Italian Word of the Day: Canzone (song)

One of the most enjoyable and effective ways of learning new words and expressions in Italian is to familiarise yourself with all the best canzoni (feminine, singular: canzone).

IPA: /can·zó·ne/

The word canzone (song) comes from the verb cantare which means to sing. Some other related terms include the diminutive canzoncina (a cute or simple song), canto (a more generic term that, in addition to meaning song, also denotes the call of birds, chants and poems) and canzonetta (a popular song or ditty).

Some common verbs you’ll see used with canzone include:

  • cantare una canzone = to sing a song
  • scrivere una canzone = to write a song
  • mettere una canzone = to play a song
  • incidere una canzone = to record a song
  • rilasciare una canzone = to release a song

Tu sai chi ha scritto questa canzone? Mi è rimasta in testa!

Do you know who wrote this song? It’s stuck in my head!


Most songwriters (autori di canzoni, or just autori) and singer-songwriter (cantautori) follow a typical song structure that includes an intro (introduzione), verse (strofa), chorus (ritornello), bridge (ponte), musical interlude (interludio strumentale), and outro (finale). Pop and folk songs in particular are often accompanied by lyrics (testo).

man signing in recording studio
Lui sta cantando a squarciagola. = He’s singing at the top of his lungs.

Perhaps the most well-known song contest and awards ceremony in Italy is Il Festival della Canzone Italiana di Sanremo (The Sanremo Italian Song Festival), usually referred to as the Festival di Sanremo. Held every year in the town of Sanremo in Liguria, it was the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest and has launched the careers of some of the nation’s most successful singers including Andrea Bocelli and Eros Ramazzotti.

In a figurative sense, canzone can refer to a recurrent and monotonous situation or occurrence.

Ogni giorno è la solita canzone!

Every day is the same old story!



883 – Una Canzone d’Amore

One of my husband’s favourite Italian bands when he was a child was 883. The song Una Canzone d’Amore (A Love Song), which was the third single off their 1995 album La donna, il sogno & il grande incubo (The woman, the dream & the big nightmare), was a big hit. If you’d like to give it a listen, we’ve added a link to the official music video below, as well as the lyrics and English translation so that you can follow along.

Se solo avessi le parole
Te lo direi
Anche se mi farebbe male
Se io sapessi cosa dire

Io lo farei
Lo farei lo sai

Se lo potessi immaginare
Dipingerei
Il sogno di poterti amare
Se io sapessi come fare
Ti scriverei, ti scriverei

Una canzone d’amore
Per farmi ricordare
Una canzone d’amore
Per farti addormentare
Che faccia uscire calore
Che non ti so spiegare
Una canzone d’amore
Solo per te
Solo per te
Solo per te
Solo per te
Solo per te

Se un giorno io riuscissi a entrare
Nei sogni tuoi
Mi piacerebbe disegnare
Sulla lavagna del tuo cuore
I sogni miei
I sogni miei lo sai

E se si potessero suonare
L’inciderei
E poi te li farei ascoltare
Se io sapessi come fare
Ti scriverei
Ti scriverei

Una canzone d’amore
Per farmi ricordare
Una canzone d’amore
Per farti addormentare
Che faccia uscire calore
Che non ti so spiegare
Una canzone d’amore
Solo per te
Solo per te
Solo per te
Solo per te
Solo per te

Se io avessi le parole
Le potessi immaginare
Fosse facile spiegare
Si riuscissero a suonare
Se potessi raccontare
Se sapessi come fare
Se sapessi cosa dire allora ti scriverei

Una canzone d’amore
Per farmi ricordare
Una canzone d’amore
Per farti addormentare
Che faccia uscire calore
Che non ti so spiegare
Una canzone d’amore
Solo per te

Una canzone d’amore
Per farmi ricordare
Una canzone d’amore
Per farti addormentare
Che faccia uscire calore
Che non ti so spiegare
Una canzone d’amore
Solo per te

If only I had the words
I’d tell you
Even if it would hurt me
If I knew what to say
I would do it
I would do it you know

If I could imagine it
I would paint
The dream of being able to love you
If I knew how to do it
I would write you, I would write you

A love song
To make me remember
A love song
To make you fall asleep
That lets heat out
That I can’t explain
A love song
Only for you
Only for you
Only for you
Only for you
Only for you

If one day I manage to get in

Into your dreams
I’d like to draw
On the blackboard of your heart
My dreams
You know my dreams

And if they could play
I would record them
And then I’d let you listen to them
If I knew how to do it
I would write you
I would write you

A love song
To make me remember
A love song
To make you fall asleep
That lets heat out
That I can’t explain
A love song
Only for you
Only for you
Only for you
Only for you
Only for you

If I had the words
If I could imagine them
If it were easy to explain
If they could play
If I could describe
If I knew how
If I knew what to say then I would write you

A love song
To make me remember
A love song
To make you fall asleep
That lets heat out
That I can’t explain
A love song
Only for you

A love song
To make me remember
A love song
To make you fall asleep
That lets heat out
That I can’t explain
A love song
Only for you

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