Marlene wrote: "I just found your site and am happy to contribute this little ditty that my grandmother sang to me. She was from San Matteo della Decima, northeast of Bologna, Italy. She came to the States in 1908 with her family, married a man from her village in Italy, and lived in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The song is about a little horse named Bimbalotta, and I've written it phonetically in the dialect I heard as a child. I've also tried to translate it. It is usually sung to a baby while jostling the baby on one's lap, like 'Trot, Trot to Boston' and sung to the tune of the first verse of the 'Tarantella'."


*A very thin spaghetti pasta

Note that "bimba" means "girl" or "baby girl" in Italian and "otta" can be used as a diminutive (to say it's the little version). So "bimbalotta" would be "little girl" or "little baby girl".


The Italian book " Folklore emiliano raccolto a Cento" (1968) by Mario Borgatti has this version:

Trota trota, bimbalota,
un furmàj e una ricota,
un parol eel tajadèl
pr'impinir el to budèl '.

They give this translation in standard Italian:

Trotta, trotta, bimbalotta,
un formaggio e una ricotta,
un paiolo di tagliatelle
per riempire le tue budelle.

Here's an English translation by Mama Lisa:

Trot, trot, little girl,
Cheese and ricotta cheese,
A pot of noodles
To fill your belly.

Monique found the spelling below (this one can also be found on a menu in a restaurant in Bologna):

Trotta bimbalotta
un furmai e 'na ricotta
un parol ed taiadel
da impinir al mi budel.

It must mean:

Trot little child (little baby girl)
A cheese and a ricotta
A pan of tagliatelle
To fill my belly.

Many times dialects have no authoritative written resources for proper spelling. We always welcome help fine-tuning the spelling of rhymes in dialects. Thanks! -Mama Lisa

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Marlene Brigida Baldwin for contributing and translating this song.

Molte grazzie!