Bella Ciao: the Italian partisan song

Bella ciao is probably the most famous Italian song from the World War II period, as it became a worldwide hymn to antifascism. 

As a matter of fact, however, it was only composed two years after the end of the war adding new words onto a traditional harvesting song’s melody, with minimal metrical changes. Resistance fighters all over the world have adapted its lyrics to their situations, but here is the original text. The “invader” mentioned is the German Nazi army, while “partisan” was the name given to the Resistance fighters, who often hid in the mountains to escape their enemy.


Italian lyrics

Una mattina mi son svegliato
o bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao, ciao, ciao
una mattina mi son svegliato
e ho trovato l’invasor.

O partigiano portami via
o bella ciao…
o partigiano portami via
che mi sento di morir.

E se io muoio da partigiano
o bella ciao…
e se io muoio da partigiano
tu mi devi seppellir.

Ma seppellirmi lassù in montagna,
o bella ciao…
ma seppellirmi lassù in montagna
sotto l’ombra di un bel fior.

E poi le genti che passeranno,
o bella ciao…
e poi le genti che passeranno
mi diranno “che bel fior”!

È questo e il fiore del partigiano o bella ciao… è questo il fiore del partigiano morto per la libertà

English translation

One morning I woke up goodbye oh my beauty, goodbye oh my beauty, goodbye oh my beauty, bye, bye, bye one morning I woke up and I found the invader.

Oh partisan take me away
goodbye oh my beauty…
oh partisan take me away for I feel like dying.

And if I die as partisan?goodbye oh my beauty…
and if I die as partisan?you have to bury me.

But bury me up in the mountain
goodbye oh my beauty…
but bury me up in the mountain
under the shadow of a beautiful flower

And all the people who will pass by?goodbye oh my beauty…
and all the people who will pass by?will say to me “what a wonderful flower”!

This is the flower of the partisan?goodbye oh my beauty…
this is the flower of the partisan
who died for freedom.

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