Collected by Dott. Aristide Vitiello

Wisdom of Larino



Each of the Italian hill towns has its own dialect. This was simply because their language evolved in times of some considerable isolation. The dialect also bears witness to a thousand influences. There are Spanish words, words that have a Norman French flavour, and, always, there is the ghost of Oscan, that mysterious language that has defied the understanding of scholars for centuries. 

One remarkable man, Dott. Aristide Vitiello, in a collection called Di Larino Il Popoli, gathered together the "canti, storie e stornelli della gente di Larino", the songs, stories and proverbs of the people of Larino.Artistide Vitiello is notable because he has attempted - with the help of his family and friends - to keep the traditions of Larino alive. He may not realize to what degree he has succeeded. There were times when it must have seemed to him that the struggle was lost, but now there is a growing appreciation that Larino is a treasure-house of traditions which may well attract the imagination and the attention of men and women of good will throughout the world.  His book, which existed in manuscript form for many years, has been published in the Spring of 2007.



Here are the sayings in dialect, the Italian translation, and a paraphrase of the proverb in English.

**All of the following images are from the collection of Igino Pilone and cannot be used without the express permission of his heirs in writing.


I solde tenne a coda liscia, entrene e jescene.(Dialect)

I soldi, hanno la coda liscia, entrano ed escono.(Italian)

Money has a slippery tail. It comes and goes quickly.(English paraphrase)



E repunne a peze per quanto fa cavute.

Conserva la pezza per quando si fa il buc.

Preserve a piece of cloth for the occasion when you may have to mend the suit.




(A toast) E meje n'asene vive che nu miedeche muorte          

Meglio un asino vivo che un medico morto.

Better to be a live fool than a dead wise man.



A galline se pele dope morte.

La gallina si pela dopo morta.

The chicken is skinned after it is dead.



Quande u diavele te carezze vo l'aneme.

Quando il diavolo ti accarezza vuole l'anima.

When the devil caresses you, he wants your soul.



Iennere e nepute quille che fi e tutte perdute.

Generi e nipote quello che gli fai e tutto perduto.

Whatever you do for your grandchildren is totally lost.



Case nterra chiane entrene puorce e cane.

Case a piano terra entrano proci e cane.

When your house is on the street level any fool can enter.



Chi marite fore terre che vuo na votte a sette cannelle.

Chi prende marito fuori terra ci vuole une botte e sette candele.

She who takes a husband from a a foreign place will eventually need a casket and seven candles.



U pesce puzze du cape.

Il pesce puzza dalla testa.

When an organization does not function well, it is the fault of the person at the top.



Sta scritte e lettere d'ore ca "nesciuna socere fa ca nore".

E'scrito a lettere d'oro che "nessuna suocera va d'accordo con la nuora".

It is written in letters of gold that "the mother-in-law will never be in accord with her son's wife".



Femmena baffuta e sempre piaciute.

Donna baffuta e sempre piaciuta.

A plain woman is always more considerate and more affectionate.



U sazie ne crede u dijune.

Chi e sazio no crede a chie e digiuno.

Those who are wealthy cannot understand what it means to be poor.



E'meje embriache e non carcerate.

E'meglio ubriaco e no carcerato.

It's better to be drunk than to be in jail.

This is the author of this collection of sayings, Aristide Vitiello.  Without a doubt, he is one of the key figures in Larino.  Expatriates everywhere owe him a vote of thanks


Sayings collected by Dott. Aristide Vitiello from his publication, Di Larino Il Popolo.

Images copyright Dott. Igino Pilone and his estate.

 Return HOME or read CHRONOLOGY, visit the Church of Santa Maria, find out how Cicero saved a boy from Larino, discover why Dumas visited Larino, read of why Larino's three martyrs (Primiano, Firmiano, and Casto) are buried elsewhere.  Review the Paintings and Poetry of Antonio De Santis.

Find out why a French ruler, a French Pope, and French architects had so much to do with Larino's Cathedral

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