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Famous Italian Sayings, Phrases, and Quotes

Italian Sayings and Quotes Photo
Are 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 or face mask design!

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.

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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.

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  • Lorena Tosolini

    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.

  • CEM

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

  • michael spano

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

  • Georgene

    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.

  • Student of Italian

    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).

  • Jae

    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.

  • bob reynolds

    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?

  • Lissa Eckert

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

  • Michele

    Un bel Gioco dura poco
    A good joke is short

  • Michele


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


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

  • Tiyo

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


    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..

  • Richard Murno

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

  • Lissa Eckert

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

  • Trish

    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?

  • Mari-Celeste Massaro

    Testardo, testa dura, o ostinato.

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

  • Mari-Celeste Massaro

    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.

  • Ray

    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?”

  • Jean Giovinco

    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!

  • Fank

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

  • Sanjay M

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

  • Sanjay M

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

  • Bob Ferkaluk

    That’s me in the middle of that picture of the 3 guys with the yellow T shirts on from 2006 in Orvieto Italy. Amazing.

  • Lissa Eckert

    THE Bob?! How awesome! We’re so glad you let Custom Ink be a part of such a big deal trip!

  • Jodi

    I work with an older Italian gentleman. He always uses a saying that goes something like ” God willing and if the donkey walks”. I wanted to customize a Christmas gift with this saying but, first, wanted to make sure that that is the correct way of saying it and second, I was wondering if you could tell me how it is said in Italian

  • Lissa Eckert

    Hi Jodi! What an awesome idea for a Christmas gift; I’m sure he’ll love it! I couldn’t find any exact quotes, but I did find a lot of biblical passages from a quick Google search, so perhaps it’s adapted from there. Thanks to Google Translate, I found, “A Dio piacendo e se l’asino cammina,” but before printing it on anything, we could run it by someone who does speak Italian. Would you like me to get a rep from our Sales team in touch by the email you provided?

  • Sharon Lucas

    Hi There, I love the saying on your site ” Belle parole non pascon i gatti” and would like to have it as a tattoo but when I checked it with a few translator tools they dont recognise “pascon”. Could you tell me how it translates as “feed”. I just want to make sure I get it right!
    Many thanks

  • Lissa Eckert

    Hey Sharon! It’s always best to check with a language expert to be 100% sure, but when we compile our lists we are as thorough as possible! This saying roughly translates to, “all those words won’t feed the cat.” We hope that helps!

  • Elaine

    Il tempo si buffera stuck in my mind,but come vola il tempo is listed.
    Please comment.

  • Irene


    What does it mean when someone says “sono al verde”?


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