La Mantovana is a sixteenth-century song composed by the Italian tenor Giuseppe Cenci, also known as Giuseppino del Biado, (d. 1616) to the text "Fuggi, Fuggi, Fuggi da questo cielo". Its earliest known appearance in print is in del Biado's 1600 collection of madrigals. The melody, later also known as Ballo di Mantova or Aria di Mantova gained wide currency in Renaissance Europe, being recorded variously as the Scottish My mistress is prettie, the Polish Pod Krakowem, Spanish Virgen de la Cueva and the Ukrainian Kateryna Kucheryava. It is best known as the melody of Bedřich Smetana's Vltava and of the Israeli national anthem Hatikvah.
Appearances in classical music
“La Mantovana" appears in “Il Scolaro" by Gasparo Zanetti, 1645, as “Ballo di Mantua” in “Duo Tessuti con diversi Solfeggiamenti, Scherzi, Perfidie et Oblighi" by Giuseppe Giamberti in 1657, and as “An Italian Rant” in John Playford's “Dancing Master" in 1651.
Camille Saint-Saëns quotes this tune in the third movement of Rhapsodies sur des cantiques bretons, Op. 7.