Who Said That? Famous Italian Quotes
Galileo Galilei is one of the most famous Italians. He was a 16th century astronomer, physicists and mathematician. His contribution to modern science is invaluable. He also was quoted as saying:
Non puoi insegnare niente a un uomo. Puoi solo aiutarlo a scoprire ciò che ha dentro di sé. (You cannot teach a man anything. You can solely help him discover it within himself.)
Tutte le verità sono facili da capire una volta che sono state rivelate. Il difficile è scoprirle. (All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. What is difficult is to discover them.)
Non ho mai incontrato un uomo così ignorante dal quale non abbia potuto imparare qualcosa. (I have never met a man ignorant to such an extent that I could not learn something from him.)
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci is perhaps most famous for his paintings, but his professional life was by no means limited to this area. He was a true Renaissance man with numerous interests. Da Vinci spent his life learning and working in fields such as architecture, science, mathematics, literature, anatomy, astronomy and many others. Not surprisingly he also said a lot of things which make you think twice. These are some of his famous quotes:
La semplicità è la suprema sofisticazione. (Simplicity is the highest form of sophistication.)
L’arte non è mai finita, ma solo abbandonata. (Art is never finished, only abandoned)
Siccome una giornata bene spesa dà lieto dormire, così una vita bene usata dà lieto morire. (As a day well spent brings happy sleep, so a life well lived gives happy death.)
La sapienza è figliola dell’esperienza. (Wisdom is the daughter of experience.)
Dante Alighieri was a famous Italian poet and the author of “The Divine Comedy” considered the greatest piece of writing in Italian created in the Middle Ages. Alighieri’s goal was to make poetry accessible to any reader rather than understood only by the most educated citizens. His views on the use of vernacular inspired others and started a literary revolution. What were Alighieri’s famous words?
I costumi e le mode degli uomini cambiano come le foglie sul ramo, alcune delle quali vanno ed altre vengono. (Fashions change like leaves, some of which go and other come.)
Nessun maggior dolore che ricordarsi del tempo felice nella miseria. (There is no greater pain than to recall happiness in times of misery.)
Colui che vede un bisogno e aspetta che gli venga chiesto aiuto è scortese quanto colui che lo rifiuta. (A person who sees a need and waits to be asked for help is as unkind as a person who refuses to give it.)
Sophia Loren is a famous Italian actress who started her career in the 1950s. She continued to be present on the big screen for decades, winning numerous awards including an Oscar for her role in “Two Women”. She made history as the first winner of the award for Best Actress performing in a non-English speaking movie. What words of wisdom has this talented actress and Italian icon shared with the world?
Se non hai mai pianto, i tuoi occhi non possono essere belli. (If you have never cried, your eyes cannot be beautiful.)
La bellezza è come ci si sente dentro, e si riflette negli occhi. (Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes.)
Il sex-appeal è al cinquanta per cento quello che hai e al cinquanta per cento quello che gli altri pensano che tu abbia. (Sex appeal is 50% what you have and 50% what others think you have.)
Non ho mai cercato di rimuovere i miei ricordi, neppure quelli più tristi. Non capisco le persone che si nascondono dal loro passato: ogni evento che hai vissuto ti aiuta ad essere la persona che sei oggi. (I have never tried to block out my memories, not even the sad ones. I do not understand people who try to hide from their past. Each event in your life helps you become the person that you are today.)
Who has not heard about the famous book “The Name of the Rose” and its film adaptation with Sean Connery? The author of this magnificent novel is no other than Umberto Eco. This prolific writer had a lot to say. These are some of his quotes in Italian:
Il computer non è una macchina intelligente che aiuta le persone stupide, anzi, è una macchina stupida che funziona solo nelle mani delle persone intelligenti. (A computer is not a smart machine which helps stupid people, rather it is a stupid machine which only works when handled by smart people.)
La superstizione porta sfortuna. (Superstition brings misfortune.)
La lettura è un’immortalità all’indietro. (Reading is immortality backwards.)
Mentioning all Italian quotes by famous people hailing from the country would be impossible. Italian artists, philosophers and scientists have been contributing to the progress of humanity for centuries. This article has only managed to scratch the surface. If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may also like to check out this write-up on Italian proverbs.
Last but not least, you can import your favorite Italian content into LingQ. LingQ is the best way to learn Italian since you can study using content you love. Turn your favorite Italian moves, clips off of YouTube, ebooks, and much more into interactive and easy-to-read lessons.
Once you have created a LingQ (also available for Android and iOS) lesson with your quotes you can translate the words and phrases and really get to the heart of what is being said. These words and phrases are then learned through repeated exposure in future lessons and the LingQ vocabulary activities.
Magdalena Osiejewicz-Cooper has lived in Bologna and Palermo. Apart from Italian she speaks fluent Polish and French. She is currently self-studying Spanish.