I am looking for a good idiom for the idea of being openly transparent with someone and being clear and straightforward, as in the English expression “putting all your cards on the table.” I found “metti le carte in tavola,” but I am looking for something more idiomatic and less of a literal translation.

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    Welcome to ItalianSE!
    – abarisone
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 4:29
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    The expression is in my opinion idiomatic and largely used; an alternative could be "dire pane al pane, vino al vino" , that means to call things with their real name, without embillishment or else. Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 4:42
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    @RiccardoDeContardi I think that "dire pane al pane e vino al vino" is closer in its meaning to the English "call a spade a spade", which is quite different from "putting all cards on the table"
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 19:39
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    @DenisNardin yes I think you are quite right; On afterthought, the most "Italian" version of "putting your cards on the table” should be (as on the answer of @abarisone) giocare a carte scoperte that can have an origin with Italian card games like the "scopa". Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


A possible idiomatic expression can be parlare fuori dai denti that means to speak plainly, to put it bluntly, being clear, sincere, frank.

As correctly suggested by @RiccardoDeContardi is also idiomatic and largely used dire pane al pane, vino al vino which also means to call thing with their name, to speak plainly, frankly:

1c. Locuzioni fig. e frasi proverbiali: dire p. al p. (e vino al vino), chiamare le cose col loro nome, parlare in modo chiaro, con franchezza;

Other possible expressions with the same meaning could also be:

  • mettere le cose in chiaro
  • dire le cose come stanno
  • giocare a carte scoperte
  • parlare con il cuore in mano
  • I would also add "parlar franco" and "parlar toscano" :) Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 7:25

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