Apriti cielo!” is an Italian idiomatic expression used to express a strong negative reaction to something very surprising or outrageous.

It throws us back to ancient times, when people used to believe in gods and thought that some meteorological phenomena were a clear divine punishment for some human behaviors or events. Probably this is the background this expression comes from.

Unfortunately it is pretty much impossible to translate it into English: to do that we need to replace it with a different exclamation which has a similar meaning, depending on the specific context.

Let’s see some examples to understand a bit more how to use it:


 Italian  English
Se dico a mia madre che non ho superato l’esame, apriti cielo! If I tell my mother that I haven’t passed the exam, it will be the end of the world!
Ieri ho cucinato un pollo buonissimo, ma quando mia moglie ha visto la cucina sporca…apriti cielo! Yesterday I cooked a lovely chicken, but when my wife saw the kitchen all dirty…she got really angry!
Dopo un anno ho chiesto un giorno di ferie al mio capo: apriti cielo! After a year I asked a day off to my boss: good heavens!


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