L’universo trova spazio dentro me
In honour of it being March, and the birthday month of Lucio Battisti (incidentally, one of the most Pisces of Pisces), I thought I’d write about “I giardini di marzo”. It was the first song I heard by Lucio Battisti, and while I’ve since spent many hours listening to his albums and playlists on YouTube, it continues to be my favourite song. Not just my favourite by him, but one of my very favourite songs by anyone ever. There are good songs, and then there are the songs that are so good that they’re transcendent – reaching some higher, more spiritual level of pure poesia and raw emotion. “I giardini di marzo” is one of those songs.
It’s simple, poetic, and incredibly profound. It’s about weakness, insecurity and vulnerability, but also about the rich potential of the human soul and our capacity for love. Lucio Battisti sings with such feeling, with such honesty, that I hardly notice the instruments. When the chorus takes off, I get shivers.
Che anno è? Che giorno è?
Questo è il tempo di vivere con te
Le mie mani come vedi non tremano più
E ho nell’anima , in fondo all’anima
E immenso amore
E poi ancora, ancora amore, amor per te
Fiumi azzurri e colline e praterie
Dove corrono dolcissime le mie malinconie
L’universo trova spazio dentro me
Ma il coraggio di vivere quello ancora non c’è
For me, it’s a song about the difficulty of being able to truly connect with another person. Everyone has this secret world inside them, their true self, and if only we could communicate it to another human being, we might have a chance of a meaningful relationship that would end our insecurity and isolation. It ends on a pretty pessimistic note (“But the courage to live, that’s still missing”), but I find it inspiring rather than depressing. It’s a rare example of a song that celebrates inner strength and beauty, even if it ultimately sinks into disappointment again.
However you want to interpret the lyrics to “I giardini di marzo” (the verses are particularly ambiguous), you can’t deny that it’s surprisingly profound for a #1 single. #1 in Italy, that is. The rest of the world, unfortunately, has never given Lucio Battisti the attention he deserves.
Here are some of my other favourite songs:
Io vorrei…non vorrei…ma se vuoi – Another one with a chorus that soars. It feels a bit like a sequel to “I giardini di marzo”.
Dieci ragazze per me – You think he’s given up on love and become a womaniser, claiming he can have one woman in the day, and another in the evening, until the punchline at the end. “Pero’ io muoio per te.” (“But I die for you.”) He’s not very good at hiding his sensitive side. Lucio is 100% sensitivity (note my earlier comment about him being a Pisces).
Io vivro’ (senza te) – Manages to be dignified and fantastically bitter at the same time. Yeah, I’ll survive our break-up, I’ll live, but…”Io piangerooooooooooo'” (“I’ll cry”). If you think this is over the top, listen to the Mina cover.
Acqua azzura, acqua chiara – One of the happiest, most life-affirming love songs ever.
Il mio canto libero – bellissima, immortale, insuperabile, incredibile, meravigliosa…The YouTube comments say it all.
Due mondi – This is one of the poppier songs from his experimental Anima Latina album, and my current favourite after “I giardini di marzo”. It builds up, then takes off. And when it takes off, it really takes off. Euphoric.