Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest
|National selection events||Sanremo Music Festival
(1956–1966, 1972, 1997, 2011-)
|Best result||1st: 1964, 1990|
|Worst result||Last: 1966|
|Italy's page at Eurovision.tv|
Italy participated in the Eurovision Song Contest frequently from 1956 to 1997. It was one of only seven countries that competed at the very first contest. The country competed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, marking its first participation in the contest after a 14-year absence.
The EBU had previously announced that they would work harder to bring Italy back to the contest in 2010, along with former participants Monaco and Austria, 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 it will automatically qualify for the final of the 2011 contest. Italy's return to the contest proved to be successful, having always achieved a top 10 position since (second in 2011, ninth in 2012 and seventh in 2013).
Italy has withdrawn from the Eurovision Song Contest a number of times.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. 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 explaining any reason, and the country did not participate again before making a comeback in 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 is however the 1984 entry "I treni di Tozeur" by Alice and Franco Battiato which only finished shared 5th in the actual contest, but still became a #3 hit in Italy and which also placed as #20 on the chart of the best-selling singles in Italy of 1984.
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 and despite Cinquetti's going as far as taking second place, Italian censors refused to allow the contest and song to be shown or heard. RAI censors felt that the song, which was titled "Sì" (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.
A new interest? 
However, in 2008 two noted Italian musicians, Vince Tempera (who had helped San Marino which took part in the ESC in 2008) and Eurovision winner Toto Cutugno expressed their sorrow at Italy's absence from the contest and called for the country to return to the contest.
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 is an initiative by Carrà, who presented three shows in TVE concerning the event, to try to bring Eurovision back to Italy is unknown, 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."
Shortly after revealing the list of participants for the 2009 Contest the EBU announced that, for the 2010 Contest, they will now work harder to bring Italy back into the contest, now setting it as a priority.
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, like 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. Their participation was further confirmed on 31 December with the announcement of the official participant list.
Italy and the "Big Five" 
Since 2000, four particular countries, namely 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. They earned this status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU (without which the production of the Eurovision Song Contest would not be possible). Due 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". However, with the official announcement of the return of Italy, it was not confirmed if the country would compete in one of the two semi-finals or if it would be a part of "Big Five", as RAI, third contributor of EBU, has not made any application to be a member of "Big Five". On December 31, Italy was officially announced as a participant of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, and it was confirmed that the country would indeed automatically qualify for the final of the Contest in Germany as part of the "Big Five".
NOTE: 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.
Voting history (1975-2012) 
Italy has given the most points to...
Italy has received the most points from...
|1965||Naples||Auditorium RAI||Renata Mauro|
|1991||Rome||Teatro 15 di Cinecittà||Gigliola Cinquetti and Toto Cutugno|
Commentators and spokespersons 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
|Year(s)||Final Commentator||Spokesperson||Semi-Final Commentator|
|1956||Bianca Maria Piccinino||No Spokesperson||No Semi-Final|
|1974||Rosanna Vaudetti||Anna Maria Gambineri|
|1980||Michele Gammino||Mariolina Cannuli|
|1981 -1982||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||Marilolina Cannuli|
|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|
|1994 - 1996||No broadcast||Did not participate|
|1997||Ettore Andenna||Peppi Franzelin|
|1998 - 2010||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||Federica Gentile||Federica Gentile|
Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest 
|Domenico Modugno||"Nel blu, dipinto di blu"||2||267||1958||3||13|
- Floras, Stella (2009-01-13). "EBU working for Eurovision full house in 2010". ESC Today. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
- Bakker, Sietse (2010-12-31). "43 nations on 2011 participants list". Eurovision.tv. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- "History - Eurovision Song Contest 1981". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- Hit Parade Italia, chart entry "I Treni di Tozeur"
- Kasapoglou, Yiorgos (2008-03-07). "Italy: Maestro Tempera calls Italy back to Eurovision". ESCToday. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
- Bakkar, Sieste (2008-06-16). "Cutugno: "Italy's absence unfortunate"". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- Hondal, Víctor (2008-09-19). "Italy: Eurovision stars guests on Rai Uno". ESCToday. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Siim, Jarmo (2008-09-17). "Eurovision stars going to Italy!". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Solloso, Jaime (2008-09-18). "Rai Uno announce Eurovision show tonight". Oikotimes. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Bakker, Sietse (2010-12-02). "Italy applied for 2011 Eurovision Song Contest!". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
- O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest 50 Years The Official History. London: Carlton Books Limited. ISBN 1-84442-586-X.
- "Svante Stockselius meets members of OGAE Serbia". Oikotimes. 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- Fulton, Rick (2007-05-14). "The East V West Song Contest". Daily Record. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "Italy made no motion for Big 5 membership yet". Oikotimes. 2010-12-03. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
- Barclay, Simon (June 17, 2010). The Complete and Independent Guide to the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. Silverthorn Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-4457-8415-1.
- "Natascha Lusenti affiancherà Ardemagni-Solibello nel commento all’Eurovision 2013" (in Italian). Eurofestival.ws. 5 April 2013. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Gordon Roxburgh (18 May 2013). "Good evening Malmö - Voting order revealed". Eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Italian Eurovision Website
- Esc-Time.com - Italian website daily updated about Eurovision
- Points to and from Italy eurovisioncovers.co.uk