Torna a Surriento

“Torna a Sorriento” (Come back to Sorrento) was written in the popular Neapolitan tradition by the brothers Ernesto and Gimbattista de Curtis. Giambattista came to Sorrento as an interior designer for hotels and the two brothers wrote to song to honor Prime Minister Giuseppe Zanardelli when he visited the city on his way to a fact-finding tour of Basilicata.

Certainly, “Torna a Sorriento” is one of the most famous Italian songs ever written. Sorrento is a resort town about an hour south of Naples, across the bay from the isle of Capri. There’s an even a statue of the composers of this song on Sorrento’s’ main street. It uses plenty of tremolos and maintains a flexible sense of time on this Italian classic.

Folk Music in Italian

Torna a Surriento

Vide o mare quant' bello,
Spira tantu sentimento,
Comme tu a chi tiene mente,
Da sveglio lo fai sognare.

Guarda, guarda chistu giardino.
Siente, sie’ sti sciure arance.
Nu profumo accussi fino
Dinto ‘o core se ne va…

E tu dici, " Io parto, addio ! "
Ti allontani da questo cuore.
Da sta terra de l’ammore,
Tiene ‘o core ‘e nun turnà?

Ma nun me lass,
Non darmi questo tormento!
Torna a Sorento !
famme campà!

Vide o mare de Surriento,
Che tesori ha nel fondo,
Chi a girato tutto il mondo
Non l’ha visto come qua.

Guarda intorno queste Sirene,
Che ti guardano incantate,
E ti vogliono tanto bene.
Ti vorrebbero baciare.

E tu dici, " Io parto, addio ! "
Ti allontani da questo cuore.
Da sta terra de l’ammore,
Tiene ‘o core ‘e nun turnà?

Ernesto and Gimbattista

Come Back To Sorrento

See the sea, how beautiful it is!
It inspires many feelings,
Like you, who, to whoever watches,
Gives dreams while he’s awake.

Look, look at this garden.
Smell, smell these orange blossoms.
No more fragrant perfume
Can enter the heart.

And you say, “I’m leaving, farewell!”
You’re leaving this heart.
From the land of love,
Do you have the courage not to return?

Do not forsake me!
Do not torment me!
Return to Sorrento!
Give me life!

See the sea of Sorrento,
What treasures there are on the bottom.
Whoever travels the whole world
Will never see anything like this.

Look around at these Sirens,
Who are watching you with enchantment.
And they wish you so well
They would kiss you.

And you say, “I’m leaving, farewell!”
You’re leaving this heart.
From the land of love,
Do you have the courage not to return?

Ernesto and Gimbattista



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