Dating back to 1849 and originally titled “Barcarolla,” the song became “Santa Lucia” when it was the first Neapolitan song to be translated into Italian during  il Risorgimento (the political and social movement that gathered different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy).
The lyrics of “Santa Lucia,” which celebrate Borgo Santa Lucia, the picturesque waterfront district in the Bay of Naples, are the invitation of a boatman to take a turn in his boat, to better enjoy the cool of the evening.
“Santa Lucia” has been covered by many artists over the years, but the 1916 recording  by Enrico Caruso, the great Neapolitan opera singer, is by many considered the definitive 20th century recording of the song. Other singers who’ve lent their voci (voices) to “Santa Lucia” include, Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti, and even Elvis!




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