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13 Italian Nursery Rhymes With Illustrations And English Translations

13 Italian Nursery Rhymes With Illustrations And English Translations

Ah, nursery rhymes! The backbone of every childhood. The never-ending repetition. The simple melodies. The absurd lyrics. What’s not to love?

Every culture and language has them, and they’re a great way to introduce kids to new concepts – whether it’s learning to count, or expanding their vocabulary. And as someone learning Italian, you can use Italian nursery rhymes in much the same way – to familiarize yourself with the language, and to have a bit of fun while you’re at it.

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With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 13 popular Italian nursery rhymes, complete with English translations and wacky illustrations. So pull up a chair, grab a cup of espresso (or limoncello, we won’t judge), and let’s get started!

 

Anghingo - Italian nursery rhyme

Anghingò

Italian English
Anghingò
Tre galline e tre capò
Per andare alla cappella
C’era una ragazza bella
Che suonava il ventitré
Uno due tre.
Anghingò,
Three chicks and three roosters
To go to the chapel
There was a beautiful girl
Who played the twenty-three
One, two, three.

Girotondo - Italian nursery rhyme

Girotondo (Round and round)

This is the Italian version of the famous “Ring a Ring o’ Roses”.

Italian English
Giro giro tondo
Casca il mondo
Casca la Terra
Tutti giù per terra
Round and round
The world falls down
The Earth falls down
Everyone falls down

Bolli bolli pentolino - Italian nursery rhyme

Bolli bolli pentolino (Boil, boil, little pot)

Italian English
Bolli bolli pentolino,
fa la pappa al mio bambino;
la rimescola la mamma
mentre il bimbo fa la nanna;
fa la nanna gioia mia
o la pappa scappa via.
Boil, boil, little pot
Make some food for my child;
Stir it around, Mama
While the child sleeps;
Sleep tight, my joy
Or the food will run away.

Capra capretta - Italian nursery rhyme

Capra capretta (Goat, little goat)

Italian English
Capra, capretta,
che bruchi tra l’erbetta,
vuoi una manciatina
di sale da cucina?
Il sale é salato,
il bimbo é nel prato,
la mamma é alla fonte,
il sole é sul monte,
sul monte é l’erbetta,
capra, capretta!
Goat, little goat,
that grazes in the grass,
do you want a pinch
of kitchen salt?
The salt is salty,
the child is in the meadow,
the mother is by the spring,
the sun is on the mountain,
on the mountain is the grass,
Goat, little goat!

Ambarabà ciccì coccò- Italian nursery rhyme

Ambarabà ciccì coccò

Italian English
Ambarabà ciccì coccò
tre civette sul comò
che facevano l’amore
con la figlia del dottore.
Il dottore si ammalò…
ambarabà ciccì coccò.
Ambarabà ciccì coccò
three owls on the dresser
that were making love
with the doctor’s daughter.
The doctor got sick…
ambarabà ciccì coccò.

Farfallina - Italian nursery rhyme

Farfallina (Butterfly)

Italian English
Farfallina
Bella e bianca
vola vola
mai si stanca
gira qua
e gira la
poi si resta sopra un fiore
e poi si resta spora un fiore.

Ecco ecco
a trovata
bianca e rosa
colorata
gira qua
e gira la
poi si resta sopra un fiore
e poi si resta spora un fiore.
Butterfly
Pretty and white
Flying flying
Never gets tired
Spins around here
And spins around there
Then it stays on top of a flower
And then it stays on top of a flower.

Look look
I found it
White and pink
Colored
Spins around here
And spins around there
Then it stays on top of a flower
And then it stays on top of a flower.

L'inverno se n'è andato - Italian nursery rhyme

L’inverno se n’è andato (Winter has gone)

Italian English
L’inverno se n’è andato
l’aprile non c’è più
è ritornato maggio
al canto del cucù.

Ritornello:
Cucù, cucù
L’aprile non c’è più
È ritornato il maggio
Al canto del cucù.


Lassù per le montagne
La neve non c’è più
Comincia a fare il nido
Il povero cucù.

(Ritornello)

La bella alla finestra
La guarda in su e in giù
Aspetta il fidanzato
Al canto del cucù.

(Ritornello)

Sul monte c’era un bimbo
Portava a pascolar
Un piccolo agnellino
Che sol sapea belar.

(Ritornello)

Un fioccolo di lana
Llascio per lui lassù
E presto è diventato
Il nido del cucù.

(Ritornello)

Te l’ho pur sempre detto
Che maggio ha la virtù
Di far sentir l’amore
Al canto del cucù.

(Ritornello)
Winter has gone away
April is no longer here
May has come back
To the cuckoo’s song.

Chorus:
Cuckoo, cuckoo
April is no longer here
May has come back
To the cuckoo’s song.


Up in the mountains
The snow is no longer here,
The poor cuckoo
starts to make its nest.

(Chorus)

The beautiful girl at the window
Is looking up and down
Waiting for her betrothed
To the cuckoo’s song.

(Chorus)

There was a boy
on a mountain peak
Taking his small lamb to pasture,
Which only knew how to bleat.

(Chorus)

A piece of wool
He left up there for it
And soon it became
The cuckoo’s nest.

(Chorus)

I’ve always told you
That May has the virtue
Of making people feel love
At the cuckoo’s song.

(Chorus)

Nella vecchia fattoria - Italian nursery rhyme

Nella vecchia fattoria (On the old farm)

This is the Italian version of “Old McDonald had a Farm”.

Italian English
Nella vecchia fattoria,
ia-ia-o
Quante bestie ha zio Tobia,
ia-ia-o
C’e il cane (bau!) cane (bau!) ca-ca-cane, cane (bau!)
Quante bestie ha zio Tobia,
ia-ia-o

Nella vecchia fattoria,
ia-ia-o
Quante bestie ha zio Tobia,
ia-ia-o
E il gatto (miao!) gatto (miao!) ga-ga-gatto, gatto (miao!)
Quante bestie ha zio Tobia,
ia-ia-o

Nella vecchia fattoria,
ia-ia-o
Quante bestie ha zio Tobia,
ia-ia-o
E la muca (muu!) muca (muu!) mu-mu-muca, muca (muu!)
Quante bestie ha zio Tobia,
ia-ia-o.
On the old farm,
e-i-e-i-o
How many animals has Uncle Tobias,
e-i-e-i-o
There’s the dog (woof!) Dog (woof!) D-d-dog, dog (woof!)
How many animals has Uncle Tobias,
e-i-e-i-o.

On the old farm,
e-i-e-i-o
How many animals has Uncle Tobias,
e-i-e-i-o
And the cat (meow!) Cat (meow!) C-c-cat, cat (meow!)
How many animals has Uncle Tobias,
e-i-e-i-o.

On the old farm,
e-i-e-i-o
How many animals has Uncle Tobias,
e-i-e-i-o
And the cow (moo!) Cow (moo!) C-c-cow, cow (moo!)
How many animals has Uncle Tobias,
e-i-e-i-o.

Seta moneta - Italian nursery rhyme

Seta moneta (Silk coin)

Italian English
Seta moneta,
Le donne di Gaeta,
Che filano la seta,
La seta e la Cambagia;
Giovanni che mi piace,
Mi piace Giovanni,
Che fa cantare i galli,
Li galli e le galline,
Con tutti li pulcini.
Guardo nel pozzo
Che c’è un gallo rosso.
Guarda in quell’ altro,
Che c’è un gallo bianco.
Guarda sul letto,
Che c’è un bel confetto.
Guarda lassù,
Che c’è un cuccurucù.
Silk coin,
The women of Gaeta,
Who spin silk,
Silk and wool;
John, whom I like,
I like John,
Who makes the roosters crow,
The roosters and the hens,
With all the chicks.
I look in the well
And there’s a red rooster.
Look in that other one,
And there’s a white rooster.
Look on the bed,
And there’s some pretty candy.
Look up high,
And there’s a cock-a-doodle-doo.

Centocinquanta - Italian nursery rhyme

Centocinquanta (One hundred and fifty)

Italian English
Centocinquanta
la pecora canta
canta il gallo
risponde la gallina
Madama Colombina
s’affaccia alla finestra
con tre colombe in testa
Passan tre fanti
su tre cavalli bianchi:
bianca la sella,
bianca la donzella,
addio mammina bella.
One hundred and fifty
the sheep is singing
the rooster is singing
the hen is answering
Madame Colombine
is looking out the window
with three doves on her head
Three soldiers go by
on three white horses:
white, the saddle,
white, the maiden,
Goodbye, dear mother.

Un elefante si dondolava - Italian nursery rhyme

Un elefante si dondolava (One elephant was swinging)

Italian English
Un elefante si dondolava
sopra il filo di una ragnatela,
e ritenendo la cosa interessante
andò a chiamare un altro elefante.

Due elefanti si dondolavano
sopra il filo di una ragnatela
e ritenendo la cosa interessante
andarono a chiamare un altro elefante.

Tre elefanti si dondolavano
sopra il filo di una ragnatela
e ritenendo la cosa interessante
andarono a chiamare un altro elefante.
One elephant was swinging
On the thread of a spider’s web,
And finding it interesting,
He called another elephant.

Two elephants were swinging
On the thread of a spider’s web,
And finding it interesting,
They called another elephant.

Three elephants were swinging
On the thread of a spider’s web,
And finding it interesting,
They called another elephant.

Stella, stellina - Italian nursery rhyme

Stella, stellina (Star, little star)

Not quite “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, but as close to it as Italian gets.

Italian English
Stella, stellina,
La notte si avvicina.
La fiamma traballa.
La mucca nella stalla.
La mucca e il vitello,
La pecora e l’agnello,
La chioccia con il pulcino,
Ognuno ha il suo bambino,
Ognuno ha la sua mamma,
E tutti fanno la nanna!
Star, little star,
The night is drawing near.
The flame is flickering.
The cow in the barn.
The cow and the calf,
The sheep and the lamb,
The hen with her chick,
Each one has its child,
Each one has its mother,
And they all go to bed!

Maria lavava - Italian nursery rhyme

Maria lavava (Mary was doing the washing)

Italian English
Maria lavava,
Giuseppe stendeva,
Il figlio piangeva
dal freddo che aveva.

Stai zitto mio figlio,
che adesso ti piglio:
il latte t’ho dato,
il pane non c’è.

La neve sui monti
cadeva dal cielo,
Maria col suo velo
copriva Gesù.
Mary was doing the washing,
Joseph was hanging out laundry,
their son was crying
from the cold.

“Hush now my son,
I’ll pick you up,
I’ve given you milk,
but there’s no bread.”

Snow from the sky
was falling on the mountains,
Mary with her veil
covered Jesus.

Thanks for stopping by! We hope you enjoyed this list of Italian nursery rhymes. If you’re interested in reading some more popular Italian content, head on over to our post Funny Italian Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings.

Or, if you’re looking for some Italian movies to watch, check out The Best Italian-Language Movies to Watch on Netflix.

Arrivederci!