La Bella Gigogin

Everyone knows it, but few know its history

La Bella Gigogin

DONNE IN GUERRA NEL RISORGIMENTO | Museo Alessandro Roccavilla

If the news of the “Gazzettino Padano” chose the refrain of the Bella Gigogin to realize its theme song, it did not do it by chance, but with good reason.

This popular song is not only folk, but is a real historical document which is worth exegesis.

It was written, by Maestro Paolo Giorza, in 1858 who used it to convey, with joy and allegories, a precise political message to the Milanese people harassed by Austrian domination and taxes. This song left an indelible mark in the history of our Risorgimento both for Milan and for the whole of Italy.

Let’s see now the meanings.

Gigogin, in Piedmontese dialect, is the diminutive of the name Teresina who was a viner who worked in her Milanese Inn back in 1848.

The Kingdom of Italy was born on 17 March 1861 with the union of the House of Savoy with the Kingdom of the two Sicilies. Before that period, Lombardy was part of the Kingdom of Lombardo-Veneto dominated and subjugated by the Austrians.

Lombardy was one of the richest territories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire because it was already very industrialized and consequently harassed by imperial taxes. 

Milan was also the vice capital of the empire.

Our Gigogin, the Teresina, was not just a simple vivandier, she was also a relay of the army of General “La Marmora”. He carried the messages of the Lombard liberation army to the Piedmontese who were preparing a liberation intervention.

The words of the historic song “La Bella Gigogin” contain many anti-imperial allegories, and here they are explained! 

Daghela avanti un passo it was a reminder and an invitation to the Piedmontese army to come to Lombardy to free it from the Austrians. 

La dis che l’è malada it wants to declare that Lombardy was suffering from the domination of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

Per non mangiar polenta it was a reference to the yellow color present in the Austrian flag of those times.

Lassala maridà hoped and invoked the alliance between Victor Emmanuel II and Napoleon III against the Austro-Hungarian kingdom. 

The history tells us that this song was played for the first time on New Year’s Eve, at the Teatro Carcano in Milan on December 31, 1858. It was a unique success and the song, played in front of the Austrian governor as a gesture of defiance. It was repeated 8 times for the requests of an “encore” of the jubilant people. The funny thing was that, given the success of the song, the Austrians included it in the repertoire of their band, and the Milanese laughed at it behind them.

After reading this explanation I am sure you will be fascinated and you will not remain insensitive to the great courage of our ancestors who fought with the love of country for theirs and ours freedom.

Video – La Bella Gigogin – 

Un abbraccio/ a big Hug

Nadine & Marcus

[email protected]

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