Bandiera Rossa

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Bandiera Rossa (Italian for "Red Flag"), often also called Avanti Popolo after its opening words (also to avoid any confusion with The three flags, another socialist song) is one of the most famous songs of the Italian labour movement. It glorifies the red flag, symbol of the socialist and communist movement. The text was written by Carlo Tuzzi in 1908; the melody is taken from two Lombard folk songs.


Apart from the first Italian text, there are several variants which are identified with certain socialist or communist parties. The last two lines "Evviva il comunismo e la libertà" were put in the text after the rise of Benito Mussolini; at the same time the original beginning "Compagni avanti alla riscossa" was changed to "Avanti o popolo, alla riscossa". Also, the word "comunismo" at the end of the chorus is often replaced with "socialismo", especially in more recent renderings of the song.

Influence on other works[edit]

Art music[edit]

Bandiera Rossa was notably quoted in Frederic Rzewski's piano work The People United Will Never Be Defeated!.

In popular culture[edit]

Notable covers of the song were made by the Slovenian punk-rock band Pankrti in 1984 on the Rdeči album (Red album),[1][2] as well as the Croatian punk-rock band KUD Idijoti in 1990, on their album Mi smo ovdje samo zbog para (We are only here for the money). Scottish band Tarneybackle released a version of the song as part of a medley of Spanish Civil War music.[3]

From the song's opening words is derived the title of the 1986 Israeli film Avanti Popolo. The film's protagonists – very non-heroic Israeli and Egyptian soldiers wandering the Sinai Desert in the aftermath of the 1967 War – in one scene sing the song in a rather facetious way.

Excerpt from the text[edit]

First verse:
Avanti popolo, alla riscossa,
Bandiera rossa, Bandiera rossa.
Avanti popolo, alla riscossa,
Bandiera rossa trionferà.


Bandiera rossa trionferà
Bandiera rossa trionferà
Bandiera rossa trionferà
Evviva il comunismo e la libertà.
Literal Translation:
Forward people, towards redemption
Red Flag, Red Flag
Forward people, towards redemption
Red Flag will triumph.
Red Flag will be triumphant,
Red Flag will be triumphant,
Red Flag will be triumphant,
Long live communism and freedom.

This version translated for by Clara Statello and Mitchell Abidor.[4]

Foreign language versions[edit]

One of the most widely known Italian songs, Bandiera Rossa has been rendered in several languages including: English, German,[5] French,[6] Swedish,[7] Norwegian, Danish,[8] Turkish,[9] Kurdish,[9] Finnish,[10] Icelandic, and Russian.[10]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "CDs and Reviews". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Lyrics: Bandiera rossa (Marxists Internet Archive)". 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2015-06-23.
  5. ^ "DDR Lieder - "Bandiera Rossa"". YouTube. 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  6. ^ "Bandiera rossa - (Französisch)". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  7. ^ "Bandiera Rossa". YouTube. 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  8. ^ "Søren Sidevind - Avanti Popolo". YouTube. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  9. ^ a b "1 Mayıs ! İşçinin emekçinin bayramı !". YouTube. 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
  10. ^ a b "Bandiera rossa - (Italienisch / Deutsch / Finnisch / Russisch)". YouTube. 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2013-03-07.