Learn Italian in Song: La Terra dei Cachi

Elio whistling in a hospital bed

The Land of Persimmons

By Elio e le Storie Tese, who also did Fossi Figo. This song was a huge hit when it first came out in 1996, with its punning, ironic references to topics such as Mani Pulite and various hospital scandals. (Pity not much has changed since… )

I don’t know if cachi (persimmons) has any special significance, unless it’s a pun on caca (poop).

Parcheggi abusivi, applausi abusivi, Illicit parking, illicit applause, 
villette abusive, abusi sessuali abusivi; Illicit houses, illicit sexual abuse; 
tanta voglia di ricominciare abusiva. So much illicit desire to start over 
Appalti truccati, trapianti truccati, Rigged bids, rigged transplants, 
motorini truccati Tricked-out scooters 
che scippano donne truccate; that purse-snatch made-up women; 
il visagista delle dive e’ truccatissimo. The divas’ make-up artist is extremely made up. 
Papaveri e papi, la donna cannolo, Poppies and popes, the cannolo woman 
una lacrima sul visto: a tear on the face: 
Italia si’ Italia no Italy yes, Italy no 
Italia bum, la strage impunita. Italy bang, the unpunished massacre 
Puoi dir di si’ puoi dir di no, You can say yes, you can say no, 
ma questa e’ la vita. but this is life. 
Prepariamoci un caffe’, Let’s make ourselves a coffee 
non rechiamoci al caffe’ : Let’s not go to the cafe’ 
c’e’ un commando che ci aspetta There’s a command awaiting us 
per assassinarci un po’. to kill us a bit. 
Commando si’ commando no, Command yes, command no 
commando omicida. homicidal command 
Commando pam commando papapapapam, Command bang, command bang bang bang [machine gun sound] 
ma se c’e’ la partita but if there’s a game 
il commando non ci sta e allo stadio se ne va, The command won’t tolerate it/won’t be there, and it goes to the stadium 
sventolando il bandierone non piu’ sangue scorrera’ waving the big flag, no more blood will flow 
infetto si’ ? Infetto no? Quintali di plasma. Infected, yes? Infected, no? Tons of plasma 
Primario si’ primario dai, primario fantasma, [hospital] head of department yes, head of department ghost 
io fantasma non saro’ e al tuo plasma dico no. I won’t be a ghost and I say no to your plasma 
Se dimentichi le pinze fischiettando ti diro’ If you forget the forceps, whistling i will say to you: 
“fi fi fi fi fi fi fi fi ti devo una pinza, [whistling] I owe you a forceps 
fi fi fi fi fi fi fi fi, ce l ‘ ho nella panza”. [whistling] I have it in my tummy 
Viva il crogiuolo di pinze. Hooray for the crucible of forceps 
Viva il crogiuolo di panze. Hooray for the crucible of tummies 
Quanti problemi irrisolti ma un cuore grande cosi’. So many unresolved problems but a heart as big as this. 
Italia si’ Italia no Italy yes, Italy no 
Italia gnamme, se famo du spaghi*. Italy yum, if we make some spaghetti


* Roman dialect: “We’ll make two spaghetti”

Italia sob Italia prot, Italy sob, Italy [fart sound] 
la terra dei cachi. the land of persimmons 
Una pizza in compagnia, una pizza da solo; A pizza in company, a pizza alone 
un totale di due pizze e l’Italia e’ questa qua. A total of two pizzas and Italy is this here. 
Fufafifi’ fufafifi’ Italia evviva. [whistling] Hooray for Italy 
Italia perfetta, perepepe’ nanananai. Perfect Italy [music] 
Una pizza in compagnia, una pizza da solo: A pizza in company, a pizza alone 
in totale molto pizzo, ma l ‘ Italia non ci sta. In total a lot of bribes, but Italy doesn’t accept that 
Italia si’ Italia no, Italia si’ Italy yes, Italy no, Italy yes 
Perche’ la terra dei cachi e’ la terra dei cachi. No. Because the land of persimmons is the land of persimmons. No. 

1 comment

  1. Mistranslation: There’s a pun at the line “Una lacrima sul visto”, it sounds almost like an old song “Una Lacrima sul Viso” (A Tear Upon the Face) but the word “visto” means visa, permission 🙂
    Good job though!

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