There are many reasons why you would choose a specific funeral song to be played at your eventual funeral or the services of a loved one. Maybe the music is chosen based on the nationality or ethnic heritage of the deceased.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Italian Funeral Songs for Mom or Grandma
- Italian Funeral Songs for Dad or Grandpa
- Sad Italian Funeral Songs
- Upbeat Italian Funeral Songs
Are you planning the funeral or repast for a loved one who celebrated an Italian heritage? Here are some songs to consider using at the funeral or the reception, whether they’re in Italian or English.
COVID-19 tip: If you're hosting a Zoom funeral using a service like GatheringUs, test your audio before the ceremony so you can anticipate any day-of-the-funeral issues.
Italian Funeral Songs for Mom or Grandma
You’re never prepared to lose your mama, but planning the funeral for an Italian mom or grandma comes with its own challenges. We’re guessing that if you were to include all the music that your mom loved at her funeral, the service would last 46 hours.
Let us help narrow your choices by giving you seven suggestions. These are common Italian funeral songs. Please keep in mind that you can only use sacred songs for a Catholic funeral.
The other pieces listed may be used as background music in the funeral slideshow or played while the family gathers for dinner.
1. “Ave Maria”
Consider hiring a soloist or asking a family member to sing “Ave Maria.” This beloved sacred song may be an appropriate choice for the communion hymn. “Ave Maria” is the Latin name of the Hail Mary prayer.
2. “Amazing Grace”
“Amazing Grace” often appears at the top of the lists of the most beloved hymns of all time. Even though this was not originally written in Italian, it may be an appropriate song for a Christian or Catholic service.
3. “Il Signore è il mio Pastore”
You may not recognize this title by the Italian name, but you definitely would recognize the lyrics if they were translated into English. They are the words to the 23rd Psalm, which has given comfort to many for generations.
4. “Le Mamme”
This song celebrates mamas. One of the lines translates to “Mothers, dream, get older, the mothers, they love, but they love you the most.” Consider playing this in the background while gathering with family members after the services.
Both Luciano Pavarotti and Ricky Martin recorded “Mamma.” The song’s lyrics celebrate the devotion of a mother to her son (and vice versa). Again, as this isn’t a sacred song, it would only be appropriate to play for the slideshow or during the repast.
6. “Time to Say Goodbye”
Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli’s 1995 recording of “Time to Say Goodbye” is beloved by people of every culture. Of course, as most of the lyrics are sung in Italian, it would be a beautiful way to say goodbye to your loving and devoted mama.
7. “This Day God Gives Me”
The tune to this song is the same as “Morning Has Broken.” The second stanza to this beloved hymn begins, “This day God sends me strength to sustain me, might to uphold me, wisdom as guide.”
Italian Funeral Songs for Dad or Grandpa
Many of the funeral songs in the previous section would also be appropriate choices for the funeral for your papa. As you choose the music for your father’s or grandfather’s end-of-life celebration, consider the music collection of the men. Did they enjoy opera or Sinatra (or a little of both)?
Here are some songs that may remind you of your Italian dad or that could be played at a church funeral. Many of the songs on this list are Catholic funeral songs, which would be an appropriate choice for many Italian families.
8. “A Mio Padre”
It’s not a surprise that Andrea Boccelli’s name would appear twice on this list, but his version of “A Mio Padre” is especially beloved. Boccelli lost his sight when he was 12 years old.
9. “Nella Casa del Padre”
“Nella Casa del Padre” translates to “In Our Father’s House.” Of course, the Father this song refers to is the Christian God, but this may still be an appropriate song to play at the funeral mass of your earthly father.
10. “My Way” by Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra was proud of his Italian roots. If this was the song of your father’s generation, you might consider playing it during the family dinner.
11. “That’s Amore”
Do you have memories of your dad or granddad listening to “That’s Amore?” Those are the best types of songs to play during a funeral repast. Think about what other songs automatically remind you of your dad when choosing what to play.
12. “On Eagle’s Wings”
“On Eagle’s Wings” was written in the 1970s and it is a popular choice at Catholic funeral masses. You may consider using this during the recessional. This was a popular song at many of the September 11th victims’ funerals.
13. “Grande Se Tu”
“Grande Se Tu” translates to “How Great Thou Art.” This beautiful hymn was not originally written in Italian or English. Instead, it is a traditional Swedish melody. Regardless of where it came from, it’s a beloved hymn and would be an excellent choice for your father’s funeral.
14. “Adoro Te Devote”
Thomas Aquinas wrote this Eucharist hymn, so it would be appropriate to sing or hear while taking Holy Communion.
Sad Italian Funeral Songs
Even though it’s not a requirement, most people choose sad-sounding songs for funerals. Here are some songs that have the appropriate mood to play at an end-of-life service. We know that many of these composers are not Italian, but the music is undoubtedly melancholy enough for a funeral.
15. Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”
This song was played at both the funerals of Albert Einstein and Princess Grace of Monaco. It’s beautiful and poignant. Of course, there are no lyrics that accompany this song, but its melody speaks volumes.
16. Mahler’s “Adagietto”
Mahler wrote this piece after having a serious brush with death. This tranquil but melancholy piece would be perfect background music as people enter the funeral home for the wake.
17. Albinoni’s “Adagio In G Minor”
Much like the previous two songs, “Adagio in G Minor” has a melancholy feel. It is a neo-Baroque composition.
18. Allegri’s “Miserere”
You don’t have to be a language expert to understand what emotion is being portrayed in Allegri’s “Miserere.” This beautiful song has a haunting appeal. The lyrics that accompany the melody ask God for mercy and forgiveness.
19. Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater Dolorosa”
The melancholy tone of this piece is certainly understandable based on what was happening in the composer’s life when he wrote it. Pergolesi was suffering from tuberculosis, a disease he eventually died from, while visiting a Franciscan monastery in Pozzuoli.
20. Tallis’ “Spem in Alium”
The title of this piece translates in English to “hope in any other.”
21. Purcell’s “In the Midst of Life”
This music accompanies the Book of Common Prayers’ “Order for the Burial of the Dead.” The lyrics include the following words: “In the midst of life we are in death; of whom may we see for succor, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?”
Upbeat Italian Funeral Songs
Funeral music doesn’t always have to be sad sounding, especially if it accompanies a meal or a slideshow of happy photos. Here are some more upbeat songs to consider using for your loved one’s Italian funeral.
22. “Ti Ringrazio”
The lyrics to “Ti Ringrazio” translate to “I thank my Lord, for the things that are in the world; when I look to the sky, I think of you and you are with me.” This song of worship may be used in several different places in the funeral mass.
23. “Sing with All the Saints in Glory”
As this sacred song is sung to the tune of “Ode to Joy,” this song certainly qualifies as an upbeat funeral song.
24. “The Strife Is O’er”
This sacred song’s lyrics are about how Christ defeated death and how his victory is important for all believers.
25. “What a Wonderful World”
Are you looking for a song that celebrates the beautiful things of life? Consider “What a Wonderful World.” Of course, we prefer the Louis Armstrong version, but there are many other good ones from which to choose.
What Song Did We Forget?
Even before “playlists” were a thing, individual families often had their own unique soundtracks. Grandpa and Grandma loved a song and their children developed an appreciation for it. This appreciation spread to the next generation, which could include hundreds of people in larger Italian families.
What songs (Italian or otherwise) are an essential part of your family’s soundtrack? Consider those favorites when choosing the music for your loved one’s funeral.