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  • Italian Songs for Mamma
    Sons who are about to marry have a slew of songs from which they can choose to dance with their beloved mother
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    Italian moms tend to have a tight bond with their sons. That's why when many Italian men get married, their moms tend to be a bit sad. But good Italian boys never forget their mamma - and they are sure to reassure her on their wedding day. Often, Italians living abroad - especially in the United States, where it's tradition for the groom to dance with his mother at the wedding - call on Italian songs to say what's on their mind. Indeed, I'm not sure any other country in the world can count so many songs that praise mommy on their top 40 lists, but Italy sure can. Here are some of Italy's most popular songs about le mamme:

    Le Mamme

    I still remember Toto Cotugno performing this song on RAI International when I was a young girl. He was able to capture in his words the entire culture of Italy. This song in particular rings true with almost all Italians. It is an anthem honoring all Italian mothers. He recognizes the mother's humanity -- "Le mamme, sognano, invecchiano, le mamme, si amano, ma ti amano di piu" or "Mothers, dream, get older, the mothers, they love, but they love you the most". Indeed, Italian mothers are known for putting their children above all other love. That's why many Italians have such a strong bond and reverence for their mothers.


    One of my favorite versions of this extremely popular song was sung by the late Luciano Pavarotti and Ricky Martin. It is the ultimate love song from son to mother. Here, the singer says that his songs only fly for his mother and that he will never leave her again. It is devotional. There is a sense that mothers are pure and loyal and the only woman a son needs. Italian mothers are big fans of this song. I think this is probably the most popular song for mother and son to dance to at Italian American weddings.

    Portami a Ballare

    This is the song that my mother and brother danced to on Oct. 27, 2007, when he got married. The lyrics to this song also play a bit like a love song. Luca Barbarossa, as the son, asks his mother to bring him to dance (that is what “portami a ballare” means) in an old-fashioned way that no one else even remembers. Then, he tells his mother that he is happy and fulfilling her wishes for his life.

    Ciao Mamma

    Jovanotti's high energy song has him telling his mother how much fun he is having performing concerts and playing his music. It's a great song to dance to if you're looking to pick up the pace and party. It can be used at a wedding if you look at it metaphorically, where a son is simply explaining to his mother that his life is full of music and joy in this moment. “Ciao mamma, guarda quanto mi diverto!” or “Hi mom, look at how much fun I'm having!”

    Viva La Mamma

    Another high tempo beat, "Viva La Mamma" is a fun little tune sung by Edoardo Bennato. Mothers and sons who want to bop into the reception will love this one, which shows reverence for mom. “Long live mom” is the basic meaning of the title. Then, throughout the song, Bennato expresses how wonderful mothers are for their affection and sincerity, their ability to be strong in the face of hardship, and their devotion to their children.

    Di Meglio is the guide to Newlyweds for, where you'll find advice on everything from saving up for your dream home to communicating better with your spouse. You can also find more information on all things Italian at


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