Italian expression of the day: 'Piove sul bagnato'

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Italian expression of the day: 'Piove sul bagnato'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This could be a lucky Italian phrase - depending on how fortunate you are to begin with.


If it's absolutely tipping it down, or 'raining cats and dogs', the Italian equivalent would be: 'piovando sul bagnato', meaning it's 'raining on the wet' (literally 'soaked').

The imagery is clear: it's a very rainy day indeed and things are only getting wetter.

But the expression piove sul bagnato has more meaning behind it than simply describing grim weather.

In modern Italian, the saying is used to indicate that unpleasant events or, on the contrary, pleasant ones, happen to those who are already experiencing enough of them.

READ ALSO: Ten phrases to talk about cold and wet weather like a true Italian

So good luck will come to those who are already blessed by good fortune, while further adversity befalls those who are already unlucky.

It could be translated into English as 'Fortune favours the fortunate'.

Dopo avere ereditato una grossa somma di denaro, ha anche vinto alla lotteria. Beh, piove sul bagnato

After inheriting a large sum of money, he also won the lottery. Well, fortune favours the fortunate.

It can also be used in a negative sense if things aren't going your way. A bit like the English expression 'It never rains, but it pours'.

I miei affari sono crollati, mia moglie mi ha lasciato e la banca si è ripresa la mia casa, tutto nel giro di un anno. Le disgrazie non arrivano mai da sole, a quanto pare.


My business collapsed, my wife left me, and the bank repossessed my home, all in the space of a year. Misfortunes never come alone, it seems.

If a friend listed all these terrible things that happened to them, you might say:

Piove sul bagnato. È proprio vero, che le disgrazie non vengono mai sole

It never rains but it pours. You're really having a run of bad luck.

Can we change our fortunes? Well, it never hurts to wish someone good luck with a friendly 'In bocca al lupo'.

Try your luck and give this Italian phrase a go this week.

Do you have a favourite Italian word, phrase or expression you'd like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.


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vowmeeja 2021/12/18 12:52
Agreed! These are extremely helpful, keep up the excellent work!
suzdunaway1 2021/12/17 10:22
Love your word translations, as there are so many that are not common and yet so descriptive of the actions. Thank you for these great translations.\

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