Sanremo Italian song festival is a popular Italian song contest, held annually in the city of Sanremo, in Italy. Usually referred to as “Festival di Sanremo”, or outside Italy as “Sanremo Music Festival”, it was the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The first edition of the Sanremo Music Festival, held between 29th  and 31st  January 1951, was broadcast by RAI’s radio station Rete Rossa and its only two participants were Nilla Pizzi and Achille Togliani, supported by Duo Fasano. Since 1955, all the editions of the Festival have been broadcast live by the Italian TV station Rai1.

From 1951 to 1976, the Festival took place in the Casino of Sanremo, but since 1977 all the following editions have been held in the Teatro Ariston (save for the one in 1990, held at the Nuovo Mercato dei Fiori).

Between 1953 and 1971 (except for the year 1956), every single song was sung twice by two different artists, each one using an individual orchestral arrangement, in order to illustrate the meaning of the festival as a composers’ competition, not  as a singers’ competition.

In those years, it was a custom that one version of the song was performed by a native Italian artist, while the other version was performed by an international guest artist. The festival was then used as the way to choose the Italian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest from 1956 to 1966, then in 1972, in 1997, in 2011 and in 2012. It was also important to launch the careers of many very famous Italian singers, including Andrea Bocelli, Paola e Chiara, Giorgia, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti and Gigliola Cinquetti.

With regard to the last edition, Mahmood and Blanco were the winners of Sanremo 2022 with the song “Brividi“, Elisa was second with “O forse sei tu“, Gianni Morandi was third with “Apri tutte le porte“.

Massimo Ranieri won the “Mia Martini” Critics Award, the “Lucio Dalla” Sala Stampa Award went to Gianni Morandi, and the Sergio Bardotti Award for the best text went to Fabrizio Moro.

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Flavio Zavettieri


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