As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
I'm just reading this interesting discussion. I hope I can explain some expression, or at least I suppose to:
My great grandmother was from Sicily. She used to always say something like: mangiadigabba!
It was kinda like "mamma mia!," usually said in response to something really frustrating happens. She'd throw her hands up in the air while saying it.
I think it should be "mannaggia!", a typical popular expression of all southern Italy, deriving from a dialectal corruption of "male ne abbia" ("may it have damage"). It is generally used alone or in conjunction with other words to lighten or strengthen the effect (for instance "mannaggia la miseria" o "mannaggia a capa tua", or in some hard blasphemy)
The phrase I remember was "manga pa gab" which means something like without thinking or not using you head.
This should be "manc' p''a capa" (southern dialect, expecially neapolitan; in Italian it wouls be "nemmeno per la testa") and means something like "it doesn't even cross my mind"; for instance, if you are asked to do something you absolutely don't want to, you answer "manc' p''a capa" to say you never will. Or, if you told someone to do something, when you state he/she has not done it yet, you say the same. I hope you could understand me.
As to cicci camana calla callla camana cicci
I've never heard it, but it sounds to me like: Ciccio ca mana calla, cala ca mana, Ciccio! Ciccio con la mano calda, cala con la mano, Ciccio! Ciccio, who have a hot hand, put your hand down, Ciccio!
But it wouldn't have the meaning Aliza explained.
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi
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