Are you planning a Roman holiday? We’ve got your perfect Rome tour and your holiday playlist!
All these songs are about (or mention) the Eternal City, and are all guaranteed to making packing for vacation easy breezy. Put these tunes on to fold your summer clothes with a smile on your face and a shake in your hips.
We’ve not stuck to the classics – although it’d be criminal to leave them out. We have your Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, but also a few modern odes to bella Roma, including bops by Kanye West and Phoenix.
On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo De Roma)– Dean Martin
Please meet me in the plaza near your casa
I am only one and that’s one too few
On an evening in Roma
Dean Martin’s ‘On an Evening in Roma’ has to be the best pop song about Rome. It goes where few pop-songs dare to go: dual language, mandolins, a hint of the accordion. ‘Plaza’ is rhymed with ‘casa’, like that’s no big deal.
The best thing about ‘On an Evening in Roma’ is that, even today, it’s not that far of the mark. Music is everywhere on summer’s evening, and young lovers seem to spring up from the pavement wherever you turn. Streets are, indeed, beautiful and narrow, under the brilliant moon.
Although we can’t promise you a vacation romance, we can promise you the romance of the historic center.
Rome – Phoenix
Rome Rome Rome Rome
Focus, looking forward, the Colosseum
Rome Rome Rome Rome
Many tears have fallen here
I’ll be driving, you look the other way
One of the best aspects of beloved cult-band Phoenix is that they’re a French band who sing in English, which results in their lyrics occasionally verging on the nonsensical. That’s certainly the case for ‘Rome’, but this hit has enough atmosphere it doesn’t really matter.
Allow this track to get stuck in your head and you’ll be humming ‘Rome Rome Rome Rome’ under your breath for days – the force of repetition is enough to make you eager for the Eternal City. The advice Phoenix give is good too – when you’re on a Rome tour, do focus and look forward at the Colosseum.
Autumn in Rome
My heart remembers fountains where children played
Gardens where dreams were made
Rome is beautiful whenever you visit – in spring, the city comes to life in an abundance of bloom and blossom, and in summer, the summer shines brightly on this capital of capitals every day. However, autumn has its own charms. It’s still jacket weather, and the orange of the falling leaves matches the orange of the city’s townhouses.
Let Tony Bennett’s ditty get you all misty-eyed for lost loves and golden autumn days, above the backdrop of the most beautiful canvas – Rome.
Three Coins in the Fountain – Frank Sinatra
Three coins in the fountain
Each one seeking happiness.
Thrown by three hopeful lovers
Which one will the fountain bless?
We all know which fountain Ol’ Blue Eyes is singing about on this one. This song is the title track of a film of the same name, and should make you appropriately misty-eyed for Roman romance.
Give me time, give me time
I’m gonna make your love as strong as mine
But I know Rome wasn’t built in a day
Is this song about Rome? Strictly speaking, no. But there’d be no romance without Roma, and that’s what Sam Cooke’s after in this song.
The daddy of soul uses Rome as a metaphor to encourage his wandering beloved to make him her priority. If she did, they’d create something great; like the incomparable city of Rome.
Emotionless – Drake
‘Emotionless’ might be the most stereotypically Drake song ever. Here you find Drake and Mariah Carey getting broody about the perils of fame and human relationships, but what’s of interest to us is what Drake says about Rome.
Drake offers a cautionary tale about neglecting to live in the moment while on your Roman holiday:
I know a girl whose one goal was to visit Rome
Then she finally got to Rome
And all she did was post pictures for people at home
‘Cause all that mattered was impressin’ everybody she’s known
Heed R’n’B superstar Drake’s wise words. When you’re heading to Rome on holiday, whether you’re on a Rome tour or just walking around, put down your phone for a hot minute and soak up all the beauty that surrounds you.
White Dress – Kanye West
She’s heading to Rome
Rome is the home
Rome is where she acts like she ain’t got no [expletive] phone
Kanye’s ode to love and marriage is also a ditty in praise of continental Europe, but who cares what he says about Paris?
Mr. West says it himself: Rome is the home – and home’s the center of everything. Unlike the gal in Drake’s ‘Emotionless’, Kanye’s girl puts down her phone when in Rome, because she knows a good thing when she sees it. Follow her lead.
Rome has inspired many musicians – of course; it’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful city. A place you’ll discover on a Rome tour or admire while getting pleasantly lost on winding, cobbled streets.
However, Italy and Italian have a romance all of their own. Which is why we’ve selected this extra-special bonus track.
Telefono – Phoenix
Frutti di mare
Right beside me
Watch the ocean with you
Watch her movie debut
It’d be rude not to include any songs from Phoenix’s impressive 2017 album ‘Ti Amo’, inspired by the band’s unrelenting passion for Italy – and the passion the lead singer has for his Italian-American wife.
‘Telefono’ tells the story of a long-distance romance, but it is a real tribute to the beautiful Italian language. Italian and English are melded to beautiful and, sometimes, humorous effect. ‘Frutti di mare/ Right beside me’ may literally translate as ‘seafood right beside me’, but sounds astonishingly lovely in song.
All the most romantic lines are sung in Italian – it is the language of love, after all – including the unforgettably beautiful bridge: ‘Non posso vivere/ Troppo bisogno di te’ (‘I can not live/ Too much need of you’).
The whole of ‘Ti Amo’ is a joyous dual-language ode to Italy and full of bops; if you want an album to get you giddy for an Italian getaway, this one might be it!
So, there you have it – the best pop songs about Rome. Whatever your planning in the Eternal City, to enjoy your time on a Rome tour, sipping swift espressos at café counters or enjoying a holiday romance, there’s a tune for everyone. Plus, these tunes make a great packing playlist!