Luigi Denza

Luigi Denza (February 24, 1846 – January 27, 1922) was an Italian composer.

Denza is best remembered for “Funiculì, Funiculà” (1880), a humorous Neapolitan song inspired by the inauguration of a funicular at the summit of Vesuvius. Neapolitan journalist Peppino Turco contributed the lyrics and may have prompted the song by suggesting that Denza compose something for the Piedigrotta songwriting competition. “Funiculì, Funiculà” was published the same year by Ricordi and within a year had sold a million copies.

In addition to “Funiculì, Funiculà”, Denza composed hundreds of popular songs. Some of them, such as “Luna fedel“, “Occhi di fata“, and “Se“, have been sung by Enrico Caruso, Mario Lanza, Carlo Bergonzi, Luciano Pavarotti, and Ronan Tynan. He was also an able mandolinist and guitarist, and for these instruments he wrote such compositions as “Ricordo di Quisisana”, “Come to me”, “Nocturne”, and several others. Denza also wrote an opera, Wallenstein (1876).