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Famous Italian Sayings, Phrases, and Quotes

by Adam Levine

in Slogans & Sayings

Italian Sayings and Quotes PhotoAre you looking for a quote, phrase, or saying in Italian? We’ve compiled a list of many famous ones from poets, proverbs, actors, and even those used by Italians and Italian-Americans in every day speech. And we’ve included both the Italian and English versions for you as well. Feel free to use them on a t-shirt design, for a piece of writing, or however you wish.

Italian Phrases & Sayings and Their English Translations

A caval donato non si guarda in bocca. – Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

A chi fa male, mai mancano scuse. – He who does evil, is never short of an excuse.

Aiutati che Dio t’aiuta. – Help yourself and God will help you.

Belle parole non pascon i gatti. – Fine words don’t feed cats.

Chi dorme non piglia pesci – Those who sleep don’t catch any fish.

Cuando l’amico chiede, non v’è domani. – When a friend asks, there is no tomorrow.

Il dolce far niente. – It is sweet doing nothing.

L’amore è cieco – Love is blind.

L’amore vince sempre – Love conquers all.

La vita è un sogno – Life is a dream.

La semplicità è l’ultima sofisticazione – Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
-Leonardo Da Vinci

Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto. – Eat well, laugh often, love much.

Noi non potemo avere perfetta vita senza amici – We cannot have a perfect life without friends.

Non puoi insegnare niente a un uomo. Puoi solo aiutarlo a scoprire ciò che ha dentro di sé – You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help find it within himself.
-Galileo Galilei

Nulla nuova, buona nuova. – No news is good news.

Quando finisce la partita il re ed il pedone finiscono nella stessa scatola. -When you finish the game, the king and pawn end up in the same box.

Se non hai mai pianto, i tuoi occhi non possono essere belli. – If you haven’t cried, your eyes can’t be beautiful.
-Sophia Loren

Una cena senza vino e come un giorno senza sole – A meal without wine is a day without sunshine.

About the Author - Adam Levine

Adam is a Search Marketing Specialist at Custom Ink. He has worked at Custom Ink for more than 8 years, and helps contribute to the blog with fun content that helps inspire people. And with puns. Lots and lots of puns.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Sanjay M October 21, 2017 at 11:24 am

I am working hard to learn italian language.I really love it !!! It’s my childhood aspiration to speak real good italian.

Sanjay M October 21, 2017 at 11:17 am

Hello ! How to say this phrase in italian “Good from far but far from good”.
Thankyou !

Fank October 5, 2017 at 8:19 am

It’s like saying. “What’s up” or “what’s going on”

Jean Giovinco September 26, 2017 at 10:00 am

The saying was loosely translated:
Old age is a bit-h!
But those who don’t reach it are in worse shape!
I wish I could remember the second line more clearly!

Ray September 12, 2017 at 10:52 am

I don’t remember the phrases in Italian, but my mom would say, “All the help you need is at the end of your arms”, and, when we thought we were special in some way, she would say, “What are you? Born of the rooster?”

Mari-Celeste Massaro July 24, 2017 at 5:21 pm

If you’re saying this to one person, “Tutti noi ti vogliamo bene.” Or “ti vogliamo bene tutti noi”.

If you’re saying this to a group of people – vi vogliamo bene.

Mari-Celeste Massaro July 24, 2017 at 5:15 pm

Testardo, testa dura, o ostinato.

In Calabrese they say “capo tosto”, but it is pronounced “cabodost”.

Trish June 28, 2017 at 4:55 am

My father and I used to say “qui se cheese” pronounced key see cheese. He said it was a phrase for anything…does it have a meaning? Is it a real pharse?

Lissa Eckert June 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Hey Richard! It looks like thickheaded in Italian is ”
ottuso” where as stubborn is “testardo”. I hope that helps!

Richard Murno June 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm

How do you say “thickheaded” or “stubborn” in Italian? Thanks.

ANDREW BRADICK May 1, 2017 at 11:25 am

Here is one my Neopolitan grandfather used to use;
A vechaia na caronia jevendusa…
I think it means Old people are like a dead dog youth is wasted..

Tiyo April 6, 2017 at 4:32 am

Italian culture and people. Of foreigners who I have met, Italians were among the most generous. I had good times with them.

Michele February 12, 2017 at 6:45 pm


Senatus Populus Que Romanus (Latino)
The Senate and the People of Rome


Sono porci questi Romani (Italiano)
They are pigs these Romans

Michele February 12, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Un bel Gioco dura poco
A good joke is short

Lissa Eckert February 3, 2017 at 9:09 am

Hey Bob—It looks like you’re right! The Italian phrase is “traduttore tradittore”, which roughly translated means, “translator is a traitor”.

bob reynolds February 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm

I’m now 80 years old but in my younger years I remember an Italian phrase that said that the translator was a traitor, or something like that. Is there any statement like that?

Jae March 7, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Each one goes to the mill with his sack—– when someone exerts himself he expects a benefit. You wouldn’t go to the mill, a very labor intensive activity of grinding your corn for polenta, unless you were going to carry the product home with you to feed your family.

Student of Italian February 18, 2016 at 3:27 pm

I fogli bruciano ma lettere volano

The leaves burn but the letters fly.

Dates back to Romans burning the second Jewish Temple where the scrolls of law were kept.
In short they can burn the temple but the words still live on (fly).

Georgene October 16, 2015 at 11:39 am

I fogli bruciano ma lettere volano
According to my Italian to English translator this means “Burning leaves but flying letters.” Huh? What does that mean?
This saying is on the street in a box at Campo D’Fiori. I bought a leather bracelet with this on it.

michael spano October 1, 2015 at 9:09 pm

how do you say “we all love you” in Italian

CEM September 25, 2015 at 8:31 pm

Lorena it means literally, “each one goes to the mill with his sack.”

Lorena Tosolini September 12, 2015 at 6:23 pm

I hope you can help me with this quote

” Uni uno va al Molino con suo sacco ”

What does it mean and how would it be translated in English.
Many thanks, awaiting reply with great anticipation Lorena.

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