La Leggenda del Piave
|English: The Legend of Piave|
A woman, representing Italy, celebrates the Italian victory over Austria-Hungary
National anthem of Italy
|Lyrics||E. A. Mario, 1918|
|Music||E. A. Mario, 1918|
|Preceded by||Marcia Reale|
|Succeeded by||Il Canto degli Italiani|
La Leggenda del Piave (English: The Legend of Piave), also known as La Canzone del Piave (English: The Song of Piave), is an Italian patriotic song written by E. A. Mario after the Battle of the Piave River in June 1918. In September 1943 the future king of Italy Umberto II chose it as the new national anthem replacing the Marcia Reale. It remained the official anthem of Italy until October 1946, when the new Italian Republic selected Il Canto degli Italiani in its stead. Today, the song is popular in Italy and played by a military band on National Unity and Armed Forces Day (November 4).
The song is divided in four parts and presents a brief history of the Italian front during World War I.
- The march of the Italian army in May 1915 from Veneto to the frontline.
- The Italian defeat at Caporetto.
- The resistance along the Piave river.
- The final battle at Vittorio Veneto and the victory.
Il Piave mormorava calmo e placido al passaggio
The Piave whispered calm and placid during the crossing
The song was executed for the first time at the end of the battle held in June 23, 1918. General Armando Diaz addressed a personal telegram to the author to thank him for his musical contribution to the military victory of the Italian army.
In the years following World War I the song became an anthem dedicated to the resistance during the war.
E. A. Mario refused to gain money from La Leggenda del Piave. In November 1941 he donated his and his wife's wedding rings, and the first 100 gold medals he received as a tribute for this song by the towns along the river Piave, war veterans' associations, and private citizens to the "Gold for the Fatherland" initiative.
La Leggenda del Piave was one of the candidates to become the anthem of the new Italian Republic. "Il Canto degli Italiani" was chosen instead.
Today La Leggenda del Piave is still widely popular, and the song is commonly played during official ceremonies to remember the fallen and the final victory.
- "Ma in una notte triste si parlò di tradimento" was the original text in this line because a unit of the Italian Army was originally considered responsible of the defeat of Caporetto.
- "per l'onta consumata a Caporetto" was the original text, see previous note.
- "But on a sad night, by a treason, they said" is the original line because before the end of the hostilities it was believed that the surrender of a unit of the Italian Army had led to the defeat of Caporetto.
- "because of the shame that had taken place in Caporetto" was the original line, see previous note.
- "Il 24 maggio 1915 per l'Italia cominciava la prima guerra mondiale. La canzone del Piave del fratello E.A Mario immortalò quel momento". Grand Orient of Italy (in Italian).
- "Il Cerchio", by Franz Maria D'Asaro