O mia bela Madonina

O mia bela Madonina

O mia bela madonina (My beautiful little Madonna) is a tango song by Giovanni D'Anzi which is an unofficial city anthem of Milan.

The title refers to the golden statue of the Virgin Mary on the spire of Milan Cathedral visible all over the city and which is called Madonnina in Italian and Madunina in the dialect of Milan.

The song is written in the Milanese dialect of Lombardy which has no fixed spelling, so there are many variants, e.g., Madonnina (Italian), madonina or madunina.

The song is until today very popular in Milan. It is available as ringtone for the mobile phone and its lyrics can be found on the homepages of the Ultras of AC Milan, one of the most successful soccer clubs in the world, probably partly due to its final line "ma Milan l'è un gran Milan" ("but Milan is a big Milan").

The song was written and composed in 1934 by the Milan songwriter Giovanni d'Anzi (1906–1974). In the 1930s, there were more and more workers from the Mezzogiorno, especially from the region of Naples, coming to Milan which naturally brought with them their famous Neapolitan songs. So it came, that the Milan singers got more and more frequently requested to sing O sole mio, which did touch their Lombard patriotism. And one day the Milanese songwriter D'Anzi decided this needed a musical answer from Milan and wrote the song and lyrics of la Madonina. The song became almost immediately a hit in the city and topped in 1938 the hit parade in Italy

The song gives some praise to the Neapolitan music but continues that Milan also deserves a mention and addresses the beautiful little golden Madonna under whose domination Milan is vibrant with life and always busy (pointed remark referring to the reputation of the southerners which were regarded as lazy by the Milanesi). "Everyone sings they are dying far from Naples — and then they come to Milan." It finishes on a welcoming offer to shake hands because it is a small world, after all, and adds "but Milan is a big Milan".


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