La Smorfia Napoletana

La Smorfia is a type of Southern Italian gematria. It maps dream motifs onto numbers 1 through 90, revealing which numbers should be played in the lottery. Dictionaries mapping thousands of items and ideas onto these numbers are popular in Southern Italy, particularly Naples. You can read one online for free:

Nuova Smorfia del giuoco del lotto (1866) – Giustino Rumeo

Or, if you are looking for an easier way to interpret your dreams according to La Smorfia, this website may be of help.


tammurriata pompei
Above: A mosaic from Pompeii which appears to depict the tammurriata being played and danced in Antiquity. 

“The arms are held in front of the body with the elbows outward, and the movements that they make are basically two, inspired by agricultural activities. The first is a downwards gesture of sowing. The second is an upwards gesture that resembles the movements made when collecting fruit from trees. The steps of the tammurriata follow the rhythm of the drums and are characterized by mirrored movement of the feet, side-to-side, back and forth, or toe-to-heel of the two dancers. All in all, the dancers move in circles.” – Arianna Sacco

Santa Lucia Luntana

Santa Lucia luntana is dedicated to the many Neapolitan emigrants who departed from the porto di Napoli towards far away lands (almost always towards the Americas). The lyrics are inspired by the sentiments that these immigrants experienced while growing distant from the land, fixing their eyes towards the picturesque panorama of the neighborhood of Santa Lucia, the last part of their homeland that they would be able to see, always growing smaller, on the horizon.

The song quickly became a success, not only in popular thought, and it was also very important at a social level because it brought to light the reality of emigration, a phenomenon up until then poorly understood by the official culture.

« Partono ‘e bastimente
pe’ terre assaje luntane…
Cántano a buordo:
só’ Napulitane!
Cantano pe’ tramente
‘o golfo giá scumpare,
e ‘a luna, ‘a miez’ô mare,
nu poco ‘e Napule
lle fa vedé…
Santa Lucia!
Luntano ‘a te,
quanta malincunia!
Se gira ‘o munno sano,
se va a cercá furtuna…
ma, quanno sponta ‘a luna,
luntano ‘a Napule
nun se pò stá!
E sònano…Ma ‘e mmane
trèmmano ‘ncoppe ccorde…
Quanta ricorde, ahimmé,
quanta ricorde…
E ‘o core nun ‘o sane
nemmeno cu ‘e ccanzone:
Sentenno voce e suone,
se mette a chiagnere
ca vò’ turná…
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia, tu tiene
sulo nu poco ‘e mare…
ma, cchiù luntana staje,
cchiù bella pare…
E’ ‘o canto de Ssirene
ca tesse ancora ‘e rrezze!
Core nun vò’ ricchezze:
si è nato a Napule,
ce vò’ murí!
Santa Lucia,
………… »
« Partono le navi
per le terre assai lontane…
Cantano a bordo:
sono Napoletani!
Cantano mentre
il golfo già scompare
e la luna in mezzo al mare
un poco di Napoli
gli fa vedere
Santa Lucia!
Lontano da te
quanta malinconia!
Si gira il mondo intero
si va a cercar fortuna…
ma, quando spunta la luna
lontano da Napoli
non si può stare!
E suonano!Ma le mani
tremano sulle corde…
quanti ricordi, ahimé,
quanti ricordi…
E il cuore non lo guarisci
nemmeno con le canzoni:
sentendo voce e suoni,
si mette a piangere
che vuol tornare…
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia, tu hai
solo un poco di mare…
ma più lontana sei,
più bella sembri…
Ed il canto delle Sirene
che tesse ancora le reti
Il cuore non vuol ricchezze:
se è nato a Napoli
ci vuol morire!
Santa Lucia,
………… »