The best pop music contest and awards in Italy is definitely the Festival di Sanremo.

Do you know it at all? It has quite a long history: since 1951 every year the most famous Italian singers and songwriters compete in this festival which nowadays lasts 5 days and keeps millions people stuck in front of the television to enjoy it.

After the World War, this Festival was a good way to help the economy of Sanremo, the small city in the North West of Italy where it takes place. Since then, the reputation of Sanremo has always be linked to this great event.

At the beginning the Festival started as a radio programme, then in 1955 it was broadcast by the TV station RAI 1 for the first time. Besides, other features changed over the years: for example, until 1971 it took place in the Casino, after that date in the Teatro Ariston. Also, in the first period it was thought as a composers’ competition, not a singers’ competition: every song was performed by two different singers and the custom was that one version was sang by an Italian artist, the other one by an International singer. In that way, the panel of judges could carefully evaluate the competing songs.

How is it structured?

Since 1984, the participants are divided in two main categories, Stars and Newcomers, so there are actually two competitions and two winners.

Nowadays the Stars have the chance to perform 4 times during the Festival, whilst the Newcomers’competition is spread over 3 evenings. The songs are voted by a panel of journalists and experts and, in addition to that, the audience can vote by telephone.

The Festival has launched the careers of successful Italian artists, even internationally known singers like Andrea Bocelli, Laura Pausini and Eros Ramazzotti.

International guests make this event an enjoyable show to watch, so get ready as the Festival is about to start!

In the meantime, have a look at some lovely pictures about it here.