Italian Proverbs Beginning With 'C'

Old street in Vernazza, Italy.

Valentina Rimondi / Getty Images

Proverbs are a beautiful part of the Italian language that help learners understand Italian culture on a deeper level. Below, you’ll find a list of common proverbs beginning with “c.”

Italian Idioms, Proverbs, and Maxims

Cambiano i suonatori ma la musica è sempre quella.

  • English translation: The musicians changed but the song is the same.
  • Idiomatic meaning: The melody's changed but the song remains the same.

Chi più sa, meno crede.

  • English translation: The more one knows, the less one believes.

Chi prima non pensa in ultimo sospira.

  • English translation: He who first does not think breathes his last.
  • Idiomatic meaning: Look before you leap.

Chi sa fa e chi non sa insegna.

  • English translation: Those who know, do, and those who don't, teach.

Chi s'aiuta, Dio l'aiuta.

  • English translation: God helps those who help themselves.

Chi tace acconsente.

  • English translation: Silence gives consent.

Chi tardi arriva male alloggia.

  • English translation: Those who arrive late lodge poorly.

Chi trova un amico trova un tesoro.

  • English translation: He who finds a friend, finds a treasure.

Chi va piano, va sano; chi va sano, va lontano. / Chi va piano va sano e va lontano.

  • English translation: He who goes softly, goes safely / He who goes safely, goes far.
  • Idiomatic meaning: Slowly but surely.

Chi vince ha sempre ragione.

  • English translation: Might makes right.

chiodo scaccia chiodo

  • English translation: One nail drives out another nail.
  • Idiomatic meaning: Out with the old, in with the new.

While the phrase above can be used for a variety of situations, it’s generally used for relationships.

Con niente non si fa niente.

  • English translation: You can't make something from nothing.

Casa mia, casa mia, per piccina che tu sia, tu mi sembri una badìa.

  • English translation: My home, my home, as tiny as you are, you seem like an abbey to me.
  • Idiomatic meaning: East or west, home is best.

Casa senza fimmina 'mpuvirisci. (Sicilian proverb)

  • English translation: How poor is a home without a woman!

Chi ben comincia è a metà dell'opera.

  • English translation: A good start is half the battle.

Chi cento ne fa, una ne aspetti.

  • English translation: Who does one hundred of them awaits one of them.
  • Idiomatic meaning: What goes around comes around.

Chi cerca trova.

  • English translation: Seek and you shall find.

Chi di spada ferisce di spada perisce.

  • English translation: He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.

Chi è causa del suo male piange se stesso.

  • English translation: He who has created his own evil cries over the same.
  • Idiomatic meaning: He who has made his bed must lie in it.

Chi fa da sé, fa per tre.

  • English translation: He who works by himself does the work of three (people).
  • Idiomatic meaning: Do it yourself if you want it done right.

Chi fa falla, e chi non fa sfarfalla.

  • English translation: Those who act make mistakes and those who do nothing really blunder.

Chi ha avuto ha avuto e chi ha dato ha dato.

  • English translation: What's done is done.

Chi ha fretta vada piano.

  • English translation: Make haste slowly.

Chi ha moglie ha doglie.

  • English translation: A wife means pains.

Chi la fa l’aspetti.

  • English translation: Who does it awaits it.
  • Idiomatic meaning: What goes around, comes around.

Chi non fa, non falla.

  • English translation: Those who do nothing make no mistakes.

Chi non ha moglie non ha padrone.

  • English translation: A man without a wife is a man without a master.

Chi non risica, non rosica.

  • English translation: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Chi lascia la strada vecchia per la nuova sa quel che lascia, ma non sa quel che trova.

  • English translation: Who leaves the old road for the new knows what he leaves, but doesn’t know what he will find.
  • Idiomatic meaning: Better the devil you know than the one you don’t know.

Animal Related Proverbs

Cane che abbaia non morde.

  • English translation: The dog that barks doesn't bite.
  • Idiomatic meaning: His bark is worse than his bite.

Chi dorme non piglia pesci.

  • English translation: Who sleeps doesn't catch fishes.
  • Idiomatic meaning: The early bird catches the worm.

Chi lava il capo all'asino perde il ranno e il sapone.

  • English translation: He who scrubs the head of an ass loses lye and soap.
  • Idiomatic meaning: All for nothing.

Chi pecora si fa, il lupo se la mangia.

  • English translation: Those who make themselves sheep will be eaten by the wolf.

Campa cavallo!

You may also hear campa cavallo che l’erba cresce.

  • English translation: Living horse!
  • Idiomatic meaning: Fat chance!
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Your Citation
Hale, Cher. "Italian Proverbs Beginning With 'C'." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Hale, Cher. (2023, April 5). Italian Proverbs Beginning With 'C'. Retrieved from Hale, Cher. "Italian Proverbs Beginning With 'C'." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 3, 2023).