Learn Italian in Song: Il Ragazzo della via Gluck

The Boy from Gluck Street

A supposedly autobiographical song by Adriano Celentano which may have been Italy’s first environmental protest song, presented at the San Remo music festival in 1966.

Note: Via Gluck in Milan, like many Italian streets, is named for someone famous, in this case composer Christoph Gluck. The further you go from city center, the more obscure or modern the historical figures so honored.

 

 
Questa è la storia di uno di noi anche lui nato per caso in via Gluck   This is the story of one of us, he, too, born by chance in via Gluck  
in una casa fuori città gente tranquilla che lavorava   in a house outside the city, tranquil people who worked  
La dove c’era l’erba ora c’è una città   Where once there was grass now there’s a city  
E quella casa in mezzo al verde ormai dove sarà   And that house in the midst of the green, where is it now?  
Questo ragazzo della via Gluck si divertiva a giocare con me   This boy from via Gluck had fun playing with me  
Ma un giorno disse "Vado in città" e lo diceva mentre piangeva   but one day he said "I’m going to the city," and he said it while he was crying  
Io gli domando "Amico non sei contento? Vai finalmente a stare in città"   I asked him "Friend, aren’t you happy? Finally you’re going to live in the city  
Là troverai le cose che non hai avuto qui;   There you’ll find the things you never had here  
Potrai lavarti in casa senza andar giù nel cortile!"   You can wash in the house without going down in the courtyard!"  
"Mio caro amico", disse "qui sono nato e in questa casa io lascio il mio cuore   "My dear friend," he said, "I was born here, and in this house I leave my heart.  
Ma come fai a non capire è una fortuna per voi che restate   You can you not understand what good fortune it is for you who remain  
A piedi nudi a giocare nei prati mentre là in centro respiro il cemento   Barefoot to play in the field while I downtown will breathe cement  
Ma verrà un giorno che ritornerò ancora qui   But one day will come when I will come back here again  
E sentirò l’amico treno che fischia così "wa wa!"   And I’ll hear my friend the train that whistles like this: "wa wa!"  
Passano gli anni ma otto son lunghi però quel ragazzo ne ha fatto di strada   The years pass but eight are long, but that boy has gone a long way.  
Ma non si scorda la sua prima casa ora coi soldi lui può comperarla   But he never forgets his first home, now with his money he can buy it  
Torna e non trova gli amici che aveva solo case su case catrame e cemento   He returns and doesn’t find the friends he had, just houses upon houses, tar and cement  
Lò dove c’era l’erba ora c’è una città   There where once was grass now there’s a city  
E quella casa in mezzo al verde ormai, dove sarà?   And that city in the midst of the green, where is it now?  
Eh no, non so, non so perché,   Hey, no, I don’t know, I don’t know why  
perché continuano a costruire, le case   they keep building the houses  
e non lasciano l’erba…   and don’t leave the grass  
Eh no, se andiamo avanti così, chissà   Hey, no, if we keep on like this, who knows  
come si farà, chissà…   How we’ll manage, who knows…  

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