Italian with Cher
30 Minute Italian
[Italian Lesson] Let's set some boundaries.

[Italian Lesson] Let's set some boundaries.

Devi mettere dei paletti!

Note to the passionate Italian language student: This is a free lesson that I hope makes you laugh and love Italian just a little bit more than you already do. If you love this content, please consider becoming a paid subscriber. Everything around here is reader funded, and I am endlessly grateful for your support and your enthusiasm. Buono studio!

In my twenties, I had a tough time enforcing boundaries. Whether it was being resentful about my Italian boyfriend showing up late for all of our dates or taking on too much at work, I failed to set boundaries and then hold people to them. 

Now, in my thirties -- as a more seasoned business owner and a mother -- boundaries and I have become much more amicable. 

I know exactly how and when to ‘mettere dei paletti’ with people. ‘I paletti’ are vertical barriers that separate spaces like a walkway versus a road.

To see what I mean, take a look at this article where a bar in Naples turned their paletti into tables for their patrons.

Per quanto riguarda l’espressione ‘mettere dei paletti’, vi faccio degli esempi: 

  • Il tuo capo ti tratta sempre male. Devi mettere dei paletti! - Your boss always treats you poorly. You need to set some boundaries!

  • Nostra figlia si comporta come una bambina selvaggia. È ora di mettere dei paletti. - Our daughter is acting like a wild child. It’s time to set some boundaries with her. 

  • So che è difficile mettere dei paletti con le persone che ami, ma è necessario per avere una relazione sana. - I know that it’s difficult to set boundaries with those you love, but it’s necessary for a healthy relationship.

Avete delle domande? Scrivetemi!!

Un abbraccio,


P.S. Is anyone else watching the Italian Netflix show I Hate Christmas? It’s set in the Veneto region, and it starts off with this line, “Io odio il Natale perché il Natale ce l’ha con me.” I've just started it, and it feels like the perfect amount of holiday cheesy for me :)

Note of language love: All of our articles, lessons, and podcast episodes have been edited by Irene Malentacchi, the founder of Italian in Love. However, if you find a mistake, let us know! We want these articles to be accurate, accessible, and easy to understand. Reach out directly at or leave a comment. Grazie in anticipo!

Italian with Cher
30 Minute Italian
Boost your confidence in speaking Italian in 30 minutes or less with the 30 Minute Italian Podcast. We cover expressions, sometimes sexy grammar, and culture through personal travel stories and detailed examples.