This rhyme was popular in the Neapolitan region of Italy.

Ciccio is a nickname for Francesco.


Here's the rhyme in standard Italian:

Sega sega mastro Ciccio
una panella e una salsiccia
la salsiccia ce la mangiamo
e la panella ce la conserviamo


Adriana sent this version:

The lyrics I know are these (in Neapolitan dialect), but there are slightly different versions in other parts of Southern Italy:

Sega, sega mastu Ciccio,
na panèlla e nu sasiccio;
'o sasiccio c' 'o mangiammo
e a panella c' 'a stipammo.
c' 'a stipàmmo pe' Natale,
quanno vènene 'e zampugnàre!

Saw saw, master Ciccio (=Francesco),
A round loaf and a sausage
The sausage, we eat it
And the round loaf, we keep it.
We keep it for the Christmas period
when the pipers (=players of reed-pipe) arrive.

Game Instructions

Put the child on your lap. Hold his/her hands and gently move them back and forth like you're sawing.


Joann wrote: "My aunt was from Naples and always sang a song to our children. She was not sure what the English translation was. With the children on her lap she would push the back and pull them forward while singing the song. Since she spoke dialect I am not sure of the words but to our best knowledge the beginning line was "Sega, sega". Our family was delighted to hear the song from the 91 year old woman, Mici Miagolio. That was another song that she sang to the children. Thanks for your website."

Salvatore wrote:

"Ciao, I remember this song clearly. My grandmother would sing this. When she got a package with string, she would make a triangle using both my fingers and hers, then pull the string through it making a seesaw like movement. she would then sing Sega, Sega. In fact, as kids, if we wanted to play with a string with our friends we would call it 'Sega Sega'."

-Salvatore Lenzi
(Gemini Travel Agency, Inc.)

We also received this note:

"My mom used to sing that to me while I sat on her lap facing her and she held my hands Rocking (sega) all the way down to the floor. I did that with my kids. I believe it's a Napolitano tradition."


Come join our discussion of Sega Sega Mastu Ciccio on Mama Lisa's World Blog.

Here's another version of this rhyme. Someone in the YouTube comments give these lyrics and translation:

"It's Neapolitan dialect. It's:

Sega sega, Mastuciccio,
'na panella e nu sasicc';
a sasicc' c'a magnamm'
a paniell' c'a stipamm,

and it kinda translates into:

Saw saw, Mastro
(you use "mastro" to refer to an affluent person in South Italy)
Ciccio, a piece of bread and a sausage;
The sausage we'll eat,
The bread we'll put in storage."
Please let us know if you think this video has been taken down by YouTube.
Please let us know if you think this video has been taken down by YouTube.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Joann DellAversano for contributing this song. Thanks to Monique Palomares for translating it. Thanks to Adriana for the longer version.

Grazie mille!