Enter Paolo Conte. A man with a voice so gravelly and grainy he makes a song about lemon ice-cream sound sexy. Via Con Me is about as feel good as you can get, not least because he says ‘it’s wonderful’ about 22 times in the song. You know what Paolo, it IS wonderful.
Bluesy, foot-stomping, David Bowie-esque song in traditional Neapolitan dialect which translates as ‘I’m mad, I’m mad, I’m mad’..
Not remotely Italian, but I've found this one useful on the tube at 8am in the morning, particularly if you close your eyes and face the open window. You can (almost) pretend you're driving a Lamborghini around the Amalfi with cig in hand, huge sun-glasses on face and head-scarf trailing in wind, like you're off The Italian Job, rather than trapped in a sweaty tin 200ft below the pavement.
4. 'O Sole Mio
About as Italian as you can get and more recognizable than the Italian national anthem. In fact, at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, upon realising he'd lost the music to the Royal March, the conductor struck up 'O Sole Mio instead... and no-one minded. It's been covered by everyone from Tony Bennett to Elvis Presley but the melody might otherwise have been ingrained in you from a young age from the Cornetto advert, 'Just one cornetto, give it to me, delicious ice cream, from Iiittaly',
Makes you want to buy wooden shutters just so you can throw them open and belt it out on a sunny morning. This is old school Italian. Written in 1958 and first performed by Domenico Modugno, it epitomises 'La Dolce Vita' - hope, economic growth and general 'sweet living' after the hardships of World War Two. The Gipsy Kings version might well have been translated into the wrong language but it is literally a party in your ears.
6. Tu Vuo Fa l'Americano - Renato Carosone
I speak not of the version produced by Yolande Be Cool and DCUP in 2010, which my former 18 year old self danced to solidly for a week to on the Malia Strip. The original, released in 1956, is supposed to be a satire of post WW2 Americanization in Italy, which saw Italians try to 'act American'...and now it just makes me 'act Italian'.