Aurelio Fierro

"Aurè... e cantace 'na canzuncella"... guests at his restaurant in Naples used to say... Aurelio Fierro was born in Montella, province of Avellino, on September 13, 1923, the sixth of eleven children of Raffaele, a well-off shopkeeper, a former shepherd and "stornellatore" (rhyming verse improvising singer) that had also emigrated for a time to America.


Aurelio Fierro A graduate in Engineering in the 40s, in 1951 Aurelio won a competition of New Voices, and in 1952 he won the Festival of Castellammare di Stabia, deciding after that to leave the engineering profession for music.

He reached great popularity in 1957 with Lazzarella, written by Domenico Modugno, a song that became a soundtrack for the movie starring himself, Luigi De Filippo, Tina Pica and Domenico Modugno.

Fierro participated to six editions of the Sanremo Festival (1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964) and several Festivals of Neapolitan song, which he won five times.

In 1956 at the Festival di Napoli in tandem with Grazia Gresi he sang Guaglione, lyrics by Nicola Salerno and music by Giuseppe Fanciulli. The song gained international fame for Fierro, who made many guest appearances in the U.S. and Canada in the numerous Italian communities, in the late fifties.

In 1986 in Naples he opened a successful restaurant, 'A Canzuncella, where on Saturday night he performed a dinner show. A passionate scholar of the culture and traditions of Naples, Fierro's dream was to found a museum of the Neapolitan song with adjoining small theater for tourists, but the project did not go ahead. He managed instead to publish a Grammar of the Neapolitan language and a book of Neapolitan fairy tales and legends. During the 1990's he was engaged in drafting a historical Encyclopedia of the Song in four volumes, which he was not able to complete. He died in Naples on 11 March 2005.

Songs with English translation

Some facts on Aurelio Fierro

  • In 1959, Aurelio went to see Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo. "From the Lord - the saint said - you've got two beautiful things, your voice and your smile. And if you give them to everybody, He will not abandon you."
  • In 1999 he became ill with prostate cancer, but the family did not reveal him the diagnosis. One night he dreamed of walking with Padre Pio, of whom he was always devoted, and to meet his own parents speaking of his illness. As he woke up he asked his wife: "What have you been hiding?". Marisa told him and invited him to pray Padre Pio because "he had the same problem." Exams showed that the cancer had gone, and Fierro had no doubts: "It was a miracle."
  • His popularity in the world was overwhelming. He convinced the Argentinians that he was a descendant of their national hero Martin Fierro. In San Paulo, Brazil, in 1961, 60 thousand people sang with him 'O sole mio. In Japan in 1977 he received an applause of over fifteen minutes for his performance of Core 'ngrato. But his record was in Naples in 1954: before one hundred thousand people at Porta Capuana he was forced to repeat Scapricciatiello five times.
  • Official website of Ristorante 'A Canzuncella, piazzetta Santa Maria Nova, Napoli