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!