Arrampicarsi sugli specchi” is a lovely Italian Idiom to use!

In Italian, we use the expression “Arrampicarsi sugli specchi” very often.

Unlike other idioms, if you translate it you can catch its meaning quite well.

In other cases, translating word by word is very confusing and doesn’t help understand it at all.

What is the meaning of “Arrampicarsi sugli specchi”?

Literally, it means “to climb on mirrors”.

Said that, you can understand that climbing on the slippery surface of a mirror is not the best way to save yourself!

In English we would use “to clutch at straws”: different words, same meaning!

Normally we use this Italian idiom when someone makes a desperate attempt to sort a problem out or to run away from an embarassing situation.

Besides, we can use it when we make insubstantial suggestions to resolve an issue, when we try to convince someone that we are right or when we argue to justify ourselves.

Let’s see how to use it!

Italian English
Mi sono arrampicato sugli specchi per convincere il mio capo a non licenziarmi. I clutched at straws to convince my boss not to fire me.
Francesca non ha risposto al telefono per due giorni e ora si sta arrampicando sugli specchi per giustificarsi con il suo fidanzato. Francesca didn’t answer the phone for two days and now she is clutching at straws to justify herself with her boyfriend
L’allenatore si è arrampicato sugli specchi per spiegare perché la sua squadra ha perso cinque partite. The trainer clutched at straws to explain why his team lost five matches.


If you read the examples you saw that there isn’t a difference between the Italian and English use of this idiom.

That is why you can try to make other sentences straight away! It will be fun!

And then you can learn more Italian idiomatic expressions here.

Or you can read about them following this link.