"Funiculì, Funiculà" was originally written in a Neapolitan dialect in 1880. Luigi Denza wrote the music and Peppino Turco wrote the lyrics. It was composed for the opening of the first funicular on Mount Vesuvius.

A funicular is an inclined railway that goes up a steep slope like a mountain. One tram goes up while another one goes down on a cable. They thereby counterbalance each other.

The funicular this song was celebrating was destroyed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1944.

The first English translation below is a loose one I did based on one on Wikipedia. The second English translation is not literal. It's the popular lyrics of "Funiculi Funicula" in English.

Funiculì, Funiculà - Italian Children's Songs - Italy - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


Traditional English Version, translated/created by Edward Oxenford (circa 1888):

Funiculi Funicula

1. Some think the world is made for fun and frolic,
And so do I! And so do I!
Some think it well to be all melancholic,
To pine and sigh; to pine and sigh.

But I, I love to spend my time in singing,
Some joyous song, some joyous song,
To set the air with music bravely ringing
Is far from wrong! Is far from wrong!

Listen, listen, echoes sound afar!
Listen, listen, echoes sound afar!
Funiculì, funiculà,
Funiculì, funiculà!
Echoes sound afar,
Funiculì, funiculà!

2. Some think it wrong to set the feet a-dancing,
But not so I! But not so I!
Some think that eyes should keep from coyly glancing,
Upon the sly! Upon the sly!

But, oh! To me the mazy dance is charming,
Divinely sweet! Divinely sweet!
And surely there is naught that is alarming
In nimble feet! In nimble feet!


3. Ah me! 'tis strange that some should take to sighing,
And like it well! And like it well!
For me, I have not thought it worth the trying,
So cannot tell! So cannot tell!

With laugh, with dance and song the day soon passes
Full soon is gone, full soon is gone,
For mirth was made for joyous lads and lasses
To call their own! To call their own!

(Final Chorus)
Listen, listen, hark the soft guitar!
Listen, listen, hark the soft guitar!
Funiculì, funiculà, funiculì, funiculà!
Hark the soft guitar, funiculì, funiculà!

Here's the song in Italian:

Ieri sera, Annina, me ne salii,
tu sai dove?
Dove questo cuore ingrato non può farmi più dispetto!
Dove il fuoco scotta, ma se fuggi ti lascia stare!
E non ti corre appresso, non ti stanca,
a guardare in cielo!...
Andiamo su, andiamo andiamo,
funiculì, funiculà!

Ne'…Andiamo dalla terra alla montagna!
Non c'è un passo!
Si vede Francia, Procida e la Spagna... Io vedo te!
Tirati con la fune, detto e fatto, in cielo si va.
Si va come il vento all'improvviso, sali sali!
Andiamo, andiamo su, andiamo, andiamo,
funiculì, funiculà!

Se n'e' salita, Annina, se n'è salita
la testa già! È andata, poi è tornata,
poi è venuta... sta sempre qua!
La testa gira, gira, intorno, intorno, intorno a te!
Questo cuore canta sempre un giorno Sposami, Annina!
Andiamo su, andiamo, andiamo,
funiculì, funiculà! funiculì, funiculà!

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

The photo of the funicular of Mt. Vesuvius at the top of the page is from Mt. Vesuvius Online.