The Italian Almanac

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Volare: San Remo winner, 1958

Italian News / Television - February 15

Five of Italy's top fashion designers have been called in to splash an extra dose of glamour onto a glitzy song contest which becomes a national obsession every spring. Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferré, Valentino and Versace will each be given an evening during the six-day Sanremo song festival to showcase some of their latest creations. Presenter and comedian Giorgio Panariello has already hired four Italian models to show off the clothes, said weekly magazine Chi as the nation began to get excited about the coming television extravaganza.

Organisers of the festival, which starts on February 27, are as usual under pressure to ensure viewing figures are high during the six days. They are busy booking in star guests with whom to excite spectators at home, and possibly work up some useful hype. Among the names expected this year are sexy American pop singers Anastacia and Christina Aguilera, who will duet with home boys in the shape of pop icon Eros Ramazzotti and operatic singer Andrea Bocelli. Foreign comics Steve Martin from the US and Britain's Rowan Atkinson are also expected to do turns.