ti duna, parendi ca non ti mpresta, fuili comu la pesta.
English Translation: Friend who won't give, relatives who won't lend you a hand, avoid them like the plague.
... about Life
Proverb: Finchè c'è vita c'è speranza.
English Translation: Where there's life, there's hope.
Proverb: La vita è come un albero di natale, c'è sempre qualcuno che rompe le palle.
English Translation: Life is like a christmas tree, there's always someone who breaks the balls.
Proverb: Nella vita - chi non risica - non rosica.
English Translation: In life: who risks nothing - gains nothing.
Proverb: L' erba del vicino è sempre più verde.
English Translation: The neighbor's grass is always greener.
Proverb: Tempo al tempo.
English Translation: All in good time.
Proverb: Tra il dire e il fare, c'è di mezzo il mare.
English Translation: Literal translation: "Between doing and saying lies the sea.
... about Food
Proverb: Ne ammazza più la gola che la spada.
English Translation: Gluttony kills more than the sword.
Proverb: Una mela al giorno leva il medico di torno.
English Translation: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Proverb: Un buon vino, un buon uomo e una bella donna dura poco.
English Translation: A good wine, a good man and a pretty woman last a short time.
Proverb: A tavola non s'invecchia.
English Translation: At the table one doesn't grow old.
Proverb: L'appetito vien mangiando
English Translation: Appetite comes eating
... about Love
If a man deceives me once, shame on him; if he deceives me twice, shame on me.
If the wife sins, the husband is not innocent.
He who is not impatient is not in love.
No one will take the one who is destined for you.
Let him not be a lover who has not courage.
Love demands faith, and faith firmness.
Love is the true price at which love is bought.
Love rules without rules.
As you can see, these Italian quotes are short and straight to the point. They do not beat around the bush with words. But helps one learn the meaning in just a few words. These proverbs carry the essence of Italy within them. Like the wise of Italian saying, "A buon intenditor poche parole." (Few words to the good knowledgeable). Grazie mille.
Italian Family