"IL CANTO DEGLI ITALIANI" ( , "The Song / Chant of the Italians") is
the national anthem of
Italy . It is best known among
"INNO DI MAMELI" ( , "Mameli's Hymn"), after the author of the lyrics,
or "FRATELLI D\'ITALIA" ( , "Brothers of Italy"), from its opening
line . The words were written in the autumn of 1847 in
Genoa , by the
then 20-year-old student and patriot
Goffredo Mameli . Two months
later, they were set to music in
Turin by another Genoese , Michele
Novaro . The hymn enjoyed widespread popularity throughout the period
Risorgimento and in the following decades. Nevertheless, after
Italian Unification in 1861, the adopted national anthem was the
Marcia Reale " (Royal March), the official hymn of the House of Savoy
composed in 1831 by order of King
Charles Albert of Sardinia . After
Second World War
Second World War ,
Italy became a republic , and on 12 October
1946, "Il Canto degli Italiani" was provisionally chosen as the
country's new national anthem. This choice was made official in law
only on 23 November 2012.
* 1 History
* 2 Lyrics
* 2.1 Additional verses
* 3 Music
* 4 Notes
* 5 References
* 6 External links
Goffredo Mameli , author of the lyrics.
Michele Novaro ,
composer of the music.
The first manuscript of the poem, preserved at the Istituto
Genoa , appears in a personal copybook of the poet,
where he collected notes, thoughts and other writings. Of uncertain
dating, the manuscript reveals anxiety and inspiration at the same
time. The poet begins with È sorta dal feretro (It's risen from the
bier) then seems to change his mind: leaves some room, begins a new
paragraph and writes "Evviva l'Italia, l'Italia s'è desta" ("Hurray
Italy has awakened"). The handwriting appears nervy and
frenetic, with numerous spelling errors, among which are "Ilia" for
"Italia" and "Ballilla" for "Balilla". The second manuscript is the
Goffredo Mameli sent to
Michele Novaro for setting to music.
It shows a much steadier handwriting, fixes misspellings, and has a
significant modification: the incipit is "Fratelli d'Italia". This
copy is in the Museo del
Risorgimento in Turin. The hymn was also
printed on leaflets in Genoa, by the printing office Casamara. The
Istituto Mazziniano has a copy of these, with hand annotations by
Mameli himself. This sheet, subsequent to the two manuscripts, lacks
the last strophe ("Son giunchi che piegano...") for fear of
censorship. These leaflets were to be distributed on the December 10
December 10, 1847 was an historical day for Italy: the demonstration
was officially dedicated to the 101st anniversary of the popular
rebellion which led to the expulsion of the Austrian powers from the
city; in fact it was an excuse to protest against foreign occupations
Italy and induce Carlo Alberto to embrace the Italian cause of
liberty. In this occasion the tricolor flag was shown and Mameli's
hymn was publicly sung for the first time. After December 10 the hymn
spread all over the Italian peninsula, brought by the same patriots
that participated in the
Genoa demonstration. In the 1848, Mameli's
hymn was very popular among the
Italian people and it was commonly
sung during demonstrations, protests and revolts as a symbol of the
Italian Unification in most parts of Italy. In the Five Days of Milan
, the rebels sang the Song of the
Italians during clashes against the
Austrian Empire . In the 1860, the corps of volunteers led by
Giuseppe Garibaldi used to sing the hymn in the battles against the
Sicily and Southern Italy.
Giuseppe Verdi , in his "Inno
delle nazioni " (Hymn of the nations), composed for the London
International Exhibition of 1862 , chose "Il Canto degli Italiani" to
represent Italy, putting it beside "
God Save the Queen
God Save the Queen " and "La
Marseillaise ". On 20 September 1870, in the last part of the Italian
Risorgimento , the
Capture of Rome was characterised by the people who
sang Mameli's hymn played by the
Bersaglieri marching band although
the Kingdom of
Italy had adopted the "
Marcia Reale " as national
anthem in 1861.
During the period of Italian
Fascism , the "Song of the Italians"
continued to play an important role as patriotic hymn along with
several popular fascist songs. After the armistice of Cassibile ,
Mameli's hymn was curiously sung by both the
Italian partisans and the
people who supported the Italian Social
After the Second World War, following the birth of the Italian
Republic , the "Song of the Italians" was de facto adopted as national
anthem. On 23 November 2012, this choice was made official in law.
This is the complete text of the original poem written by Goffredo
Mameli. However, the Italian anthem, as commonly performed in official
occasions, is composed of the first stanza sung twice, and the chorus,
then ends with a loud "Sì!" ("Yes!").
The first stanza presents the personification of
Italy who is ready
to go to war to become free, and shall be victorious as
Rome was in
ancient times, "wearing" the helmet of
Scipio Africanus who defeated
Hannibal at the final battle of the
Second Punic War
Second Punic War at Zama ; there
is also a reference to the ancient Roman custom of slaves who used to
cut their hair short as a sign of servitude, hence the Goddess of
Victory must cut her hair in order to be slave of
Rome (to make Italy
victorious). In the second stanza the author complains that
been a divided nation for a long time, and calls for unity; in this
Goffredo Mameli uses three words taken from the Italian poetic
and archaic language: calpesti (modern Italian , calpestati), speme
(modern Italian , speranza), raccolgaci (modern Italian , ci
The third stanza is an invocation to God to protect the loving union
Italians struggling to unify their nation once and for all. The
fourth stanza recalls popular heroic figures and moments of the
Italian fight for independence such as the battle of Legnano , the
Florence led by Ferruccio during the
Italian Wars , the
riot started in
Balilla , and the
Sicilian Vespers . The last
stanza of the poem refers to the part played by Habsburg Austria and
Czarist Russia in the partitions of Poland , linking its quest for
independence to the Italian one. The Continence of Scipio ,
Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610–1662)
Battle of Legnano ,
Amos Cassioli (1832–1891) The Genoese revolt of 1746 led by
Balilla against the Habsburgs
Sicilian Vespers , Francesco
Hayez (1791–1882) The Song of the
Italians was very popular
l'Italia s'è desta,
dell'elmo di Scipio
s'è cinta la testa.
Dov'è la Vittoria?
Le porga la chioma,
ché schiava di Roma
Iddio la creò.
Brothers of Italy ,
Italy has woken,
Bound Scipio 's helmet
Upon her head.
Where is Victory ?
Let her bow down,
For God created her
Slave of Rome.
Stringiamci a coorte,
siam pronti alla morte.
Siam pronti alla morte,
Stringiamci a coorte,
siam pronti alla morte.
Siam pronti alla morte,
l'Italia chiamò! Sì!
Let us join in a cohort ,
We are ready to die .
We are ready to die,
Italy has called.
Let us join in a cohort,
We are ready to die.
We are ready to die,
Italy has called! Yes!
Noi fummo da secoli
perché non siam popolo,
perché siam divisi.
bandiera, una speme:
di fonderci insieme
già l'ora suonò.
We were for centuries
because we are not one people,
because we are divided.
Let one flag , one hope
gather us all.
The hour has struck
for us to unite.
l'unione e l'amore
rivelano ai popoli
le vie del Signore.
Giuriamo far libero
il suolo natio:
uniti, per Dio,
chi vincer ci può?
Let us unite, let us love one another,
For union and love
Reveal to the people
The ways of the Lord .
Let us swear to set free
The land of our birth:
United, for God ,
Who can overcome us?
Dall'Alpi a Sicilia
dovunque è Legnano,
ogn'uom di Ferruccio
ha il core, ha la mano,
i bimbi d'Italia
si chiaman Balilla,
il suon d'ogni squilla
i Vespri suonò.
Legnano is everywhere;
Every man has the heart
and hand of Ferruccio
The children of Italy
Are all called
Every trumpet blast
sounds the Vespers .
Son giunchi che piegano
le spade vendute:
già l'Aquila d'Austria
le penne ha perdute.
Il sangue d'Italia,
il sangue Polacco,
bevé, col cosacco,
ma il cor le bruciò.
Mercenary swords ,
they're feeble reeds.
The Austrian eagle
Has already lost its plumes.
The blood of Italy
and the Polish blood
It drank, along with the Cossack ,
But it burned its heart.
The last strophe was deleted by the author, to the point of being
barely readable. It was dedicated to Italian women:
Tessete o fanciulle
bandiere e coccarde
fan l'alme gagliarde
Flags and cockades
Make souls gallant
The invitation of love.
The Song of the Italians' score
The music of the anthem was composed by Michele Novaro. Novaro was
born on October 23, 1818 in Genoa, where he studied composition and
singing. On November 23, 1847, Mameli arrived in
Turin and asked his
friend Novaro to set the lyrics of the anthem to music. Novaro
completed the composition overnight and Mameli was able to return to
Genoa the very next day with the completed anthem. The tune helped the
anthem spread quickly throughout the nation, and was sung in defiance
of the Austrian, Bourbon, and Papal police. Novaro was a convinced
liberal and offered his compositional talents to the unification cause
without deriving any personal benefits. He died poor on October 21,
1885, after a life riddled with financial and health difficulties.
The anthem is set in the key of B flat major and at an Allegro
Marziale tempo, which translates to “fast, in a military style”.
The beginning of the anthem is characterized by twelve lines of
instrumental eighth notes and sixteenth notes played fortissimo, or
“very loud”. The vocals begin in the thirteenth measure, and are
sung at forte, a loud volume. The rhythms present in the anthem are
mostly dotted eighth notes, quarter notes, and sixteenth notes. The
rhythm is straight, with little syncopation. Essentially, the beat is
on the first note of each measure, and the timing is regular. The
rhythm in combination with the Allegro Marziale tempo gives an
especially march-like feel to the composition.
* ^ Siam pronti alla morte may be understood both as an indicative
("We are ready to die") and as an imperative ("Let us be ready to
* ^ A different tense may be found: "Noi siamo da secoli", "We have
been for centuries".
* ^ (in Italian) DOP entry .
* ^ "
Italy - Il Canto degli Italiani/Fratelli d\'Italia".
NationalAnthems.me. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
* ^ A B "Legge 23 novembre 2012, n. 222: Norme sull\'acquisizione
di conoscenze e competenze in materia di "Cittadinanza e Costituzione"
e sull\'insegnamento dell\'inno di Mameli nelle scuole. (12G0243)".
Comune di Jesi. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
* ^ "Inno di Mameli - Il canto degli Italiani: testo, analisi e
storia". labandadeisei.it. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
* ^ "IL CANTO DEGLI ITALIANI: il significato". Radiomarconi.com.
* ^ "Il canto degli italiani - 150 anni di".
Progettocentocin.altervista.org. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
* ^ "La breccia di Porta Pia". 150anni-lanostrastoria.it. Retrieved
* ^ "I canti di Salò". Archiviostorico.info. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
* ^ "Inno di Mameli, insegnamento obbligatorio nelle scuole
italiane. La Camera approva il DDL" (in Italian). Clandestinoweb.
2012-06-14. Archived from the original on 2014-11-13. CS1 maint: Unfit
url (link )
* ^ "Il testo dell\'Inno di Mameli. Materiali didattici di Scuola
d\'Italiano Roma a cura di Roberto Tartaglione" (in Italian).
Scudit.net. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
* ^ "L\'Inno nazionale". Quirinale.it. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
* ^ "Le porga la chioma literally translates as "Let her offer her
locks to ", a possible reference to the ancient custom of slaves
cutting their hair short as a sign of servitude".
Penelope.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
* ^ Even though the final exclamation "Yes !" is not included in
the original text, it is always used in all official occasions.
* ^ "History Of The Italian Anthem". www.arcaini.com. Retrieved
* ^ "The Song of the Italians, brief history of a national anthem".
Europeana Sounds. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
* ^ "Italian Musical Terms". www.musictheory.org.uk. Retrieved