Italian national anthem: what is it and what are its lyrics?

Written in 1847, 'Il Canto degli Italiani 'was not officially recognised as Italy's national anthem until 2017. Here are its lyrics in both English and Italian

Italian national anthem lyrics

What is the Italian national anthem?

The Italian national anthem is ‘Il Canto degli Italiani’, also known as ‘Fratelli d’Italia’ (‘Brothers of Italy’) and ‘Inno di Mameli’ (‘Mameli’s Hymn’), after the author of the lyrics. In most occasions the opening verse is sung twice followed by the chorus and it is rarely sung in full.

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When was the Italian national anthem composed?

Inspired by the French national anthem, La Marseillais, Goffredo Mameli wrote the lyrics to ‘Il Canto degli Italiani’ in 1847 as a call for Italians to rise up and insist Italy should be recognised as its own country. It was set to music by German composer Michele Novaro.

Despite the song’s growing popularity  it was ‘Marcia Reale’ (‘Royal March'”) that was chosen instead as Italy’s official anthem when the country unified in 1861 and was proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy. It would take 85 years, and two world wars, before Goffredo Mameli’s lyrics became the national anthem in 1946, and then it was just the provisional one. It would be another whopping 71 years before it was formally recognised, but finally  in 2017 ‘Il Canto degli Italiani’, officially became Italy’s national anthem.

What are the lyrics to Italy’s national anthem in English?

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

Chorus
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!

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.

Chorus

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?

Chorus

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.

Chorus

The mercenary swords
Are feeble reeds.[
Already the Eagle of Austria
Has lost its plumes.[
The blood of Italy,
the Polish blood[N 24]
It drank, along with the Cossack,[N 25]
But it burned its heart.[N 26]

Chorus

What are the original Italian lyrics to the Italian national anthem?

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.

Coro
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!

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

Coro

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?

Coro

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.

Coro

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.
Coro

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Find  lyrics to the different national anthems here