Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

Main Page This family-friendly site celebrates Italian culture for the enjoyment of children and adults. Site-Overview



Italian Music: Modugno, Mina, Verdi...



C. Bartoli


Eurovision / San Remo






























The iconic Domenico Modugno, master singer-songwriter known throughout the world.



Domenico Modugno's recordings are still available from all the online CD sellers.  Click on the album image to visit his informative website.    

Visit and search for Domenico Modugno, and you can enjoy more clips of this late, great performer and song-writer.


'Classic' Mina

Mina interprets songs rather than just sings them.  Her voice is supple, expressive, both warm and sharp...really everything a pop singer should be.  


Spooky Mina


Scary Mina











Two images of the revamped La Fenice Concert Hall in Venice



Visit and search for Verdi for more traditional versions of Verdi pieces.

















Italy has it's version of 'Dancing With the Stars' (Ballando con le stelle) and like everywhere, it's very popular.  But unlike everywhere, the dancing on the show is wonderful!  It's hosted by the beautiful Ms. Carlucci.



Here's a link to a book about Italian-American crooners, written by someone on the insides, with an introduction by Jerry Vale.






Domenico Modugno


"Classical Music"

Giuseppe Verdi

Ballroom Dancing



Italians love popular music.  Children and parents often listen to the same musical groups, sharing a fascination with new music and musical talents.   

This caused a stir when Madonna toured Italy with her traffic-cones strapped-to-the-chest show.  An audience of pre-teens and their parents were subjected to Madonna simulating sex on stage.  

When the parents complained about not being warned ahead of time, so they wouldn't bring their pre-teens, and presumably would go without them, Madonna didn't get it.  

She instead responded that she would not compromise her artistic vision.  No one was asking her to do that.  All they wanted was a warning as to how low her artistic vision and fallen.

All music styles, in fact, are popular in Italy.  You can find jazz, classical, rap, pop, fusion...  Wikipedia has a great page about Italian music, is you want an overview and lots of names of performers to check out.

There are also many music festivals in Italy throughout the year, so look carefully before traveling there, so you can try to arrange you trip to coincide with a festival or concert, if that's what  you enjoy.  Music Festivals in Italy

On this page, I just hit the highlights, or the must-knows of Italian popular music history.


Domenico Modugno

Domenico Modugno is often cited as Italy's most talented and famous singer-songwriter (and a popular actor), the father of Italy's "classic" music.   

His most famous number is 'Nel blu dipinto di blu' which is often referred to as 'Volare'.  It came first place at the San Remo Song Festival of 1958, but placed third in the Eurovision Song Festival.  

It seems Eurovision was determined to upset the Italians even way back when (see Eurovision).  The song also won in 1958 two Grammy awards in the States for best record and best song.  

Mr. Modugno in Washington D.C.

There's an official Domenico Modugno site, in Italian.  Not all the links work all the time, but the site's very nice when they do.



While Modugno is famous as a singer-songwriter, it is Mina who is the queen of pop singers.  She began her career in the 50's and is still releasing 'albums' that sell well, despite not having toured or performed in public for a decade, if not more.   

From how often you still see her performances on the Italian RAI TV channels, you'd think she was still looking like this image.  But they are just reruns of past performances.  Mina has a wonderful website, in Italian.

My list of Mina CDs at 

 Mina, the master Italian pop singer, was also a master of reinvention and a master performer.  Here are some images from her wonderful website to give you an idea of her changing looks.

Psychedelic Mina



"Classical Music"

What may surprise many people is that what non-Italians call "Classical Music" is popular music in Italy.  "Classical" might be used to describe Domenico Modugno's "Volare", but not musica lirica.  

Musica lirica is a part of Italian popular culture, so it is considered popular music. 

I recall watching an Italian TV show that each week had the host find a woman at the morning food market who was willing to let him come to her home that evening to challenge her family to perform some tasks to earn money, all filmed for the home audience's viewing pleasure.  This was long before "Reality TV" became the rage in the rest of the world.  

One of the tasks on one of the shows was for the whole family to perform the "March of the Elephants" from Verdi's "Aida" opera, using only pots, pans and kitchen utensils for accompaniment.  

Without a moment's hesitation, the working-man's family emptied the kitchen and paraded around the living room performing the entire piece without missing a beat.  How many working-man's families in other countries would be able to do that?  Not many, I'd bet.  

If you're a lirica fan, you may have noticed that there are not many great sites on the web for you.  One you might like, however, is the Gramophone site for the like-named magazine.  Click here to go directly to their article about Venice's La Fenice theatre.  You can move around the site from there.  

I've a page about three of the biggest Italian opera stars of the early 1900s:  Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, and Louisa Tetrazzini.  And an account of Enrico Caruso's experiences during and after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.  And I have another page about modern mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.


Giuseppe Verdi

The biggest star of Italian Lirica is Giuseppe Verdi.  His politics influenced his music, making his operas full of nationalistic messages and anthem-like music.    

Giuseppe Verdi, still a hit after all these years, the man and his music described well at this opera website link.  

Or go directly to their page all about Italian Opera's history.


Ballroom Dancing

But there is another form of music that is very popular in Italy, ballroom dance music, or musica per ballo liscio  

Dance clubs can be found all over Italy, often affiliated with some of the larger hotels, and many with picturesque open-air dance floors overlooking the sea or lakes.  

And no small-town summer festival is complete without the outdoor dance floor and live band.  And many of the world class ballroom dancers are Italian.

To find a summer festival near where you're going in Italy, click here.  

To read a very entertaining account of one tourist couple's ballo liscio experience in Italy, click here.  

And the most fun of all is this link to an art school in Umbria that offers advice on Recreation (ballo liscio) and Some Tips on Not Gaining Weight in Italy, which should probably include joining in the ballo liscio whenever possible.



Visit my Caruso, Gigli, Tetrazzini, et al page for more musical fun.

Visit my Photo Tours of Italy page