The Best Jokes in Italy and What They Tell Us About Italian Culture
Anyone who's been to Italy will know that the Italian sense of humour is positive and upbeat. Italians tend to find humour in everyday situations, and they are also known for their ability to laugh at themselves. Their good-natured approach to life helps to create a fun and friendly atmosphere, and their wonderful hospitality extends to their sense of humour, which they use to make others feel comfortable and included.
Table of Contents
- The Most Popular Jokes in Italy
- Jokes In Italy... About Italy
- Italian Riddles
Would you like to join in the fun while you are in Italy? Here is a list of the most popular jokes in Italy, the best jokes about Italy, and a few nice Italian riddles you can use to surprise your friends.
The Most Popular Jokes in Italy
The Italian sense of humour helps bring people together, helps create a positive outlook on life, and makes people feel good. But it is also an important part of the culture. Let's take a look at five of the most popular jokes in Italy and see what they tell us about Italian culture.
1. Se indosso la camicia di lino, quale camicia indossa Lino?
"If I wear a linen shirt, what will poor Lino wear?"
In Italian, lino is both the word for linen and a very common male name. This joke, a simple but nice play on words, and it's a great example of how Italians prefer wit over banter.
2. Pierino goes for a ride.
Una sera Pierino parla al padre:
One evening, Piernino speaks to his father:
“Papà, stamattina ho guidato per la prima volta in autostrada e non crederai a quello che è successo.”
"Dad, this morning I drove over the highway for the first time and you won't believe what happened!"
“Non ora, Pierino, sono molto impegnato”.
"Not now, Pierno, I'm very busy".
“Nessun problema, papà, presto lo saprai comunque dalle notizie”.
"Don't worry, Dad, soon you'll hear it on the news anyway".
Many of the funniest jokes in Italy revolve around the adventures and misadventures of Pierino, a young, reckless boy who likes to ask lots of embarrassing questions and who gets himself in a lot of trouble.
An Italian equivalent to Little Johnny, Pierino is a popular character that represents the typical Italian boy: naughty, daring, and full of energy.
3. La mosca nell'insalata
La mosca nell'insalata literally means "the fly in the salad", which sounds as disgusting in Italy as it does in your culture.
While not necessarily a joke, It's a humorous Italian idiom used to describe someone who is ruining a good moment or situation by being completely out of place. For example, if you have been invited to a fancy dinner and your sister won't stop making noise while she's having her soup, you can give her a disapproving look and say la mosca nell'insalata to jokingly remark that her poor table manners are exposing the whole family!
4. A cold night
Un uomo parla al suo amico:
A man speaks to his friend:
“Ieri sera mia moglie mi ha chiesto di farla rabbrividire”.
“Last night, my wife asked me to make her shiver”.
"E l'hai fatto?"
"And did you?"
"Assolutamente. Ho spento il riscaldamento e lei ha tremato tutta la notte”.
"Absolutely. I turned the heating off. She shivered all night".
This joke is a great example of the Italian ability to laugh at themselves. Instead of making jokes in Italy at the expense of their interlocutor, they resort to self-deprecating humour to relieve tension, create a fun atmosphere, and put everyone at ease.
Jokes In Italy... About Italy
If you don't feel comfortable telling jokes in Italian but you want to show your Italian friends that you have a sense of humor, you can always make jokes about Italy. Just remember to do it in a good-natured way and not cross the line!
These are our favourite jokes about this wonderful country:
5. "Did you hear about the Italian chef who died?"
"He pasta way."
Just in case you're a bit sleepy today, this joke is a pun on the phrase "he passed away". Yeah, it may not be the most sophisticated joke, but Italians do appreciate a good play on words, especially when it reminds them of one of their favourite foods!
6. "What do you call a Roman with a cold?"
While Italians are quite proud of their history, they have enough sense of humour to enjoy an innocent joke about their ancient history.
This is another joke that Italians will appreciate if you tell it in a good-natured way. It refers, of course, to Julius Caesar, a Roman general and politician, and of the most famous rulers of the Roman Empire.
7. "What does an Italian have when one arm is shorter than the other?"
"A speech impediment."
Italians are known for their very animated way of speaking, often using their hands to gesture while they talk. This joke is a gentle way of poking fun at this well-known Italian trait.
If you want to use your Italian but you don't feel ready to tell a full joke, why not try a riddle? Riddles, which are called indovinelli in Italian, are a great way to engage your friends and test your language skills.
Here are a few of our favourite indovinelli, starting with a nice metaphor about the different stages in a person’s life.
- "Che cos'è che cammina su quattro zampe di mattina, due di pomeriggio e tre di sera?"
"What walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three at night?"
(a persona/a human being)
- "Che cos'è che va sempre dritto ma non sa dove sta andando?"
"What always goes straight but doesn't know where it's going?"
(una freccia/an arrow)
- Qual è l'unica cosa che ha molti denti ma non può masticare?
What is the only thing that has a lot of teeth but cannot chew?
(Il pettine / a comb)
- Cos'è qualcosa che va su e giù ma non si muove affatto?
What's something that goes up and down but doesn't move at all?
(La scala / a ladder)
Jokes and riddles, whether they're in Italian, about Italy, or just pose an intellectual challenge, are a great way to show your Italian friends that you have a sense of humour and an appreciation for their culture. Just remember to keep it light-hearted and good-natured, and you're sure to get a few laughs.
Would you like to practice your Italian conversational skills (and your comedic timing!) with an Italian speaker? At Listen & Learn, all of our Italian teachers are native speakers but also qualified and experienced educators, so you can be confident that you'll get the practice and feedback you need to improve your skills. Contact us today to find out more about private Italian lessons!
Oh, and buon divertimento using these jokes in Italy!