Alessio enjoys Italian television and music from the 1980s and 1990s. He also enjoys listening to Chinese pop music.
Italian cuisine is one of the most renowned in the world, so it's not surprising to find references to it in some popular songs. As food is important in the country, Italian singers are the first to mention it in their lyrics. This article will list twelve of the catchiest songs in Italy that focus on food or mention it.
Top 12 Songs Mentioning Italian Food
- "Non Ti Passa Più" – 883
- "Rossetto e Cioccolato" – Ornella Vanoni
- "That's Amore" – Dean Martin
- "Don Raffaè" – Fabrizio De André
- "Con Un Deca" – 883
- "La Canzone di Carletto" – Cristina D'Avena (Feat. Carletto)
- "Pasta Al Burro" – Bugo
- "Viva La Pappa Col Pomodoro" – Rita Pavone
- "Le Tagliatelle di Nonna Pina" – Gian Marco Gualandi
- "Gelato Al Cioccolato" – Pupo
- "Buongiorno a Te" – Luciano Pavarotti
- "Il Caffè della Peppina" – Piccolo Coro dell'Antoniano
1. "Non Ti Passa Più" – 883
883 was a famous Italian pop group among the most outstanding protagonists of the Italian music scene in the 1990s. One of their best-known songs is "Non Ti Passa Più," whose title means "It Never Goes Away."
The lyrics focus on the difficulties in falling in love with someone, which begin with meeting the girl's parents, who are wary and interrogate the man's real intentions. The first part of the song is about having lunch at the girl's parent's house, where the man eats pasta al forno (the Italian word for "baked pasta").
In Italy, baked pasta is a popular dish, especially good to prepare when you have guests at lunch or dinner since baking pans are often large-sized. It's also common to reheat it and eat it the day after. Baked pasta is an excellent example of homemade Italian food
2. "Rossetto e Cioccolato" – Ornella Vanoni
The song's title means "Lipstick and Chocolate." The lyrics mention different elements related to food and sensuality. In the end, the whole song compares the pleasures of food with those of love and sex and metaphorically associates them with the preparation of a dessert.
Each song's verse alternates words like "passion," "sensuality," "socks," and "chills in the back" with ingredients like "raspberry syrup," "powdered sugar," "flour," and "milk," without being sexually explicit in any way.
3. "That's Amore" – Dean Martin
This song about Italian food is one of the most popular worldwide, as it's also one of the few written in English.
Three foods are mentioned:
- pasta e fasul (pasta with beans), and
The song references Italian culture in general, not just food: for example, the tarantella is a traditional southern Italian dance. Finally, there is an abundant usage of Italian words in the lyrics.
4. "Don Raffaè" – Fabrizio De André
Fabrizio De André was one of the most influential Italian songwriters, as well as one of the leading exponents of the Genoese school, a cultural movement linked to the valorization of Italian songwriting. "Don Raffaè" is a song about Raffaele Cutolo, an Italian crime boss serving a sentence at Poggioreale Prison in Naples. In the song's refrain, there is a reference to coffee, as traditionally prepared in Naples.
Ah, che bell' 'o cafè
Pure in carcere 'o sanno fa
Co' a ricetta ch'a Ciccirinella
Compagno di cella, c'ha dato mammà
— "Don Raffaè"
The refrain means that coffee is always delicious, even in prison.
5. "Con Un Deca" – 883
When the Italian currency was the lira, the word "deca" meant the ten thousand lire banknote, which was worth as much as five dollars at that time. The song talks about what one could do with a deca. The value was so low that, as the 883 sang, it could not even be spent in a pizzeria.
A pizza in Italy may cost no more than five dollars (especially if you order a plain Margherita with just tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese). Still, prices increase if you add the beverage and a possible cover charge (assuming you are eating at the table).
6. "La Canzone di Carletto" – Cristina D'Avena (Feat. Carletto)
Italians love to cook, but this does not prevent them from eating frozen food too. Especially when you're in a hurry, frozen food is a convenient solution to prepare a tasty lunch or dinner.
One of the most iconic and loved frozen foods is Sofficini, savory crescent-shaped filled and breaded turnovers, which you then fry or bake.
Children especially love Sofficini, and one reason is the presence of Carletto in the commercials. Carletto is a greedy and lovely chameleon who has conquered the heart of all Italian children, just like Ronald McDonald has been the main mascot of McDonald's fast food restaurants.
One of the leading Italian pop singers, Cristina D'Avena, has sung a catchy and nice song about Carletto, and of course, there are various references to Sofficini.
7. "Pasta Al Burro" – Bugo
Bugo is one of the most loved and controversial Italian songwriters of the last 1990s, one of the symbols of music transformation in Italy that sees the shift from a political way of making music (the one pursued by Fabrizio De André) to a more disillusioned way of making music. "Pasta al Burro" is one of the most known Bugo songs, and the title means "Pasta With Butter."
8. "Viva La Pappa Col Pomodoro" – Rita Pavone
The piece is a famous Italian song for children and the soundtrack of Il giornalino di Gian Burrasca, a popular TV series aired in the 1960s in Italy and based on the homonymous novel. Pappa al pomodoro is a Tuscan bread soup with ancient origins, made with homemade bread, tomato sauce, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and basil.
9. "Le Tagliatelle di Nonna Pina" – Gian Marco Gualandi
This piece is one of the most iconic and famous songs for children. The title means "Granny Pina's Noodles." Tagliatelle, in particular, is a large-sized noodle that one can commonly eat with tomato sauce or other seasonings. It's also a popular kind of pasta Italian grandmas love to prepare at home.
10. "Gelato Al Cioccolato" – Pupo
Enzo Ghinazzi, also known as Pupo, is an Italian songwriter famous for writing notable successes, such as "Sarà perché ti amo" and "Su di noi." "Gelato Al Cioccolato" is another popular hit, whose title means "Chocolate Ice Cream."
11. "Buongiorno a Te" – Luciano Pavarotti
Luciano Pavarotti was an important tenor, as well as a leading exponent of Italian opera music. "Buongiorno a Te" means "Good Morning to You," and the song contains several good morning greetings to various things: the day that starts, his wife (the first person he wants to see in the morning). His greeting also goes to milk and coffee, undisputed elements of Italian breakfast.
12. "Il Caffè della Peppina" – Piccolo Coro dell'Antoniano
This is an evergreen Italian song for children. "Il Caffè della Peppina" talks about an old lady, Peppina. She prepares a weird (and most likely, disgusting) coffee with chocolate, jam, seven butterfly wings, four or five candies, salt, pepper, half a kilo of onions, rosemary, five bags of flour, a turkey leg, a chick feather, water, Petroleum, vinegar, olive oil, and salad.
Not exactly a light breakfast, maybe not even a breakfast, as the song's refrain states that you should not drink Peppina's coffee in the morning, neither with milk nor with tea. The song ends with Peppina, who adds the last ingredient to coffee, TNT, jumping in the air along with the coffee pot.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Alessio Ganci