Proverbs give you a glimpse of the thinking of a country. There are many famous Italian proverbs in Italy, some of them nowadays are even completely old-fashioned, definitely not politically correct, and share the vision some of our ancestors had about life.
Let’s learn some famous Italian proverbs.
1. La gatta frettolosa ha fatto i gattini ciechi
The literal translation of this Italian proverb is “The female cat in a hurry gave birth to blind kittens” and it’s used to remind you to be patient and to do things with calm because if you rush things, you can get bad results.
2. Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio
This is one of the most popular Italian proverbs. Literally it means “The wolf loses its fur but not his vice/bad habit” and it’s used to say that your true nature always remains even if you change appearance.
3. L’amore non è bello se non è litigarello
This is another very common Italian proverb. Its literal translation is “love isn’t beautiful if it doesn’t involve a quarrel” and its meaning is pretty straightforward: when a couple argue, it isn’t always a bad thing, because it’s a way to spice things up a little bit and keep the relationship alive.
4. Moglie e buoi dei paesi tuoi
According to this Italian saying you should not marry people who come from a different country than yours or you’ll have trouble. Literally it means “Wife and ox of your own country/town”.
5. Tra i due litiganti il terzo gode
This Italian proverb means that when two people argue a third person always manage to take advantage of it. Literally it translates more or less like “Among the two who fights/argue, the third benefits”.
6. Tra moglie e marito non mettere il dito
This is one of the most popular Italian proverbs and warns you to not interfere in a wife and husband relationship. Literally it means “Don’t put a finger between a husband and a wife”.
7. Meglio tardi che mai
This proverb literally translates as “better late than never” and it’s used to say that it’s always better that something happens, even if it takes some or a lot of time, rather than not happening at all. Of course, it’s always used in a positive context, as well as in a sarcastic context. For example, if you waited 10 years to receive a compensation and you say something like “Finalmente mi hanno dato il risarcimento – I finally got my compensation”, a friend of yours may say “Meglio tardi che mai – better late than never!”.
8. L’abito non fa il monaco
This is another very common Italian proverb that literally translates as “Clothes don’t make the man” and means that you shouldn’t form an opinion basing yourself only on the way something/someone looks like because it can be misleading.
Do you have a couple of Italian proverbs you really like? Which ones?
Original image by Dimhou