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AUR Summer 24 1920 x116
AUR Summer 24 1920 x116
Marymount - International School Rome

Notte prima degli esami: Italy's pre-exam anthem

Notte prima degli esami was released in 1984.

Italy marks the 40th anniversary of Antonello Venditti's classic song Notte prima degli esami which is played repeatedly in the days before the country's final high-school exams.

The song, whose title translates as "Night before the exams", is an ode to the nerve-racking eve of the Maturità state examinations which this year start on Wednesday 19 June.

The track was released by the popular Roman singer-songwriter in March 1984 as the b-side of the hit single Ci vorrebbe un amico, part of Venditti's ninth studio album Cuore.

Notte prima degli esami went on to become the anthem of high-school students across Italy and gained a new generation of fans after it featured in Fausto Brizzi's 2006 film of the same name.

The song opens with a nostalgic memory of "four guys with guitars" - later revealed by Venditti as a reference to himself and three other musicians: Giorgio Lo Cascio, Francesco De Gregori and Ernesto Bassignano - who, "like the pines of Rome", cannot be broken by life.

The song is set at the end of the 1960s, when the young Venditti took his final exams in the classical high school he attended, the Giulio Cesare in Rome.

The track centres around the love between two high-school students, who haven't seen each other for a week, their yearning expressed in the sentimental line: "The exams are near and you are too far from my room".

The eve of the exams is a "night of tears and prayers", the boy tells his love Claudia, assuring: "But this night is still ours".

The song also contains literary references - "Your father looks like Dante and your brother Ariosto" - and allusions to the political violence of the era.

Four decades after its release, Notte prima degli esami is a favourite end-of-year song in high-schools, a touching coming-of-age tribute to friendship and young love amid a time of anxiety and high emotions.

Ahead of Venditti's performance at the Baths of Caracalla on Wednesday night, Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri announced that the singer would receive the Lupa Capitolina, the city's top honour, in November.

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Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia