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Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest


Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest

Member station RAI
National selection events
Appearances 41
First appearance 1956
Best result 1st: 1964, 1990
Worst result Last: 1966
Nul points: 1966
External links
Italy official website RAI for ESC
Italy's page at

Italy has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 41 times since making its debut at the first contest in 1956. It was one of only seven countries that competed at the very first contest. Italy competed at the contest frequently until 1997. After a fourteen-year absence, the country competed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. Italy has won the contest twice.

In 1958, Domenico Modugno finished third with the song "Nel blu, dipinto di blu". Renamed "Volare", the song became a huge international hit, reaching the US number one spot. Emilio Pericoli also finished third in 1963, before Italy won for the first time in 1964 with Gigliola Cinquetti and "Non ho l'età". Cinquetti returned to the contest in 1974 and finished second with the song "Si", losing to ABBA. Italy then finished third in 1975 with Wess and Dori Ghezzi and the song "Era". The country's best result of the 1980s was Umberto Tozzi and Raf finishing third in 1987. Italy's second victory in the contest came in 1990 with Toto Cutugno and the song "Insieme: 1992". Other good 1990s results were Mia Martini in 1992 and Jalisse in 1997, who both finished fourth. After 1997, Italy withdrew from the competition.

The EBU announced that they would work harder to bring Italy back to the contest in 2010, along with former participants Monaco and Austria,[1] but again Italy did not participate in the contest. On 31 December 2010, it was officially announced by the EBU that Italy would be returning to the contest as part of the "Big Five", meaning that it automatically qualified for the final of the 2011 contest.[2]

Italy's return to the contest has proved to be very successful, the country having finished in the top ten in four of the last five contests (2011–15), with Raphael Gualazzi second in 2011, Nina Zilli ninth in 2012, Marco Mengoni seventh in 2013 and Il Volo third in 2015, Italy's 16th top five result in the contest. In 2015, Italy won the televoting receiving votes from all countries, but the juries placed them sixth. Since the introduction of the 50/50 voting system in 2009, this was the first time that the winner of the viewers vote did not win the contest.


  • History 1
    • Absences 1.1
    • TV censorship of the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 1.2
    • A new interest? 1.3
    • Return to the contest 1.4
  • Italy and the "Big Five" 2
  • Contestants 3
  • Voting history 4
  • Hostings 5
  • Marcel Bezençon Awards 6
  • Winners by OGAE members 7
  • Commentators and spokespersons 8
  • Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest 9
  • Photogallery 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12



Italy has withdrawn from the Eurovision Song Contest a number of times. The first withdrawal was in 1981, when RAI stated that interest had diminished in the country.[3] This absence continued through the following year, before Italy returned in 1983. Italy again withdrew in 1986 when RAI decided not to enter the contest. From 1994 to 1996 Italy withdrew again, with RAI citing a lack of interest in participating. Italy returned in 1997, before withdrawing again without explanation, and the country did not participate again until 2011.

None of the Eurovision winning songs were particularly successful in the Italian charts. "Non ho l'eta" by Gigliola Cinquetti (Grand Prix 1964) was a hit in February 1964 when the song won the Sanremo festival, but according to the official "Hit Parade Italia" website, "Waterloo", "Ding-A-Dong", "Puppet on a String", "Save Your Kisses for Me" and even Italy's own winning entry of 1990, "Insieme: 1992", all failed to enter the TOP 10 of the records sales charts. A notable exception to this rule was, however, the 1984 entry "I treni di Tozeur" by Alice and Franco Battiato which shared 5th position in the final but still became a #3 hit in Italy and was also placed at #20 on the chart of the best-selling singles in Italy of 1984.[4]

TV censorship of the Eurovision Song Contest 1974

Italy refused to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 1974 on RAI because of a song sung by Gigliola Cinquetti which coincided with the intense political campaigning for the 1974 Italian referendum on divorce which was held a month later in May. Despite the Eurovision contest's taking place more than a month before the planned vote, Italian censors refused to allow the contest and song to be shown or heard. RAI censors felt that the song, which was titled "" (Yes), and which contained lyrics constantly repeating the aforementioned word could be accused of being subliminal messaging and a form of propaganda to influence the Italian voting public to vote 'yes' in the referendum ('yes' to repeal the law that allowed divorce). The song thus remained censored on most Italian state TV and radio stations for over a month. At the contest in Brighton, Cinquetti finished second, losing to ABBA. "Si" went on to be a UK top ten hit, peaking at number eight. It also reached the German top 20.

A new interest?

However, in 2008 two noted Italian musicians, Vince Tempera (who had helped San Marino take part in the ESC in 2008) and Eurovision winner Toto Cutugno expressed their sorrow at Italy's non-participation and called for the country to return to the contest.[5][6]

Contestants from the 2008 contest, starting with the winner Dima Bilan appeared on the Italian show Carramba! Che fortuna, hosted by Raffaella Carrà on Rai Uno. Whether this was an initiative by Carrà (who presented three shows in TVE concerning the event) to try to bring Eurovision back to Italy is not clear, but Sietse Bakker, Manager Communications & PR of the Eurovision Song Contest, reiterated that "Italy is still very much welcome to take part in the competition."[7][8][9]

Shortly after revealing the list of participants for the 2009 Contest the EBU announced that, for the 2010 Contest, they would work harder to bring Italy back into the contest.[1]

Return to the contest

At a press conference presenting the fourth edition of the Italian X Factor, Rai 2 director Massimo Liofredi announced that the winner of the competition might advance to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest, rather than participate in the San Remo Festival, as in previous years. On 2 December 2010, it was officially announced by the Eurovision Song Contest official website that Italy had applied to compete in the 2011 Contest.[10] Their participation was further confirmed on 31 December with the announcement of the official participant list.[2]

Italy's return to the contest after a 14-year absence has been successful, finishing in the top ten in four of the last five contests (2011–15). In 2011, Raphael Gualazzi finished second, Italy's best result since 1990. Italy actually came first with the jury vote, but only 11th in the televote to place second overall behind winners Azerbaijan. In 2015, Il Volo finished third with 292 points, behind Sweden and Russia. Italy placed first in the televote with 366 points, but sixth in the jury vote. Since the introduction of the 50/50 split vote voting system, this was the first time that the winner of the televote did not win the contest.

Italy and the "Big Five"

Since 2000, four countries - the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain - have automatically qualified for the final of the Contest regardless of their positions on the scoreboard in previous contests.[11] They earned this status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU. Owing to their untouchable status in the Contest, these countries became known as the "Big Four". Executive Supervisor of the Contest Svante Stockselius told reporters in a meeting with OGAE Serbia that, if Italy were to return to the contest in the future, the country would also qualify automatically for the finals, becoming part of a "Big Five".[12][13] However, with the official announcement of the return of Italy, it was not confirmed whether the country would compete in one of the two semi-finals or whether it would be part of the "Big Five", as RAI, third largest contributor to the EBU, had not applied to be a member of "Big Five".[14] On December 31, it was announced that Italy would take part in of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 and confirmed that the country would thereby automatically qualify for the final in Germany as part of the "Big Five".[2]


Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Place Points Semi Points
1956 Franca Raimondi Italian "Aprite le finestre" 2 [15] N/A No semi-finals
1956 Tonina Torrielli Italian "Amami se vuoi" 2 [15] N/A
1957 Nunzio Gallo Italian "Corde della mia chitarra" 6 7
1958 Domenico Modugno Italian "Nel blu, dipinto di blu" 3 13
1959 Domenico Modugno Italian "Piove (Ciao, ciao bambina)" 6 11
1960 Renato Rascel Italian "Romantica" 8 5
1961 Betty Curtis Italian "Al di là" 5 12
1962 Claudio Villa Italian "Addio, addio" 9 3
1963 Emilio Pericoli Italian "Uno per tutte" 3 37
1964 Gigliola Cinquetti Italian "Non ho l'età" 1 49
1965 Bobby Solo Italian "Se piangi, se ridi" 5 15
1966 Domenico Modugno Italian "Dio, come ti amo" 17 0
1967 Claudio Villa Italian "Non andare più lontano" 11 4
1968 Sergio Endrigo Italian "Marianne" 10 7
1969 Iva Zanicchi Italian "Due grosse lacrime bianche" 13 5
1970 Gianni Morandi Italian "Occhi di ragazza" 8 5
1971 Massimo Ranieri Italian "L'amore è un attimo" 5 91
1972 Nicola di Bari Italian "I giorni dell'arcobaleno" 6 92
1973 Massimo Ranieri Italian "Chi sarà con te" 13 74
1974 Gigliola Cinquetti Italian "" 2 18
1975 Wess and Dori Ghezzi Italian "Era" 3 115
1976 Al Bano & Romina Power Italian, English "We'll Live It All Again" 7 69
1977 Mia Martini Italian "Libera" 13 33
1978 Ricchi e Poveri Italian "Questo amore" 12 53
1979 Matia Bazar Italian "Raggio di luna" 15 27
1980 Alan Sorrenti Italian "Non so che darei" 6 87
Did not participate between 1981 and 1982
1983 Riccardo Fogli Italian "Per Lucia" 11 41
1984 Alice & Battiato Italian "I treni di Tozeur" 5 70
1985 Al Bano & Romina Power Italian, English "Magic Oh Magic" 7 78
1986 Did not participate
1987 Umberto Tozzi and Raf Italian "Gente di mare" 3 103
1988 Luca Barbarossa Italian "Vivo (Ti scrivo)" 12 52
1989 Anna Oxa and Fausto Leali Italian "Avrei voluto" 9 56
1990 Toto Cutugno Italian "Insieme: 1992" 1 149
1991 Peppino di Capri Neapolitan "Comme è ddoce 'o mare" 7 89
1992 Mia Martini Italian "Rapsodia (Mia Martini song)" 4 111
1993 Enrico Ruggeri Italian "Sole d'Europa" 12 45 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
Did not participate between 1994 and 1996 No semi-finals until 2003; did not participate between 2004 and 2010
1997 Jalisse Italian "Fiumi di parole" 4 114
Did not participate between 1998 and 2010
2011 Raphael Gualazzi Italian, English "Madness of Love" 2 189 Member of the "Big 5"
2012 Nina Zilli English, Italian "L'amore è femmina (Out of Love)" 9 101
2013 Marco Mengoni Italian "L'essenziale" 7 126
2014 Emma Italian "La mia città" 21 33
2015 Il Volo Italian "Grande amore" 3 292
1. ^ The full results for the first contest in 1956 are unknown, only the winner was announced. The official Eurovision site lists all the other songs as being placed second.
2. Italy has not ever competed in the semi-finals as it did not participate in 1996 (when all countries save for the previous year's winner had to go through a pre-selection jury) and has been a part of the "Big 5" since it rejoined the contest in 2011.

Voting history

As of 2015, Italy's voting history is as follows:


Year Location Venue Presenters
1965 Naples Auditorium RAI Renata Mauro
1991 Rome Teatro 15 di Cinecittà Gigliola Cinquetti and Toto Cutugno

Marcel Bezençon Awards

Press Award

Year Song Performer Final Result Points Host city
2015 "Grande amore" Il Volo 3 292 Vienna

Winners by OGAE members

Year Song Performer Final Result Points Host city
2015 "Grande amore" Il Volo 3 292 Vienna

Commentators and spokespersons

Year(s) Final Commentator Spokesperson Semi-Final Commentator
1956 Bianca Maria Piccinino No Spokesperson No Semi-Final
1957 Nunzio Filogamo
1958 Fulvia Colombo
1959 Enzo Tortora
1960 Giorgio Porro
1961 Corrado Mantoni
1962 Renato Tagliani
1964 Rosanna Vaudetti
1965 Renato Tagliani
1966 Enzo Tortora
1967 Mike Bongiorno
1970 Enzo Tortora
1971 N/A
1974 Rosanna Vaudetti Anna Maria Gambineri
1975 Silvio Noto
1976 Rosanna Vaudetti
1977 Mariolina Cannuli
1978 Rosanna Vaudetti
1979 Paola Perissi
1980 Michele Gammino Mariolina Cannuli
19811982 No broadcast Did not participate
1983 Paolo Frajese Paola Perissi
1984 Antonio De Robertis Mariolina Cannuli
1985 Rosanna Vaudetti Beatrice Cori
1986 No broadcast Did not participate
1987 Rosanna Vaudetti Mariolina Cannuli
1988 Daniele Piombi
1989 Gabriella Carlucci Peppi Franzelin
1990 Peppi Franzelin Paolo Frajese
1991 No commentator Rosanna Vaudetti
1992 Peppi Franzelin Nicoletta Orsomando
1993 Ettore Andenna Peppi Franzelin
19941996 No broadcast Did not participate
1997 Ettore Andenna Peppi Franzelin
19982010 No broadcast Did not participate
2011 Raffaella Carrà and Bob Sinclar Raffaella Carrà Raffaella Carrà
2012 Filippo Solibello and Marco Ardemagni Ivan Bacchi Federica Gentile
2013 Filippo Solibello, Marco Ardemagni and Natasha Lusenti[16] Federica Gentile[17]
2014 Linus and Nicola Savino Linus Marco Ardemagni and Filippo Solibello
2015 Federico Russo and Valentina Correani (TV)
Marco Ardemagni and Filippo Solibello (Radio)
Federico Russo

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest

Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points Place (1958) Points (1958)
1958 Domenico Modugno Italian "Nel blu, dipinto di blu" 2 267 2 200 3 13



  1. ^ a b Floras, Stella (2009-01-13). "EBU working for Eurovision full house in 2010". ESC Today. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Bakker, Sietse (2010-12-31). "43 nations on 2011 participants list". Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "History - Eurovision Song Contest 1981".  
  4. ^ Hit Parade Italia, chart entry "I Treni di Tozeur"
  5. ^ Kasapoglou, Yiorgos (2008-03-07). "Italy: Maestro Tempera calls Italy back to Eurovision". ESCToday. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  6. ^ Bakkar, Sieste (2008-06-16). """Cutugno: "Italy's absence unfortunate.  
  7. ^ Hondal, Víctor (2008-09-19). "Italy: Eurovision stars guests on Rai Uno". ESCToday. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  8. ^ Siim, Jarmo (2008-09-17). "Eurovision stars going to Italy!".  
  9. ^ Solloso, Jaime (2008-09-18). "Rai Uno announce Eurovision show tonight". Oikotimes. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  10. ^ Bakker, Sietse (2010-12-02). "Italy applied for 2011 Eurovision Song Contest!".  
  11. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History.  
  12. ^ "Svante Stockselius meets members of OGAE Serbia". Oikotimes. 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  13. ^ Fulton, Rick (2007-05-14). "The East V West Song Contest".  
  14. ^ "Italy made no motion for Big 5 membership yet". Oikotimes. 2010-12-03. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  15. ^ a b Barclay, Simon (June 17, 2010). The Complete and Independent Guide to the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. Silverthorn Press. p. 24.  
  16. ^ "Natascha Lusenti affiancherà Ardemagni-Solibello nel commento all’Eurovision 2013" (in Italian). 5 April 2013. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  17. ^ Gordon Roxburgh (18 May 2013). "Good evening Malmö - Voting order revealed".  

External links

  • Italian Eurovision Website
  • - Italian website daily updated about Eurovision
  • Points to and from Italy
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