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!
Harken, harken, music sounds a-far!
Harken, harken, with a happy heart!
Funiculì, funiculà, funiculì, funiculà!
Joy is everywhere, funiculì, funiculà!
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!
Harken, harken, hark the soft guitar! Harken, harken, hark the soft guitar!
Funiculì, funiculà, funiculì, funiculà!
Hark the soft guitar, funiculì, funiculà!
These are the English words to Funiculì, Funiculà! And here is a video of Rodney Dangerfield's wonderful rendition of the song in the film Easy Money.
Aissera, oje Nanniné, me ne sagliette,tu saje addó, tu saje addó
Addó 'stu core 'ngrato cchiù dispietto farme nun pò! Farme nun pò!
Addó lu fuoco coce, ma se fujete lassa sta! Te lassa sta!
E nun te corre appriesso, nun te strujesulo a guardà, sulo a guardà.
Jamme, jamme 'ncoppa, jamme jà, Jamme, jamme 'ncoppa, jamme jà,
funiculì, funiculà, funiculì, funiculà,
'ncoppa, jamme jà, funiculì, funiculà!
Se n'è sagliuta, oje né, se n'è sagliuta,la capa già! La capa già!
È gghiuta, po' è turnata, po' è venuta,sta sempe ccà! Sta sempe ccà!
La capa vota, vota, attuorno, attuorno,attuorno a tte! Attuorno a tte!
Stu core canta sempe nu taluorno: Sposamme, oje né! Sposamme, oje né!
I went up this evening, Nanetta Do you know where? Do you know where?
Where your hard heart can't reach With scornful wiles! With scornful wiles!
Where the fire burns, but if you run You can escape it! You can escape it!
It doesn't chase you nor destroy you Just by a look. Just by a look.
Come on, come on! To the top we'll go! Come on, come on! To the top we'll go!
Funiculi, funicula, funiculi, funicula!
To the top we'll go, funiculi, funicula!
It's climbed aloft, see, climbed aloft now,Right to the top! Right to the top!
It went, and turned, and came back down, And now it's stopped! And now it's stopped!
The top is turning round and round, Around yourself! Around yourself!
My heart sings that on such a day We should be wed! We should be wed!
The Song and Italy's Real World Funiculars
The song is about a man caught up in the volcano of love, while he and his love are taking a ride up to the top of Mount Vesuvius on a funicular... an inclined, gear driven rail car. As the funicular rises up, so does his courage to ask for her hand in marriage. There actually was a funicular that went to the top of Vesuvius and this song was written as a metaphor about the ups and downs of love and its volcanic nature. The funicular that went up to Mount Vesuvius in 1880 cable car was later destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 1944. Coincidentally, the song was written in nearby Castellammare di Stabia, itself a town which--while doesn't have a funicular--has a dramatic cable car taking visitors up to the top of a mountain with breathtaking views of both the Bay or Naples and Mount Vesuvius.
Funiculars are still in operation all around Italy and offer visitors to Italy unique views of the countryside, superb visits to the "alto" (high) parts of towns throughout the country. Some are in small towns, some go to the tops of mountains, while others simply are an everyday part of commuting from the low town to the higher: the alto.
The funicular at Montecatini Terme looks like a quaint red vintage trolley... one of my favorites of all the funicular I discovered in my research. In 1897 the excavation and construction of viaducts, bridges and track were built. Inhabitants of Montecatini were finally to be connected to their Castle high above the main part of town.
The Montenero Funicular in Livorno was inaugurated in 1908 and was the first electric railway of its kind in Italy. There are two trains running up and down the track, each one capable of carrying 40 passengers. One of the most interesting and innovative aspects of Montenero's funicular railway is that it runs on solar power, the panels having been installed in 2000.
Of course, one of the most famous funiculars is no more... the Mount Vesuvius Funicular. Built in 1880, the original funicular was only 2 miles long kilometer long, but by 1903 had grown to 18 miles, including a connecting railway from Naples to the base of the funicular itself. This is thanks to railroad magnate, Thomas Cook who bought the funicular and rebuilt and improved it, while facing violent obstruction from the horse and carriage trade unions who feared competition of their own clientèle they carried to the top of Vesuvius. They cut cables, destroyed funicular cars and caused all sorts of other mischief. There were two cars at the turn of the century, the Aetna and the Vesuvio, each carrying up to 15 passengers. In the end, the Vesuvius Funicular lasted until Mother Nature herself doomed it--by another eruption from Vesuvius in 1944.
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