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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Italy Series at ItalianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Italian holidays and observances. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1 Lesson 21, the Sanremo Song Festival.
Do you like to sing? Italians, as you may know, like singing a lot. Perhaps this is why for the last sixty years, around the end of February, a popular song festival called the Festival of Italian Songs is held in Sanremo.
In this lesson, you'll learn about this festival and what it means to Italians.
Now, before we go into more detail, we’ve got a question for you- Do you know what percentage of the population watches this festival in Sanremo?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The Sanremo Festival, or Festival della Canzone Italiana di Sanremo, is one of the most anticipated television events of the year. It takes place in the Ariston Theater in Sanremo, a small town in Liguria, and is broadcast live on RAI's television and radio stations. The festival lasts five to seven days and is a singing contest, at the end of which a winner is declared. The most important feature of this festival is that all the songs presented must be in the Italian language.
In the last few years, Sanremo has evolved not just as a musical event, but also as a great television event. Every year Italians wait with great interest for the announcement of who will be the host or hostess of the program, who will assist, and which guests will appear between performances. In fact, the number of viewers and the success of the festival depends almost solely on these elements.
The contest is divided into two broad categories, that of the already established singers, known as “the famous singers,” “i big”, and that of amateur singers, “i cantanti emergenti”, who will participate in the festival for the first time. That means there are two winners, and the most anticipated one is of course from the “famous” category. The winner is always declared at the very end of the last episode, late in the evening.
In Sanremo, lip syncing is forbidden! That wasn’t always the case, however. In the 80s, it seems that having a backing track was a must, as shown by singer Vasco Rossi, who in 1983 got angry and left the stage before his song ended while the background music continued to ‘sing’!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know what percentage of the population watches Sanremo?
It almost always exceeds 40%. In fact, it’s one of the most watched television events in Italy, right after the World Cup.
Well listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something new?
Are there any festivals similar to the Sanremo Festival in your country?
Please leave a comment telling us at ItalianPod101.com.
See you next time!