Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
Kid Songs and Rhymes of




A Be Bow (Counting Out Rhyme)
Aulì ulè (Counting-out Rhyme)
Clap Your Hands (Fingerplay)
Bobo the Scale (Nursery Rhyme)
Goat, Little Goat (Nursery Rhyme)
One Hundred and Fifty (Counting-out Rhyme)
There Once Was a King (Nursery Rhyme)
Chimney, Chimney (Nursery rhyme)
The Thumb Says (Finger Play)
Go to Sleep, Go to Sleepy (Lullaby)  MP3 Midi  
Ambarabai ciccì coccò (Nonsense Rhyme)  
Frère Jacques   MP3  
Baby Jesus (A Carol)  
The Child's Horse (Lap Rhyme)
La Befana, Frizzy, Frizzy (La Befana Song) MP3
The Befana Comes at Night (Befana Rhyme) MP3  
The Pretty Washerwoman (Children's Game Song)  
The Hen   Midi  
The Moon (Counting-out Rhyme)
Firefly, Firefly (Nursery Rhyme)
Madam Golden (Circle Game)  Midi  
Mom, Give Me A Hundred Pounds (Traditional song)  Midi  
Maramao (Nursery Rhyme)
Milan Turin (Counting-out Song)
Brother Simon's Lullaby (Lullaby)  MP3
Infant Jesus' Lullaby (Lullaby)  MP3 Midi
Lullaby, Lullaby, ooh (Lullaby)  Midi
Oh, What a Fine Castle (Circle Game Song)  
Peppina, Get a Comb (Tongue Twister)
Plaza, Pretty Plaza (Finger Play)
Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia Song) MP3 Midi  
Chair, Little Chair (Lap Rhyme)  
Silk Money (Lullaby)  
Silk Money (Counting-out Rhyme)
Under the Malacca Bridge (Counting-out Song)  
Staccia Minaccia (Lap Rhyme)
Star, Little Star (Lullaby)  Midi  
Tacci and Taccin (Nursery Rhyme)
A Lot of Wishes for You (Birthday Song)
Mousie, Mousey Zum Ba Ba (Handclapping Rhyme)  
Thirty Days Has November (Nursery Rhyme)
Trot, Trot Horsey (Lap Rhyme)  
Trucci Trucci Cavallucci (Nursery Rhyme)
You Come Down from the Stars (A Carol)  MP3 Midi  
A Piece of Pizza (Tongue Twister)
Gentle Wind (Round)  

Italian Dialect


Giddy-up, Giddy-up Horsey (Nursery Rhyme)
Dong Dong Dalena (Nursery Rhyme)
Funiculì, Funiculà (Traditional Song)  
Coo-roo, Coo-roo (Nursery Rhyme)
My Sun (Traditional Song)
Saint Nicholas of Bari (Saint Nicholas Day Rhyme)  
Saw Saw, Master Ciccio (Nursery Rhyme)
You Little Finger (Finger Play)
Trot, Trot, Little Horse (Nursery Rhyme)



O Come, All Ye Faithful (A Carol)  MP3 Midi  
Creator of the Stars (A Carol) MP3
Give Us Peace (Round)  MP3 Midi
Sleep Son, Sleep! (Christmas Song)
Rejoice! (A Carol)  MP3 Midi
This Day Resounds (A Carol) MP3
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Advent Hymn) MP3

Sicilian Dialect


How Beautiful is this Hat (Nursery Rhyme)  
Oh Come Sleep (Lullaby) MP3
Get Up, Baby (Christmas Rhyme)
Spring Has Come (Folk Song)  
  •   - this song has sheet music
  • Midi - this song has a Midi tune
  • MP3 - this song has an MP3 recording
  •   - this song has a Video recording

Some Comments About Italian Nursery Rhymes

In Italy, the older, traditional filastrocche (nursery rhymes) and songs for children are an endangered species; many of them are not in "official" Italian (which is based on the dialects of Tuscany), but in one of the regional dialects. These dialects, mainly used in the home and in small rural communities, have been handed down orally. But in many regions the use of dialect is declining even within the family, especially among TV-hungry 6-10 year olds(1), so the collective memory of these traditional filastrocche and songs in dialect risks fading with it(2). A few scholars have painstakingly and lovingly collected and studied them(3) but most of these collections and studies of traditional rhymes are for interested adults rather than for children(4).

Italian children don't all grow up knowing and loving the same nursery rhymes in the way that most children growing up in an English-speaking environment do. However, many of the filastrocche do exist in more or less similar versions in different dialects (and some in other European languages - e.g., the Scottish "Pippety Pew" and the French "Frère Jacques").

Traditional Italian filastrocche reflect Christian tradition (many lullabies are about the Infant Jesus and the holy family), and, more obscurely and symbolically, pre-Christian rites, the Moon, the Tarot, magic, the labyrinth, the spirit of corn, the cycle of life - birth, marriage and death - and of the year - seasons, harvest, Lent, Carnival, etc.

-Commentary by Ernestine Shargool

1) According to surveys carried out by Istat, the Institute of Statistics, in 1987-88 and 1995.
2) The use of dialects may be declining, but interest in them (perhaps as a consequence) seems to be increasing. There are many Italian publishers and web sites collecting and publishing traditional filastrocche, proverbs, songs, sayings, poems and prose in different dialects.
3) E.g., the books I have used for reference: Carlo Lapucci, Il libro delle filastrocche, Garzanti, 1987; A. Mari, A.V. Savona, M.L. Straniero: Sotto la Cappa del Camino, Arnoldo Mondadori, 1985; Silvia Goi, Il segreto delle filastrocche, Xenia Edizioni, 1991.
4) Some much-loved modern children's authors have written and published their own very popular collections of filastrocche.

Ernestine Shargool is a professional translator with an Anglo-Italian background and a lifelong interest in children's rhymes and folk tales from Italy, England and Scotland. She has translated many traditional nursery rhymes from English into Italian.

Click Here for bibliography of Italian selections.

Many thanks to Ernestine Shargool for taking the time to write commentary about Italian nursery rhymes and songs. -Grazie!

Here are some of Mama Lisa's recent posts about the music, culture and traditions of Italy:
  • Can anyone help with the following question we received about an Italian song? "I have a question: I’d like to know if you can help me identify this song that one of the Italian grandparents would sing to my father-in-law. (They were from the area near Genoa/Luguria.)  I know neither the name nor the lyrics, […] Read more »
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    Most people associate summer with occasional lightening storms.  We found this wonderful Italian poem called Temporale Estivo - "Summer Lightening Storm" .  It was written by Federigo Tozzi (1883-1920).  Below you can listen to a recording of the poem while reading along with the Italian text, and an English translation. MP3 Recording of Temporale Estivo […] Read more »
  • Christina wrote asking for help with an Italian (Calabrese) rhyme.  Here’s her email… Hi Lisa, This rhyme has been recited to small children in our family at least since the early 20th century. My paternal grandfather’s parents came to the U.S. in 1913 from Falerna, Catanzaro. They left two children there and subsequently had four […] Read more »
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    Playing real video games for fun is a great way to improve your foreign language skills. I’m talking about games you’d want to play in your own language, not specifically language learning games. There are many fun games that are available in many different languages. I’m an early advanced French learner, so I understand enough […] Read more »
  • Dominique wrote asking about an Italian rhyme her mother recited: "I’m looking for a rhyme that my mom would sing to my children, it went something like: ‘Zampe, zampette (or zampine), zampone, zampette, che di prete fu portati prete dice cosa son queste: zampe’. This was said while moving the baby’s feet. My mom was […] Read more »
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    Have you ever considered where the generic dog names Fido, Rover and Spot come from? These are the canine equivalent of "John Doe".  Did you know that one was a President’s dog, another the 1st movie star dog, and the last, a dog from a book that helped kids learn to read for over 40 […] Read more »
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    Do you remember doing the Bunny Hop? I learnt it as a kid in the early ’70’s in dance class.  The Bunny Hop and the Finnish Folk Dance called "Letkajenkka" (aka Letkis) are nearly identical.  Both became a dance craze around the world. The Bunny Hop became popular in the early 1950’s.  The Ray Anthony […] Read more »
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    Jordan Almonds are given out as favors at weddings, bridal showers and baby showers in the US, France, Italy, Greece and the Middle East.  It’s believed that the name for Jordan Almonds does not come from Jordan, but is a corruption of the French word "jardin" (garden) because these almonds were grown in gardens. Traditionally, […] Read more »
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    Season’s greetings! At Mama Lisa’s World there’s no time of year we love better than the holidays! We’re happy to announce that we’ve recently added the following Christmas Carols to Mama Lisa’s World with mp3 recordings and YouTube videos: Italian Dormi, dormi, bel Bambin (Sleep, Sleep Beautiful Child) Tu scendi dalle stelle (You Come Down […] Read more »
  • Here’s a video to hear animal sounds around the world... Bow Wow Meow – Animal Sounds in Different Languages from properniceinnit on Vimeo. The languages are: English, Mandarin, French, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Hindi, Canadian-French, Romanian, Japanese, Russian, Dutch, Bengali, Brazilian-Portuguese, Colombian-Spanish, Swahili and Mongolian. Enjoy! Mama Lisa Read more »

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