Italian Language Blog

“Promemoria” by Gianni Rodari Posted by on Feb 11, 2009 in Culture

I was browsing through my books this morning when I came across a little poem which I had forgotten all about: it’s called Promemoria (Memo) and was written by Gianni Rodari, a famous children’s author who is also loved by adults. Rodari was born in 1920 in Omegna (Piedmont); when he was young he initially worked as a primary school teacher, but in 1948 he became a journalist for the newspaper L’Unita’ in Milan. It was at this time that he began writing stories for children. In 1950 he was made editor of the children’s weekly magazine Il Pioniere in Rome and in the same year he published his first book: Il libro delle filastrocche (The book of nursery rhymes). In 1970 Rodari was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Prize for children’s literature, which gained him a wider international reputation, and his books were translated into many languages. In 1973 he wrote La grammatica della fantasia (The grammar of fantasy), an introduction to the art of storytelling. Rodari died in 1980 in Rome.

Gianni Rodari’s poems and stories are often comic, with elements of fantasy and absurdity, but they still retain a link with the real world.  The poem Promemoria was published posthumously in Il secondo libro delle filastrocche (The second book of nursery rhymes) in 1985; it’s one of his ‘serious’ poems.



Ci sono cose da fare ogni giorno:

lavarsi, studiare, giocare,

preparare la tavola

a mezzogiorno

Ci sono cose da fare di notte:

chiudere gli occhi, dormire

avere sogni da sognare,

orecchie per non sentire.

Ci sono cose da non fare mai,

ne’ di giorno ne’ di notte,

ne’ per mare ne’ per terra:

per esempio, la guerra.



There are things to be done every day:

washing oneself, studying, playing,

setting the table

at midday.

There are things to be done every night:

closing one’s eyes, sleeping,

having dreams to dream,

ears for listening.

There are things never to be done,

neither by day nor by night,

neither by sea nor by land:

for example, war. 


If you would like to read some of Rodari’s works in Italian have a look at this site:

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