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Tattoo Ideas: Italian Words and Quotes

I have thirteen tattoos. I think they're all pretty cool (and definitely don't qualify as "bad-quality").

Strength/force in Italian.

Strength/force in Italian.

Italian tattoos come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including the Italian cross, the Italian horn, and the green, white, and red Italian flag (including a number of variations of it, like the flag condensed in an outline of Italy or in an outline of stars). I've even seen a partially completed sleeve dedicated solely to Italian food; it features a plate of macaroni and meatballs, a jug of wine, and a cannoli.

Luckily, unlike Latin (which is an extinct language), or Hebrew, or Arabic (both very complex languages that use specific character sets in lieu of letters, requiring an exact knowledge of calligraphy), or Gaelic (which has numerous different dialects), Italian is a fairly easy language to translate, and most words that exist in English can be translated into Italian without much difficulty.

Getting the Italian Spelling and Translation Right

However, be extra careful to make sure you get the Italian spelling correct. Reverse two letters and your beautiful, inspirational tatt becomes nonsensical and silly. I once saw an episode of Miami Ink on the TLC channel where the customer wanted "per sempre" tattooed on his arm, which is Italian for "forever." It wasn't the tattoo artist's fault, because the customer had designed the lettering for the tatt himself, but when it was finished it read "pre sempre" instead. It's only one letter off but unfortunately means nothing in Italian.

Exercise caution when it comes to the popular Italian phrase "life is beautiful" which many people, including Lindsay Lohan, have been getting recently. "La vita e bella" is the correct translation, but some people have been getting "la bella vita" which translates as "the beautiful life" and is used in Italy to describe someone who is living a life of wealth and excess, throwing posh parties, and spending extravagant amounts of money.

As with any tattoo that is done in a language that's not your own, make sure you do your homework. Doublecheck your translation with several sources. A native speaker is your best bet, someone who speaks Italian as their first language and English as their second. If a native speaker is not available to you, your next best bet is an Italian scholar who has studied the language extensively. Last but not least, there are several online translators who offer their services for free. Although the automated translators can be very useful, keep in mind that it is important to ensure the translation is correct by either using several different online translators or confirming its accuracy with native speakers on an Italian forum or message board.

Italian Sayings and Phrases to Get You Started

  • Esse nufesso qui dice male di macaruni. (Who speaks badly of macaroni is a fool.)
  • Quest' la vita e qui il gioire; un' ora di abbrezzo e poi moire. (This is life and this is joy; an hour of embracing and then to die.)
  • L'amore domina senza regole. (Love rules without rules.)
  • Chi più sa, meno crede. (The more one knows, the less one believes.)
  • Finchè c'è vita c'è speranza. (Where there's life, there's hope.)
  • L'amore e cieco. (Love is blind.)
  • Meglio un giorno da leone che cento da pecora. (Better one day as a lion than a hundred as a sheep.)
  • Smuovere mare e monti. (To move heaven and earth.)
  • Tale il padre, tale il figlio. (Like father, like son.)
  • Tutto è permesso in guerra ed in amore. (All is fair in war and love.)
  • Val più la pratica della grammatica. (Experience is more important than theory.)
  • Vivi e lascia vivere. (Live and let live.)
Lindsay Lohan's Italian tattoo meaning "the beautiful life" was supposed to say "life is beautiful"

Lindsay Lohan's Italian tattoo meaning "the beautiful life" was supposed to say "life is beautiful"

© 2007 becauseilive

Comments

KCasagranda on May 24, 2020:

Hi can someone possibly translate

I gave them life they gave a reason to live in Italian?

Carolinr on April 22, 2020:

What would be the best phrase for survivor, like surviving a traumatic event?

Lucone on February 27, 2020:

@ Ereills "Liberaci dal male" is correct. (accent on the ì: lìberaci) Maybe it's more quotable the latin version: "Libera nos a malo"

@Beckie What do you mean a phrase about growth? Keep going in italian could be "continua" o "va avanti" but it has not the same connotative meaning. Maybe when you face a harsh situation could be translated "resisti" but it's not the same. Give me another exemple, maybe I could help you more.

Beckie on February 06, 2020:

Can someone tell me a Italian phrase about growth? Or translate ‘ keep going’

Ereills on February 05, 2020:

Hi if someone who is fluent could help me with ‘deliver us from evil’ I got ‘liberaci dal male.’ But if someone could correct me I’d be very grateful

Many thanks

Lucone on May 08, 2019:

You are welcome, glad to help. You can choose "Ciò che semini raccogli" or "Quello che semini raccogli". There is also a similar saying from the bible: "chi semina vento, raccoglie tempesta" which means "he who sows wind shall reap tempest". They are both commonly used as proverbial phrases.

Mmonti on May 06, 2019:

Sorry, I meant “You reap what you sow”

Mmonti on May 06, 2019:

Thank you for the response. How about “What you reap is what you sow” Would there be a proper translation for that in Italian?

Lucone on May 01, 2019:

@Mmonti You are right but that's the actual meaning. I can't think of a better way to express it. Maybe you'd like the latin "Ad astra per aspera" (through adversities to the stars)

Mmonti on April 30, 2019:

Hello, I am looking to get a tattoo in Italian with the english saying of

"Strength through adversity", however it translates to "Forza attraverso le avversità". It doesn't roll off the tongue well in my opinion. What would be the proper way to write/explain this meaning in Italian.

Thank you

Lucone on April 09, 2019:

@Danielle

I can't see any spelling. The literal translation is "indistruttibile". If you tell me what you've found and what you want your tattoo to say, maybe I can help you more.

Danielle on March 31, 2019:

Hoping to get a tattoo in Italian fir ''unbreakable'. Can you confirm the correct spelling?

Lucone on March 21, 2019:

@ Brad

Litteraly it would be: "Vivo la vita un giorno alla volta"

I'd suggest: "Vivo la vita giorno per giorno" or "Vivo la vita un giorno dopo l'altro" (more like I live life day by day but imho it sounds better).

Brad on March 20, 2019:

How do you say "i live life one day at a time" in italian.

Thank you

Lucone on November 05, 2018:

@Victoria

My dark beautiful life (Why?) could be "La mia vita (è) oscura e bella" but it sounds really awful... What do you mean? That your life is beautiful but you also have a dark side (sadness or evil?). A more poetic way would be: "Tenebra e bellezza è la mia vita" My life is beauty and darkness.

Lucone on November 05, 2018:

@bxxcixx

Yes, they essentially are synonyms, but there is a slight difference. I'll try to explain: gentilezza today means more kindness of the heart. You are very kind = sei molto gentile. (It probably reminds you of gentle in english, gentilis/e = noble in latin). Cortesia is maybe a kindness that comes from good manners, it's a sort of chivalry (it reminds you the court, from latin cors/cortis). You can but it's unusual to say "sei cortese" meaning kind. But it depends on the contest.

Victoria on October 31, 2018:

How are you the different ways to translate " my dark beautiful life " in Italian or latin

bxxcixx on October 30, 2018:

thank you for your response :)

it also suggests the word cortesia.

Do gentilezza and cortesia mean the same thing ?

Lucone on October 18, 2018:

@ bxxcixx

Hi, Gentilezza is correct! If you want I can check the other words google suggested, just write them here.

@ salamonnancy3@gmail.com

Always do what is right: "fa sempre ciò che è giusto".

To give you an example: Spike Lee's movie "Do the right thing" in italian is translated "Fa la cosa giusta"

"Fa sempre il tuo dovere" litteraly translates "Always do your duty".

What you wrote for "getting old is a bitch" makes no sense.

bxxcixx on October 17, 2018:

what’s the italian word for “kindness” ? If i google it i get a few different words . Is it gentilezza ?

Thank you and I love your post and thanks for the effort and time you put in this post and all the responses xx

diane leach on March 20, 2018:

I Would love a saying for a mother who lost her adult daughter? Murdered at 25. Something that is strong..a mother or an observer would say ? When they see her or a mother would say herself..on how she misses her daughter with every heartbeat. Is thete an italian saying? Thank you.

salamonnancy3@gmail.com on February 07, 2018:

my father has always said in italian "always do what is right". Would you give me the correct spelling? I think it is "Fi Sempre Lo Do Vere".

He also frequently said in italian "getting old is a bitch" which I think is "La vi chia ec coronia".

Thank you

Lucone on December 03, 2017:

@Susan

Of course:

1) (lei) vive con forza e coraggio.

I wouldn't add "lei" in the beginning, it sounds better without it.

2) Quale il padre, tale la figlia

or you could say: Tale padre, tale figlia.

It's more usual with father and son. It's actually a translation from from the latin motto: qualis pater, talis filius.

Susan on October 29, 2017:

I’d like to get one of these in Italian. Can you translate?

She lives with strength and courage

-or-

Like father, like daughter

Lucone on October 17, 2017:

@Suzanne poole

It depends on what you mean. It could be:

-Per causa tua / A causa tua (becouse of you something happened = you made it happen; cause and effect)

-Per merito tuo / Grazie a te (becouse of you... = thanks to you)

-Per te (you are the purpose: I did something becouse of you = becouse I care for you = for you) It's a cause but a a final cause.

If you need to know more, just tell me.

Suzanne poole on October 17, 2017:

How do you write "Because Of You" correctly in Italian.

Lucone on September 06, 2017:

@Danon

No, it would be a mistake! Comminare (una pena) is mostly a legal term. It means to inflict, to deliver a punishment.

You could translate: "CAmmina con coraggio" which is imperative (if you mean it in an exortative way), while camminare is infinite. The latter would sound more like "Walking with courage" in italian.

Danon on August 27, 2017:

Is this the correct form in Italian "comminare con coraggio " for this quote "walk with courage" ?

Dannique on April 05, 2017:

Thank you, Lucone!

Lucone on April 03, 2017:

@Dannique

"Più forti insieme"

"Uniti siamo più forti" = united we are stronger

Together = insieme

Maybe you'd like: "L'unione fa la forza" which means "Unity makes strength" or Eendracht maakt macht.

Dannique on April 03, 2017:

Hey! I'm looking for the correct spelling/grammar for the combination 'Stronger together', or 'together' in that context. For the Dutchies the saying 'Samen Sterker'. Thanks! I have a few versions already via translators, but I would like as many options as possible..

Lucone on April 03, 2017:

@Becky Well the standard italian language is one thing. What your aunt call "Dialects" are actually different (culturally significant) languages that have their own rules and vocabulary. For instance in the Godfather movies you hear people speaking sicilian "dialect", not italian.

But this doesn't affect you. "Run deep" can not be litterally translated in italian, so you probably found a periphrasis to express the same meaning.

It could be:

"Amore e Fedeltà sono legami più profondi del sangue"

(Litterally: Love and loyalty are deeper bonds than blood)

"Amore e fedeltà uniscono più del sangue"

(Love and loyalty unite (bond) more than blood)

etc.

Post what you found and I'll tell you if it's correct.

Becky on March 24, 2017:

Ok, so I have been reading up on getting an tattoo in Italian. My family is Italian but only my aunts speak it as I lost my father. So I wanted to get "Love and loyalty runs deeper than blood" and every site gives me something different. My aunt said there are different dialects? Anyone know where to look to make sure it's correct?

Lucone on March 20, 2017:

@ Dana

A decent translation would be: "E' coraggiosa e bellissima"

Litterally: "E' senza paura e bellissima"

Dana on January 18, 2017:

What is the correct translation of 'she is fearless and beautiful'

Lucone on December 02, 2016:

@Ashmelissa

If you mean it in an exhortative way then:

Love life! = Ama la vita!

Lucone on December 02, 2016:

@Shannon: "Can anyine translate love conquers all i have seen lamore conquista tutto but not sure if its right"

They forgot the apostrophe: Lo + amore = l'amore (2 different words)

so the correct translation would be:

L'amore conquista tutto

You might also be interested in the original latin version:

amor vincit omnia (Virgilio)

Shannon on November 14, 2016:

Can anyine translate love conquers all i have seen lamore conquista tutto but not sure if its right

AshMelissa on October 31, 2016:

How do you say "love life"?

Marco on February 16, 2014:

I'm an Italian mother tongue and the half of those traslation are awful...do not tattoo any of those word before you check it.Maybe the traslation is quite good but the real meaning is far by a simple translation done litterally.Sorry for my english but I'm Italian.bye

Gianni on January 15, 2014:

@Muriel: I love you daddy = "Ti amo papà" or "Papà, sei la mia vita" (literally= "dad, you're my life")

@Juliano: "La mia famiglia è la mia vita"

Juliano on November 29, 2013:

Hello,

What is the correct form of: "My family, my life" : "Mia famiglia, mia vita" or "La mia famiglia, la mia vita"?

Muriel on November 13, 2013:

Can someone tell me how I would say I love you daddy in Italian? I just lost my Dsd and I'm looking for the correct phrasing for a tattoo

Gianni on October 16, 2013:

@Lorenzo:

Family first = La famiglia prima di tutto

lorenzo on October 08, 2013:

something short and strong for FAMILLY FIRST im getting it tattoo on my forearm (inside )

Gianni on September 03, 2013:

@Jessica:

Felicità = happiness

Inner strenght = forza interiore or la forza interiore

jessica12 on August 09, 2013:

is felicità happiness

and inner strength La forza interiore

??

Gianni on July 31, 2013:

@Jessica: inner happiness is "La felicità interiore"; be happy is "Sii felice"; be strong is "Sii forte" or "Fatti forza" or "Resisti!" (literally: resist!")

jessica12 on July 20, 2013:

or what would be 'be happy' and 'be strong'

jessica12 on July 20, 2013:

what would be 'happiness' and 'strength' as in inner strength

Gianni on June 05, 2013:

@Laura: "Questa la vita e questo è gioia: un'ora di abbracciare poi morire" or the one used above ^ in this site: "Quest' la vita e qui il gioire, un' ora di abbrezzo e poi moire"?

Never heard of this in italian, maybe you mean: "Nell'abbraccio di un'ora, la gioia della vita. Poi la morte", quite poetical I have to say.

@Jessica12: inner strenght is "La forza interiore"

@capelli "how to say "unspeakable truth" or "unspoken truth" in italian? please help :("

The unspeakable truth could be "Le verità indicibili", literally "The unspeakable truths", I think the plural is better for the sense of what you mean.

@Krissy "I took Italian for 2 years and this is the best I came up with although I think it's off/incorrect "Lei si amera se stessa prima."

No, it would be "Amerà prima se stessa"

I am italian.

tcomberiati on May 10, 2013:

@Julie how do you say "my beautiful family" I have looked everywhere but they are all different! Thanks

bobaz on May 04, 2013:

ala- means mind freedom

harry- abbi fede, sii forte

anthony- vivi la tua vita

krissy- amerà sè stessa anzitutto

bella- yes, is bella vita

ala on April 03, 2013:

hej, what does it mean Mente Liberta?

Tnx:)

harry on March 14, 2013:

how to say "have faith,be strong" in italian?

Ivelina on February 18, 2013:

How to say "always believe" in italian not refer to a religion? thank you

anthony on January 18, 2013:

how would u say live your life in Italian im trying to get a tattoo of it. please and thank u for helping...

Krissy on January 09, 2013:

I would like to get a tattoo about loving myself first before anyone else. How do you translate "she will love herself first." I took Italian for 2 years and this is the best I came up with although I think it's off/incorrect "Lei si amera se stessa prima." I used futuro because loving myself is something that will come with time--learning process. Thoughts please (: thank you!

bella on December 28, 2012:

so my name is bella, and i was thinking of getting a tattoo that just simply says 'beautiful life' in Italian. would it be 'bella vita' ? cause i would like a two word phrase with includes my name.. (:

Greg on December 04, 2012:

Ok Julie, can you help me out and tell me what, "I'd rather live than live forever" is in Italian? Thanks! And yes, I hope these people are asking multiple different sources for a translation and not just trusting one person.

Julie on December 03, 2012:

Good Lord...half of those tattooes are WRONG! O_O I can't believe people got a tattoo without asking a real Italian first. I'm Italian, born and bred and I can assure you that 100% of the translations in the first couple of replies are wrong.

capelli on November 15, 2012:

how to say "unspeakable truth" or "unspoken truth" in italian? please help :(

jessica12 on November 08, 2012:

i want something along the lines of 'strength' as in 'inner strength' as for helping me overcome my depression.

any italian quotes or phases that connect with inner strength?

could somebody please tell me what theses words mean?

Effettivo

Potenziale

Speranza

Laura on November 06, 2012:

Please help :(

ines on November 05, 2012:

Yes, it does.

julie on October 14, 2012:

ti amo means i love you in italian

Andrea on October 01, 2012:

"Every day in every way, miracles are everywhere"

Ogni giorno in ogni modo, i miracoli sono ovunque.

"Life is full of magic"

La vita è piena di magia.

Andrea on October 01, 2012:

"We don't remember days, we remember moments"

Non ricordiamo i giorni, ricordiamo i momenti.

Vaida on September 23, 2012:

Hi, can anyone translate please..

"Every day in every way, miracles are everywhere" and "Life is full of magic"

thank you ;*

Julianne on September 15, 2012:

Anyone know how to translate

"We don't remember days, we remember moments"

Marco on August 21, 2012:

@Tauree its sounds better: "La famiglia è vita e la vita è bellissima"

I'm italian :D

Tauree on August 18, 2012:

Hi i wanna get a tattoo that says family is life and life is beautiful in Italian. I researched it and it came back with famiglia e la vita e la vita e bella.... Just wondering if anyone knows if this is right

laura on August 08, 2012:

la vita e bella il mio amico ... is this correct for life is beautful my friend?

Andrea on August 03, 2012:

How do u say " my kids my heart" in Italian ?

Jill on July 27, 2012:

Italy with love translated to Italian please

Cicia on July 11, 2012:

Gemma, you can translate"my beautiful daughters, i love you forever" like this "amerò per sempre le mie bellissime figlie"

I'm Italian.

gemma on June 13, 2012:

HELP me please..getting my tat done at the wkend,thought i had the correct translation but now i'm finding different wording everywere!! i need 'my beautiful daughters,i love you forever' in italian..someone please help..

Greg on June 12, 2012:

"Nothing is true, everything is permitted" Anyone know that in Italian? Thanks.

Danielle on June 08, 2012:

Hi, my grandmother was from Italy. And she passed away and I want a tattoo that says...my guardian angel...in Italian. Is it 'Il mio angelo custode?

Rachel on June 05, 2012:

anyone know 'always return home' in italian please? :)

Georgie on June 03, 2012:

Just an fyi people, google translator should give you the correct quote if it is a single word or two, for proper translations of phrases and quotes you will need to find someone who speaks italian, an english/italian dictionary or something along those lines.

john on June 02, 2012:

I wanna get simply "have no fear" i'm just double checking, that sounds best as "non avere paura" correct?

thank you!

aster on May 24, 2012:

Thanks so much for your generous help, alexis! you're the best!

due to the font spacing, tattoonist suggested me to go with 'Luminoso e radioso come il sole'. =D

alexis on May 22, 2012:

"Walk with faith" - Camminare con la fiducia

"To love a beautiful disaster" - Amare un disastro bello

"I love you to the moon and back" - Ti amo alla luna e ritorno

"my precious life" - la mia vita preziosa

aster- yes, that's correct

alexis - insieme siamo meglio (together we're better), insieme per migliorare (together to get better), insieme è meglio (together it's better), meglio insieme (better together)

tattoo*

aster on May 17, 2012:

'Luminoso e raggiante come il sole' does it mean bright and radiant as the sun?

'walk with faith' in italian?

Thanks with lots of loves

sunflowerhaze on May 17, 2012:

Or "To love a beautiful mess"

sunflowerhaze on May 17, 2012:

Anyone know the correct translation to:

"to love a beautiful disaster"?

lala on May 16, 2012:

how do you say "i love you to the moon and back" in Italian?

aster on May 15, 2012:

'Splendente come il sole'? anything wrong with the grammer? I love how this quote turns out in curvy font =D

aster on May 15, 2012:

@Stephy,

how do you say 'Radiant as the sun' or 'As radiant as the sun' in italian?

Babylon suggested 'Radioso come il sole' is it accurate?

Thanks so much in advance!

alexis on May 12, 2012:

I'm gonna make a tatto with 3 of my beloved friends. we want to get a tatto in Italian words for " TOGETHER TO BE BETTER" ? can anyone help us, pliss? Thanks !

Cantinieri on May 11, 2012:

how do you say my precious life in Italian for a female thanks much

becauseilive (author) from N.J. on May 11, 2012:

@Stephy - Thank you so much for your help! Very kind of you! :)

Stephy on May 11, 2012:

@Candace Let it be = Lascia stare

@Christine Ride or die = guidare o muori

@Rob You will always be mine = sempre sará la mia

I'm italian so if anyone needs help just ask me :)

Jo on May 04, 2012:

@Monica Thanks! ;)

I was confused whether it's "Abbraccia", "Abbracciare" or "Abbraccio"

Thanks for the help :)

Candace on May 04, 2012:

Was wondering how to translate let it be ...

with out getting lasciare è (to leave it is)

Rob on May 02, 2012:

Hi, my partner and I lost our first child Sienna at birth 1 month ago. Waiting on ortopsi results! Still don't understand what has happen. All was fine till she was born not breathing. Can anybody help me with an Italian quote that I may get tattooed??

Monica on May 02, 2012:

@Jo ""abbraccia la vita" and it's really nice if you want my opinion! :)

@Greg "Preferisco vivere piuttosto che vivere per sempre" or "Preferisco vivere piuttosto che essere immortale" which I like most, but in English is "I'd rather live than being immortal"

Greg on April 30, 2012:

Does "I'd rather live than live forever" translate into Italian? Thanks

Jo on April 22, 2012:

Hey guys wow I am so glad I stumbled upon this page..

i need a little help with a word here...

How do you say "Embrace" in Italian??..

as in the context of "Embrace Life"..