The Italian national anthem was written in the autumn of 1847 in Genova, by the then 20-year-old student and patriot Goffredo Mameli. A couple of months later, the words were set to music in Torino by another Genovese, Michele Novaro. The song is known variously as L'Inno di Mameli (Mameli's Hymn, after the author of the lyrics), Il Canto degli Italiani (The Song of the Italians), or Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy), from its opening line.
The anthem was born in a climate of patriotic fervor and the struggle for the unification and independence of Italy, a foreshadowing of the First Italian War of Independence against Austria. The hymn also enjoyed widespread popularity throughout the period of the Risorgimento and in the following decades.
The immediacy and momentum of the verses of the song made him the most beloved song of unification, not only during the Risorgimento, but also in the following decades. Not by chance Giuseppe Verdi, in his Hymn of the Nations in 1862, entrusted to their Song of the Italians - and not the Royal March - the task of symbolizing our country, placing it next to God Save the Queen and the Marseillaise.
It was quite natural, therefore, that on 12 October 1946 the national anthem became the national anthem of the Italian Republic.Origins of the Italian National Anthem
The best known is the testimony given, although many years later, by Anton Giulio Barrili, patriot and poet, friend and biographer of Mameli.
We are in Turin:
"There, one evening in mid-September, at the home of Lorenzo Valerio, fine patriot and writer of reputation, it was music and politics together. In fact, send them to agree, were read several hymns on the piano blossomed in that year for each land of Italy, from that of Meucci, of Rome, to music by Magazzari - The new year already dawn pristine - the most recent of Piedmont Bertoldi - Coll'azzurra cockade on his chest - music by Rossi .
In that medium enters the living room a new host, Ulysses Borzino, the distinguished Genoese painter all my reminders. He just arrived from Genoa, and, turning to Novaro, and a note that he had gouged out of his pocket at that point: - To 'he said, sent you Godfrey. - The Novaro opens the package, the law, is moved. They ask him what all; the throng of fans around. - It was marvelous! - Exclaims the master, and reads aloud, and raises all the enthusiasm to his audience. - I felt - I said the Master in April of '75 have, by I asked him about the hymn, I had to hold a commemoration for the Mameli - I felt inside me something extraordinary, which I can not define now, with all twenty-seven years. I know that I cried, I was excited, and I could not sit still.
You put on the harpsichord, with the verses of Godfrey on the lectern, and strummed, his fingers twitching assassinavo that poor instrument, always with his eyes innova, putting down melodic phrases, each other, but far be it a thousand miles from the idea they would fit into those words. I got dissatisfied with me, I lingered a little 'home-Valerio, but always with the verses before the eyes of the mind. I saw that there was no remedy, I said goodbye and ran home. There, without even taking off my hat, I threw myself at the piano.
I came back to mind the reason strummed home Valerio: I wrote on a sheet of paper, the first that came to hand: in my excitement I threw a lamp on the harpsichord and, consequently, even on poor paper, this was the 'Brothers original hymn of Italy."
This is the complete text of the original poem written by Goffredo Mameli; however the Italian anthem, as performed in every official occasion, is composed of the first stanza, sung twice, and the chorus, then ends with a loud "Sì!" ("Yes!"). The third stanza is an invocation to God to protect the loving union of the Italians struggling to form their unified nation once and for all, the fourth recalls popular heroic figures and moments of Italian independence such as the Vespri siciliani, the riot started in Genoa by Balilla and the battle of Legnano. The last stanza of the poem refers to the part played by Habsburg Austria and Czarist Russia in the partitions of Poland, linking its quest for independence to the Italian one. Some of the text cannot be translated literally.
The Poet: Goffredo Mameli
Goffredo Mameli was born in Genoa, September 5, 1827 (son of Adele - or Adelaide - Zoagli, a descendant of one of the most distinguished aristocratic Genoese families, and George, Cagliari, a team commander of the fleet of the Kingdom of Sardinia). Precocious student and poet, feelings and liberal Republicans, adheres to Mazzini in 1847, the year that actively participates in large events Genoa for reform and composed The Song of the Italians. Henceforth, the life of the poet-soldier will be dedicated entirely to the Italian cause: in March 1848, a company of 300 volunteers, reaches Milan arose, and then fighting the Austrians on the Mincio with the rank of captain of riflemen.
After the armistice, Salasco returned to Genoa, collaborating with Garibaldi, and in November, reached Rome, where, February 9, 1849, is proclaimed the Republic. Despite the fever, is always at the forefront in defending the city besieged by the French: June 3rd was wounded in the left leg, which will have to be amputated for gangrene supervening.
He died of infection on July 6th, at seven-thirty in the morning, only twenty-two. He is buried in the Mausoleum Ossuary of the Janiculum.
The Musician: Michele Novaro
Michele Novaro was born October 23, 1818 in Genoa, where he studied composition and singing. In 1847 in Turin, with a contract for the second tenor and chorus master of the Theatre Royal and Carignan.
Convinced liberal, offered to the cause of his songwriting talents, putting in music dozens of patriotic songs and organizing events to raise funds for companies Garibaldi.
Modest-tempered, derived no benefit from his most famous anthem, even after unification. He returned to Genoa, between 1864 and 1865 established a People's School Choir, which he dedicated all his efforts.
He died poor, October 21, 1885, and the glimpse of his life was marked by financial difficulties and health problems. At the instigation of his former pupils, was erected a monument in the cemetery of Staglieno, where he now rests near the tomb of Mazzini.