10 Italian Motivational Phrases to Inspire Your Day

In life’s journey, we all face those inevitable moments of doubt and hesitation. Whether it’s embarking on a new venture, grappling with the complexities of a foreign language, or chasing a big dream, the path is rarely straight or easy. And sometimes, the right words spoken at the right time can light our way during these challenging times.

As you’re about to discover, the Italian language is rich with motivational gems, ready to give us that much-needed lift. Because, every now and then, a sprinkle of beautifully crafted Italian can reshape our mindset and reignite our enthusiasm, don’t you think?

So, let’s dive into these Italian motivational phrases and let them lift our spirits to new heights!

italian motivational phrases

1. Chi non risica, non rosica

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Have you ever had a brilliant idea brewing in your mind yet lacked the courage to act on it? Then, let the Italian saying “Chi non risica non rosica” (literally, he who doesn’t risk, doesn’t nibble) be your guiding mantra! It translates to the idea that you must find the courage to take risks if you wish to reach great heights. In essence, you need to step outside your comfort zone, for if you never try, you’ll surely miss out.

This phrase is rooted in regional Italian. The verb “risicare” originates from Tuscany and is the local variant of “rischiare,” which means “to risk.” Conversely, “rosicare” is slang for enjoying or obtaining something. Intriguingly, these two verbs rhyme, making the saying not only wise but also memorable.

2. Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano

Slow and steady wins the race

The next time you feel overwhelmed and can’t keep up with all the tasks you face, remember the Italian saying “Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano” (literally, he who goes slowly, goes safely and far). Highlighting the virtues of patience, calmness, and thoughtfulness, this phrase implies that taking things slow can lead to good health and success in the long run. On the other hand, rushing or acting impulsively can result in errors and poorly considered decisions. This sentiment is so deeply felt that Italians also say “la fretta è cattiva consigliera” (haste is a bad advisor). 

Many don’t know that the whole saying is “Chi va piano va sano e va lontano, chi va forte va incontro alla morte.” In English, it’s like saying, “Going slowly can take you far and keep you healthy, while going too fast can lead to death.” The second part is undeniably dark, which is why most people prefer to quote only the motivational first part.

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3. Finché c’è vita, c’è speranza

As long as there is life, there is hope

Life is full of challenges and difficult moments. At times, problems can seem impossible to overcome. But the Italian motivational phrase “Finché c’è vita, c’è speranza” reminds us that there’s always a chance to turn things around as long as we’re still here and kicking. This is because life constantly presents us with opportunities to rebound, encouraging us to persevere and believe in brighter days ahead. Another similar motivational phrase captures this: “La speranza è l’ultima a morire” (hope is the last to die).

This idea isn’t new. Way back in ancient Rome, the famous Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote to his friend Titus Pomponius Atticus: “Aegroto dum anima est, spes est,” meaning that as long as there is breath in a sick person, there is hope.

4. Chi cerca, trova

He who seeks, shall find

Among the best Italian motivational phrases, this one is all about embracing that irresistible itch of curiosity. “Chi cerca trova” centres on the idea that it’s the curious souls and relentless seekers who ultimately find what they’re searching for. So, whether you’re searching for answers to life’s biggest questions, navigating your way out of a bad situation, or chasing that dream so big you barely dare whisper it, this mantra is for you.

What’s special about this motivational phrase is that it doesn’t just celebrates finding what you’re after but also values the journey of searching. The ups and downs, mistakes, and lessons learned along the way are just as important, if not more so, than the end goal.

5. Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca 

The early bird catches the worm

There’s undeniable pleasure in sleeping late and snuggling under warm blankets. But before you let that tempting snooze button lure you back to dreamland, think of the Italian saying “Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca” (literally, the morning has gold in its mouth). This motivational phrase nudges us to greet the early light of dawn, suggesting that the world unfurls in delightful and surprising ways during these early hours.

Delving into the roots of this inspiring Italian phrase is a journey in itself. It’s believed to come from an old Sicilian tradition where a golden jewel was secretly placed in one of the village fountains on the eve of an engagement party for the eldest daughter in a family. As dawn approached, hopeful single women would rush to find this precious piece, believing it would grant them luck in love. Naturally, the earlier they began their quest, the better their chances.

We can do it.

6. La goccia scava la pietra

Constant dripping wears away the stone

With roots in the Latin proverb “Gutta cavat lapidem,” the Italian saying “La goccia scava la pietra” (literally, the drop carves the stone) beautifully illustrates how even the grandest challenges can be conquered with patience and perseverance. Imagine this: a single drop of water might seem insignificant on its own, but when it continuously drips on a rock over time, it can shape and carve it. 

This serves as a reminder that every effort, no matter how modest, holds value. And the true magic lies in persistence: even when individual attempts may feel unproductive, their combined force has the power to turn dreams into reality. A similar motivational phrase to consider is “Chi la dura la vince,” which translates to “if you persist, you’ll prevail.”

7. Non tutto il male viene per nuocere

Every cloud has a silver lining

When something bad happens to us, it’s easy to feel down and only see the negative. But the Italian motivational phrase “Non tutto il male viene per nuocere” (literally, not all bad things come to harm) reminds us that even when things go wrong, there can be a silver lining or a lesson to be learned. 

Although challenging events might initially dampen our spirits, they often pave the way for valuable insights or unexpected blessings. So, let’s embrace optimism even in the face of adversity. After all, when things don’t go as planned, they might just be setting the stage for something truly wonderful!

8. Ogni lasciata è persa

Any chance you don’t take is lost forever 

One of the top Italian motivational phrases is “Ogni lasciata è persa,” which emphasises the value of seizing opportunities when they arise. In fact, missing them could mean letting golden moments slip away forever. This sentiment resonates with the timeless Latin saying, “carpe diem,” which highlights the fleeting nature of opportunities. 

The motivational focus of this phrase is clear: we should take the initiative, welcome every opportunity with open arms, and ensure we leave no room for future regrets. It’s a call to be proactive and to live life fully, recognizing that time is a gift that waits for no one.

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9. Chi ben comincia è a metà dell’opera

Well begun is half done

Widely used in Italy, the saying “Chi ben comincia è a metà dell’opera” (literally, he who begins well is halfway through the work) serves as a motivational reminder that starting an endeavor with dedication and enthusiasm sets us on the path to success. It’s inspired by the wisdom of the Latin poet Horace, who used to say Dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet, (which means “he who has begun is half done”).

Just as beginning to learn a new language with the right tools and habits lays a solid foundation, so too does the importance of starting any task on the right foot. Starting rightly not only makes everything easier but also gives us the confidence and motivation needed to push through to the end and achieve our goals.

10. Sbagliando si impara

You learn from your mistakes

How many times does the fear of making mistakes hold us back? Embracing the Italian motivational phrase “Sbagliando si impara” (literally, by making mistakes, one learns), we’re reminded that while missteps can be momentarily discouraging or bruise our pride, they’re also rich with lessons that will shape our journey forward.

This concept is ancient and universal. Many cultures and wise people have emphasised the importance of mistakes as a means of learning. For example, in ancient Rome, Seneca once wrote: “Errare humanum est” (To err is human), acknowledging that making mistakes is an inevitable part of the human experience.

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