Italian Word of the Day: Cielo (sky)

The most literal meaning of the Italian word cielo (masculine, plural: cieli) in English is sky.

IPA: /ciè·lo/

There are various ways of describing the sky in Italian depending on the atmospheric conditions and the time of day:

  • cielo azzurro / blu = blue sky
  • cielo limpido / sereno = clear sky
  • cielo coperto = overcast sky
  • cielo nuvoloso = cloudy sky
  • cielo livido = dark / stormy sky
  • cielo notturno = night sky
  • cielo stellato = starry sky

Il cielo è coperto di nuvole oggi.

The sky is filled with clouds today.


A common expression in Italian is a cielo aperto which refers to things or events that take place outdoors or out in the open. For example, an open-air exhibition is a mostra a cielo aperto whereas a palestra a cielo aperto is an outdoor gym. Those who enjoys camping will have certainly slept under the stars (dormire a cielo aperto) at least once in their lifetime, an experience which is decidedly more pleasant than an intervento a cielo aperto (open surgery)!

Figuratively speaking, cielo can also refer directly to Heaven, as in the case of the expression salire al cielo (to go to Heaven), or indirectly to God as revealed by the following exclamations:

  • Grazie al cielo! (Lit: Thank the sky!) = Thank God / goodness!
  • Per amor del cielo! (Lit: For the love of the sky!) = God forbid!
  • Santo cielo! (Lit: Saint sky!) = Good God! Goodness gracious!

Expressions featuring ‘cielo’

Ci corre quanto dal cielo alla terra

Literal translation: it runs as if from heaven to earth
English meaning: there is a big difference between…


Essere al settimo cielo

Literal translation: to be on the seventh sky
English meaning: to be in seventh heaven / on cloud nine


Non stare né in cielo né in terra

Literal translation: to not be in the sky or on earth
English meaning: to be absurd, something that makes no sense


Toccare il cielo con un dito

Literal translation: to touch the sky with a finger
English meaning: to be very happy


Piovere dal cielo

Literal translation: to rain from the sky
English meaning: something unexpected arrived or happened


Zucchero – Indaco dagli Occhi del Cielo

Indaco dagli Occhi del Cielo (literally Indigo with the Eyes of the Sky) is Zucchero’s beautiful cover of the song Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime by the Korgis. It was released in 2004 on the Italian version of the album Zu & Co.

Oramai
Mi consola
Oramai
Mi sorvola
L’amore invano
Cosi’ leggero

E piovono baci dal cielo
Leggeri come fiori di melo
Gocce di mercurio dal cielo

Oramai baby
Sono immune
Oramai
E’ come un fiume
L’amore invano
Cosi’ leggero

E piovono baci dal cielo
Leggeri come fiori di melo
Indaco dagli occhi del cielo

Sinceramente
Yeah sinceramente
Cosi’ leggero

Ti soffio tanti baci dal cielo

Leggeri come fiori di melo
Gocce di mercurio dal cielo

Esplodono baci dal cielo
E i nostri bei figli sul melo

Indaco dagli occhi del cielo
Indaco dagli occhi del cielo
Indaco dagli occhi del cielo

At this point
It comforts me
At this point
The love overlooks me
In vain
So light

And kisses rain from the sky
Light like apple tree flowers
Mercury droplets from the sky

At this point baby
I am immune
At this point
It’s like a river
The love in vain
So light

And kisses rain from the sky
Light like apple tree flowers
Indigo with the Eyes of the Sky

Sincerly
Yeah sincerly
So light

I blow lots of kisses from the sky to you
Light like apple tree flowers
Mercury droplets from the sky

Kisses from the sky explode
And our beautiful children on the apple tree
Indigo with the eyes of the sky
Indigo with the eyes of the sky
Indigo with the eyes of the sky

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