I Pompieri Di Viggiu'
The firefighters of Viggiù (Armando Fragna-Alberto Larici) – Clara Jaione - 1948
Viggiù is a town in Lombardy on the border with Switzerland, in the province of Varese, not far from Lake Lugano. It was popular for a while when this song became a hit in 1948, launching the young Clara Jaione into the world of pop music. Very odd, especially since the composer, Maestro Armando Fragna, was Neapolitan. He could never have imagined that one of his songs was going to celebrate a place in Northern Italy unknown to most Italians themselves, to the extent the name Viggiù seems somehow fantastical. The march that Fragna had composed, thanks also to the singular lyrics by Alberto Larici (pseudonym for Giacomo Mario Gili), was a big hit. It prompted his creative vein to compose other similar light and lighthearted songs, usually on the musical cadences of a march, such as I cadetti di Guascogna or Arrivano i nostri. It also made the performer, Clara Jaione, very popular. She continued her brilliant career until 1955 and then dedicated herself to her family. And after all, lightness and lightheartedness went well with the euphoric climate of renewal that distinguished the years following the end of the Second World War. The following year, in 1949, the song was the starting point for a film of the same title, I pompieri di Viggiù, directed by Mario Mattoli, a very precious document of the vaudeville scene in post-war Italy and interpreted by the stars of the moment: Totò, Nino Taranto, Wanda Osiris, Carlo Dapporto, Carlo Campanini, and Isa Barzizza. Naturally, Maestro Fragna was hired to write the film's soundtrack.
Giacomo Mario Gili