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15 traditional Italian nursery rhymes and their English meanings


Regardless of our cultural background, nursery rhymes are a part of growing up for everyone. These rhythmic verses are a gentle reminder of our early years, and we would love to share them with generations to come.

In this article, we present fifteen well-known traditional Italian nursery rhymes that are sure to evoke fond memories, especially if you grew up in an Italian household!

1. Ambaba Sisi Koko

Ambaba Sisi Koko

Italian words

Ambaba Sisi Koko
Three owls on the dressing table
who had sex
and the doctor’s daughter.
doctor is sick
Abarabà ciccì coccò!

English translation

Ambaraba Siki Koko
Three owls on the dressing table
who had sex
to the doctor’s daughter
doctor is sick
Ambarabà ciccì Coconut!

Owl Doll Knitted

2. Ali Ali Cavallino

Come on, little horse

Italian words

The pony is coming
Along Mill Road.
The mill is ruined,
The miller tied himself up;
He tied himself to the chain,
His wife cooks;
Make dinner for your kids:
The pony is coming.

English translation

Come on, come on, pony
On the street of the mill.
The mill is ruined,
The miller was bound;
He tied himself to the chain,
His wife cooks;
Make dinner for your kids:
Come on, come on, pony.

horse on mountain meadow

3. Beautiful hands

cute little hands

Italian words

beautiful little hands
where have you been?
From grandma.
What did you eat?
Bread and cheese.
What did you drink?
seawater
Throw it away, bad for you!

English translation

cute little hands
where have you been?
At grandma’s house.
What did you eat?
Bread and cheese.
What did you drink?
seawater
Throw it away, bad for you!

girl painting green hands

4. Goat Goat

goat kid

Italian words

goat goat,
Caterpillars in the grass,
you want a handful
salt?
Salt is salty,
The child is on the grass,
Mother is the source,
The sun is on the mountain,
There is grass on the mountain,
Goat Goat!

English translation

little goat,
grazing in the grass,
do you want one
salt?
salt is salty
The child is on the grass,
Mother in spring,
The sun is on the mountain,
There is grass on the mountain,
Goat kid!

White baby goat standing on green grass with yellow flowers

5. Beautiful white butterfly

Beautiful white butterfly

Italian words

Beautiful white butterfly
Feifeifei will never be tired
Fly here, fly there:
No one will stop her!
Flights, flight times and times
Then it fell on a beautiful flower
Fly here, fly there:
No one will stop her!

English translation

Beautiful and white butterfly
Fly, fly, never get tired
She flies here, she flies there:
No one will stop her!
She flew, she flew for hours
Then she landed on a beautiful flower
She flies here, she flies there:
No one will stop her!

white butterfly on flower

6. Nursery Rhyme of the Week

Nursery Rhyme of the Week

Italian words

Monday will be sunny;
Snow on Tuesday;
On Wednesday we take to the streets
Listen to crazy stories;
We laughed here on Thursday;
You don’t cry on Friday;
I warn you on Saturday,
There is Smile Day.
Sunday is a carnival,
Because another story begins.

English translation

Monday will be sunny;
Snow on Tuesday;
On Wednesday we take to the streets
Listen to crazy stories;
We laughed here on Thursday;
You don’t cry on Friday;
I warn you on Saturday,
A holiday with smiles.
Sunday is the carnival,
Because another story begins.

Close-up of calendar page

7. Fra Martino Campanaro

Bell Ringer Brother Martin

Italian words

Fra Martino, bell ringer,
You go to bed yet? You go to bed yet?
Ring the bell, ring the bell,
From, Tang, Dan, from, Tang, Dan,
Ring the bell, ding, tang, dan!

English translation

Brother Martin, the bell ringer,
are you sleeping? are you sleeping?
Ring the bell, ring the bell,
From, Tang, Dan, from, Tang, Dan,
Ring the bell, noise, don, dan!

church bells

8. The child’s horse

child’s horse

Italian words

child’s horse
And a piano, and a piano
old man’s horse
it gets lame, it gets lame
master’s horse
Progress is slow, progress is slow
young man’s horse
He walks quickly He walks quickly
squire’s horse
He gallops at full speed
my friend’s horse
How does the wind know how to fly?
And the horse that went to war? Patapumfete Everyone is on the floor!

English translation

child’s horse
Go slowly, go slowly
old man’s horse
limping, limping
gentleman’s horse
Go slowly, go slowly
young man’s horse
Run, run
gentleman’s horse
He gallops, gallops
my friend’s horse
Know how to fly like the wind
What about the horse that goes to war?
…patapumfete everyone on the ground!

Horse versus nature.Portrait of a horse, brown horse

9. Cicada and Ant

Cicada and Ant

Italian words

I apologize to the old fairy tale
If I don’t like this stingy ant
I’m on the grasshopper’s side
The most beautiful songs cannot be sold…
deliver!

English translation

I apologize to the old fable
If I don’t like stingy ants
I’m on the cicada’s side
Whoever doesn’t sell the most beautiful song…he gives it away!

Cicada camouflaged in the middle of the forest 0

10.Beautiful eyes

beautiful eyes

Italian words

These are beautiful eyes
This is his brother,
This is a small church
This is the sound of the bell,
From Tang, From Tang, From Tang

Blonde head,
Cheeks are rosy,
smiling mouth,
innocent face,
From Tang, From Tang, From Tang

English translation

These are beautiful eyes
This is his brother,
This is a small church
This is the sound of the bell,
From Tang, From Tang, From Tang

Blonde head,
Cheeks are rosy,
smiling mouth,
innocent face,
From Tang, From Tang, From Tang

Horse versus nature.Portrait of a horse, brown horse

11. Oh what a beautiful castle

Oh what a beautiful castle

Italian words

Oh what a beautiful castle
Macondi Rondello,
Oh what a beautiful castle
round and round

Mine is more beautiful
Macondi Rondello,
Mine is more beautiful
round and round

we will steal it
Macondi Rondello,
we will steal it marcondirondironda

we would do it again
Macondi Rondello,
We will do marcondirondironda again

we will burn it
Macondi Rondello,
we will burn it
round and round

we will turn it off
Macondi Rondello,
we will turn it off
round and round

English translation

Oh what a beautiful castle
Macondi Rondello,
Oh what a beautiful castle
round and round

Mine is more beautiful
Macondi Rondello,
Mine is more beautiful
round and round

we will steal it
Macondi Rondello,
we will steal it
round and round

we will build it again
Macondi Rondello,
we will build it again
round and round

We will burn it marcondirondirondello,
we will burn it
round and round

we’ll push it out
Macondi Rondello,
we will put it out
round and round

Castel del Monte, historic castle in the province of Andrea Trani, Barletta, Puglia, Italy

12. Square, beautiful square

Square, beautiful square

Italian words

in this beautiful square
A mad rabbit passes by;
Thumbs up saw it,
My index finger caught it,
The medium killed him,
The ring finger cooked it.
And the little finger,
Went for a drink
They left him nothing
Not at all!

English translation

in this beautiful square
A mad rabbit passes by;
Thumb saw her,
The index finger caught her,
Kill her with the middle finger
The ring finger cooked her.
And the little finger,
Who’s going to get the wine?
nothing left
One piece!

Wild wood rat sitting on the forest floor

13. Mickey Mouse

little mouse,little mouse

Italian words

Mickey Mouse, little mouse,
Zubaba
it ends up under the bed
Zubaba
and poor mother
Zubaba
He threw a broom at him.
Zubaba
Run, run, run to the hospital
Zubaba
Hospitals are closed;
Zubaba
Run to the drugstore
Zubaba
The pharmacy is open
Zubaba
They put a zip tie on him
Zubaba
As long as a broomstick.
Zubaba
joke over
Zubaba
The joke is over
Zubaba

English translation

Little mouse, little mouse,
Zubaba
He ended up under the bed
Zubaba
and his poor mother
Zubaba
She threw a broom at him.
Zubaba
Run, run, run to the hospital
Zubaba
Hospitals are closed;
Zubaba
Run to the drugstore
Zubaba
The pharmacy is open
Zubaba
They put a strap on him
Zubaba
As long as a broomstick.
Zubaba
The joke is over
Zubaba
The joke is over
Zubaba

Wild wood rat sitting on the forest floor

14. Trotta Trotta Cavallino

Trot Trot pony

Italian words

Trot pony,
Taking my baby for a walk:
Let it float away like the wind
Let it go to one hundred.

Across mountains and seas,
Let it go in the morning
Then run away, run away,
My baby wants food!

English translation

Trot pony,
Taking my kids for a walk:
Make him like the wind,
Let him walk at the speed of eleven hundred
(miles per hour).

Across mountains and seas,
Let him go tomorrow morning
Then, run away, run away,
My baby wants his food!

Wild wood rat sitting on the forest floor

15. Peel pumpkin

Cue Ball (literally “Bald Pumpkin”)

Italian words

Peeled pumpkin made into pancakes,
gave nothing to his sisters,
his sisters made omelets
They did not peel the gourds.

English translation

Pancakes made from cue balls,
gave nothing to his sisters,
his sisters made omelets
They didn’t give the cue ball anything.

Bald funny man

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