Is there any Italian proverb to express something like "take no notice of the stupid things people say"?

For instance, in Spanish one can say "A palabras necias, oídos sordos" (literally, "for foolish words, deaf ears"). I was wondering if there exists something similar in Italian.

  • 5
    Uhm, I've never heard anything like that. In such circumstances I usually quote the Divina Commedia: non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa. However i use this in a generic meaning. It doesn't mention "things that people say", so it could be used in a much wider range of circumstances.
    – Bakuriu
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 11:42
  • 2
    I sincerely never heard about something like that in Italian language, but if I was supposed to say something similar, I'd use the expression fare orecchie da mercante (literally, "having merchant's ears"), which meaning is "not even listening to something people are telling you".
    – user589
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 15:11
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    To me fare orecchie da mercante means something slightly different, i.e., not listening to something that you do not want to hear in order to favor your interest. It has a mildly negative connotation and it implies that the one who it is said about is a bit selfish in some way. Instead, what OP is asking about is an advice on not to listen to something because it has no value. Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 18:39
  • @Bakuriu Could you put the contents of your comment in an answer? As I've seen from Wikipedia, this verse from the Divina Commedia has become today something like a proverb or saying. Even if the meaning is not exactly the same, it is probably the most similar thing one can say in Italian.
    – Charo
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 19:07

2 Answers 2


As far as I know there is no equivalent proverb, however in such a situation you could use a verse from the Divina Commedia: non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa.

The sentence is said by Virgilio to Dante before entering the hell. Virgilio wants to tell Dante to ignore the indolents (ignavi).

The meaning of the sentence is broader than the Spanish proverb, and you could use it in a much wider range of circumstances to tell someone to ignore something.

  • +1, this exact verse has been quoted in my face by a lot of people with this exact meaning (I am from the south)
    – funforums
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 15:18

If you want to refer to the person who is saying the foolish words, you can say "Un bel tacer non fu mai scritto." (see Treccani: «la bellezza del saper tacere non è mai stata lodata abbastanza»)

  • Where does this come from? I don't think it's common language, though it's very beautiful. Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 9:49
  • I've heard it from old people in my town (maybe it used to be taught at school?), but from a quick research in internet seems that it comes from a poet
    – laika
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 13:41

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