Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gabriele D'Annunzio -- Abruzzese Poet

I’m an admirer of the poetry of the Abruzzese poet, novelist and dramatist Gabriele D’Annunzio. He was born in Pescara, Abruzzo on March 12, 1863 and is one of the main Italian poets of the 20th century. Gabriele D’Annunzio’s birthplace in Pescara is open to the public and nine rooms on the first floor of the house have been turned into a museum dedicated to his life and works. It is well worth a visit and you can find it at:

Casa Natale di Gabriele D’Annunzio
Corso Gabriele Manthonè, 116 Pescara
Open 9:00 - 13:30 every day except Monday

You'll recognize the building when you see the flags on the balcony above the doorway.

The first five rooms are still furnished with beautiful old pieces and the walls have their original paintings.

Bedroom of Gabriele D'Annunzio and his brother
In the corner of each room look out for a caption from D'Annunzio's poem Il Nottorno, which describes the settings, objects and people the poet loved.

In the sixth room are some of  the poet's suits and accessories; in the seventh are his letters, documents and some of his original editons. In the eight room there are two casts of the poet's hands and face taken on the day of his death. Another room is arranged with panels giving information about D'Annunzio's life along with extraordinary old photographs.

Another section of the museum is dedicated to the poet's wardrobe: his suits, coats, uniforms, hats and accessories. He had a unique, elegant and eccentric style!

Listening to Italian poetry helps me to understand the language better as it is usually spoken at a slower pace. D’Annunzio’s poems include sensuous lines with a sublime musicality that paints pictures with simple sentences.

 "The Rain in the Pinewood" is a favorite of mine. In this poem the poet walks with his wife, Hermione, and invites her to listen to the melody of nature as the summer raindrops fall on the foliage in the wood.

Here is a sample verse that I have translated to English:

The Rain in the Pinewood             La Pioggia nel Pineto

Hush…                                       Taci…
On the edges of the woods            Sulle soglie del bosco
I can’t hear human words              Non odo, parole
That you say,                             Che dici umane;
But I hear newer words                 Ma odo parole più nuove
Spoken by droplets                       Che parlano gocciole
And leaves far away.                    E foglie lontane.
Listen…                                      Ascolta…
Rain falls from the                         Piove dalle
Scattered clouds.                         Nuvole sparse.
Rain falls from the parched,            Piove sulle tamerici
Burnt-out tamarisks.                     Salmastre ed arse,
It rains on the scaly,                     Piove sui pini,
Bristling pines,                             Scagliosi ed irti,
It rains on the divine myrtles,         Piove sui mirti divini,
On the broom-shrubs                    Sulle ginestre fulgenti
Gleaming with clustered flowers,     Di fiori accolti,

On the junipers                            Sui ginepri
Thick with fragrant berries.            Folti di coccole aulenti.
Rain falls on our sylvan                  Piove sui nostri volti
faces,                                        Silvani,
It rains on our bare                       Piove sulle nostre mani
Hands,                                        Ignude,
On our light                                 Sui nostri vestimenti
Clothes,                                      Leggieri,
On the fresh thoughts                   Sui freschi pensieri
That our soul uncovers                  Che l’anima schiude,
New,                                          Novella,
On the beautiful fairytale               Sulla favola bella
That yesterday enchanted you,      Che ieri ti illuse
That today enchants me,               Che oggi m’illude…
O Hermione…                               O Ermione…

 Have a listen to this YouTube clip to hear the poem read in full and with feeling by Roberto Herlitzka. In the background is a gorgeous piece from the soundtrack of the movie Amélie and beautiful images accompany the words …

Which of Gabriele D'Annunzio's poems do you like?


  1. The feelings are well expressed in the above poems.....

    1. In the Bernardo Bertolluci movie "The Conformist" based on Alberto Moravia's novel, there's a scene on a train to Ventimiglia where the Trintignant character recites the D'Annunzio poem "The Rain in the Pinewood" spontaneously.


  2. Thank you so much Richard for this interesting comment! I have since found the movie ‘Il Conformista’ on YouTube (I hadn’t heard of it before) and found the clip where the character recites the D’Annunzio poem: from 38:37 minutes – 39:06. It is a really good movie too!

    For anyone who would like to watch it in its entirety, here is the link: