The 72nd edition of the Festival of the Italian Song, held in the city of Sanremo, came to an end. The winners, Mahmood and Blanco, also won the right to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, which will take place at the PalaOlimpico in Turin on May 10-14.
Eurovision is the most popular non-sporting event in the world. It is such a great opportunity for singers to gain visibility that many Italian artists have proposed themselves as national representatives of the microstate of San Marino, in central Italy.
Here are some numbers from the last edition of Eurovision, which was held in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands: 39 participants, the same number of broadcasters from all over Europe, and 183 million viewers (one million more than the 2019 edition). The Turin edition will feature two more countries participating.
“We are thrilled to once again have over 40 broadcasters competing to win the iconic Eurovision trophy in Turin next May”, said Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. “The Rai team is working hard on preparations to welcome all delegations to a new host city and ensure that the Eurovision Song Contest brings the cutting-edge entertainment and spectacle expected by nearly 200 million viewers”.
So, the Italian public broadcaster is taking care of what will happen inside the PalaOlimpico. But who is doing the same outside the concert hall, in order to bring Eurovision on par with other major events that have become symbols of Turinese culture, such as its book festival (Salone del Libro), the Turin Film Festival and Artissima?
Limiting the event to those five days only would be a mistake. As past editions have taught us, the success of the event is measured by communication, by the message amplified by the 41 televisions (which implies that this message is given) and by the implementation of collateral initiatives to enhance the territory, leveraging the city’s ability to create a system.
The change of mayor has inevitably generated a certain discontinuity. These go on top of the difficulties faced by the departments that deal with major events and cultural policies, which have been short-staffed for some time, particularly in the management area.
In terms of tourism, the Piedmont Region can count on the VisitPiemonte portal. The metropolitan city, on the other hand, can count on Turismo Torino. In recent days, however, the local press has highlighted the difficulties of Turin’s hotel system.
Many observers criticise the absence of an organisational committee to that can act as a control room. Although this lack does not affect television production, it risks compromising the promotion of the area, where the coordination of the various institutions (and the relative investments) is essential in terms of enhancing tourism.
If only out of a sense of patriotism, we can only cheer for Mahmood and Blanco, for an Italian encore after last year’s triumph of Måneskin. We have to look back almost thirty years, to the beginning of the nineties, to find a country that has done an encore – Ireland, which won three times in a row, from 1992 to 1994. And unless there is an encore and Turin is confirmed as the host city, we may have to wait a long time to see the event in Italy again, let alone in the shadow of the Mole.
May the first time be a good one.