Italian Language Blog

Festival di Sanremo Posted by on Jan 10, 2020 in Culture

Sanremo Music Festival – Festival di Sanremo

Now that the holidays are over, Italians are looking forward to a festival held annually in February called the Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo or simply Festival di Sanremo. This festival is the most popular Italian song contest held every year in Sanremo, Liguria, and it is a major media event on Italian television. Last year, over 10 million people tuned in to watch it on RAI, or radiotelevisione italiana, the national public broadcasting company of Italy.

The winner of this festival becomes the Italian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, and the Festival di Sanremo was actually the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest, which began 5 years after. This year, the Eurovision will be held in Rotterdam beginning on May 12th.


How and why did the music festival of Sanremo come about? Well, it all began in 1951 in hopes to boost Italy’s economy post WWII, as well as their cultural image post Mussolini. I think it’s safe to say it’s been widely successful in doing just that, as every year international celebrities and fans alike flock to Sanremo. News media even will temporarily move their headquarters to Sanremo so that they are able to broadcast live and cover the entire festival, and commercials and endless press only add to the excitement.

Since 1951, contestants have been creating original never before performed songs just for the competition- the results of which have launched many Italian singer’s careers. Andrea Bocelli, Giorgia, and Eros Ramazzotti are all singers who have reached international stardom following their appearance at the festival.

Here is the song Il mare calmo della sera, performed by Andrea Bocelli at the Festival di Sanremo in 1994. After winning the festival, Andrea Bocelli went on to release his first studio album which became certified platinum within a few weeks.


We also have Festival di Sanremo to thank for the Italian classic Nel blu dipinto di blu, or better known as Volare, by Domenico Modugno, which won the competition in 1958. I’ll never forget the first time I was in Venezia and literally was serenaded with this song on a gondola. Is there anything more Italian than that?


And now to 2019.. the latest winner was Mahmood with his song Soldi.


Tocca a voi! Are you going to be one of millions who tune in to Rai Internazionale to watch the Festival di Sanremo this year?

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.


  1. Linda Condon:

    You forgot Il Volo winning in 2015 with Grande Amore.

  2. Dusia:

    Si, certo !

  3. stevenjmonk:

    Possiamo avere questo articolo in L’Italiano anche in Inglese? Grazie.

  4. Amir:

    Grazie mille Bridgette!
    Tanti saluti e migliori auguri di buon anno

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