Besides keeping us company, animals are the protagonists of many Italian sayings and proverbs. So, in this post, you will find the most famous of these Italian sayings.
To make it easier, we have grouped the sayings we will present into three categories. In the first category, we include general sayings. The second category contains sayings that compare a person’s behavior to animals. And the last covers saying with some common-sense wisdom, also known as proverbs. All proverbs are sayings, but not all sayings are proverbs.
General Italian Sayings about animals
1. Italian: Andare a letto con le galline.
English: Go to bed with the chickens.
Meaning: To go to bed early.
2. Italian: Avere la pelle d’oca.
English: Having goosebumps.
Meaning: To be afraid.
3. Italian: Avere la memoria di un elefante.
English: To have the memory of an elephant.
Meaning: To have a good memory.
4. Italian: Avere un cervello di gallina.
English: To have the brain of a hen.
Meaning: To not be very intelligent.
5. Italian: Cavallo di battaglia.
English: Battle horse.
Meaning: A person’s best trait.
6. Italian: Capro espiatorio.
Meaning: One that bears the blame for others.
7. Italian: Gatta ci cova
English: a broody cat.
Meaning: There is something fishy about it.
8. Italian: In bocca al lupo!
English: In the mouth of the wolf!
Meaning: Good luck!
9. Italian: Non sentire volare una mosca.
English: To not hear a fly.
Meaning: Absolute silence!
10. Italian: Tagliare la testa al toro.
English: Cut the bull’s head off.
Meaning: Make the safest move.
Comparison of people’s behavior and animals in Italian Sayings
For example, we can say that someone is:
11. Italian: Alto come una giraffa.
English: As tall as a giraffe.
12. Italian: Cieco come una talpa (topo).
English: As blind as a mole (mouse).
13. Italian: Grasso come un maiale.
English: As fat as a pig.
14. Italian: Fedele come un cane.
English: As loyal as a dog.
15. Italian: Lento come una lumaca (o come una tartaruga).
English: Slow like a snail (or a turtle).
16. Italian: Furbo (listo) come una volpe.
English: Smart like a fox.
17. Italian: Muto come un pesce.
English: Dumb as a fish.
18. Italian: Sano come un pesceto.
English: As healthy as a fish.
19. Italian: Ignorante come una capra.
English: Ignorant as a goat.
20. Italian: Docile come un agnello.
English: Docile as a lamb.
21. Italian: Testardo come un mulo.
English: Stubborn as a mule.
22. Italian: Coraggioso come un leone.
English: Brave as a lion.
23. Italian: Agile come un gatto.
English: Nimble as a cat.
24. Italian: Nudo come un verme.
English: Naked like a worm.
25. Italian: Fastidioso come una mosca.
English: Annoying as a fly.
26. Italian: Dormiglione come un ghiro.
English: As sleepy as a dormouse.
27. Italian: Una mosca bianca.
English: A white fly.
Meaning: Something special and rare.
28. Italian: La pecora nera.
English: The black sheep.
Meaning: The rebel in the family.
Italian Proverbs about animals.
And finally, there are Italian sayings that carry some common-sense wisdom. Here are a few of them.
29. Italian: A caval donato non si guarda in bocca.
English: When you receive a horse as a gift, you do not examine his mouth.
Meaning: To not be too picky when you have received a gift.
30. Italian: Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio.
English: The wolf can lose its fur but not its bad habits.
Meaning: A person can get old without losing their habits.
31. Italian: Meglio un uovo oggi che una gallina domani.
English: Better an egg today than a chicken tomorrow.
Meaning: Better some of a pudding than none of a pie.
32. Italian: Moglie e buoi dei paesi tuoi.
English: Wife and oxen of your own country.
Meaning: A person that prefers to marry somebody of his own country to maintain cultural traditions.
33. Italian: Prendere due piccioni con una fava.
English: To kill two birds with one stone.
Meaning: To achieve two things by doing a single action.
34. Italian: Una rondine non fa primavera.
English: One swallow does not make a summer.
Meaning: A single fortunate event does not mean that what follows will also be good.
What’s Your Favorite Italian Saying?
So, share with us your opinion about these Italian sayings. Which is your favorite? Do you know other Italian sayings about animals that do not appear in this post? Please, write them down in the comment box.
Now, it’s your turn to use them! In bocca al lupo! Good luck!