The Italian Almanac


Sanremo Music Festival

For the first time in its 63-year history, Italy's Sanremo Music Festival will not lose taxpayer money, organizers predicted at a news briefing.

Italy's 64th annual publicly-funded song competition and televised prime-time entertainment extravaganza, which has launched many a musical career including those of Andrea Bocelli, Gigliola Cinquetti and Eros Ramazzotti, kicks off in the northeastern sea resort by the same name.

This year's festival cost 18 million euros, but will rake in 20.2 million euros in advertising, the director of RAI 1 State TV channel, which has broadcast every edition since 1955, told reporters. "We will make 2.2 million euros, plus 600,000 euros in ticket sales," said RAI 1 Director Giancarlo Leone. "In terms of ratings, I'd be happy if we end up somewhere between the 35.4% low of 2004 and the 2013 peak of 47.3%".