The Italian National Hymn

The Museum displays the first handwritten draft of the Canto degli Italiani, betterknown as “Mameli’s Hymn”,  as part of a notebook containing poems and notes. Written in the autumn of 1847 by a 20 years old Goffredo Mameli, on November of the same year the poem was set to music in Turin by the fellow Genoese Michele Novaro. The hymn was played in public for the first time in Genoa, on 10 December 1847, during the first major public demonstration of the Risorgimento; it thus rose to become a symbol of national unity together with the tricolour flag, and spread across Italy.

When he composed his Hymn of the Nations in 1862, together with La Marsellaise for France and God save the Queen for England, Giuseppe Verdi chose the Canto degli Italiani as representative for Italy, despite the official national anthem at the time being the Marcia Reale (Royal March) – in use since King Carlo Felice of Sardinia’s reign, and then extended to the Kingdom of Italy.