Friday, December 6, 2013

Volume I:
   Via del Campo

Via del Campo c’è una graziosa
gli occhi grandi color di foglia
tutta notte sta sulla soglia
vende a tutti la stessa rosa.

Via del Campo c’è una bambina
con le labbra color rugiada
gli occhi grigi come la strada
nascon fiori dove cammina.

Via del Campo c’è una puttana
gli occhi grandi color di foglia
se di amarla ti vien la voglia
basta prenderla per la mano
e ti sembra di andar lontano
lei ti guarda con un sorriso
non credevi che il paradiso
fosse solo lì al primo piano.

Via del Campo ci va un illuso
a pregarla di maritare
a vederla salir le scale
fino a quando il balcone è chiuso.

Ama e ridi se amor risponde
piangi forte se non ti sente
dai diamanti non nasce niente
dal letame nascono i fior...
dai diamanti non nasce niente
dal letame nascono i fior...

Via del Campo © 1967 Fabrizio De André/Enzo Jannacci

"Via del Campo" is perhaps one of De André's best loved songs. Via del Campo is one of the narrow alleys of the ancient center of Genoa, close to the port. With its mix of smugglers, thieves, prostitutes and many others living on the margins of society, in sharp contrast to the upper-middle class life De André was raised in, it represented to him a way of life more honest, real and intense. De André spent much time in this part of Genoa during his university years, and he lived there for a while. The song itself was inspired by a transvestite (commonly called "una graziosa") who plied his wares as a beautiful blonde named Josèphine. In 1972, photographer Lisetta Carmi published a book on the transvestites of Genova, I travestiti. The music for the song was first described as being from the 16th century. In fact the music, shown to De André by Enzo Jannacci, was a piece Jannacci had written and already used for one of his own songs, "La mia morosa la va alla fonte." As a joke, Jannacci had presented the song to De André as one with medieval origins.

Via del Campo, there’s a young lovely
with great big leaf-colored eyes.
All night long she stands in the doorway
selling to everyone the very same rose.

Via del Campo, there’s a young girl
with lips the color of dew,
her eyes grey like the street -
flowers rise up where she walks.

Via del Campo, there’s a whore
with great big leaf-colored eyes.
If the desire to love her comes to you,
it’s enough to just take her by the hand.
And it seems like you're going far away,
she looks at you with a smile.
You didn’t believe that paradise
would be just up there on the second floor.

Via del Campo, a fool goes there
to beg her to marry,
to see her go up the stairs
until the balcony door is closed.

Love and laugh if love responds,
cry hard if it doesn’t hear you.
From diamonds nothing is born,
from manure, flowers arise . . .
From diamonds nothing is born,
from manure, flowers arise . . .

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.

Back to Album List         Back to Song List

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