Five Fun Italian Proverbs

January 12, 2014

Ready for some Italian proverbs?

‘Cause I spent this Christmas and New Year’s in Italy.

Everybody seems to be impressed by this fact except me. Actually, as far as I’m concerned, Italy is like Spain’s boring rich uncle.

But in the interest of international communication, I’d like to share these proverbs with you.

Popular wisdom, etc etc etc.

Here’s a photo:

italian proverbs san severino marche

Totally romantic. Piazza del Popolo, San Severino Marche.

Now onward! In the general direction of the fantastic Italian proverbs:

Donna baffuta sempre piaciuta.

Lit: Even a woman with a moustache has someone who likes her. Fig: For every woman, no matter how repulsive, there is some man desperate enough to sleep with her. It’s not clear if this is “true” or not–it seems like to me that there are plenty of men who should, by all rights, be out of the gene pool, but who still get laid from time to time. Women also. I guess you could say that human sexual behaviour is too complex to sum up in a simple sentence.

Altezza mezza belezza.

Lit: Being tall is half of being beautiful. Fig: Look at all those goddamn Zs! Can you believe they’d just put three double-Z words together like that?

Moglie e buoi dei paesi tuoi.

Lit: Wife and ox from your town. Fig: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Actually, all over central Italy there just seems to be an infinite number of repetitions of the same town, so I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Anyway, it’s got a nice rhyme.

Sei simpatico come la sabbia nel costume.

Lit: You’re as friendly as the sand in my bathing suit. Alternate form: Sei simpatico come un dito nel culo. Lit: You’re as friendly as a finger up my butthole. Maybe these aren’t exactly proverbs, per se, but they’re certainly things that Italian people say about others–ahem… or me. Only occasionally, of course. Mostly they’re busy conversationally shouting at each other. Or eating. Or conversationally shouting at each other while eating.

La vita è come la scala di un pollaio: corta e piena di merda.

Lit: Life is like a hen-house staircase: short and full of shit. Fig: I actually got to spend some time around a henhouse on this trip, and let me tell you… chickens stink much more than I had previously thought.

See also: 10 obscene Spanish expressions and maybe also some Spanish proverbs.

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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