5 Italian love songs every Italophile should know

Do Italians listen to pop opera singers and to mushy songs? Is every Italian love song dedicated to one’s lover? Let’s debunk some myths!

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When talking about Italian songs and in particular about Italian love songs, I guess foreign people tend to identify tunes belonging to a genre that nowadays Italian people do not actually listen to. Just to debunk everyone’s beliefs from the very beginning of the entry, Italians do not actually listen to opera and tend to turn up their noses to Italian pop opera singers, like Il Volo, who even if they’re considered technically flawless, sing a genre which is considered kind of old-fashioned or even outdated.

Il Volo started to be acclaimed in Italy the moment TV and newspapers reported about their success in America and their collaborations with Barbra Streisand and Placido Domingo. In an outburst of patriotism, some enraged Italians then started to claim it was outrageous Italy had to wait a foreign validation to recognize talents like Il Volo, but the truth is there’s nothing truly that outrageous about it. Simply, this kind of genre is something that appeals foreign people, because it sounds “so typically Italian” to most of them, but it’s not what has been going on in the Italian music scene of the last decades.

A turning point in the Italian music panorama was represented by the advent of the so-called “Scuola Genovese”, the Genoese School of Songwriters, in the 1960s. Since then, a certain traditional and operatic way of singing has been kind of abandoned as virtuosity was seen as a way to hide and mess up with the “message” and the focus was put on the importance of the lyrics. Still nowadays, if you want to show you have very good taste in music, you have to claim you listen to Genoese songwriters like the immortal Fabrizio De Andrè, the refined Gino Paoli or the late Sergio Endrigo.

I would love to say that nowadays common Italians still have such a fine music taste, but, sadly, our record labels are not prone to promote certain kinds of musicians anymore and the younger generations are way too engrossed into foreign pop music and the unconvincing Italian rap scene to even consider this kind of heritage. Certain chansonniers’ songs of the post Genoese era still remain, though, and even if they do not all belong to said movement, they have a quality in the lyrics that has made them immortal and that even young Italians know by heart.

Today I will list five eternal songs focused on the theme of love and I will debunk another belief: not every Italian love song is about passionate, romantic and mushy stuff. There are so many aspects of love worthy to be shared in a song!

5. QUESTO PICCOLO GRANDE AMORE by Claudio Baglioni (1972)

Baglioni is probably the most melodic songwriter of the bunch that I’m presenting today and even if he doesn’t belong to the group of the Genoese chansonniers, he was surely influenced by them as he learned playing guitar on their songs.

Questo Piccolo Grande Amore was crowned as the best selling single of the Italian discography and it’s about a young love and the marvel and trepidation a youngster feels when he discover such a new and exciting sentiment.

That thin t-shirt / so tight-fitting I could / figure out everything / and that innocent appearance / I never confessed / I was crazy for…

Piccolo Grande Amore [Spotify link]

4. LA COSTRUZIONE DI UN AMORE by Ivano Fossati (1978)

La Costruzione di un Amore had a peculiar story, since its popularity grew over time, almost like its lyrics suggest: love is something that takes time and work and that makes you sweat. It’s hard work and sometimes the price you have to pay is higher than the immediate outcome, but if you keep working on it, love can transcend and reach incredible heights.

la_costruzione_di_un_amore

The song was written by Ivano Fossati, an author belonging to the “second wave” of the Genoese songwriters and it was first sung by her then fiancé Mia Martini, one of the best singer this country ever had.

Live by Mia Martini 

Version by Ivano Fossati [Spotify link]

3. AVRAI by Claudio Baglioni (1982)

Here we are back with Claudio Baglioni. He wrote this song in 1982 when his son was born and he dedicated it to him. Avrai, literally “you will have”, is a recurring word in the lyrics that allows the author to list to his son all the things that he will have and experience in life.

You will have a seat where to rest / and empty hours like chocolate eggs / and a friend who will disappoint, betray and deceive you / You will have / the time to go far / you will have my own sad hope / and you’ll feel like you have never loved enough.

This song opens a window on the role of the father and educator and it’s surely a great declaration of love to dedicate to one’s offspring.

Avrai [Spotify link]

2. IL CIELO IN UNA STANZA by Gino Paoli (1960)

Leave to Gino Paoli, one of the main exponents of the former Genoese school, the job of describing sexual love in such a refined and delicate way.

As Gino said, one will never be able to find the right words to describe the climax in a effective way, so the trick consists in illustrating what happens around the couple, in the room, during said moment.

il_cielo_in_una_stanza

This amazing song was even translated in several languages.

Il Cielo in una Stanza [Spotify link]

Il Cielo in una Stanza [Youtube]

1. LA CURA by Franco Battiato (1996)

I think many Italians will agree with me when I say this is THE love song.

la_cura

Many  interpreted it as a declaration made by a lover to another, some stated that the intention of Battiato, the author, was to encourage people to love themselves, some others thought it is a declaration of love the “soul” makes to the “body”. Truth is that, as all the songs, it was born from the pen of the author and then it went its own way as listeners gave their own interpretation.

As a general rule I would say that it’s a song about “universal love” and that explains how love is our only cure.

Official Video [Youtube]

La Cura [Spotify link]


Did you know any of these songs? If not, I think you’ll need a few listenings before you will be able to truly appreciate them. Then, I would love to hear your opinion and your favourite song of course 😉

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13 thoughts on “5 Italian love songs every Italophile should know

  1. I just wish to tell you that we are listening to all of these songs right now. ❤ I still need to read it though. Are those pages from your notebook? 🙂 I have one too and have been thinking of sharing it. So lovely. Thank you for this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. fkasara

      Aww, thanks to you ❤
      Yes, that is one of my MANY notebooks ❤ Notebooks are literally my obsession, hehe. I write by hand a lot. I would love to see your notebook as well <333

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now I’ve read it all. Questo piccolo grande amore, Avrai and La cura are on heavy rotation in our house, I recognised them immediately, even if I couldn’t name the singers. Fun fact: In La cura, I always thought he was singing about “supereroi” (while actually saying supererò, hihi). Il cielo in una stanza is not known to me, but what is even strange, La costruzione di un amore is not familiar even to amore. He admitted to never hearing it before. Now I listened to the version by Mia Martini and I love it very much. I think La cura is my favourite of these. Some of the love songs that I already loved back in Slovenia are Parla mi d’amore, Mariù, Caruso, and Piccola e fragile. 🙂 And you are right, Italians hate Il Volo. Amore can’t stand them. 😀 We both love Malika Ayane and of course, Caparezza. 🙂 I love this post very much and could always use more of your music recommendations. Grazie!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. fkasara

        It doesn’t surprise me that Amore doesn’t know La Costruzione di un Amore as that song has a peculiar history: it was not an immediate success and it’s still spreading nowadays thanks to covers by younger singers. Mia was such an amazing singer, too bad she died in such awful circumnstances (she committed suicide 😦 )

        I’m quite surprised you don’t know Il Cielo in una Stanza as it’s probably the one which is the most known abroad, mmh. She was also sung by Mina, maybe Amore knows that version.

        Yes, people might be surprised about it, but Italians can’t really stand Il Volo…I have nothing against them, they just do their job and have a great technique, but…ugh. Let’s just say it’s not my genre and that the song they presented for Sanremo and Eurovision has awful lyrics. I gladly leave them to the foreign public if they enjoy them 😐

        The other day I was thinking about your entry about Kevin Spacey by Caparezza and I asked myself if now it’s socially acceptable to listen to such a song given the Spacey scandal XD

        I’m glad you like it! I promised more posts about arts, so I will gladly write more about music and book recommendations 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You know what, I was going to make exactly the same comment as Manja, the notebooks and the pics of your notebooks are amazing! Your writing is really pretty and artistic as well.
    As for the music… I guess I’m a typical outsider who viewed Italian music as operatic and hate to admit that I tried to avoid it…. But I do enjoy a Eurovision from time to time and it’s amazing how music breaks down barriers. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. fkasara

      Aww, thank you ❤ I love notebooks and I'm also passionate about calligraphy, so every once in a while I use dip pens and Indian ink 😀

      Don't worry, as I said even Italians avoid that genre and pop opera singers are actually more successful abroad, haha. It's not my cup of tea, as well!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Eheh, I know you love love 😀👍 I think that most Italians ( youngersters excluded ) would indicate La Cura as the best love song ❤

      Like

  3. While I appreciate your sharing these songs as a part of knowing Italian music, I love Il Volo, who, with their youth and unique style, illuminate the beauty of Italian music and Bel Canto in such a manner as to appeal to the cross-generational, multi – cultural public globally. At their (usually sold-out ) concerts, you will witness three enthusiastic generations of fans, which speaks volumes about the appeal of their music.
    While illuminating the Italian classics to young and old with their beautiful voices, they have also always also sung modern cross-genre, cross generational songs, newly written songs, and tributes to other Italian singers (like the late Pino Danielle). Their devotion to the classics educates the younger generation about their beauty and place in Italian culture, and history. Listeners become interested in other Italian songs as well. Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca are anything but stale or outdated…they will always be timeless, assuredly.,,, and full of surprises.

    The first time I heard them sing, while I did not understand the language, I was moved to tears, and immediately started studying the Italian language, history, culture, and music. These guys not only bring awareness to Italian music, but to Italian culture as well. They are loving, humble ambassadors of Italy to the world.

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    1. Ciao Margaret,
      thanks for your comment and it’s great to hear that you were inspired to learn Italian by listening to Il Volo ❤

      I'm perfectly aware of the talent of the guys of Il Volo and the impact their work has on a global scale. What I am stating at the beginning of this article is that their (former?) genre (pop opera) is not popular nowadays in Italy, it's not something that people would normally listen to or that is transmitted in the radio. That's because it is somehow linked, in the minds of Italians, to the past.

      Since the 70s, as stated in the article, il Bel Canto was sort of being replaced by the chansonniers and nowadays there's a lot of Italian pop, rap, trap and tons of foreign influences. "Operatic" singing is something that does not represent the current taste in music and that's why, once Ignazio, Gianluca and Piero were done with the TV programme that launched them when they were kids, their agent Torpedine launched them in the USA. He was perfectly aware that they would have been more successful abroad: that's the kind of music we export. It was the same for Andrea Bocelli, just to give you an example. That's how the music market works for us nowadays and in here I'm just trying to report what's going on within the country and give the insider's perspective. I hope it can be useful somehow 🙂

      Ciao, Sara.

      Like

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