Well Rose, I can see the nuance but I still feel that, given the context (or lack of it), "to cut off ones nose...." is still very fitting.To cut off your nose to spite your face, to me, doesn't have the same meaning as "to shoot yourself in the foot". The second one is to cause yourself harm by your actions or words. while
"Don't cut off your nose to spite your face" is a warning against acting out of pique, or against pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the object of one's anger.
Which one better describes "tirarsi la zappa sui piedi"?
Good point Paul, I absolutely agree how the difference between intentionality and casualty makes the difference.There is a key difference to me: tirarsi la zappa sui piedi is something people don't do deliberately, but because they have messed it up so it's definitely like shooting oneself in the foot. Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face is done deliberately.