Songs Of My Life: Gianna Nannini / Edoardo Bennato – Un’ Estate Italiana

8th July 1990, Olympic Stadium in Rome. German Andreas Brehme took the deciding penalty shot in the 85th minute and scored against Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea. Four years after the same teams faced at the finals of the Soccer World Cup 1986 in Mexico, there was a different winner. Germany. There are more stories than that I combine with the official song of that tournament in Italy 1990, Un’ Estate Italiana – “A Summer in Italy”, performed by Gianna Nannini. What would be a better song to present some days before the (useless – too much travelling) Euro 2020 and two days after the amazing Simone Laudehr finished her outstanding soccer career?


Un’ Estate Italiana – The Story of The Song

Gianna Nannini was born on 15th June 1954 in Siena. Together with Eros Ramazotti, she is likely the Italian rock artist, which had most success also outside her home country, where she had twelve platinum records for studio albums (17 overall). Songs like America (1979, her debut single), Latin Lover (1982) or Bello e impossibile (1986) made it into the charts of other European country. The single I maschi (1988) got a silver record in France, the corresponding album Maschi e altri has even been a platinum one in Sweden. Not too surprisingly, she has been most successful outsiide Italy in Switzerland, where she had three golden and three platinum records.

A summer – Another Adventure

In 1989, Gianna Nannini was practically at the peak of her career, when she was asked to do the official song for the Soccer World Cup 1990. She partnered with Edoardo Bennato, who is not that well-known outside Italy, but in fact quite a famous and successful Italo-rock musician as well. Born on 23rd July 1946 in Naples, he had two Number 1 albums and two chart-leading singles in his home country – apart from the song he performed with Nannini. The song is called Un’ Estate Italiana. The song comes with beautiful lyrics, praising the game and its rules, looking forward to the desire to win and – last, but not least – praising the summer nights in Italy. Sotto il cielo di un’estate italiana – “Under the Sky of an Italian summer” or Un’ estate, un’avventura in piu – “A summer, another adventure” are some of its lyrics, which spread its magic over the world of sports.

The Song was planned to be in English…

What people typically don’t know about the song: It was originally written as To Be Number One (Summer 1990) and thus had English lyrics. The composer of the song is nobody but Giorgio Moroder, who – fun fact – already wrote Reach Out, the official anthem of the 1984 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles. The English lyrics were written by Tom Whitlock -later, the English version has been released under the band name Giorgio Moroder Project. The song was used as a teaser of the coverage in Italian public TV RAI and made it to the second spot of the single charts in the country.

Of course, there has been no chance to do better – and the reason was Un’ Estate Italiana. The Italian version topped the Italian charts for ten weeks (45 weeks in the charts in total). The song was an international success: it topped the Swiss charts as well and went second (with a golden record) in Germany. 25,000 units in Sweden lead to a golden record as well.


Un’ Estate Italiana – My Story of The Song

To me, the song creates multiple memories and references to people I value(d) in my life. Of course, there is the memory to the World Cup itself. We watched the deciding matches in Italy in our former holiday home at Lake Garda. Bodo Illgner, the Cologne keeper, was my sports idol at that time. With Pierre Littbarski and Paul Steiner, two more Cologne players joined the squad. Many Germans remember scenes of Italia ’90, e.g. Franz Beckenbauer, the German general manager walking alone around the rounds of the Rome stadium after the final.

The song also reminds me of Italy in general. We had this house at Lake Garda for years (nowadays, it belongs to my uncle…) and there are so many memories linked to that country. I would still say that some 20, 25 years after I regularly have been in that country, Italian is – apart from English – the foreign language I can communicate best in. I definitely want to increase the coverage in Italy in the near future. Un’ Estate Italiana is my personal anthem for this lovely country country. There is no song I link to Italy that much.

On top of that, there are some personal things, which I mentioned in other Songs Of My Life postings already and won’t repeat in here. For example, I also think about my father (who was fluent in Italian, by the way) when I listen to this song.


Un’ Estate Italiana – Spotify and Links

Here is the song on Spotify:

You can find the lyrics of Un’ Estate Italiana and English translation here.

The lyrics of To Be Number One can be found here.


Songs Of My Life Playlist

I created a playlist with all the Songs Of My Life songs so far. It will be updated with very new episode:

Title picture: Ciao, mascot of the 1990 Italy Soccer World Cup, copyrighted by the organizer. about Italy

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