Sanremo: Russian Church, 1930
In 1914 the first celebration was held in the Russian Orthodox Church of Sanremo. In the years following on and in particular throughout the 1930's and 1950's the city underwent its most important "Russian period". If the initial reasons which brought the Russians to Sanremo were linked to the climatic conditions and to a particular political situation, the reasons changed over the years.
By the end of the 1970's the Sanremo Festival was being transmitted even in Russia. The songs of Albano and Romina, like those of Riccardo Fogli, Toto Cutugno and Adrian Celentano, became cult songs. The real boom was in the 1980's, and Sanremo became of most popular programmes in Russia, having an audience on a par with that of the Olympic Games.
The songs of the Festival of Sanremo were also more popular than the Russian songs and for many were a way to learn the Italian language. Today this particular link no longer exists with the Festival, but there are many Russians in Sanremo who would like it to start again.