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Il Canto degli Italiani

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Subject: Italy, National symbols of Italy, Goffredo Mameli, Inno delle nazioni, Italy–Poland relations
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Il Canto degli Italiani

Il Canto degli Italiani
English: The Song of the Italians
Original text

National anthem of  Italy
Also known as Inno di Mameli
English: Mameli's Hymn
Fratelli d'Italia
English: Brothers of Italy
Lyrics Goffredo Mameli, 1847
Music Michele Novaro, 1847
Adopted October 12, 1946 (de facto)
November 23, 2012 (de jure)
Music sample

"Il Canto degli Italiani" (,[1] "The Song of the Italians") is the 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 Carlo Alberto di Savoia. After the 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.[3]


Goffredo Mameli, author of the lyrics.
Michele Novaro, composer of the music.

The first manuscript of the poem, preserved at the Istituto Mazziniano in Genoa.[4]

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 in Italy and induce Carlo Alberto to embrace the Italian cause of liberty. In this occasion the Capture of Rome was characterised by the people who sang the Mameli's hymn played by the Bersaglieri marching band although the Kingdom of Italy had adopted the "Marcia Reale" as national anthem in 1861.[7]

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 Republic.[8]

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.[9]


The Alps

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 at Zama; there is also a reference to the ancient Roman custom of slaves who use 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).[10] In the second stanza the author complains that Italy has been a divided nation for a long time, and calls for unity; in this stanza 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 raccolga).

The third stanza is an invocation to God to protect the loving union of the 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 defence of Florence led by Ferruccio during the Italian Wars, the riot started in Genoa by 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.[11]

The Continence of Scipio, Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610–1662)
The Genoese revolt of 1746 led by Balilla against the Habsburgs
The Song of the Italians was very popular during Italian Unification

Fratelli d'Italia,
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,[12]
For God created her
Slave of Rome.

Stringiamci a coorte,
siam pronti alla morte.
Siam pronti alla morte,
l'Italia chiamò.
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.[N 1]
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![13]

Noi fummo da secoli[N 2]
calpesti, derisi,
perché non siam popolo,
perché siam divisi.
Raccolgaci un'unica
bandiera, una speme:
di fonderci insieme
già l'ora suonò.

We were for centuries
downtrodden, derided,
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.



Uniamoci, amiamoci,
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.

From the Alps to Sicily,
Legnano is everywhere;
Every man has the heart
and hand of Ferruccio
The children of Italy
Are all called Balilla;
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.



Additional verses

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
l'invito d'amor.

Weave o maidens
Flags and cockades
Make souls gallant
The invitation of love.


  1. ^ 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 die").
  2. ^ A different tense may be found: "Noi siamo da secoli", "We have been for centuries".


  1. ^ (Italian) DOP entry .
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Even though the final exclamation "Yes !" is not included in the original text, it is always used in all official occasions.

External links

  • Page on the official site of the Quirinale, residence of the Head of State
    (in Italian with several recorded performances – click on ascolta l'Inno and choose a file to listen)
  • Free sheet music of Il Canto degli Italiani from
  • Streaming audio, lyrics and information about the Italian national anthem
  • Listen to the Italian national anthem
  • Fratelli d'Italia: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (Version for chorus and piano by Claudio Dall'Albero on a musical proposal of Luciano Berio)

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