Can Anyone Help with the Lyrics to an Italian Lullaby?

Susanne Grimm wrote asking for help with an Italian song from her childhood. Here’s her note:

I was googling to find the words to a lullaby my mother used to sing to us. I want to sing it to my grandchildren but I want to get the words correct.

It starts with- Nina nonna baby

Here it is phonetically:

Nini Nonna baby
Au da viene papa
E ti porta candy
Nini Nonna baby

I found a Youtube with a grandmother singing it but I can’t understand the correct wording. (Video below)

Can you help?

Thank you
Susanne Misuraca Grim

YouTube Video:

Can anyone help with the words to this song? If so, please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks in advance!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Friday, August 30th, 2019 at 6:37 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Italian, Italian American, Italian Lullabies, Italy, Languages, Lullabies, Mama Lisa, Questions, Readers Questions, USA, YouTube. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

13 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with the Lyrics to an Italian Lullaby?”

  1. Erika Says:

    This isn’t Italian language standard but actually a southern Italian dialect. My first clue was that this grandmother seems to have immigrated to the US and her American accent makes me think that her parents were actually the ones who came over from Italy. I don’t speak or understand southern dialects but I can recognize them. Look towards Naples or Sicily. Hope this helps!

  2. Susanne Grim Says:

    Thank you! I think it’s Sicilian


  3. Stephanie Says:

    lyrics here:

  4. Patricia Says:

    As already mentioned, this is more American than Italian (or, rather, Sicilian), with the grandmother probably having vague memories and mixing up words.
    What, as an Italian, I am sure of, is that the first few words are not “Nina nonna”, which would be the name (Nina) of a grandmother (nonna), but Ninna nanna, which means lullalby, and is the way many Italian lullabies start. “Nanna” is, in baby talk, sleep.
    I hope this helps.

  5. Denise Says:

    m- scicilian mo-her used -o sing; nina nanna fa sonnino, dormi, dormi, mia pichina, la nina nanna -i volghio can-ar’ perche mia xxxx a dormire deve andar’

    canno wrie cerain leers m compuer is broken. he – show where leers missing xxx represens babi name.

  6. JoeM Says:

    This is a Sicilian Lullaby sung by Enzo Stuarti.
    It goes:

    Ninna Nanna, cuore di Mamma
    Varmi duomi u Pappa!

    Repeated over & over in a soft sing-song voice.

  7. Marisa Gosselin Says:

    My mom always sang this song to her children and grandchildren. And I have sung this to my grandchildren and my daughter sings it now to her children.
    My mom is the Province of Caserta which is about an hour away from Naples.

    This is what I remember, how my mom sang it.

    Ninna Nonna Bebe. Quando vena papà. E ti porta na cosa. Ninna Nonna Bebe.

  8. AlexS Says:

    Nina Nonna baby
    au da viene papà
    E ti porta la cioccolata
    *name* lo mangia

  9. Barbara Says:

    My Siciliana Mama and Nonna sang this song to my children. I quickly learned it and sang it to them as well. Now I’m singing it to my Granddaughter and my Son is asking for the words. This song is magical and always puts the baby right to sleep. 💖
    Ninna nanna Mama,
    che ti venire Papa,
    e ti porta Baby, (baby can be substituted by baby’s name).
    ninna nanna Mama.
    Ninna nanna cuore di Mama,
    Mama ti canta la ninna nanna. (Who’s singing – Mama, Papa or Nonna).

  10. Diane Feriozzi Sullivan Says:

    My Grandma who was from Termi Abruzzi. She was calabresi her lullaby went like this:

    Nonna BeBe
    Mort avie PaPa
    Que ta portali Kaka(cake)
    Fata na nonna Bebe

    My 17&18 grandchildren still loved it.
    My Granddaughter has been looking for a version close ours. Yours is the closest thank you for your post.

  11. Joanne M Says:

    My grandmother and mother were from Sicily and its driving me crazy. Im trying to find out if there’s a song ninna nanna is how its starts out but its not the lullaby of the same name. My grandmother and mom used to bounce all the kids on her knee, singing it ninnie nonni but I can’t remember the rest. It was an upbeat fast song, not a lullaby. Did my grandmother and mom just make up their own version or is there a song like that? Please if anyone can help me figure it out I’d really appreciate it. As a result of them doing that to all the kids, they always call all grandmothers Nonnie now. They didn’t know it meant grandmother, they just started calling them that because of the song. It brings back so many memories.

  12. Michelle Says:

    My grandfather used to sing this to me as a little girl. His mother was an Italian immigrant and she only spoke Italian and broken English – I suspect by the time my grandfather sang it to me and by my own recollection 35 years later, the words are no longer perfect Italian. Yet the lyrics I remember – phonetically, at least, are nearly *identical* to yours! I’ve always wondered where the song originated, what it means, and the actual lyrics. I can’t believe there are others singing this same song this many generations later.

  13. Anna Says:

    Hi Susanne, just by PURE CHANCE I was talking about this today. I said my Italian Mum used to sing a lullaby to me but thinking about it – whilst the tune could send you to sleep – the words are awful. I can’t really write well in Italian but the lullaby I am referring to went like this ….. Nonna Nonna (I think) 🤔 e Nonna Nunarella ……. then …….O Lupa se mangiata – o pugarella!!!!! Translating The wolf has eaten the sheep!!!! It never occurred to me till recently and today I questioned this with an Italian n I learnt that SUCH LULLABIES – NOT NICE ONES – are thought to have come from The South of Italy – most likely Sicily – the place of The Mafia. Apparently there are several I was told n SUCH LULLABIES have a name but I can’t remember what he said it was called but think it was Cam…. something. Might not really be the info. you were after but it kind of coincides. PLEASE DON’T THINK ILL OF MY MUM – SHE WAS A VERY BEAUTIFUL, CARING AND HARDWORKING MUM, WIFE, GRANDMA AND MUM IN LAW. She also DIDN’T COME FROM THE SOUTH OF ITALY. xxx

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