Director of The Florentine Marco Badiani speaks great English, but, when it comes to idiomatic phrases, his choice is to be the king of the “detto non detto”, offering creative literal translations of Italian idioms. His colourful turns of phrase never cease to make us laugh. In this article, we serve up the finest ‘Marco-isms’ of the year.
We do not fry with the water.
Italian: Non si frigge con l’acqua
Meaning: We do things properly.
At The Florentine, we are four cats.
Italian: Siamo quattro gatti
Meaning: We’re a small team but we do a lot.
I’m cook-ed like an eggplant.
Italian: Son cotto come una melanzana
Meaning: I’m pooped.
Good face to bad luck.
Italian: For buon viso a cattiva sorte
Meaning: To grin and bear it
We have the stones at the door.
Italian: Siamo alle porte coi sassi
Meaning: We’re down to the very last minute
I put the face.
Italian: Ci metto la faccia
Meaning: I’ll do it, even though it’s awkward.
I know my chickens.
Italian: Conosco i miei polli.
Meaning: I know them well.
So, on my two feet…
Italian: Così su due piedi…
Meaning: …Off the top of my head.
I’m losing shots
Italian: Sto perdendo colpi.
Meaning: I’m dropping the ball.
I must make local mind.
Italian: Devo fare mente locale.
Meaning: I must make a mental note.
Let him cook in his broth.
Italian: Lascialo bollire nel suo brodo.
Meaning: Just let him stew.
It works like fresh pasta.
Italian: Funziona come pasta fresca.
Meaning: It works like clockwork.
I’m full as an egg.
Sono pieno come un uovo.
Meaning: I’m stuffed.
Water in the mouth!
Italian: Acqua in bocca!
Meaning: Keep schtum!
We’re at the fruit.
Italian: Siamo alla frutta.
Meaning: We’re reached rock bottom.
We’re on the horse.
Italian: Siamo a cavallo.
Meaning: We’re home and dry.
The dress does not make the monk.
Italian: L’abito non fa il monaco.
Meaning: Looks aren’t everything.
She’s holding up her soul with her teeth.
Italian: Regge l’anima coi denti.
Meaning: She’s on her last legs.
Son of a good woman!
Italian: Figlio di buona donna!
Meaning: Son of a bitch!
You asked the crazy to throw stones.
Italian: Hai invitato i matti a fare a sassate.
Meaning: They would have done it anyway.
He planted an apple tree!
Italian: Azz, ha piantato un melo!
Meaning: Ooh, he’s really taken a tumble.
She’s got a bronze face!
Italian: Ha proprio una faccia di bronzo!
Meaning: She’s got a nerve.
It all makes broth.
Italian: Tutto fa brodo.
Meaning: Every little helps.
From the stars to the stables
Italian: Dalle stelle alle stalle
Meaning: From the sublime to the ridiculous.
It’s dog cold
Italian: Fa un freddo cane
Meaning: It’s freezing
Jump the ditch
Italian: Saltare il fosso
Meaning: Take the plunge
Remove the potatoes from the fire
Italian: Togliere le patate dal fuoco
Meaning: Solve a burning question
We’re at the carpet
Italian: Siamo a tappeto
Meaning: Back to square one
I think they billed me
Italian: Ci sta che mi hanno fatto una fattura
Meaning: They must have put a spell on me
Take two pigeons with a broad bean
Italian: Pigliare due piccioni con una fava
Meaning: Kill two birds with one stone.
There’s too much meat on the fire
Italian: C’e troppa carne al fuoco
Meaning: We’ve bitten off more than we can chew
They’re ass and shirt
Italian: Sono culo e camicia
Meaning: They’re thick as thieves.
You’re breaking down an open door
Italian: Sfondi una porta aperta
Meaning: You’re preaching to the converted
Shoot on the red cross
Italian: Spari sulla croce rossa
Meaning: It’s like taking candy from a baby
“The game isn’t worth the candle
Italian: Il gioco non vale la candela
Meaning: It’s not worth the trouble
I have a cat to peel
Italian: Ho una bella gatta da pelare
Meaning: It’s a tough nut to crack