a fine Italian hand

a fine Italian hand

1. literal The refined style of penmanship that replaced Gothic script in parts of Europe starting in the 17th century. I can't understand any of the old Gothic texts we're archiving. Thank goodness for the ones written in a fine Italian hand that I can actually read!
2. figurative A skill in a distinct field. Jenna's brushstrokes are so beautiful, you wouldn't mistake her work for anyone else's. She should major in art because she truly has a fine Italian hand in that area. Alex may think he has a fine Italian hand as a spy, but I knew he planted the note because it smelled of his cologne!
See also: fine, hand
References in classic literature ?
said Don Quixote, hearing the sad news his squire gave him; "I had rather they despoiled me of an arm, so it were not the sword-arm; for I tell thee, Sancho, a mouth without teeth is like a mill without a millstone, and a tooth is much more to be prized than a diamond; but we who profess the austere order of chivalry are liable to all this.
The eyeholes were now lustreless; but the rudely-carved gap, that just before had been a mouth still seemed to twist itself into a despairing grin, and was so far human.
Ten feet high at the shoulder, with four legs on either side; a broad, flat tail, larger at the tip than at the root which it holds straight out behind while running; a mouth splitting its head from snout to the long, massive neck.
There was a mouth under the eyes, the lipless brim of which quivered and panted, and dropped saliva.