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L'Italiano

cutugno-l-italiano "L'Italiano" is known all over the world: performed by Toto Cutugno in 1983 for the 23rd edition of the Sanremo Festival, it came out only fifth, however. Authors of the song were Toto Cutugno and Cristiano Minellono. The song - as said in the lyrics - is traditionally accompanied by a guitar.
The ranking in the critics' prize also reflected sales in Italy: "L'Italiano" was the second best-selling album among those of the Festival, and on an international level was by far the most successful. The lyrics talk about vices, virtues, and stereotypes of the "Bel Paese", with its over-Americanism ("with too much America on posters"), a growing crisis of religious vocation, but still a country to which one is proud to belong. Other references are to the Italian passion for football, and to the then President of the Republic, Sandro Pertini (1896 - 1990, the "partisan president").

The lyrics include international stereotypes as the spaghetti "al dente" - cooked until the pasta is soft but still firm under the teeth - the espresso, songs and artists, soccer passion and flags brought to the laundry before the next match, an elegant suit - a "gessato", from gesso (=chalk) is made from a dark worsted or flannel cloth, drawn with thin vertical lines of a lighter shade so as to seem drawn in chalk - and new socks.

Other stereotypes are those typical of a generation, of the 1980's: a car radio in the hand so it would not be stolen, the TV replay of football matches to study goals, fauls and a referee's mistakes, a battered Fiat Seicento.

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Buongiorno Italia, gli spaghetti al dente
e un partigiano come presidente,
con l'autoradio sempre nella mano destra
e un canarino sopra la finestra.
Good morning Italy, with "al dente" spaghetti
and a partisan for president
with a car radio always in the right hand
and a canary at the window
 
Buongiorno Italia, con i tuoi artisti,
con troppa America sui manifesti,
con le canzoni, con amore, con il cuore,
con più donne, sempre meno suore.
Good morning Italy with your artists,
too much America on the posters
with songs, with love, with heart
with more women, fewer and fewer nuns
 
Buongiorno Italia, buongiorno Maria,
con gli occhi pieni di malinconia.
Buongiorno Dio
sai che ci sono anch'io.
Good morning Italy, good morning Mary,
with eyes full of melancholy.
Good morning, God
You know I am here too
 
Lasciatemi cantare
con la chitarra in mano.
Lasciatemi cantare
una canzone piano piano.
Lasciatemi cantare
perchè ne sono fiero.
Sono un italiano,
un italiano vero.
Let me sing
with a guitar in my hand
Let me sing
a song softly
Let me sing
because I am proud of this
I am an Italian,
a true Italian
 
Buongiorno Italia, che non si spaventa,
con la crema da barba alla menta,
con un vestito gessato sul blu
e la moviola la domenica in TV.
Buongiorno Italia, col caffè ristretto,
le calze nuove nel primo cassetto,
con la bandiera in tintoria
e una Seicento giù di carrozzeria.
Good morning Italy, that is not afraid
With mint shaving foam
With a blue gessato suit
And matches in replay on Sunday on TV
Good morning Italy, with espresso coffee
new socks in the first drawer
with a flag at the laundry
and a Seicento with an old bodywork
 
Buongiorno Italia, Buongiorno Maria,
con gli occhi pieni di malinconia.
Buongiorno Dio
sai che ci sono anch'io.
Good morning Italy, good morning Mary,
with eyes full of melancholy.
Good morning, God
You know I am here too
 
Lasciatemi cantare
con la chitarra in mano.
Lasciatemi cantare
una canzone piano piano.
Lasciatemi cantare
perchè ne sono fiero.
Sono un italiano, un italiano vero.
Let me sing
with a guitar in my hand
Let me sing
a song softly
Let me sing
because I am proud of this
I am an Italian, a true Italian
 
Lasciatemi cantare
perchè ne sono fiero.
Sono un italiano,
un italiano vero.
Let me sing
because I am proud of this
I am an Italian,
a true Italian