When talking about Rome or Italy there’s another thing that certainly will come on your mind. And that’s music. There’s a stereotype claiming that in Italy people use to sing more than anywhere else in the world. Many of you will know names like Al Bano & Romina Power, Eros Ramazzotti or Gianna Naninni. But there’s another even more famous kind of music apart from Italian pop and disco music. As you might recognize on the pictue I took in front of the Pantheon I’m talking about the belcanto and the Italian opera which became famous all over the world. Italy is the by far the most famous opera nation and Giuseppe Verdi and Luciano Pavarotti are probably the most known names you have ever heard in this context. But how did the belcanto develop? The belcanto is based on the Gregorian chant which was sung to praise God and has his origins here in Rome the Eternal City. The Gregorian chant renounced the use of any musical instruments and tended to praise God exclusively with the human voice. During the Renaissance many songs have been written in Italian dialects. As you know Italy has so many of them. These songs in Italian were called madrigale and were the base for the belcanto we know today. These songs had a very local color and were brought to the USA by immigrants from Naples which almost has its own language, culture, literature and music. The Neapolitan immigrants continued their musical traditions on the other side of the Ocean and the canzone napoletana became known as Italian music all over the world. The first two pieces of music that will now come on your mind are O sole mio and Nessun dorma which was also interpreted by Paul Potts in a TV show and enchanted the British and international public. Not only Latin is still alive in the form of the modern Romanic languages but also the Italian musical traditions.