This started off as an Italian song with music written by Renato Ranucci. In 1955, the English lyrics were written by Carl Sigman, who had a lot of success as an English lyric writer for foreign tunes. In The Carl Sigman Songbook
, Sigman's son Michael explains:
He'd fallen in love with the Italian language during the war, and always hoped he'd find a way to write a song featuring the word "Arrivederci." He just loved the sound of that word, and this tune provided the perfect melodic opportunity. When he submitted the finished lyric, he wasn't surprised that the publisher asked him to change one line. Just about all publishers asked for at least one change, if only to prove they were paying attention. Carl usually had a backup line at the ready, and in this case he substituted "City of a million moonlight places" for a line that has been forever lost. In 1957, Vic Damone ("Victor Moan" to my eight-year-old ears) started the wave of Italian-American singers who have since recorded this title. Many non-Italian-Americans have covered it as well, including Abbe Lane with Tito Puente & His Orchestra. But the definitive interpretation was rendered by Dean Martin in 1961.