The Ariston Theater hosts the annual San Remo Music Festival, a very popular song contest held in the city since 1951. This festival inspired the Eurovision Song Contest, which started in 1956, and for years the Sanremo festival selected the Italian entry. The internationally famous song “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu”, also known as “Volare”, was performed at this festival for the first time by Domenico Modugno in 1958.

The festival is so popular amongst Italians that it is often referred to simply as “Il Festival” (The Festival)

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