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Bocca di Rosa, Ruby and the Love for Passion

Letizia Airos (March 03, 2011)
We ask Fabrizio De Andrè and his song for help. From the village of Sant’Ilario to Arcore. We speak about new generations and sexual liberation


“What song represents you the most?”

“Surely Bocca di rosa”.

That was Fabrizio De Andrè’s answer to journalist Vincenzo Mollica.

So, Frabrizio, help us again.

(The lyrics are at the bottom of the article)


NEW YORK. How can we teach the young generation of today that love can be made freely also for passion? How can we explain that the Ruby affair is simply a sad story of an immigrant girl exploited by the powerful and not the road to success, or to a political career? That Nicole Minetti’s story is not a good example to follow? And how to explain that what happened to the unlucky Moroccan girl is not the best road to liberation?

How can we then tell those like Vittorio Sgarbi (Italian art critic, politician, cultural commentator) Ferrara (Italian politician, journalist, founding editor of Il Foglio) , and many others, that ours is not an attack of puritanism, that this is not indignation born from moralism?

Fabrizio help us!


“For passion and not for money”. Make love for passion. This is the key to everything. Bocca di Rosa is not an exploited girl bewitched by the powerful, she is an uninhibited girl, free, unconventional, only moved by her own passion for love and, yes, for sex.

She knows no exploitation and does not ask for gold Rolexes, jewels and expensive clothes in exchange. Perhaps she comforts the priest, the policeman, the worker, as well as the mayor.

Unwillingly she is paradoxically close to the sexual liberation of the 1970s. She is so naturally, without the need to conceptualize.

And the village of Sant’Ilario seems very small to her. It is a place like many others, as was common at the time, with its good-thinking women, disappointed husbands, a barrack of Carabinieri, a priest, and a station.

She had sex as a mission. Too bad our Prime Minister never met her. He would have saved money and frustration. But perhaps she would have been too leftist for him. We doubt he ever met such women and such an uninterested way of loving. Actually, we are sure. Otherwise he would have more esteem for them instead of using them only for paid Bunga Bunga dances.

Bocca di Rosa is not a prostitute. She is some kind of angel. How many men have dreamed of a girl like this, who loves freely? And De Andrè doesn’t judge her – as always in his songs – but tells her story and welcomes her in the village priest’s procession. Sacred and profane are simply mixed.

Bocca di Rosa was having a revolution, in her own way. She did it then and would do it even more today in a less “proper” world. She would revolt because of her purity, for her free way of loving.

Sex, today, is not only a market phenomenon, but also an instrument for entering politics. Not that bedchambers haven’t always been a place to get close to power, but was it ever so publicly recognized and absolved? Even wished by the parents of the gorgeous daughters? Is this a return to the high class concubinage of a few centuries ago?

“The vagina is mine and I do what I want with it” women cried out forty years ago. They were looking for even rights to males and not for a price on their gender.

Plenty of water has passed under the bridge since then. Feminism left its mark and lost others. March 8 seems fake, nowadays. And yet, seen from New York, for instance, it recalls another tragic episode that saw the death of exploited women in the Triangle Factory, mostly female European immigrants, half of which Italian. Not Moroccan, then…

It is difficult to tell this to many girls, today. But to accuse as Pharisees/moralists those who protest against the lifestyle of those women who dream of entering the Arcore villa…

It is difficult to explain that Ruby Rubacuori is not an emancipated woman, but the daughter of an immigrant who lived in Italy for many years of difficult integration, a country always researching easy shortcuts to personal success.

There are no “good” women on one side, and prostitutes on the other. There is simply a lot of exploitation and sadness behind these stories. There are women who are used, fooled and exploited, to the face of those who dreamed of a completely different sexual liberation.

The ease of some young women today has very little to do with the battles of the 1970s for abortion and divorce. It doesn’t challenge high values such as loyalty and marriage, or that hypocritical catholic Italy, deeply chauvinist, where law used to punish women for adultery and men for concubinage. Ruby and Nicole aren’t fighting the system, they are feeding it, using it and being used by it, they are an integrated part of it.

So Fabrizio, what can we do about it?


"Bocca di Rosa" di Fabrizio De Andrè (1967)

La chiamavano bocca di rosa
metteva l'amore, metteva l'amore,
la chiamavano bocca di rosa
metteva l'amore sopra ogni cosa.

Appena scese alla stazione
nel paesino di Sant'Ilario
tutti si accorsero con uno sguardo
che non si trattava di un missionario.

C'è chi l'amore lo fa per noia
chi se lo sceglie per professione
bocca di rosa né l'uno né l'altro
lei lo faceva per passione.

Ma la passione spesso conduce
a soddisfare le proprie voglie
senza indagare se il concupito
ha il cuore libero oppure ha moglie.

E fu così che da un giorno all'altro
bocca di rosa si tirò addosso
l'ira funesta delle cagnette
a cui aveva sottratto l'osso.

Ma le comari di un paesino
non brillano certo in iniziativa
le contromisure fino a quel punto
si limitavano all'invettiva.

Si sa che la gente dà buoni consigli
sentendosi come Gesù nel tempio,
si sa che la gente dà buoni consigli
se non può più dare cattivo esempio.

Così una vecchia mai stata moglie
senza mai figli, senza più voglie,
si prese la briga e di certo il gusto
di dare a tutte il consiglio giusto.

E rivolgendosi alle cornute
le apostrofò con parole argute:
"il furto d'amore sarà punito-
disse- dall'ordine costituito".

E quelle andarono dal commissario
e dissero senza parafrasare:
"quella schifosa ha già troppi clienti
più di un consorzio alimentare".

E arrivarono quattro gendarmi
con i pennacchi con i pennacchi
e arrivarono quattro gendarmi
con i pennacchi e con le armi.

Il cuore tenero non è una dote
di cui sian colmi i carabinieri
ma quella volta a prendere il treno
l'accompagnarono malvolentieri.

Alla stazione c'erano tutti
dal commissario al sagrestano
alla stazione c'erano tutti
con gli occhi rossi e il cappello in mano,

a salutare chi per un poco
senza pretese, senza pretese,
a salutare chi per un poco
portò l'amore nel paese.

C'era un cartello giallo
con una scritta nera
diceva "Addio bocca di rosa
con te se ne parte la primavera".

Ma una notizia un po' originale
non ha bisogno di alcun giornale
come una freccia dall'arco scocca
vola veloce di bocca in bocca.

E alla stazione successiva
molta più gente di quando partiva
chi mandò un bacio, chi gettò un fiore
chi si prenota per due ore.

Persino il parroco che non disprezza
fra un miserere e un'estrema unzione
il bene effimero della bellezza
la vuole accanto in processione.

E con la Vergine in prima fila
e bocca di rosa poco lontano
si porta a spasso per il paese
l'amore sacro e l'amor profano.






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