Italy national anthem: 'Fratelli d'Italia' lyrics in full & meaning explained

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Italy national anthem
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The Italian anthem is one of the most popular at tournaments and it has a long, interesting history

The Italy national anthem has always been a fan favourite at major tournaments.

The Azzurri stars line up and belt out their anthem with gusto and the passion of the players, as well as the rhythm of the song, makes it stand out from the rest. 

GOAL takes as a look at one of the most iconic of all national anthems... Fratelli d'Italia.

Italy national football team anthem

The anthem's original title is Il Canto degli Italiani, which means "The Song of the Italians", but it is also known by the opening words of the song, Fratelli d'Italia, translation: Brothers of Italy.

Oddly enough, however, the full anthem is rarely sung. Usually the opening verse is sung twice followed by the chorus and then ends strong with a loud "Si!" (Yes!).

Fratelli d'Italia lyrics in full

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.


[Chorus]: 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.

(Chorus)

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?

(Chorus)

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.

(Chorus)

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.

(Chorus)

English translation:
Brothers of Italy,

Italy has woken,

Bound Scipio's helmet

Upon her head.

Where is Victory?

Let her bow down,

For God created her

Slave of Rome.

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, yes!

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,

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?

(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)


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.

(Chorus)

When was Il Canto degli Italiani made an official hymn?

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The lyrics were written by Goffredo Mameli in September 1847 and was inspired by the French anthem La Marseillaise. He was just 20 years old at the time.

He sent it to Turin for fellow Genoese composer Michele Novaro to put music to, rather than set it to already existing music.

It was played publicly for the first time that December in front of a crowd of 30,000 who had come to Genoa from all over Italy to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the popular rebellion of the Genoese quarter of Portoria during the War of the Austrian Succession and also to protest against foreign occupations in Italy. 

During the reign of Benito Mussolini, songs that were not explicitly fascist were banned or discouraged but Il Canto degli Italiani was tolerated and eventually mistakenly seen as the official anthem.

After World War II, the song enjoyed a resurgence, especially among anti-fascists and was declared the nation's provisional national anthem in 1946. It was supposed to be officially adopted into the constitution as the official song, but there was no legislative decree to confirm it. 

The song remained popular in Italy and among Italians abroad but it was not until 2017 that the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill to confirm the Canto degli Italiani an official hymn of the Italian Republic.

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