Il Canto degli Italiani

Il Canto degli Italiani
English: The Song of the Italians
Image-Inno di Mameli 2.jpg
Original text

National anthem of  Italy
Also known asInno di Mameli (English: Mameli's Hymn)
Fratelli d'Italia (English: Brothers of Italy)
LyricsGoffredo Mameli, 1847
MusicMichele Novaro, 1847
Adopted12 October 1946 (de facto)
4 December 2017 (de jure)
Audio sample
"Il Canto degli Italiani" (instrumental)

"Il Canto degli Italiani" (Italian pronunciation: [il ˈkanto deʎʎ itaˈljaːni];[1] "The Song of Italians" is the national anthem of Italy. It is best known among Italians as the "Inno di Mameli" ([ˈinno di maˈmɛːli], "Mameli's Hymn"), after the author of the lyrics, or "Fratelli d'Italia" ([fraˈtɛlli diˈtaːlja], "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.[2] The hymn enjoyed widespread popularity throughout the period of the Risorgimento and in the following decades. Nevertheless, after 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 King Charles Albert of Sardinia. 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. It was made official on 4 December 2017 de jure.


Goffredo Mameli, author of the lyrics
Michele Novaro, composer of the music
The vocal recording of the Italian National Anthem «Il Canto degli Italiani», performed by Coro dell'Accademia Musicale M.o Tufacchi (1943)

The first manuscript of the poem, preserved at the Istituto Mazziniano in 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, Italy has awakened"). The handwriting appears agitated and frenetic, with numerous spelling errors, among which are "Ilia" for "Italia" and "Ballilla" for "Balilla". The second manuscript is the copy that 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 at the 10 December demonstration, in Genoa.[3]

10 December 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 tricolor flag was shown and Mameli's hymn was publicly sung for the first time. After 10 December 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.[4] In the 1860, the corps of volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi used to sing the hymn in the battles against the Bourbons in Sicily and Southern Italy.[5] 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" 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.[6]

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 (fascists).[7]

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.[8][9] In August 2016, in the wake of this measure, a bill was submitted to the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies to make the "Canto degli Italiani" an official hymn of the Italian Republic.[10] In July 2017 the committee approved this bill.[11] On 15 December 2017, the publication in the Gazzetta Ufficiale of the law nº 181 of 4 December 2017, which came into force on 30 December 2017.[12]


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 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).[13] 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 speranza), raccolgaci (modern 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.[14]

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.
Italian lyrics
Phonetic transcription (IPA)
English translation

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.

[fraˈtɛlli diˈtaːlja |]
[lˈitaːlja ˌsɛ dˈdesta |]
[delˈlelmo di ʃˈʃiːpjo]
[ˌsɛ tˈtʃinta la ˈtɛsta ǁ]
[doˈvɛ lla vitˈtɔːrja |]
[le ˈpɔrɡa la ˈkjɔːma |]
[ke ˈskjaːva di ˈroːma]
[idˈdiːo la kreˈɔ ǁ]

Brothers of Italy,
Italy has woken,
bound Scipio's helmet
Upon her head.[N 1]
Where is Victory?
Let her bow down,[N 2]
Because [as a] slave of Rome
God created her.

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!

[strinˈdʒamtʃ a kkoˈorte |]
[ˌsjam ˈprontj alla ˈmɔrte ǁ]
[ˌsjam ˈprontj alla ˈmɔrte |]
[liˈtaːlja kjaˈmɔ ǁ]
[strinˈdʒamtʃ a kkoˈorte |]
[ˌsjam ˈprontj alla ˈmɔrte ǁ]
[ˌsjam ˈprontj alla ˈmɔrte |]
[liˈtaːlja kjaˌmɔ ǁ ˈsi ǁ]

Let us join in a cohort,[N 3]
we are ready to die.[N 4]
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![N 5]

Noi fummo da secoli[N 6]
calpesti, derisi,
perché non siam popolo,
perché siam divisi.
Raccolgaci un'unica
bandiera, una speme:
di fonderci insieme
già l'ora suonò.

[ˌnoi ˈfummo da (s)ˈsɛːkoli]
[kalˈpesti | deˈriːzi |]
[perˈke nnon ˌsjam ˈpɔːpolo |]
[perˈke sˌsjam diˈviːzi ǁ]
[rakˈkɔlɡatʃ uˈnuːnika]
[banˈdjɛːra (|) una ˈspɛːme |]
[di ˈfondertʃ inˈsjɛːme]
[ˌdʒa lˈloːra swoˈnɔ ǁ]

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?

[uˈnjaːmotʃ(i |) aˈmjaːmotʃi |]
[luˈnjoːn(e) e llaˈmoːre]
[riˈveːlano ai ˈpɔːpoli]
[le ˈviːe del siɲˈɲoːre ǁ]
[dʒuˈrjaːmo far ˈliːbero]
[il ˈswɔːlo naˈtiːo |]
[uˈniːti | per ˈdiːo |]
[ˌki vˈvintʃer tʃi ˈpwɔ ǁ]

Let us unite, let us love one another,
Union and love
Reveal to the peoples
The ways of the Lord.
Let us swear to set free
The land of our birth:
United, by 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.

[dalˈlalpj a ssiˈtʃiːlja]
[doˈvuŋkw(e) ˌɛ lleɲˈɲaːno |]
[oɲˈɲwɔm di ferˈruttʃo]
[ˌa il ˈkɔːre | ˌa lla ˈmaːno |]
[i ˈbimbi diˈtaːlja]
[si ˈkjaːmam baˈlilla |]
[il ˈswɔn ˌdoɲɲi ˈskwilla]
[i ˈvɛspri swoˈnɔ ǁ]

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.

[ˌson ˈdʒuŋki ke pˈpjɛːɡano]
[le ˈspaːde venˈduːte |]
[ˌdʒa lˈlaːkwila ˈdaustrja]
[le ˈpenne ˌa pperˈduːte ǁ]
[il ˈsaŋɡwe diˈtaːlja |]
[il ˈsaŋɡwe poˈlakko |]
[beˈve | kol koˈzakko |]
[ma il ˈkɔr le bruˈtʃɔ ǁ]

The mercenary swords
Are feeble reeds.
Already the Eagle of Austria
Has lost its plumes.
The blood of Italy,
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.

[tesˈseːte o fanˈtʃulle]
[banˈdjɛːr(e) e kkokˈkarde]
[fan ˈlalme ɡaʎˈʎarde]
[liɱˈviːto daˈmor ǁ]

Weave[,] maidens
flags and cockades
[they] make souls gallant
the invitation of love.



The music of the anthem was composed by Michele Novaro. Novaro was born on 23 December 1818 in Genoa, where he studied composition and singing. On 23 November 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.[15] Novaro was a convinced liberal and offered his compositional talents to the unification cause without deriving any personal benefits. He died poor on 20 October 1885, after a life riddled with financial and health difficulties.[16]

The anthem is set in the key of B flat major and at an allegro marziale tempo. The beginning of the anthem is characterised by twelve measures of instrumental eighth notes and sixteenth notes played fortissimo, or “very loud”. The vocals begin in the thirteenth measure, and are sung forte. 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 tempo gives an especially march-like feel to the composition.


  1. ^ The original Italian text reads "Italy has woken, with Scipio's helmet she girt her head."
  2. ^ Le porga la chioma can also be more literally translated as "Let her tender her hair to Rome" or "Tender her hair", referring to the ancient custom of cutting off the hair of slaves.
  3. ^ The phrase can also be translated more literally as "Let us tighten in a cohort".
  4. ^ 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").
  5. ^ Although the final exclamation, "Yes!", is not included in the original text, it is always used in all official occasions.
  6. ^ A different tense may be found: Noi siamo da secoli, "We have been for centuries".


  1. ^ (in Italian) DOP entry .
  2. ^ "Italy – Il Canto degli Italiani/Fratelli d'Italia". Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Inno di Mameli – Il canto degli Italiani: testo, analisi e storia". Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  4. ^ "IL CANTO DEGLI ITALIANI: il significato". Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Il canto degli italiani – 150 anni di". Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  6. ^ "La breccia di Porta Pia". Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  7. ^ "I canti di Salò". Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  8. ^ "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. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Inno di Mameli, insegnamento obbligatorio nelle scuole italiane. La Camera approva il DDL" [= The Parliament passes the bill that makes mandatory the teaching of Mameli's Hymn in every school of Italy] (in Italian). Clandestinoweb. 14 June 2012. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  10. ^ "L'inno di Mameli è ancora provvisorio. Proposta di legge per renderlo ufficiale" (in Italian).
  11. ^ "Saranno ufficiali tutte e sei le strofe dell'Inno di Mameli e non solo le prime due" (in Italian). 24 July 2017.
  12. ^ "LEGGE 4 dicembre 2017, n. 181 – Gazzetta Ufficiale" (in Italian). 15 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Il testo dell'Inno di Mameli. Materiali didattici di Scuola d'Italiano Roma a cura di Roberto Tartaglione" (in Italian). Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  14. ^ "L'Inno nazionale". Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  15. ^ "History Of The Italian Anthem". Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  16. ^ "The Song of the Italians, brief history of a national anthem". Europeana Sounds. Retrieved 25 April 2017.

External links