The Historical Significance of the Italian Song Festival of Sanremo

When one often hears about Italy they immediately think of the art, fashion, food, and music.

With international phenomena such as Il Volo or Andrea Bocelli one wonders, how did they start their careers and what allowed them to be catapulted into stardom? The answer is: the Italian Song Festival of Sanremo.


Among one of the oldest and most prestigious music events, the festival has not only launched singers, composers, and songwriters to national fame but some have achieved a worldwide status of artistry with some collaborating with international artists.



How did it all begin though?

The origins can be traced in post-World War II Italy, a country devastated by the War and struggling with an impoverished economy that struggled to regain strength. In an attempt to recover from the economic depression, the national Italian broadcasting channel RAI decided to launch the first edition of the Sanremo Festival in 1951.


The concept was to provide a platform of national exposure where musical artists, ranging from songwriters to composers to singers, could partake and win prizes for their efforts. The Ariston theatre is the go-to symbolical event holder and, overall, the event lasts one week.

Curiously, all songs and melodies proposed are unique for the Festival and are commercially released the same week for charting purposes.



The competition has two distinct categories: new entries and already established singers. With household names such as Al Bano, Romina Power, Patti Pravo, Loredana Bertè, Mia Martini, Vasco Rossi, Luigi Tenco, Ricchi e Poveri, Matia Bazar, Milva, and many more, the festival has kept a high standard of quality.

The success was instant and soon many participants saw the potential and requested to participate in order to showcase their talent. It is still today the perfect event where one can listen to the finest and most popular sounds of Italian music: from opera, with Il Volo, to new genres that are currently taking over many international charts: trap, represented by the most recent winner Mahmood with his track “Soldi”.


Moreover, viewers can also experience Italian culture and fashion with many dressing up for the occasion with emerging or top designers’ garments.

The Sanremo Festival has also been for a long time an international event known in other countries with famous guests such as David Bowie, REM, Cher, Mika, Keanu Reeves, Ricky Martin, Bruce Springsteen, Cindy Lauper, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Tina Turner, the Village People, Liza Minelli, Dita von Teese, and many more!


There is historical significance not only within Italy, but also in Europe. In fact, Eurovision was inspired by the Sanremo format and aimed at showcasing and launching musical acts from all over adhering European countries. It is thanks to Italy that we can today enjoy together with other nations musical gatherings such as Eurovision and enjoy the cultural differences and similarities in music and fashion.


What do you enjoy the most in watching Sanremo? Do you have a preferred Italian artist? Explore the Italian-speaking world by watching the festival and be the judge.


/ Popnable Media
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