25 Of The Best Italian Songs: Italy Playlist

Written by Dan Farrant

Italy is a country known for its rich culture, mouthwatering cuisine, and enchanting language. One of the most captivating aspects of Italian culture is its music, which has captured the hearts of listeners worldwide.

These evergreen classics have stood the test of time and continue to inspire generations with their passionate lyrics and soulful melodies.

In this blog post, we will take you on a melodious journey through 25 of the best Italian songs that showcase Italy’s musical diversity—ranging from traditional folk tunes to contemporary pop hits. Let’s get started.

1. “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu” By Domenico Modugno

Imagine a song so enchanting that it sweeps across the globe, capturing the hearts of millions, regardless of their age or nationality. A tune so timeless it transcends generations. This is the tale of “Nel blu dipinto di blu,” lovingly known as “Volare,” which soared to the top of the charts in 1958.

This lyrical masterpiece was born out of the combined artistic genius of Domenico Modugno and Franco Migliacci. The familiar melody stirs something within us, making us feel connected, regardless of our age or where we come from.

But “Volare” is more than just an earworm. It also holds a special place in Italy’s rich tapestry of musical history. The song beautifully encapsulates the allure of traditional Italian music, brought to life through Modugno’s dulcet vocals and lyrics that paint a vivid picture of the Italian landscape.

2. “Quando, Quando, Quando” By Tony Renis

The timeless charm of “Quando, Quando, Quando,” a classic Italian pop song from 1962 by Tony Renis, lies in its romantic lyrics and the captivating bossa nova music that accompanies them.

The song is a romantic plea from a lover who wants to know when they will be together again. The catchy melody and the smooth vocals of Renis create a charming and nostalgic atmosphere that transports the listener to a sunny day in Italy.

The song was sung during the Sanremo Music Festival in 1962, winning fourth place. Over the years, “Quando, Quando, Quando” has been covered by many artists, most notably by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1968.

3. “A Far L’amore Comincia Tu” By Raffaella Carrà 

“A Far L’amore Comincia Tu” is a disco hit from 1976 that features the energetic and charismatic Raffaella Carrà. It was released as part of her seventh studio album, Forte forte forte.

A celebration of female empowerment, Carrà sings about taking charge of her own pleasure and happiness. With its upbeat rhythms, the song is an invitation to dance and have fun, with a catchy chorus that repeats the phrase “To make love, you start.”

The song didn’t just capture the hearts of its native listeners—it resonated on a global scale, becoming an international sensation. This led “A Far L’amore Comincia Tu” to be translated into several languages, broadening its reach and impact.

4. “Musica è” By Eros Ramazzotti 

“Musica è” is a beautiful ballad by the Italian singer-songwriter Eros Ramazzotti from his mini album of the same name. Released in 1988, the song is a tribute to the power of music, which can heal, inspire, and connect people across different cultures and languages.

The 11-minute-long piece is a testament to Ramazzotti’s musical prowess. His role wasn’t limited to vocals alone; he also showcased his skills on the guitar, contributing to the composition of the music.

Ramazzotti was joined by Celso Valli, who wore many hats in the production of this song, from arranging the music to playing keyboards and conducting.

5. “Perdere L’amore” By Massimo Ranieri 

Another iconic addition to the list is “Perdere l’amore” by Massimo Ranieri. This classic love ballad won the San Remo Music Festival in 1988 and has since become a timeless hit.

“Perdere l’amore,” which translates to “losing love,” tells the story of heartbreak and lost love. The song’s beautiful melody, combined with Ranieri’s powerful vocals, brings out deep emotions in listeners.

The song’s popularity extended beyond Italy, and it was covered by various artists across different countries, like Lara Fabian in 1996 and Ruggero Scandiuzzi in 2004, further attesting to its universal appeal.

6. “La Bambola” By Patty Pravo

Italian pop song “La Bambola” was performed by the enigmatic Patty Pravo. Released in 1968 from her self-titled album, it quickly became a defining hit in Pravo’s career and a classic in the Italian music scene.

The song, which translates to “The Doll” in English, was masterfully crafted by Franco Migliacci, Ruggero Cini, and Bruno Zambrini. Its lyrics weave a tale of a woman likened to a doll whose feelings are toyed with and cast aside.

The song peaked at #1 in Italy, but its fame did not stop there. It also gained popularity internationally and was used in films like The American in 2010.

7. “Con Te Partirò” By Andrea Bocelli 

Our next song, “Con te partirò” by Andrea Bocelli, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and emotional songs Italy has ever produced. It was composed by Francesco Sartori with lyrics penned by Lucio Quarantotto and debuted in 1995.

Bocelli’s powerful tenor voice gives life to the song’s melody, which begins slowly before building up into a passionate crescendo towards the end. The song is deeply romantic and emotional, capturing love in its purest form.

The song was later re-titled “Time to Say Goodbye” for its international release and achieved even greater success, selling over 12 million copies since its release in 1996. It topped charts around the world and further established Bocelli as a leading figure in the world of classical crossover music.

8. “Caruso” By Lucio Dalla

From his album DallAmeriCaruso, “Caruso” by Lucio Dalla is one of the greatest Italian songs ever written and recorded. The song was released in 1986 and still continues to hold a special place in the hearts of people who enjoy listening to this genre of music.

It is about Enrico Caruso, one of the most influential tenors of his time, who made significant contributions to classical singing. The lyrics are a touching tribute to the life and career of Caruso, describing his talents as well as his emotions when performing on stage.

It’s easy to see why “Caruso” has become such an important part of Italian culture over time; it is not just about music but also pays homage to history and tradition.

9. “Azzurro” By Adriano Celentano 

Originally by Vito Pallavicini and Paolo Conte, “Azzurro” became popular through the Italian singer and actor Adriano Celentano. It was released in 1968 on his album Una carezza in un pugno.

The chart-topping song is about a man who feels blue and lonely in the city and dreams of escaping to the seaside with his lover.

The song is full of humor and irony, as Celentano exaggerates his misery and contrasts it with the bright and sunny color of the sky. Despite being over five decades old, “Azzurro” continues to be loved by audiences today, a testament to Celentano’s enduring talent and the universal appeal of his music.

10. “L’italiano” By Toto Cotugno 

Italian pop song “L’Italiano” was performed by the celebrated singer-songwriter Toto Cutugno. Released in 1983, this track quickly became a classic in the Italian music scene and remains one of Cutugno’s most iconic songs to date.

It tells the story of an Italian emigrant who left his home country in search of a better life but ultimately longs for his homeland and its culture. The song also highlights Italy’s rich heritage, language, and culture, making it a beloved anthem among generations.

“L’Italiano” was an instant hit upon its release and has since been recognized as one of the greatest Italian songs of all time. Various versions have been made over the years and recorded in several languages, solidifying its status as a global gem.

11. “Felicità” By Al Bano & Romina Power 

Unveiled to the world in 1982, the melodic charm of “Felicità” quickly captivated audiences. This Italian pop classic, performed by the iconic duo Al Bano and Romina Power, translates to “Happiness,” a theme beautifully echoed throughout the song.

The lyrics capture the essence of simple, everyday joy. From shared laughter to sunsets, “Felicità” paints vivid pictures of happiness in its most relatable form.

The enchanting allure of “Felicità” extended far beyond Italy’s borders. The song gained international fame, representing Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982, where it clinched a respectable seventh place.

12. “‘O Sole Mio” By Eduardo Di Capua 

Composed in 1898 by Eduardo di Capua, “‘O Sole Mio” is a Neapolitan song that has warmed the hearts of listeners for over a century. The title translates to “My Sun,” and this radiant melody beautifully encapsulates the charm and vibrancy of southern Italy, particularly Naples.

Di Capua painted a musical portrait of their homeland’s warmth and charm. The lyrics express a deep affection for the sun, an integral part of Italy’s picturesque landscapes.

Over the years, the song has been performed by a plethora of artists, including the famous Italian tenor Enrico Caruso and the legendary Luciano Pavarotti. These performances have catapulted the song into international renown, making it a staple in the repertoire of opera singers and classical musicians across the globe.

13. “Ti Amo” By Umberto Tozzi

Released by Umberto Tozzi in 1977, “Ti Amo” is a classic Italian song that has left a lasting imprint on the world of music. The title, translating to “I love you” in English, perfectly encapsulates the song’s theme of profound romantic affection.

Tozzi, along with Giancarlo Bigazzi, penned this beautiful ballad that swiftly became one of his most recognizable hits. The song was featured in the album È nell’aria…ti amo, and its heartfelt lyrics make it a deeply moving musical experience.

Upon its release, “Ti Amo” enjoyed substantial success, topping charts in various European countries, including Italy, France, and Switzerland. This widespread acclaim is a testament to the song’s universal appeal and timeless charm.

14. “Profondo Rosso” By Goblin

Next up, we have “Profondo Rosso,” a haunting and thrilling song by the Italian rock band Goblin. The song is the main theme of the horror film of the same name, directed by Dario Argento. 

The song is a mix of progressive rock, electronic music, and classical influences, creating a unique and atmospheric sound that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

“Profondo Rosso” is also a masterpiece of suspense and tension, with a sinister melody and a creepy voice that whispers “Profondo Rosso” (deep red) throughout, making listeners shiver in suspense and curiosity.

15. “Funiculì, Funiculà” By Luigi Denza

Immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Italy with Luigi Denza’s “Funiculì, Funiculà.” This timeless Neapolitan song, composed in 1880, is a delightful celebration of a significant innovation in transportation at the time—the funicular railway on Mount Vesuvius.

The catchy melody and engaging lyrics have made this traditional folk music piece a popular choice for various celebrations, including football games and weddings.

From its inception, the song quickly gained popularity and has since become a beloved classic worldwide. It has been performed by numerous artists over the years, most notably by Luciano Pavarotti in 1979, demonstrating its enduring appeal and cultural significance.

16. “Parole Parole” By Mina 

One of the best Italian songs, “Parole Parole,” a duet by Mina and Alberto Lupo, is an easy-listening duet that has stood the test of time. The song was originally released in 1972 in Mina’s album Cinquemilaquarantatre.

The song is a dialogue between two lovers. Mina’s melodious voice intertwines with Lupo’s spoken verses, creating a captivating auditory experience that explores the power and sometimes the emptiness of words in relationships.

“Parole Parole” topped Italy’s music chart when Mina released it, but it was turned into an international hit when Italian-French singers Dalida and Alain Delon covered it in 1974.

17. “La Solitudine” By Laura Pausini 

A classic in the world of Italian music, “La Solitudine,” which translates to “The Loneliness,” is a ballad that marked the debut of Laura Pausini. Released in 1993, this song quickly established the singer as a significant voice in the pop music scene.

“La Solitudine,” tells a story about two teenagers, Marco and Laura, who are in a relationship. When Marco moves away, Laura finds herself grappling with loneliness.

The song was a widespread success. It was not only a hit in Italy but also enjoyed popularity across Europe. In fact, it was this very song that propelled Laura Pausini to win the Sanremo Festival in 1993, marking a significant milestone in her career.

18. “Senza Una Donna” By Zucchero & Paul Young 

Our next song, “Senza Una Donna,” which translates to “Without a Woman,” is a soulful Italian song that beautifully captures the essence of longing and love.

The song is a poignant exploration of love and longing. The lyrics tell a story about a man reflecting on the emptiness he feels without his significant other.

Originally written and performed by Zucchero for his fourth album, Blue’s, in 1987, the song was later re-recorded as a duet with Paul Young in 1991.

It is this English version, “Senza Una Donna (Without a Woman),” that became an international success, topping the charts in several European countries, including Belgium, Norway, and Sweden.

19. “Buona Sera Signorina” By Louis Prima

Originally by Carl Sigman and Peter de Rose, “Buona Sera Signorina” was more popularly performed by Italian American musician Louis Prima in 1956.

The lyrics of “Buona Sera Signorina” paint a picture of a romantic Italian evening. It’s a story about saying goodnight to a lovely lady in Napoli (Naples), under the old moonlight. The song exudes charm and a sense of playful flirtation, much like Prima himself.

Upon its release, the song was well-received both in Italy and internationally. It became one of Prima’s signature songs and has since been covered by many artists, like Dean Martin and the famed Italian singer-actor Fred Buscaglione.

20. “Tu Vuò Fà L’Americano” By Renato Carosone 

The jazzy swing tune of our next song is perhaps one that is very familiar to many across the globe. “Tu Vuo’ Fa’ L’americano” (You Want to Be American), by the Italian singer and pianist Renato Carosone, is a satire of the young Italians who try to imitate the American lifestyle and culture but end up looking ridiculous and fake.

Written in the Neapolitan language, “Tu Vuo’ Fa’ L’americano” was first introduced to the world in 1956. Upon its release quickly became a hit in Italy and gained popularity internationally as well.

Its infectious rhythm and fun lyrics make it one of Carosone’s most recognized songs and has even made its way into several films over the years, including The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), The American (2010), and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021).

21. “Vivo Per Lei” By Andrea Bocelli

Translating to “I Live for Her,” “Vivo Per Lei” is a beautiful song by the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. First recorded in 1995 as a duet with Giorgia Todrani (known simply as Giorgia), this song quickly became one of Bocelli’s most recognized pieces.

The song is all about the deep and profound love for music, which is personified as a woman in the song. So when Bocelli sings about “living for her,” he’s actually talking about how much he lives for music.

“Vivo Per Lei” has been covered numerous times by various artists, like Hélène Ségara and Ruggero Scandiuzzi, truly testifying to its universal appeal. It has also been sung in several different languages, adding a unique flavor to each rendition.

22. “Gloria” By Umberto Tozzi

The pop dance tune “Gloria” is by Italian musician Umberto Tozzi which was released in 1979. The song was co-written by Tozzi and Giancarlo Bigazzi, and it quickly became a major success in Italy, spending 16 weeks near the top of the Italian charts.

The song is essentially a romantic ballad about a woman named Gloria. The lyrics describe the narrator’s deep longing for Gloria, portraying her as an object of fascination and desire.

Despite its success in Italy and other non-English-speaking countries, “Gloria” didn’t become a global hit until it was covered by American singer Laura Branigan in 1982. Branigan’s version, with English lyrics, introduced the song to a wider audience and made it a staple of pop music in the ’80s.

23. “La Cosa Mas Bella (Più Bella Cosa)” By Eros Ramazzotti 

Released in 1996 by the famed Italian singer-songwriter Eros Ramazzotti on his album Dove c’è musica, “La Cosa Mas Bella (Più bella cosa)” is a beautiful and romantic ballad that has captured the hearts of listeners worldwide.

The title translates to “The Most Beautiful Thing,” and it’s a passionate declaration of love, with lyrics expressing deep affection and admiration for the subject, making it a favorite among fans for its romantic sentiment.

From being featured on albums like Voices from the FIFA World Cup to performances in different languages, “La Cosa Mas Bella (Più Bella Cosa)” continues to charm listeners with its beautiful blend of romance and melody.

24. “Tornerò” By I Santo California 

A love ballad, “Tornerò,” was released in 1974 by the musical group I Santo California as their debut single. From their album Se davvero mi vuoi bene… Tornerò, the song soon topped charts in Italy and Switzerland.

“Tornerò” is a poignant love song about longing and the promise to return. The lyrics convey the singer’s feelings of missing someone dearly and the anticipation of reuniting with them.

The success of “Tornerò” paved the way for I Santo California’s long-standing career in the music industry. Even though the band has released numerous other tracks over the years, it remains their signature song.

25. “Gente Di Mare” By Umberto Tozzi & Raf 

Another must-listen Italian song, “Gente Di Mare,” by Umberto Tozzi and Raf, takes us on a journey to the coast with its nautical theme.

The title translates to “People of the Sea,” and the song is a blues-influenced ballad that beautifully captures the maritime culture and Mediterranean seaside lifestyle. Listeners can almost imagine themselves sailing alongside sailors, fishermen, and coastal locals who personify Gente di Mare.

Released in 1987, “Gente Di Mare” was Italy’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest that year, where it achieved a respectable third place. Later, it was included in the album Eurovision 1987, along with all the songs of that year’s contest.

Summing Up Our List Of The Greatest Italian Songs

We’ve traversed the rich landscape of Italian music, exploring their most renowned songs that have shaped its rich history and left our hearts yearning for more.

From touching ballads to catchy pop hits, we hope you’ve enjoyed this melodic journey and perhaps found new (or rediscovered old) favorites.

If you believe a song should be added to this list, let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts and continue celebrating Italy’s vibrant musical culture together.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.