37 Best and Simple Italian Songs to Learn Italian
Looking for a fun, relaxing way to improve your Italian skills?
If so, Italian music is the perfect way to put a song in your heart…
…and Italian vocab in your head.
- “Nessun dorma” (None Shall Sleep)
- “Funiculì, Funiculà” (Funicular Up, Funicular Down)
- “Sono bugiarda” (Literally: I’m a Liar)
- “Nessuno mi può giudicare” (No One Can Judge Me)
- “Vivo per lei” (I Live for Her)
- “Tu scendi dalle stelle” (You Come Down from the Stars)
- “E più ti penso” (And the More I Think of You)
- “Uomini soli” (Lonely Men)
- “Dammi solo un minuto” (Give Me Just One Minute)
- “Invece no” (Instead, No)
- “Tornerò (Con calma si vedrà)” (I Will Return [With Calm, You Will See])
- “Pronto a correre” (Ready to Run)
- “Guerriero” (Warrior)
- “Arrivederci Roma” (Goodbye Rome)
- “Santa Lucia” (Saint Lucia)
- “Volare” (To Fly)
- “La Cura” (The Cure)
- “Buonanotte Fiorellino” (Good Night Little Flower)
- “Venderò” (I Will Sell)
- “Amarsi un Po'” (Loving Each Other a Little)
- “Che cos’è l’amor” (What Is Love?)
- “Fausto” (Auspicious)
- “A sangue freddo” (In Cold Blood)
- “Pertanto” (Therefore)
- “Alfonso” (Alfonso)
- “Naufragando” (Shipwreck)
- “Voglio una pelle splendida” (“I want beautiful skin”)
- “Per un milione” (For a Million)
- “Casa” (House)
- “Vivere tutte le vite” (Live All Lives)
- “Ricchi X Sempre” (Rich X Always)
- “Maria Antonietta” (Marie Antoinette)
- “Giro giro tondo” (Turn Turn Around)
- “Ci vuole un fiore” (It Takes a Flower)
- “Il coccodrillo come fa?” (How Does the Crocodile Go?)
- And One More Thing...
“Nessun dorma” (None Shall Sleep)
This song was written by Puccini, and sung to high accolades by Pavarotti. It’s been used for everything from political rallies to World Cup themes, making it a perfect example of how you can get in touch with Italian culture by listening to its music.
“Funiculì, Funiculà” (Funicular Up, Funicular Down)
This song may be a bit challenging for listeners, because it’s sung in the Neapolitan dialect, but if you listen closely, you’ll notice that you’ve probably heard it before.
Penned by composers Giuseppe Peppino Turco and Luigi Denza, “Funiculì Funiculà” was written to commemorate the grand opening of the first funicular cable car on Mt. Vesuvius (a funicular cable car is one that basically goes up an inclined railroad track to ascend a mountain), but it quickly became one of the catchiest, most popular Italian songs of all time.
“Sono bugiarda” (Literally: I’m a Liar)
“Sono bugiarda” might mean “I’m a liar” in Italian, but it is, in fact, an Italian version of the extremely popular song “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees.
It’s catchy in either language, and it’s fun to try to spot the differences between the versions while you listen to Caterina’s.
“Nessuno mi può giudicare” (No One Can Judge Me)
This song gives us another look into Italian culture, as it appears in a movie by the same name in 1966. Caterina not only sings, but acts in the movie as well, so if you like her style, you might want to check out the whole film!
“Vivo per lei” (I Live for Her)
Andrea Bocelli is known for songs that bring tears to the eyes of his audience. His voice is so clear and striking that it seems as if it goes straight to your soul. And when he sings about loving someone so much that he literally lives for her and only her, it’s enough to make you want to book a flight to Italy and go try to soak up some of that romance.
“Tu scendi dalle stelle” (You Come Down from the Stars)
This one was written by Saint Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori and is one of the most popular Christmas songs in Italy. If in the U.S. you hear “Jingle Bells” as you join the Christmas shopping rush in department stores, “Tu scendi dalle stelle” is the equivalent in Italy.
This song is about the Baby Jesus leaving glory and descending into a simple and poor existence (one without the warmth of fire on a cold winter’s night). It’s often sung by a children’s choir. You can be sure to hear it during a Christmas Eve mass at the Vatican.
This song is a good pick for the language learner because, as a lullaby for the Baby Jesus, it’s not too brisk for the absolute beginner. The verses are simply composed and there’s enough repetition in the lines so that you can pick up new Italian vocabulary in no time. And in terms of context, there’s nothing like the story of Christmas to make the message, thought and content of a song clear. In short, the whole thing is very sticky for the mind.
“E più ti penso” (And the More I Think of You)
This song is a duet with current bestselling pop artist Ariana Grande. Normally known for her outlandish, overtly sexual songs and videos, this time Ariana matches Bocelli’s quiet, pensive tone to create yet another Bocelli song that makes you want to cry your heart out (and her Italian language skills are impressive!).
The song is about yearning for someone far away, and wishing you could be with them. In English, some of the lyrics read “And if I couldn’t see you again, I already know what I would do: I would die.” Have your tissues ready before you hit “play.”
“Uomini soli” (Lonely Men)
This song is a haunting ballad about the reasons why men could be lonely, and what it would mean to have someone to reach out to them, or to have some meaning in life to drive them.
It’s an introspective piece, but the melody will stick with you even in your more cheerful, carefree moments.
“Dammi solo un minuto” (Give Me Just One Minute)
This song is great if you’re going through a breakup. The lyrics are painfully relatable: the singer talks about everyone thinking it’s a normal day, but he’s in pain because he’s losing the woman he loves. Don’t listen to this and Andrea Bocelli back to back—you might run out of tissues!
“Invece no” (Instead, No)
“Invece no” is an extremely catchy pop song about trying to make up your mind about whether you should stay with someone or leave them when things aren’t going well. In the end, she might decide to stay… or maybe not.
“Tornerò (Con calma si vedrà)” (I Will Return [With Calm, You Will See])
This song is a Latin-flavored hit that makes you want to get up and dance the tango. It’s an anthem for independence, and talks about going out on an adventure to conquer the world—always with the intention of coming back… someday.
“Pronto a correre” (Ready to Run)
“Pronto a Correre” is the perfect song to inspire you to pick yourself up and get on with your life after a breakup, or after any other event in your life that has kept you down for way too long.
Mengoni sings about pain pushing him to make a new start, which is a much nicer way to look at the end of a relationship.
If you would love to fantasize about a gorgeous man swearing to protect you from any and all harm that could come your way, then you should check out the “Guerriero” music video. Mengoni says the words we all want to hear as he pledges an oath to watch over us, and protect us and defend us from sadness, nightmares and just about anything else.
“Arrivederci Roma” (Goodbye Rome)
This song is about a short-lived love affair of an English girl and an Italian man, with the Trevi Fountain and Italian sunsets for a backdrop. It’s a change of pace from the previous three songs we just talked about. This one is nostalgic in tone. Nevertheless, it can lift the spirits of Italian learners everywhere with the wealth of linguistic lessons it has to offer.
You can mine the song for language points after wiping your tears away.
It’s replete with sentence structures, phrases, connectives and conjunctions that you can borrow to add nuance and richness to your Italian conversations. Examples include ma (but), mentre (while) and sempre (always).
This song is part of the soundtrack of a musical movie of the same name.
“Santa Lucia” (Saint Lucia)
The song is a boatman’s invitation to passengers to ride his boat so they can enjoy that perfect night in the waters of Santa Lucia, where the waves are peaceful, the wind is favorable and the stars shimmer on the sea.
There are plenty of declarative sentences in the song, especially when the boatman describes the evening’s setting, like “placida è l’onda” (the wave is peaceful). The pace of the song is just right. And because of its ubiquitous tune and some well-placed repetition of lines, like the one above, you can very easily commit this song’s lyrics to memory.
“Volare” (To Fly)
Would you believe that this song was the Italian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest of 1958, and won third place?
Formally titled “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (In the Blue That Is Painted Blue), it’s more popularly known as “Volare.” It was composed and performed by Domenico Modugno.
The song is a party of verbs, and you can find them in almost every line. So if you decide to give this song a go and actually sing it, don’t forget to move around and gesture away. Incidentally, Modugno’s interpretation, with his arms flailing and open wide, changed the way Italian singers performed. Gone were the days when they just stood still.
“La Cura” (The Cure)
As unbelievably sappy as this song can seem to foreigners, my Italians love it.
And, in any case, Franco Battiato is a musical hero in Italy, so if you want to speak the language you must at least be able to recognize the name when he comes up in conversations. “È un mito soltanto italiano,” I have been told, meaning that he’s a hero only to Italians.
The lyrics deal with how devoted the singer is to the objects of his affections. He will relieve her from pain, her mood swings, her obsessions and her delusions. How sweet.
“Buonanotte Fiorellino” (Good Night Little Flower)
This catchy lullaby could be sung to a baby, a lover or just, as the name suggests, a flower.
The lyrics are great to learn from because you get a lot of very simple vocabulary, though sometimes in diminutive form—fiorellino instead of fiore (flower), monetina instead of moneta (coin). The Italian diminutive comes into play frequently when you want to be cutesy, or of course just to talk about something being small or less consequential.
“Venderò” (I Will Sell)
The lyrics of this Bob Dylan-esque tune seem resigned to a capitalist world where everything can and will be sold.
The Italian future tense is in play (venderò is the first-person future of vendere, to sell), so at least this hasn’t happened yet. But a lot of things are headed for the auction block, from my shoes (le mie scarpe) to my craziness (la mia pazzia) to my defeat (la mia sconfitta).
In a world where everything has its price, at the end the singer says no one knows quanto costa la mia libertà (how much my freedom costs). Or, it’s possible to interpret this line as “my freedom is really exhausting/a drag” because mi costa can be used to talk about things that are wearing on you.
While the vocabulary remains pretty simple throughout, there’s a lot more to enjoy and to take apart in this song.
“Amarsi un Po'” (Loving Each Other a Little)
The lyrics to this song are pretty approachable.
Love is tricky; Lucio Battisti compares it to flying. “Per diventare noi, veramente noi, uniti, indivisibili, vicini, ma irraggiungibili.” (In order to become us, truly us, united, indivisible, close, but unattainable.)
You can use all of the song’s great adjectives to talk about your own life and loves. “È bella perché è irraggiungibile” (she’s beautiful because she’s unattainable) is something I found myself saying last week, recalling this song. I had a special Italian someone in mind, but I’m pretty sure that the phrase could apply to a lot of Italian someones.
“Che cos’è l’amor” (What Is Love?)
This sing, whose lyrics ask what love is, then suggests we might as well ask the wind (il vento), the wardrobe (la guardarobiera) or the door (la porta).
It all seems rather hopeless, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the night and dawn (livid with mist!) together.
You’ll see the title (an abbreviated form of the standard che cosa è l’amore? — literally, what thing is love?) spelled a number of ways on the Internet, particularly with a double ss, as in the video title above. This isn’t surprising, as Capossela pronounces it with a hissed s instead of a z sound; this happens in some parts of Italy, and among some speakers.
This is one of the most famous Italian rock bands and one the best bands to start with, Massimo Volume hail from Bologna, so they speak a clear, unadulterated Italian that’s probably similar to what you’ve studied.
The lyrics are meaningful and beautiful but at the same time down-to-earth. This means the song contains a lot of accessible vocabulary and day-to-day Italian that can be learned and used right away in your own Italian conversations.
“A sangue freddo” (In Cold Blood)
This incredible Venetian band’s name translates to “The Theater of Horrors,” and they dominate the Italian alternative rock scene.
The distortion and noise rock aspects of their music can make the lyrics difficult to distinguish at times, but listening with the text reveals the hard-hitting yet direct (and grammatically simple) messages.
The strong yet easy-to-grasp messages in Il Teatro degli Orrori’s lyrics make them a great choice for picking up some Italian while learning about some of the societal issues that the Italian alt-rock community is confronting.
The music of Sicilian folk-rockers known as Il Pan del Diavolo (the Devil’s Bread) infuses American folk and country sounds with the heart and soul of Sicily. The Italian that the singers belt out is full of biting Sicilian humor, and if you can handle the accent, uncovering the meaning behind these lyrics will bring a wry smile to your lips.
Musically, Il Pan del Diavolo is a great band to help you transition from American to Italian sounds, but lyrically they’re definitely an intermediate level listen.
Levante, (which translates roughly to “rising up”), is the stage name for musician Claudia Lagona.
Levante’s rich voice and catchy hooks will have you tapping your foot upon the first of many listens, and her lyrics are full of witticisms on modern life and finding love.
Lagona was born in Sicily but moved to Turin, so her Italian is sharp and easy to understand. She also doesn’t have heavy instrumentals on her tracks, so her voice is front and center.
Management del Dolore Post-operatorio fits under the post-punk category and their lyrics are full of crude and counter-cultural jabs.
While they have some of the most thought-provoking lines, their lyrics can be hard to understand and follow, making them appropriate for an upper-intermediate student or someone looking for a challenge.
“Voglio una pelle splendida” (“I want beautiful skin”)
The lyrics for this rock ballad could be interpreted in a few ways, but it’s definitely not an ode to moisturizers.
The key line to me is “voglio un pensiero superficiale/che renda la pelle splendida” (I want a superficial thought/that makes the skin beautiful).
There’s something beautiful in the superficial, the skin-deep, isn’t there? Or at least, such thoughts are much less terrifying and painful than those of deep, true love. After all, “l’amore [è] un rogo” (love [is] a bonfire/pyre), as the song tells us.
“Per un milione” (For a Million)
This song talks about how the singer will wait forever for a love interest, and there’s nothing worth more than the person’s returned love.
Further, with lyrics like “Ti aspetterò | Perché sei tu che porti il sole” (I’ll wait for you | because it’s you who brings the sunshine), this song is great for reviewing grammar. In fact, it’s great for practicing the verb aspettare (to wait) in multiple tenses like il presente (the present tense) and il futuro semplice (the simple future tense).
“Casa” is the title track and single for Giordana’s first album. The lyrics talk about how everywhere feels like home when she’s with a lover.
This song is also a great way to practice Italian adjectives since it uses many of them to describe how being with her lover feels: casa intima (intimate house), casa piccola (small house), casa all’angolo di via della speranza (house at the corner of Hopeful Street).
“Vivere tutte le vite” (Live All Lives)
The best part of this song is that it combines jazz, pop and island music for a great summer jam. Further, like “Per un milione,” the lyrics are uplifting. They’re about living life to the fullest and maintaining a positive attitude even about the things that are scary.
This song is great for learning some Italian figurative language. For example, the final lyric in the chorus “non lasciarmi sfuggire neanche una foglia che si muove” means “I won’t let a single moving leaf escape me,” which is a clever use of figurative language to mean that Elisa won’t let life pass her by and she’ll enjoy even the most minute details.
“Ricchi X Sempre” (Rich X Always)
In the song “Ricchi X Sempre,” Sfera Ebbasta reflects on his struggles of becoming a rapper and making money in Italy.
On the way, he brings to light some of the social issues facing young people in Italy, especially in regards to finding a job or affording a decent lifestyle. For example, one of the more fun lines includes “lancio i soldi in aria, anche oggi sono il re” (I throw money in the air, even today I’m the king) boasting about a newfound lavish lifestyle.
This song is also good for learning modern Italian slang. For instance, repeated through the song is the phrase “vabbè fa niente” (well, whatever) which is a common expression of ennui and indifference in Italian.
Released in 2018, “Groupie” made female rapper Beba known to the music scene in Italy. In the song, Beba raps about how she doesn’t have enemies. Instead, she claims to have groupies who are jealous of her. She also boasts about how fantastic of a rapper she is, which we can’t deny because her flow is awesome!
Due to its subject matter, this song is great for learning Italian comparative adjectives and informal language. Further, it’s also great for learning vocabulary related to going out, lifestyle and friendship, though I’d be wary of telling my friends “se cerchi i ‘mi piace’, non piaci” (if you look for “likes,” you’re not liked).
“Jumbo” is fun and danceable, and like the other feel-good jams on this list, it focuses on an awesome summer night out with a love interest.
The best part of this song is that the lyrics are repetitive with great use of the imperfetto (imperfect). This makes practicing this verb tense a breeze with this song, and you’ll have the lyrics repeating in your head all day after listening, that’s for sure!
“Maria Antonietta” (Marie Antoinette)
Priestess is an artist who combines rap and singing for this awesome trap song. She’s up and coming in Italy, and with this song, it’s easy to see why. It’s atmospheric, and Priestess seamlessly glides between singing and rapping as she recounts a love from which she’s wounded.
The lyrics are also gold: “Ho perso la testa per te: Maria Antonietta, Maria Antonietta” (I lost my head for you: Marie Antoinette, Maria Antoinette) is the chorus, paying homage to the beheaded French queen. Not only is this song great for vocabulary related to love and loss, but it’s also a great review of the passato prossimo (the present perfect tense).
“Giro giro tondo” (Turn Turn Around)
If you were a little Italian boy or girl, this would be one of the very first songs you’d learn in school. It’s the equivalent of the English playground song “Ring Around the Rosie.”
This song is easy as it gets. The melody is charming and the structure of the lines is simple. Actually, there are many versions of this song. There’s the standard one with the hen, another involving a wolf at the door and even one talking about Mussolini’s grandchildren.
The variety of versions can only mean good news for your vocabulary, as you’ll be able to sing the same tune and have many different words accompany it. In fact, you can make your own Italian version and just use the standard melody as a template!
“Ci vuole un fiore” (It Takes a Flower)
“Ci vuole un fiore” talks about flowers, seeds, wood and trees and is perfect for Italian beginners because of the vocabulary mining potential in the lines, not to mention the catchy melody that stays with you long after the song is done. The structure is simple, regular and repetitive. You can easily get the hang of the words because they have been artfully arranged into a progression.
If the English song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” adeptly teaches children different parts of the body, this one does the same, but with words related to nature.
This is one of those songs that crams plenty of vocabulary into a few lines and is an example of how to creatively learn new words by embedding them in a meaningful context.
“Il coccodrillo come fa?” (How Does the Crocodile Go?)
“Il coccodrillo come fa?” is a song asking a very important question: “What sound does the crocodile make?” And along the way, it will definitely teach you a vocabulary word or two.
Actually, this song teaches you a little of everything: Useful interrogatives, nouns, pronouns and verbs are peppered throughout it. And if you want to milk it for all its worth, it would be worthwhile to do a line-by-line study.
(A word of warning, though: By the end, you will still have no idea what sound the crocodile makes.)
Well, that brings us to the end of this Italian music playlist.
But remember, these are only a tiny fraction of all of the great Italian music available out there! You can also find an array of Italian music videos on YouTube and FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
No matter what genre of music you like, you’re sure to find something that inspires you to learn—and inspires you to dance!
And One More Thing...
If you're as busy as most of us, you don't always have time for lengthy language lessons. The solution? FluentU!
Learn Italian with funny commericals, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles. Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.
Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’re learning, and give you extra practice with difficult words. Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!
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