Tintoretto:Palazzo Ducale and Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, from 7th September 2018 to 6 January 2019
The exhibition of the masterpieces by the Venetian painter Tintoretto to celebrate the 500th anniversary of his...
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Proverbs and sayings have always been part of the Italian linguistic culture, and are used by the overwhelming majority of the population even during everyday conversations. Proverbs are much more used by the elderly, with almost total absence in the language used by the younger generations, who make instead large use idioms. Some of these are true expressions, untranslatable in other languages and used to reinforce a concept, to define an image or a situation and to create analogies that favor the understanding of the phrase that is about to be said.
The Italian language, incredibly rich and multifaceted in its terminology, is also a riot of maxims and idioms. Some of these are particularly interesting and are fully part of the everyday spoken language. Others, more particular and tied to specific occasions, are only used when necessary. But which are the 10 most famous Italian proverbs and sayings? Let’s find out together.
Proverbs, maxims which are the fruit of common experience, are based on what is commonly considered to be “true”, or presumably so. Among the most beautiful Italian proverbs of all time we remember some in particular, such as:
Idioms differ from proverbs (the so-called “maxims”) because they have nothing to do with popular wisdom. Proverbs, in fact, are almost always linked to an experience, which is why they are often used mostly by older people. Idioms on the other hand rely on phrases or other elements of the conversation to create analogies. Some examples?
Obviously, since Italy is an extremely diverse country from a linguistic point of view, at a regional and provincial level (since every region tends to have one or more of its own dialects) it is easy to come across proverbs and dialectal meanings, used only in some areas. Among the most famous Italian proverbs and sayings in dialect, we certainly find those linked to the Neapolitan and Sicilian regions. Among the Neapolitan sayings we should mention: “A cicala canta, canta e po’ schiatta” (or “the cicada sings, sings and then dies”); proverb used to emphasize the importance of living without too many worries and without caring about the judgment of others. Among the most famous proverbs of Sicilian culture, however, there is the famous: “l’omu gilusu mori curnutu” (or “the jealous man dies betrayed”); the proverb wants to indicate how often, being too attached to things or people, ends up going wrong.