What is “Bella ciao” and it’s history?
Bella ciao ("Goodbye beautiful") is an Italian protest folk song that originated in the hardships of the mondina women, the paddy field workers in the late 19th century who sang it to protest against harsh working conditions in the paddy fields of North Italy.
The song was modified and adopted as an anthem of the anti-fascist resistance by the Italian partisans between 1943 and 1945 during the Italian Resistance, the resistance of Italian partisans against the Nazi German forces occupying Italy, and, during the Italian Civil War, the Italian partisan struggle against the fascist Italian Social Republic and its Nazi German allies. Versions of "Bella ciao" are sung worldwide as an anti-fascist hymn of freedom and resistance.
"Bella Ciao" was originally sung as " Alla mattina appena alzata" by seasonal workers of paddy fields of rice, especially in Italy's Po Valley from the late 19th century to the first half of the 20th century with different lyrics. They worked at monda (weeding) the rice fields in northern Italy, to help the healthy growth of young rice plants. It took place during the flooding of the fields, from the end of April to the beginning of June every year, during which the delicate shoots needed to be protected, during the first stages of their development, from temperature differences between the day and the night. It consisted of two phases: transplanting the plants and pruning the weeds.
"Bella ciao" was revived by the anti-fascist resistance movement in Italy between 1943 and 1945, with modified lyrics. The author of the lyrics is unknown.