Canzoni Italiane… di Natale!

Canzoni Italiane… di Natale! 

It is Christmas’ time and at this time of the year, in any shop you go to, Christmas’ Carols are playing. What about Italian Christmas’ Carols? 

You can find them, but you should look for Christmas’ songs. In fact, in English you have the word carols in order to refer to Christian religious songs sung at Christmas… In Italian we say ‘canzoni di Natale’ or ‘canzoni natalizie’ (natalizio/a is the adjective which means ‘of Christmas’ time or with Christmas’ features).

We have many ‘canzoni natalizie’ and many of them are not originally from Italy and, therefore, they have their corresponding carols in English, such as White Christmas (Bianco Natale) or Venite Fedeli (Adeste Fideles). With my students in the Dante Alighieri Society we have recently listened to a beautiful version of Bianco Natale sung by Mina, who is one of the most famous female singers in Italy ( ). A few years ago, I found out that you also have Santa Lucia among your Christmas’ carols. Santa Lucia, which is a Neapolitan song to celebrate the beautiful bay Santa Lucia (, is not actually considered a Christmas’ song in Italy and nobody would dream of singing or listening to it at this time of the year! 

We do have an original and beautiful Christmas song and I hope you will listen to it: Tu scendi dalle stelle (You come down from the stars), written in Nola (close to Napoli) in 1724 by Alfonso Maria de Liguori. Here is the link for it, you can read the words and sing it along (there is also an English translation). Here is a version sung by Bocelli and you can find other versions sung by other singers, included Pavarotti.

It is a great opportunity to listen to and sing Italian Christmas’ songs. In fact, you already know many tunes and many lyrics in English. It is a great exercise to sing along with them in Italian as it improves your pronunciation and your fluency… 

Buon divertimento! Have fun!

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