Italian Language Blog

Tu Scendi dalle Stelle Posted by on Dec 23, 2020 in Culture

Tu Scendi dalle Stelle – From Starry Skies Thou Comes 

Image by Benjamin Voros from Unsplash, CCO.

As the holidays approach, what better way to celebrare l’inizio (to celebrate the beginning) than by listening to music to set l’atmosfera (the mood, atmosphere)?

Composed in the 18th century by Saint Alphonsus Liguori in un stile pastorale (a pastoral style), this is very likely the most popular Italian canzone natalizia (Christmas carol) today. It is traditionally played at the end of midnight mass in St Peter’s every vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve), and it is the first Christmas song Italians learn to sing as children. The lyrics are a perfect  symbolization and embodiment of love for the newborn Jesus, and its melody is beautiful and poignant. Tu Scendi dalle Stelle is traditionally played with zampogne, an Italian variety of bagpipes. It is senza ombra di dubbio (without shadow of a doubt) a quintessential Italian Christmas song, and there are numerous rifacimenti (covers).

Sotto trova le parole in italiano e inglese, e due rifacimenti famosi! Under find the lyrics in Italian and English, and two famous covers!


Tu scendi dalle stelle,

O Re del Cielo,
e vieni in una grotta,
al freddo e al gelo.

O Bambino mio Divino
Io ti vedo qui a tremar,
O Dio Beato
Ahi, quanto ti costò
l’avermi amato!

A te, che sei del mondo
il Creatore,
mancano panni e fuoco;
O mio Signore!

Caro eletto Pargoletto,
Quanto questa povertà
più mi innamora!
Giacché ti fece amor
povero ancora!

From starry skies descending,
Thou comest, glorious King,
A manger low Thy bed,
In winter’s icy sting;

O my dearest Child most holy,
Shuddering, trembling in the cold!
Great God, Thou lovest me!
What suffering Thou didst bear,
That I near Thee might be!

Thou art the world’s Creator,
God’s own and true Word,
Yet here no robe, no fire
For Thee, Divine Lord.

Dearest, fairest, sweetest Infant,
Dire this state of poverty.
The more I care for Thee,
Since Thou, O Love Divine,
Will’st now so poor to be

Quale versione preferisci? Quella di Andrea Bocelli o quella di Luciano Pavarotti? Which version do you prefer? The one with Andrea Bocelli or the one with Luciano Pavarotti?

Buon natale a tutti voi! Merry Christmas to all of you!

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.


  1. Mary:

    Grazie, Bridgette, for a very lovely Christmas blog!
    Buon Natale!

  2. Colleen:

    Both are beautiful. The version by Andrea Bocelli is more expressive. Thank you. Buon Natale!

  3. William Auge:

    Mi piacce la versione di Bocelli la magliore per la sua simplicita.

  4. jessica rowles:

    mi piacciono entrambi canzoni ma preferisco la versione di Luciano Pavarotti! Che bello!

  5. Agustín Francisco Correa:

    Mi piacce la versione di Luciano Pavarotti.
    Boccelli cannot hold a candle to the greatest Pavarotti

  6. Ian Dunn:

    Preferisco la versione Luciano perché il coro dei bambini la rende più vivace.

  7. Rein:

    Preferisco Luciano Pavarotti. in questo pezzo trovo commovente la sua ingenua onestà.

  8. Patricia:

    Preferisco la versione di Pavarotti. La sua dizione e perfetta!

  9. Tom Dawkes:

    Giovanni Mauriello sings this wonderfully in the film “Another time, another place”, which is about Italian POWs in Scotland:

  10. Tom Dawkes:

    There is also an Italian Wikipedia page “Quanno_nascette_Ninno” at It gives the Neapolitan version and discussion of the music

  11. Joan Engelhaupt:

    Ho notato che Bocelli canta “Ahi,, quanto ti costo di averCI amato!” e Pavarotti canta, “…averMI amato”.

  12. Maria Giovanna:

    Tanti auguri di buonissima natale. Grazie da tutto.

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