There have always been songs dedicated to the great Italian cities of art and tourism. Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples, Milan, Turin, and Genoa can boast of numerous compositions that celebrate their history from time to time, their tourist attractions, their social and cultural highlights.
This playlist instead documents the way Italian songwriters see small provincial towns or villages, which perhaps made the news due to famous historical events, such as Calatafimi by Domenico Modugno, referring to the battle fought in 1860 between Bourbon troops and Garibaldi's militias, which had landed on the island to unite it with the rest of Italy.
Trieste, Alghero, Marsala, Messina, Seveso, Stradella, Bozzolo, Livorno, Siracusa, Rimini and Gallipoli provide the backdrops to emotions, nostalgia, rage, melancholy, hope, and denunciation that the songwriters are expressing and connecting to the places they are singing about. And so it ranges from the sad events in Seveso, the scene of a toxic spill of dioxins, to the entertaining ones of Gino Paoli in a small village, Bozzolo, the pleasure of a life lived at a peaceful stress-free pace.
We go from nostalgia and the memory of a lost love in the port of Livorno in the lyrics of Piero Ciampi, to a night time trip through the plains of the Po while an accordion plays in Stradella, and the fresco that Fabrizio De Andrè dedicates to Rimini. In just one song, he manages to fit, as only a poet can, the young Teresa, Christopher Columbus, the Cuban Revolution, the child born to a lifeguard, his lost youth, and all of it in the cheerful chaos of summer holidays in a seaside town.