Blog » Torna a Surriento (Come back to Sorrento)

Torna a Surriento (Come back to Sorrento)


“Torna a Surriento” is a classic Neapolitan song that was composed in 1902 by Ernesto De Curtis. The lyrics were written by his brother, Giambattista De Curtis. The song has become a symbol of Neapolitan culture. “Torna a Suriento” is often associated with the romantic and idyllic image of the Amalfi Coast.

The title of the song, “Torna a Surriento,” translates to “Come Back to Sorrento”. The lyrics express the singer’s longing for a lover who has left Sorrento. The song’s melody is haunting and melancholic, with a simple arrangement of guitar, mandolin, and accordion.


Many famous artists covered the song over the years. Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo, and many others. This is because it got rapidly a great fame. Mario Lanza also gave a top performance of Torna a Suriento in the movie “Serenade” (1956).

several other movies and TV shows featured Torna a Suriento. The song’s timeless melody and heartfelt lyrics have made it a beloved classic of Neapolitan music, because it continues to inspire people today.

“Torna a Surriento” is often played at weddings and other romantic occasions, because its lyrics express the passion and longing of true love. The song has a romantic and nostalgic tone that has made it a favorite among audiences worldwide, and it remains one of the most iconic songs of Neapolitan music.

Luciano Pavarotti während eines Opernkonzerts
Luciano Pavarotti

The origin of the song dates to 1902, according to the tradition. Guglielmo Tramontano, mayor of Sorrento, asked his friend De Curtis to write the song for the Prime Minister Giuseppe Zanardelli.

Zanardelli was then vacationing at his seaside hotel, the Imperial Hotel Tramontano. The piece was meant to celebrate Zanardelli’s stay. More probably this song was a plea to Zanardelli to keep his promise to help the impoverished city of Sorrento. Because Sorrento was especially in need of a sewage system. The song reflects the beauty of the city’s great surroundings and the love and passion of its citizens. According to recent research maybe the song may merely have been reworked for the occasion.

RomeOperaConcerts includes very often this song in its programmes because is one of the favourites of our audiences. We always finish our concerts with three famous neapolitan songs. Here you can listen to a live example during a concert in our venue. The performers are Monica Cucca and Luna Mun sopranos and Giovanni Velluti piano.

Neapolitan lyrics (“Torna a Surriento”)

Vide ‘o mare quant’è bello,
spira tantu sentimento.
Comme tu a chi tieni mente,
Ca scetato ‘o fai sunnà.

Guarda gua’ chistu ciardino;
Siente, sie’ sti ciur’ arance:
Nu prufumo accussi fino
Dinto ‘o core se ne va.

E tu dice: “I’ parto, addio!”
T’alluntane da stu core…
Da sta terra del l’ammore…
Tieni ‘o core ‘e nun turnà?

Ma nun me lassà,
Nun darme stu turmiento!
Torna a Surriento,
Famme campà!

Vid’o mare de Surriento,
che tesoro tene nfunno:
chi ha girato tutto ‘o munno
nun l’ha visto comme’a ccà.

Vide attuorno sti Sirene,
ca te guardano ‘ncantate,
e te vonno tantu bene…
Te vulessero vasà.

E tu dice: “I’ parto, addio!”
T’alluntane da stu core
Da sta terra de l’ammore
Tiene ‘o core ‘e nun turnà?

Ma nun me lassà,
Nun darme stu turmiento!
Torna a Surriento,
Famme campà!

English translation

Look at the sea, how beautiful it is,
it inspires so many emotions.
Like you do with the people you look at,
who you make to dream while they are still awake.

Look at this garden
and the scent of these oranges,
such a fine perfume,
it goes straight into your heart.

And you say: “I am leaving, goodbye.”
You go away from this heart of mine,
away from this land of love.
And have you the heart not to come back?

But do not leave me,
do not give me this torment.
Come back to Surriento,
make me live!

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