From CULTURE & MUSIC San Remo Music Festival
February 7 - February 11, San Remo, Italy. The Festival della canzone italiana (in English: Italian song festival) is a very popular song contest running since 1951 and held annually from Teatro Ariston in the city of San Remo. Usually referred to as Festival di San Remo, or outside Italy as Sanremo Music Festival, the festival is so popular amongst Italians that it is often referred to simply as "Il Festival" (The Festival). it was the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest. The internationally notable song "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu", also known as "Volare", was performed at this festival for the first time by Domenico Modugno in 1958.

For some years (from 1953 to 1971, except for 1956) each song was sung twice by two different interpreters (singer or band), each one using an individual orchestral arrangement to illustrate the meaning of the festival as a composers' competition, not a singers' competition. During this era of the festival, it was 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 has been used as the way of choosing Italy's Eurovision entry from 1956 to 1966, in 1972 and 1997. The festival has also launched the careers of many very famous Italian singers, most notably Andrea Bocelli, Giorgia, Mietta, Elisa, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti, Gigliola Cinquetti, and of course, Massimo Ranieri.

Other events include the Tenco Prize (autumn), a song contest for authors dedicated to the memory of Luigi Tenco; the Flowers Parade in January/February in which every city of the Italian Riviera presents an original composition of flowers displayed on a Carnival/Mardi-Gras style moving car; and the summer Firework International Contest in the second week of July.

sanremofestival.info/en/
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