One of the most fun experiences of my college education has been being able to learn the language "of my people," to be corny. My great-grandparents were Italian immigrants, and learning Italian has been incredibly rewarding, if for no other reason than I can mumble things like these under my breath:
1. In buca al lupo
Instead of "break a leg" in English, Italians prefer "in the mouth of the wolf." This one exists because Italians believe that if you wish someone "good luck" (or Buona Fortuna, in Italian), bad things will happen instead. I guess I'm just confused as to what kind of good luck comes inside the mouth of a wolf.
2. Conosco i miei polli
There isn't really an English equivalent to this idiom, which means literally "I know my chickens." However, it's similar to indignantly and exasperatedly telling someone, "I know what I'm doing." I especially like this one because it involves screaming in Italian about chickens which for whatever reason makes me giggle.
3. Sputa il rospo
Spit the toad. That's what this idiom means translated literally, which in itself is a hilarious image. However, it refers to being brave enough to "speak up." I think I'd rather spit on the toad.
4. Morto un papa, se ne fa' un altro
"One pope dies, another will be made." Classic Italians and our love of Catholicism. This one also doesn't really have an English equivalent, but the closest translation would be "life goes on."
5. Ogni morte di papa
Italians love their Pope. This one is closest to "once in a blue moon," but it means "every death of a pope." Incredible, truly.
6. Che palle!
Saving the best for last ... this one literally means "what balls" and is the Italian equivalent of loudly yelling expletives. Beware, though: This one is typically used for irritation at a situation or person, so maybe don't just scream this one in the middle of an Italian piazza.