What’s the meaning of “Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo along with its pronunciation. If you think that old people are wiser than young people, this proverb is for you!

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!


Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo

Meaning of the proverb

Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo can be literally translated as “an old hen makes good broth”. Its meaning corresponds to the English idiom the old bull knows best, so it’s used to mean that wisdom comes with age, because the longer a person lives, the longer they have experienced life.

It can also be taken literally: even though old chickens can have very tough meat, their broth smells and tastes great. And it’s one of nonna‘s remedies for colds and the flu! 🙂

Linguistically speaking, this idiom can be broken down into…

  • gallina (hen, chicken)
  • vecchia (old)
  • fa (“it does”, from fare, to do)
  • buon (good)
  • brodo (broth)
a mother hen and her chicks

For example, you could say…

La carne di una gallina vecchia è spesso dura, ma fa un buonissimo brodo!
The meat of an old hen is often tough, but it makes a great broth!


Pronunciation of Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo.
The old bull knows best.
Literally: An old hen makes good broth.

If you need help with Italian pronunciation, check out the lesson on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation.


Where does Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo come from?

This proverb is very old. It dates back to the Middle Ages. The hen is an effective metaphor for old age: an old hen must be cooked for a long time to soften its flesh and make its broth delicious. At the same time, men must live for many years in order to experience life and become wise.

La saggezza deriva dall’esperienza.
Wisdom comes from experience.

group of elderly people

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo!


What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the proverb Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo is in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

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