Italian Proverbs

Enjoy dozens of witty and insightful Italian proverbs and idioms that have been passed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years!

  • Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all.
  • Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.
  • Why do I not seek some real good; one which I could feel, not one which I could display?
  • We should give as we would receive: cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.
  • When God punishes a land, he deprives it leaders of wisdom.
  • Every guilty person is his own hangman.
  • A person’s fears are lighter when the danger is at hand.
  • While we teach, we learn.
  • The right man comes at the right time.
  • Where fear is, happiness is not.
  • The pressure of adversity does not affect the mind of the brave man. It is more powerful than external circumstances.
  • Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness.
  • A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary.
  • Speak of the Devil and he appears.
  • Often, he who does too much, does too little.
  • When the danger is past, God is cheated.
  • When we are well, we all have good advice for those who are ill.
  • It is not the man who has too little but the man who craves more who is poor.
  • Hope is the last to abandon the unhappy.
  • The foremost art of kings is the ability to endure hatred.
  • It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.
  • Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.
  • The deferring of anger is the best antidote to anger.
  • Light troubles speak; the weighty are struck dumb.
  • Misfortune does not always result in harm.
  • Fate rules the affairs of men, with no recognizable order.
  • A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts.
  • Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.
  • He who enjoys good health is rich, though he knows it not.
  • Disease is not of the body but of the place.
  • What was hard to suffer, is sweet to remember.
  • Fortune can take away riches, but not courage.
  • If the secret sorrows of everyone could be read on their forehead, how many who now cause envy would suddenly become the objects of pity.
  • The fool has to do at last what the wise did at first.
  • Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands.
  • No evil propensity of the human heart is so powerful that it may not be subdued by discipline.
  • Sometimes, even to live is an act of courage.
  • If sensuality were happiness, beasts were happier than men; but human felicity is lodged in the soul, not in the flesh.
  • Leisure without literature is death and burial alive.
  • Constant exposure to dangers will breed contempt for them.
  • The pleasures of the palate deal with us like the Egyptian thieves, who strangle those whom they embrace.
  • Our care should not be to have lived long as to have lived enough.
  • We become wiser by adversity; prosperity destroys our appreciation of the right.
  • The first step in a person’s salvation is knowledge of their sin.
  • Whatever has overstepped its due bounds is always in a state of instability.
  • Who can hope for nothing, should despair for nothing.
  • Many shed tears merely for show, and have dry eyes when no one’s around to observe them.
  • Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.
  • The heart is great which shows moderation in the midst of prosperity.
  • After the ship has sunk, everyone knows how she might have been saved.

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