Viva L’Italia!

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The war years in Italy were difficult – innocent people were killed by the Germans because they were believed to be helping the Partisans (see my post about this at  An Italian Tragedy), people were hungry and not sure if they would get food, and idlyllic and peaceful places full of history, art, and beauty were being destroyed.  Once the Americans came in and the Partisans triumphed, Italy began to breathe a sigh of relief.  La Festa della Liberazione, a National holiday in Italy marking the end of World War II and the fall of the Fascist government, is celebrated today, April 25th, with parades and other festivities all over Italy.  Rebuilding Italy after the War would turn out to be a significant and difficult task, but the Italians worked hard and persevered.  Even though it is not immune to the problems plaguing the rest of the world, Italy has come a long way from those horrible days during and after World War II to become the Italy that so captivates and enchants those that visit her.

Below is a song written by Partisan sympathizers and sung during the War by the Resistance.   It was sung in the underground and only became popular to the public after the War when it was introduced by some Italian student singers at Berlin’s Youth Festival in 1948.  I have to make note, here, that I am purely sharing this song as part of Italy’s history and I’m not making ANY political statement here!!!  With that said, here it is:

BELLA CIAO

Una mattina mi son svegliato O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao Una mattina mi son svegliato Eo ho trovato l’invasor

O partigiano porta mi via O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao O partigiano porta mi via Che mi sento di morir

E se io muoio da partigiano O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao E se io muoio da partigiano Tu mi devi seppellir

Mi seppellire lassù in montagna O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao Mi seppellire lassù in montagna Sotto l’ombra di un bel fiore

E le genti che passeranno O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao E le genti che passeranno Mi diranno: “Che bel fior”

È questo il fiore del partigiano O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao È questo il fiore del partigiano Morto per la libertà

**********************

One morning I woke up O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao One morning I woke up And I found the invader

Oh partisan, carry me away, O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao Oh partisan, carry me away, For I feel I’m dying

And if I die as a partisan O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao And if I die as a partisan You have to bury me

But bury me up in the mountain O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao, But bury me up in the mountain Under the shadow of a beautiful flower

And the people who will pass by O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao, And the people who will pass by Will say to me: “what a beautiful flower”

This is the flower of the partisan O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao This is the flower of the partisan Who died for freedom

***************************************

Here is a song that was sung by the Alpini – a branch of the military that patrols the mountains all around Italy.  It captures the sentiments felt during the War by those Alpini soldiers and their love of the mountains of Italy.  It is in a sort of dialect, and therefore I will try to translate it as best I can!

IL TESTAMENTO DEL CAPITANO

 El capitan de la compagnia l’è ferito stà per morir el manda a dire ai suoi Alpini perchè lo vengano a ritrovar. el manda a dire ai suoi Alpini perchè lo vengano a ritrovar.

I suoi Alpini ghè manda a dire che non han scarpe per camminar O con le scarpe o senza scarpe i miei Alpini li voglio qua. O con le scarpe o senza scarpe i miei Alpini li voglio qua.

Cosa comanda, siòr capitano, che noi adesso semo arrivà? E io comando che il mio corpo in cinque pezzi sia taglià. E io comando che il mio corpo in cinque pezzi sia taglià.

Il primo pezzo alla mia Patria secondo pezzo al Battaglion il terzo pezzo alla mia Mamma che si ricordi del suo figliol. il terzo pezzo alla mia Mamma che si ricordi del suo figliol.

Il quarto pezzo alla mia bella che si ricordi del suo primo amor. L’ultimo pezzo alle montagne che lo fioriscano di rose e fior L’ultimo pezzo alle montagne che lo fioriscano di rose e fior.

*******************

The Captain’s Testament

The captain of the company is wounded and is dying.  He sends a message to his Alpini soldiers for them to come and visit him.

His Alpini soldiers tell him that they don’t have shoes to walk.  He says that with our without shoes, he wants them there.

What do you command, Captain sir, now that we have arrived?  I command that you cut my body up into 5 pieces.

The first piece to my Country, the second piece to my battalion, the third piece to my mother so that she may remember her son.

The fourth piece to by girlfriend so that she can remember her first love.  And the fifth piece to the mountains so that it can be covered in roses.

10 responses »

  1. There are reminders all over our village of the terrible things that happened during the war. We almost bought an apartment in a building where partisans were tortured and murdered. The remnants of the Gottica line are still visible around us and partisans hid in our hills, added by the locals. I met a couple of men who remembered watching from above as small boys while the bridge in front of our house was bombed.

    • I can only imagine how many reminders there are – and I think in Tuscany, there are even more. I am always interested in hearing the stories from the older generation about their lives during the war. I think I should make a trip to Italy just to do some interviews! One more excuse to take a trip to Italy 🙂 But, all kidding aside, the war was a devastating time for Italy and I, for one, didn’t realize how horrible it actually was. We are sheltered from that kind of knowledge in our history books – we learn about the major battles, the Holocaust, the important players – but it’s the personal stories of life during that time that truly allow you to feel the extent of what war does to a country and to its people.

  2. Una mattina mi son svegliato
    O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
    Una mattina mi son svegliato
    e ho trovato l’invasor

    O partigiano portami via
    O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
    O partigiano portami via
    Che mi sento di morir

    E se io muoio da partigiano
    O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
    E se io muoio da partigiano
    Tu mi devi seppellir

    Mi seppellirai lassù in montagna
    O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
    Mi seppellirai lassù in montagna
    Sotto l’ombra di un bel fior

    E le genti che passeranno
    O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
    E le genti che passeranno
    Mi diranno: “Che bel fior”

    È questo il fiore del partigiano
    O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
    È questo il fiore del partigiano
    Morto per la libertà

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