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Stadio wins Sanremo 2016

An unexpected ending for this year's Festival della Canzone Italiana
An unexpected ending for this year's Festival della Canzone Italiana

Every year, it is history repeating in Sanremo. "It's no longer the same as it used to be," yet everyone watches it (almost 48% of share last night for the final). "The songs are mediocre," but give it two weeks and the country will know the winning tunes by heart; "it's no longer fashionable," yet our eyes have been all for Garko's tuxes and Virginia Raffaele and Madalina Ghenea's gowns. 


Perché Sanremo è Sanremo! (wikimedia)


So, yes: Sanremo è sempre Sanremo and even if you do not follow it, you end up caring. I have not watched one single night of this year's festival and I am, indeed, among those thinking it did loose the glam and talent of yesteryear, yet my first yesterday upon waking up was "so.. let's check who won the Festival."

And the winner of Sanremo 2016 was very much unexpected. The coveted prize went to Bologna's band Stadio, with the song "Un giorno mi dirai," dedicated to the relationship between a father and his daughter. Second place went to young Francesca Michielin with "Nessun Grado di Separazione,"  third to the duo Giovanni Caccamo (who won Sanremo Giovani last year) and Deborah Iurato with "Via da Qui." 

Stadio also won the "Premio della Stampa," that for Best Music and got first place also for their cover performance of "La Sera dei Miracoli" by Lucio Dalla. The "Premio della Critica" went to Italian music legend Patty Pravo for "Cieli Immensi."


Stadio: a career spanning through four decades 


Carlo Conti (right) and Stadio's frontman, Gaetano Curreri (left) on the Ariston theatre's stage after the 
band won the 66th edition of the Festival di Sanremo (photo ANSA)

The founding members of the band (two of them, drummer Giovanni Pezzoli and singer Gaetano Curreri, are still part of it today) met each other in the mid-70s when touring with Lucio Dalla, one of Italy's best known songwriters of all times. Stadio maintained a special link with Dalla, and kept collaborating with him throughout their career.


That of 2016 was their 5th Sanremo participation. The last was in 2007, when they only reached the 19th position, whereas their best placement dates back to 1999 when they gained the 5th place with "Lo Zaino." 


Interestingly enough, this year's winner "Via da Qui" was not accepted to last year's Sanremo's finals: the band explained that, in truth, this year's version of the song is very different from the one previously rejected. "The song just didn't have the right sound" explained Stadio's frontman Gaetano Curreri to Rainews "lyrics were the same, but soundwise the song wasn't as complex as this year's version."

There is always hope, you may like to say. 


Another coup de theatre came from the winners' renonciation to participate to this year's Eurovision Song Context in Stockholm, to which they gained access through their success at the Festival: Francesca Michielin, second at Sanremo, will represent Italy this Spring in Sweden.  


More than the competition

As it has always been, there is much more than songs under scrutiny on the Ariston's stage: first of all, the anchormen and women, leaders of a five-night-long marathon of music, fashion and gossip.

This year Carlo Conti (famous tv presenter, at his second Sanremo experience) chose a trio of well known and loved names. Madalina Ghenea, a Romanian model well known in Italy also for her television work; Virginia Raffaele, popular and very talented comedian with a penchant for imitating famous people; and one of Italy's best known actors, Turinese Gabriel Garko. Garko was also involved in a frightful accident only a week before the Festival started, when the Sanremo villa where he stayed with his staff exploded for a gas leak. The actor was uninjured, but his presence at the Festival had been in doubt for a few days afterwards. 


All in all, the trio passed the test, or so specialists say: Raffaele showed her talent by imitating a different prima donna every evening but last, when she graced the stage simply by being herself. She kept funny and tasteful throughout, although some criticized her interpretation of Belen Rodriguez, an argentinian soubrette famous in Italy for her work and her turbulent private life.

Ghenea was beautiful and charming, even when misspronouncing words and Garko, who was accused by many to be unable to work without a script (he is an actor), took criticism in strand and made of it a daily focus for laughter with the public. 


Guests were also top notch this year: Elton John, Eros Ramazzotti, Laura Pausini and Elisa were all among the great names performing as guests. Among those who truly touched us the most was certainly 

>Renato Zero, who obtained a standing ovation at the end of his perfomance, and spoke about the importance of music to educate the new generations. Italian children music queen Cristina D'Avena, who came to the Ariston to remind us that "by remembering our childhood, and being a bit more childlike we could learn how to live life smiling more" was also among people's favorites. 


Among the artists walking the teatro Ariston stage also Nicole Kidman, who was special guest on the second night of the Festival.

Also on the second night were the amazing presence, performance and example brought by Italian composer and pianist Ezio Bosso, who has been suffering from ALS since 2011. His speech about music and his pathos-filled performance are among the most beautiful declarations of love to music that could possibly be made. Essential to have enjoyed them at Sanremo, to remember how important music is truly in the life of human beings. 


Nicole Kidman and Gabriel Garko on Wednesday during Sanremo's second night (photo ANSA)


Among gaffes, beautiful gowns, amazing guests and, of course, plenty of music and gossip, also this year's edition of the Festival di Sanremo has ended.

Italy is already looking at next year's edition, though, for which Carlo Conti has been confirmed both as artistic director and main anchor.

In the meantime, Italy will keep enjoying Sanremo's music through the many albums coming out this week: happy listening to us all!



Francesca Bezzone


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