The Raffaella Carrà's song A far l'amore comincia tu is quite famous in Europe and was popularized by the Bob Sinclar's remix, part of the soundtrack of the beautiful Paolo Sorrentino's movie "La Grande Bellezza". You can find the lyrics here.

My mother tongue being French, a first naive approach to the expression "a far l'amore comincia tu" would be "you begin to make love", but I do not think it fits with the spirit of the movie scene. I haven't been able to find a reliable translation and it is why I am asking here what it does really mean.

My guess would be it means something like "You eventually allow yourself to love" in the context, but I would like that to be confirmed/invalidated.

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    Welcome to Italian.SE, @MoebiusCorzer!
    – Charo
    Mar 29, 2016 at 16:26
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    "You begin to make love" it is a quite good translation. The song was written for Raffaella Carra in order to confirm her as a sexy icon in Italian people's immagination. The song tells the story of a woman who asks her man to make love.
    – Arcsn
    Mar 29, 2016 at 16:27
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    @Arcsn I would consider that translation wrong. The verb is in the imperative mood ("comincia", not "cominci"), so a better translation would be "Be the one who takes [...]"
    – fqq
    Mar 29, 2016 at 16:51
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    Historical note: the term fare l'amore doesn't necessarily mean to have sexual intercourse, especially when mentioned in text from say 1950 or earlier. In those cases it simply means to flirt/talk/kiss/go on a date etc. In fact if you search for traditional songs between the end of '800 and beginning of '900 you'll find tons of references to fare all'amore in situations which today would look really weird if not obscene if you interpret is as just "having sexual intercourse".
    – Bakuriu
    Mar 29, 2016 at 20:03
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    @Bakuriu All you say is true, however if you listen to the song it does not leave much room to interpretation :)
    – Denis Nardin
    Mar 30, 2016 at 2:15

1 Answer 1


I'm Italian, the exact meaning of the expression is imperative:

be the first to make love

It is an inusual structure, common in spoken Italian: it is an invitation to her partner to make the first move.

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    Thank you. Would it be possible that it is more an invitation to the (female) listener than her partner? I mean, later she sings about "lui" where I think it refers to the potential partner of the listener. Mar 29, 2016 at 17:22
  • "sii il primo a fare l'amore"? hmmm not sure... maybe it should be something like: "you do the first move (in order to make love)"? for me it makes more sense.
    – Arcsn
    Mar 29, 2016 at 17:23
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    Yes, as it is in French. I mentioned "female" because with the clarification of the title, the song seems to be feminist, in some sense, enjoining the listener to lead the act of making love. Doesn't "Fagli vedere che non è un gioco" mean "Make him see it is not a game"? Mar 29, 2016 at 17:28
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    I am not exactly knowledgeable about Ms Carrà's songs, but the (con)text suggests that it is a woman addressing another woman to take initiative in the bedroom. The two of them talk about a man: Se lui ti porta su un letto vuoto / ... / Fagli vedere che non è un gioco. (Not quite Bechdel test material, but...)
    – DaG
    Mar 29, 2016 at 17:49
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    Yes, of course it is referred to a woman, my mistake. @Arcsn I gave the most litteral translation I could, but as I specified the best interpretation is "make the first move".
    – Gabriele
    Mar 30, 2016 at 7:35

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