The Italian song in the Twenties and Thirties
In the twenties, radio and the phonograph are spreading in Italy, offering the opportunity to listen to foreign songs. The film industry promotes sound knowledge of musical styles very different from the traditional Italian styles. Fascism, however, led to a political type of nationalism in music, is blocking as much as possible the spread of foreign songs. The scheme encouraged instead the creation and dissemination of songs by very traditional style and content:
- Melodies of happiness and carefree
- Text with content rather trivial and insignificant, or some type of propaganda
These songs were to convey the idea of an Italy without problems, where people lived without any worries, fears and uncertainties about the future. Despite the opposition of the regime, in the late thirties in Italy began to spread of the rhythmic orchestras that brought Italian versions of foreign hits.

The Italian songs in the Fifties
Immediately after the end of World War II, Italy saw the spread of all the musical fashions of foreign origin who had been hampered in previous years by the fascist regime:
- American songs of Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra
- the jazz of Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman
- the soundtracks of Hollywood movies
- South American rhythms of the samba and rumba

To counter this trend and encourage a return to the melodic song, the Italian San Remo Festival was born in 1951. The first edition of the Sanremo Festival, conceived in the postwar years as an initiative to revive the economy and the image of the tourist town in Liguria, took place in 1951. The event took place in the Casino Ballroom and was transmitted by radio. It was the broadcast of the first four editions of the festival to popularize the unmistakable voice of the orchestra conducted by Nunzio Filogamo Cinico Angelini. The real protagonists of the event, were the singers who belonged to the strong tradition of melodic Italian song:

- Achilles Togliani
- Carla Boni
- Teddy Reno
- Gino Latilla
It was, however, Nilla Pizzi, interpreter appreciated by the public, to win the first edition with "Thanks for the flowers." In 1955, with the transmission of live television, the Festival turned into an event of national importance.

The Italian song in the Sixties
"Melodies and screamers"
In 1958, Domenico Modugno triumphs in Sanremo with "Nel blu dipinto di blu", a song that has a definite breath of fresh air in the panorama of Italian song. In the late fifties we can say that in Italy some singers take to model the American "rockers" like Elvis Presley, Paul Anka and the Platters. In 1958 Tony Dallara launches the first Italian rock song: "Come prima." This creates a split between two categories of singers:
- "melodic" that are tied to tradition
- "screamers" in their songs that receive the typical elements of rock and roll.
Among the "screamers" we can see emerging figures such as Mina, Adriano Celentano and Gianni Morandi.

"The beat bands"
A second turning point in the panorama of Italian songs takes place during the second half of the sixties. In this period of American rock influences begin to add up those of the English beat movement. So also in Italy created the first bands modeled on the main British groups of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The historical names of these complexes are Italian:
- Giganti
- L'Equipe 84
- I Dik Dik
- I New Trolls
- I Nomadi
- I Pooh
These groups initially confined to imitate the style of foreign groups, but soon developed an original style, linked to the Italian melodic tradition. Some features, such as PFM (Premiata Forneria Marconi) and Orme welcomed instead the more experimental rock trends, but without achieving a great success.

"The songwriters"
The real novelty item in the Italian music of the sixties was the emergence of a group of musicians who took to the model of French "chansonniers" like Jacques Brel, Juliette Greco, Gilbert Becaud, George Brassens, Charles Aznavour and others. In Italy these musicians were called "cantautori" because, like their French colleagues, wrote the lyrics and composed the music of their songs.
The main features of the songs of singer-songwriters were:
- melodies, simple but not trivial.
- Accompanying often entrusted to a single instrument (guitar or piano) played by the singer himself.
Utmost importance was given to the text which addressed issues of social issues at times but also renewed the repertoire of traditional themes (such as love and family) while avoiding the cliches and platitudes. The most important songwriters of the sixties were those belonging to the so-called "Genoese school":
- Umberto Bindi
- Gino Paoli
- Luigi Tenco
- Bruno Lauzi
- Fabrizio De André

In those years, however, also claimed the Milanese Giorgio Gaber and Enzo Jannacci, Paolo Conte and Sergio Endrigo.
In the same decade female figures emerged as Milva, Ornella Vanoni and Mina who have long dominated the Italian music scene ranging beyond pop music.

The Italian song in the seventies

In the seventies the rock bands that had been established in the previous decade are gradually losing their innovative. The phenomenon of songwriters instead continues to spread to involve new generations of musicians. During the seventies, there is a new group of singers:
- Rome: Lucio Battisti, Francesco De Gregori, Antonello Venditti, Riccardo Cocciante, Claudio Baglioni, Renato Zero
- Milan: Eugenio Finardi, Angelo Branduardi, Roberto Vecchioni
- Genoa: Ivano Fossati
- Bologna: Lucio Dalla, Francesco Guccini
- Naples: Edoardo Bennato, Pino Daniele
- Sicily: Franco Battiato
Each of them develops a personal style drawing inspiration from various musical genres from jazz to folk, from medieval music to ethnic. This generation of songwriters is different from the previous one for the most emphasis on the aspect of "music" of their songs:
- use a wider range of musical instruments
- enriches their melodies with sophisticated arrangements.

The Italian song from the Eighties to today
Since the eighties the Italian singer-songwriters try to assert themselves on the European public by adopting a style of music more "international". Rich and varied is the gallery of authors and performers who, between the eighties and nineties, have climbed the charts, sometimes helping to spread the Italian song in the world:
- the melodic rock of Gianna Nannini and Ligabue
- The international success of Eros Ramazzotti, Vasco Rossi, Laura Pausini and Zucchero
- the successful combination of rap and pop by Jovanotti.
In the nineties we witness great performers like Andrea Bocelli and Giorgia which revived the taste for the most actual singing in pop music. Some music groups have emerged in recent years exploring new and different musical genres like rock, folk and rap.