My grandmother Maria used to sing this nursery song to my children. She learned it as a child from her parents, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Napoli area of Italy, in the early 20th century. This recording was done in June 2004 when she was 91 years old.

My grandmother spoke Italian, but never learned to write it, so the Italian is transliterated. People graciously wrote to me with what they think is the correct spelling, and I posted their responses below the rhyme.

Micio Miagolio - Italian Children's Songs - Italy - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

Maria wrote from Italy:

"Hello,

By chance I came across your interesting site where you say that your grandmother used to sing the old Neapolitan nursery song MICIO MIAGOLIO to your children.

I've read that you are looking for the correct spelling of this song in the Neapolitan dialect and then I want to suggest some changes as I think that this nursery rhyme should be written as follows:"

Musce muscille
Iatte iattille
Ch'ai da mangià
Pane e case
Nu me n'hai date
nu poculillo a me

Fruste,fruste, fruste!

"Best regards from Italy.

Maria"

*****

Nicoletta DeJoseph wrote me in October 2005 in response to my question about the spelling of this rhyme:

"I had so much fun reading all the old Italian rhymes I grew up with in Italy. Now me and my mom have so much fun singing these songs to my brother's kids. My dialect writing skills are not as good as my speech, but I think it goes like this:"

Micia Micella
Vatta Vattella
che t'a mangiato
O' pane e o' caso
nun mena dato nu poco a me
frusta la', frusta la', frusta la'

Nicoletta DeJoseph
Napoli

*****
JoyceAnna DiSclafani wrote me in June 2004, "What you have written, looks like a dialect which as you well know, is difficult to write out. Here it is in Italian:"

Micio Miagolo
Gatto Gattino
Che mangi tu?
Pane e cacio
Non me ne hai dato
Non prendere il mio
Frusti, frusti, frusti!

Game Instructions

Rub the cheeks on each line. Then on the last line, tap the cheeks.

Listen

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to my grandmother, Maria Yannucci, for reciting and translating this song, to JoyceAnna DiSclafani for providing the Italian version and to Nicoletta DeJoseph for sending the spelling in the dialect.

Thanks to Lila Pomerantz for the drawing!

Grazie mille!

Let us know what you think!

If you feel any comment below is inappropriate, please email us. Thanks!