«I present The Sanremo Festival because
it is the most electrifying show on Italian television.» (Carlo Conti)

The Sanremo Festival was born, by chance, in … Tuscany. It seems strange, but it is so. It may seem strange, but is in fact true. In the summer of 1950, Maestro Giulio Razzi, director of RAI, and the dealer administrator of the Casino of Sanremo, Pier Busseti, met in Montecatini, where they had gone for spa treatments. The latter was looking for initiatives to relaunch the “city of flowers” and Razzi, for its his part, needed new broadcasts to liven up Rai. So, between one drink and another of miraculous water, the idea arose: what if we had an Italian song festival? Five months later, on Monday, at 10.30 pm on January 29, 1951, the first “Sanremo” was born, held in baptism encountered by chance, by the usual casino visitors. Entrance ticket price: five hundred lire. Dinner and songs, included. One orchestra (that of Cinico Angelini) and three participants: Nilla Pizzi, Achille Togliani and the Duo Fasano.” Vincenzo Pitaro

A melody that lasts for 70 years

After the war, some called the Sanremo Festival “the great escape”: the soundtrack of an Italy facing modernity, with the sun on its forehead and the desire to whistle. Since 1951, the year of the first edition,it has come a long way, changed location, public and above all format.

The first edition was held in the Party Hall of the Municipal Casino of Sanremo, with a limited number of artists and a public with little interest.

Then in 1955, four years after the debut, the first big news happened: it was the turn of the live broadcast.
After its first appearance on TV, even though it was not broadcasted during prime time, generated a lot of buzz among the viewers. They were not only interested in the singers, but were also humming all of their songs.

A further evolution occurred when Mr. Volare (as Domenico Modugno was renamed after his great success in the USA) made the song: from the stage of the Festival in 1958 he sang “Nel Blu dipinto di Blu“, that marked a turning point for the Italian song, influenced by rock and swing.

In 1977 the venue became the Ariston Theater which still hosts the Festival. Also in that year, the event opened to international music and foreign guests such as David Bowie, Queen, Duran Duran and Take That began to come up on its stage.

From February 4 to 23, The Mall Sanremo will host The Fashion Side of Festival, an exhibition created and produced with Rai Pubblicità and sponsored by the Municipality of Sanremo, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Sanremo Festival.