What is Sanremo Festival in Italy? 


Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Laura Teso

The Sanremo Festival is a grand music competition held annually in Italy. It is one of the most prestigious Italian music events since 1951

Festival di Sanremo 2024 will be held in February, from Tuesday 6 to Saturday 10. 

Sanremo music festival’s official name

Its official name in Italian would be Festival della Canzone Italiana, Italian Song Festival but everybody calls it simply Festival di Sanremo or Sanremo. The latter is in fact the town in Liguria, in which it takes place. Precisely in the Ariston theater. Sanremo’s nickname is the town of flowers. It is in fact is full of botanical enterprises. With their floral compositions they embellish the stage and the collateral events.

Sanremo Music Festival in Italy

Sanremo Festival is a live event broadcast on the Rai television network. The festival is open to all Italian singers and composers, and each year there are about 200 entries in the competition. The winner is decided by a combination of jury votes and televoting

The first edition of the Sanremo Festival was on 29 January 1951. It was an attempt to revive tourism during the winter season. At first it wasn’t a huge success, many because you could only listen to it on the radio. But, starting from 1955, it began to be broadcast on the newly formed RAI television.

Other than the first place award, there are other special awards. Among them, the most important is the Critics’ Award. Think that the specialized press created it in 1982 to reward the quality of Mia Martini‘s song E non finisce mica il cielo. Starting from 1996, after the singers’ death, the name changed in Critic’s Award Mia Martini.

Why is Sanremo important?

The Sanremo Music Festival is important for a number of reasons. It is a major cultural event that brings people together from all over Italy. It is also a platform for new artists to be discovered and for established artists to showcase their work. The festival has also been a springboard for many successful Italian singers, including Domenico Modugno and Andrea Bocelli. For example, the worldly famous song “Nel blu dipinto di blu” – usually known as “Volare” because of its refrain – won the 1958 Sanremo festival. Laura Pausini won the Sanremo Festival in 1993 with the song La Solitudine. She was only 19 at the time. 

The Sanremo Music Festival is a unique and important event in Italian culture. It is a celebration of Italian music and a reflection of Italian society. The festival is sure to continue to be a major event for many years to come.

Since 2020, the director and host is TV presenter Amadeus, who changed the old formula with a balanced presence of old glories and fresh new proposals. In the 2021 edition, marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Festival took place for the first time in its history without the audience inside the theater. That year, a rock group won the competition for the first time. They were the Måneskin, who then won the Eurovision Song Contest, achieving global success.

Sanremo Festival and Eurovision Song Contest

The Sanremo Music Festival, first held in 1951, directly inspired the creation of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. The format and spirit of Sanremo heavily influenced the early iterations of Eurovision.

For a long period, Sanremo served as Italy’s national selection for Eurovision. From 1956 to 1966, the winner of Sanremo automatically represented Italy at Eurovision.

Since 2015, the Sanremo Festival has regained its role as Italy’s national final for the Eurovision Song Contest. The success of Italian artists at Eurovision, like Måneskin’s 2021 victory, has further boosted the popularity of Sanremo and increased its international recognition.


FantaSanremo is a game based on the Sanremo Music Festival. It’s a way for fans to engage with the festival in a more interactive and fun way, adding an extra layer of excitement to the event.

How it works

FantaSanremo participants create a virtual team of five singers competing in the Sanremo Festival. Each singer has a specific point value, based on factors such as their popularity or their odds of winning.

During the festival, participants earn points for their players based on various criteria, such as their song’s placement in the final rankings, their stage presence, and their social media interactions. The player with the most points at the end of the festival wins the game.

FantaSanremo has developed its own unique set of traditions and rules, making it distinct from other fantasy games. For example, there are various bonus points for doing things like shouting “FantaSanremo” on stage or doing push-ups during the performance. These elements add a touch of humor and spontaneity to the game.

The impact of FantaSanremo on the Sanremo Festival

FantaSanremo has had a significant impact on the Sanremo Festival, both in terms of its viewership and its overall atmosphere. The game has helped to attract new viewers to the festival, particularly younger audiences who may not have been familiar with it before. 

For more articles related to Italian culture, language and traditions, go to my All About Italy section!

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