Do you know what “passare la notte in bianco” means in Italian?

In some situations you might have heard someone using the Italian idiom “passare la notte in bianco”: if you translate, you can easily understand the first part of this idiomatic expressions, but what about “in bianco”? What do we refer to?

As usual, idioms are very intriguing and need a bit of hard work to be learned and used: however, once you start introducing some of them in your daily conversation, you will be very happy to learn more and more!

In this case, the expression is extremely common: in English we would say “to spend a sleepless night”, so “in bianco” means “without sleeping at all”.

So we can use it either when someone is too worried to sleep or if has a specific reason why can’t sleep at all.

Let’s see some examples!

Italian English
Prima dell’esame di matematica Sara ha passato la notte in bianco. Era molto preoccupata! Before the maths exam Sara spent a sleepless night. She was very worried!
Mio figlio ha pianto tutta la notte, quindi ho passato la notte in bianco! My son cried all night, so I spent a sleepless night!
Piero e Anna sono partiti prestissimo e hanno passato la notte in bianco per paura di perdere l’aereo! Piero e Anna left very early and they spent a sleepless night because they were afraid of missing the flight!


It’s not difficult to think of a sleepless night you spent for some reasons…try to start from there and practise!

If you want to learn more Italian idioms, don’t miss our amazing Pinterest board! And you can find their full explanation and some examples also in our online resources.

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