Italian Idioms starting with V
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Vaso di Pandora (= Pandora's box)
This phrase is used for the sudden discovery of a problem that had remained hidden for a long time and that, once revealed, cannot be concealed again, and derives from a mythological episode. At a time when men were immortal as gods, the vase was a gift to Pandora from Zeus, who, however, had told her not to open it. But Pandora, out of curiosity, took away its cover, thus setting free all the evils of the world, that is old age, jealousy, sickness, madness and vice, leaving on the bottom only Hope, that did not have time to get out before the vase was closed again. The world became desolate and inhospitable like a desert, until Pandora opened the jar again to let out hope, thanks to which men were able to live their lives even in the presence of so many evils in the world.
Vitello grasso (= fat calf)
The expression is used to allude to a great celebration, perhaps caused by the more or less sudden return of someone that was lost. It originates from the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke (Luke 15:23), in which a father kills a fat calf to celebrate the return of the prodigal son. To the objections of his eldest son, who does not understand the reasons of such a treatment, the father replied, "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that is mine is yours, but we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found".
Vittoria di Pirro (= Pyrrhic victory)
It is a battle won at too high a price for the winner, so that the choice to go into battle, despite the victorious outcome, will lead to a final defeat in the war. The expression refers to King Pyrrhus of Epirus, who defeated the Romans at Heraclea and Ascoli Satriano, in 280 BC and in 279 BC, respectively, but received so high losses as to ultimately doom his army to lose the war.