Just thinking about the best Italian musicians makes you tingle. The extraordinary tenors we’ve come to know and love over the years and those sopranos that blow your mind when belted out. No matter which culture you’re from, the appreciation for Italian musicians with their elegant voice, attire, and instruments is undeniable.
According to some experts, the city of Naples was the birthplace of Italian music. Others have distinguished the Neapolitan melodic flow from the Neapolitan linguistic pulse. Medieval compositional traditions shaped the development of Italian music, not to mention the impact of the French and melodrama! In the 1930s, blues, jazz, and rock made their debut in Italy, and by the 1960s, they had entrenched themselves.
Despite this, determining which is the first authentic piece of music remains a challenge. We did some research and came up with the 25 best Italian Musicians that have stood the test of time. Buon appetito!!
1. Luciano Pavarotti
Luciano Pavarotti was born on October 12, 1935, in Modena, Italy. His father loved being a part of a chorister ensemble.
As a result, he entered the world of opera. He devoted himself to his studies to become a professor of physical education and to teach.
At the same time, he devoted himself to singing lessons with tenor Arrigo Pola. In 1961, he competed in and won the worldwide Achille Peri competition.
In Francesco Molinari Pradelli’s production of Puccini’s “La bohème,” he plays Rodolfo. His renown has spread far and wide, and he now shows at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.
He has performed at La Scala and the Royal Opera House in London since 1965. In 1967, he conquered America in every way and performed numerous performances. In 1987, Pavarotti performed “Nessun Dorma” with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Not to mention the 1991 concert in Hyde Park, attended by Lady D and her husband, Carlo. In 1993, he gave a free concert in Central Park in New York after a series of sold-out shows.
His numerous shows drew a large number of fans. Pavarotti left the world of opera in 2004.
His duets with Zucchero and other celebrities still resonate around the world. Not to mention his social obligations with “Pavarotti & Friends.” Pavarotti died in Modena on September 6, 2007.
2. Anna Maria Mazzini (Mina)
Anna Maria Mazzini was born on March 25, 1940, and her stage name is Mina. Between 1960 and 1970, she was a significant presence in Italian pop music.
Her three-octave vocal range and the agility of her soprano voice have made her famous worldwide. Her tunes ruled the Italian top 40 for 15 years.
She released 79 albums and 71 singles that propelled her to the top of the charts and established her as a household name. Her shrill voice earned her the moniker “Queen of Screamers.”
Mina has always been a lady who has been able to make her own decisions. Rai banned her in 1963, as we all recall. She was expecting a child with a married man with whom she was in a relationship.
3. Andrea Bocelli
Andrea Bocelli is an opera singer, songwriter, tenor, and producer from Italy. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with glaucoma at five months and went blind at age 12.
With his victory at the 44th Sanremo music festival in 1994, he became famous. “Miserere” was the song that made him famous.
In addition to Turandot, Tosca, and Romeo and Juliet, he has many contributions to major Italian operas. Many of his albums have paid homage to opera somehow, whether it’s Arias or renditions of specific musicians’ works. Bocelli has also done reworkings of traditional Christmas songs.
Celine Dion, Al Jarreau, and Elizabeth Taylor are among those who have praised his distinctive and strong voice. In addition, he has garnered other honors from worldwide, including Classical BRIT Awards, Telegatto Awards, and, of course, his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
4. Adriano Celentano
Adriano Celentano is a lyricist and musician. But he’s also an actor and director, having been born on January 6, 1938. Some say he was the first to introduce rock to Italy.
Elvis Presley and actor Jerry Lewis influenced his music. Giorgio Gaber and Enzo Jannacci were his first clients.
Due to his odd dances, music lovers dubbed him “il molleggiato” (the flexible one). He started his record label, “Clan Celentano,” in 1962, which is still operational today.
He has 29 studio albums and three live albums to his credit. He has been a vegan since 2005 and is a staunch supporter of animal welfare.
5. Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone was a well-known composer, conductor, and arranger from Italy. He has composed music for over 500 films and television series, as well as contemporary music, during his long career. Since 1946, he has written over 100 classical works as well as pieces for Italian westerns.
As a result, he teamed up with Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci, and Duccio Tessari. In the end, he became well-known in Hollywood.
He wrote music for Quentin Tarantino and other filmmakers. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary Academy Award for his lifetime achievements.
He won three Grammy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, six BAFTA Awards, and ten David di Donatello Awards. Eleven Silver Ribbons, two European Film Awards, a Golden Lion, and a Polar Music Prize are among the awards.
6. Toto Cutugno
Toto Cutugno is one of Italy’s most successful musicians, with over 100 million albums sold. He is a singer-songwriter well-known worldwide with L’Italiano, Insieme, Soli, and Gli Amori. When he was only 12 years old, he entered his first music competition.
He wrote songs for himself and other musicians such as Adriano Celentano throughout his career. He won Sanremo for the sixth time in 1980. Together with Gigliola Cinquetti, he is the only Italian to have won the Eurovision Song Contest.
7. Nicoletta Strambelli (Patty Pravo)
Nicoletta Strambelli, better known by her stage name Patty Pravo, is from Venice. She has updated her image several times over her career.
As a result, Patty had an impact on the style of her songs. She was a pioneer of the beat and a songwriter who interpreted Italian and French music.
Not to mention some pop-rock experiments. For many, Patty was a symbol of hedonism and excess.
“Crazy Idea,” “The Doll,” and “Beautiful Thought” are some of his most well-known tracks. Songwriters from all around the world have written songs for her.
Lucio Battisti, Paolo Conte, Francesco Guccini, Antonello Venditti, Gino Paoli, Riccardo Cocciante, Francesco De Gregori are just a few of the names that come to mind. Lana Del Rey referred to her as a model in 2014.
8. Renato Zero
Renato Fiacchini’s stage name is Renato Zero. In Italy in 1950, a singer-songwriter, dancer, and record producer were born.
Because of his unique disguises, he was discovered at the Piper discotheque in Rome when he was very young. It was more popular in the 1960s and 1970s. He has 44 albums to his credit throughout his career.
He’s written songs for Alex Baroni, Ornella Vanoni, Daniele Groff, and Marcella Bella, among others. He is the only Italian artist with a number one album in each of the last six decades. It was also at the top of the Italian rankings for forty-eight weeks.
9. Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was a violinist and composer from Italy. In Italy, one of the most important representatives of the musical baroque. He contributed to the growth of concerts and the development of violin techniques through his compositions.
Concerts, musical operas, and sonatas are among his works. His works have also affected other musicians such as Bach, Quantz, and a slew of others. “The four seasons,” or four violin concertos, is his most well-known work.
10. Giuseppe Verdi
Verdi is an Italian politician and composer. He is one of Italy’s most important composers. However, his works, particularly the so-called “popular trilogy,” are still the most well-known and performed in theaters worldwide.
Usually, politics and music are not careers that go together, but Verdi made it happy, and the audiences loved him. “Rigoletto” was released in 1851, followed by “Il Trovatore” in 1853, and finally “La Traviata” in 1853. More than a century later, his compositions are still loved.
11. Umberto Tozzi
In the 1970s, famous singer-songwriter Umberto Tozzi received a call from the big time. Ti Amo was his breakout moment in 1977, and it went global with colossal success in nations like Sweden, Spain, and Latin America. Laura Branigan, an American vocalist, sang it in 1982 and went on to have acclaim with another Tozzi classic, Gloria.
Tozzi’s international appeal has helped him sell many records, and his success has continued into the twenty-first century. Additional performances at the Sanremo Festival, as well as partnerships with performers like fellow singer-songwriter Raf and French singer Lena Ka, have kept his name in the limelight.
Pooh is the only group in this makeup, and their unique brand of progressive pop has followed them since their debut album, Per Quelli Come Noi, in 1966. A spectacular reunion tour took place to commemorate their 50th anniversary.
The remaining 1960s and 1970s line-ups (Roby Facchinetti, Dodi Battaglia, and Red Canzian) performed with Stefano D’Orazio and Riccardo Fogli, warmly welcomed by the crowd.
If you missed them live, check out some of their famous albums, such as Contrasto from 1968, Parsifal from 1973, and Tropico Del Nord from 1983.
13. Laura Pausini
Laura Pausini is the youngest on the ranking, but she has had a great deal of success in her pop journey, which started in 1993.
Laura had produced her demo CD six years prior, even though it was her 1993 Sanremo rendition of La Solitudine that placed her on the radar. It was the beginning of a phenomenally successful career that culminated in a Number One hit in Italy.
Laura’s career has been notably popular in her native nation and Spain, where her self-titled album, sung entirely in Spanish, became the best-selling record of 1994. Laura has had a succession of pop hits and albums in Spain since then. She has performed on several Spanish versions of international music television shows (see below).
It all comes down to the vocal, as it does with so many others on this list, and Laura’s mature, strong voice helped her achieve chart success. Incancellabile and Lettera are some of the other major chart hits. It’s no surprise that Pausini now sits as a judge and coach on the Spanish variants of The Voice and The X Factor, given her enormous success as a singer.
14. Eros Ramazzotti
Eros was born in the Rome district of Cinecittà but relocated to Milan as a teenager, where he started his musical career. For his song “Terra promessa,” he won the “New Voice ” category at the renowned San Remo Festival in 1984. Eros rose to international prominence after releasing a series of albums in fast succession that included both heartfelt personal ballads and powerful rock tracks.
He has also collaborated with other well-known worldwide performers. To mention a few, he has done recordings with Tina Turner and Cher.
Eros records every album in both Spanish and Italian. He is particularly well-liked in Cuba, Germany, Mexico, and Argentina, and his albums have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.
15. Zucchero Fornaciari
Zucchero is an Italian rock musician born Adelmo Fornaciari and is one of Italy’s most well-known singers. He is arguably best known globally for his duet with Paul Young, Senza Una Donna, which reached number four in Young’s native United Kingdom. His musical career began in 1970, with his first single released in 1976 and his first album released in 1983.
Gospel, blues, and rock influence his music, and he varies between sugary ballads and more rhythmic boogie-like compositions in Italian, Spanish, and English. He sang duets with a host of renowned artists, from UK’s Paul to his fellow countrymen Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli in live events and on recordings.
Il Volo (English version: My Love), Cosi Celeste, Baila (sexy thing), Diamante (with soul singer Randy Crawford), and Wonderful World are some of the European success tracks (with Eric Clapton). Miles Davis, Paul Young, Sheryl Crow, Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Maná, Brian May, and Sting appear on Zucchero’s 2004 album ZU & Co. After its debut in the United States in 2005, it sold millions of copies worldwide and hit the Billboard 200 lists.
16. Lorenzo Cherubini (Jovanotti)
Lorenzo Cherubini, better known as Jovanotti, is an Italian singer, composer, and rapper. In the mid-nineties, he switched to his actual name (Lorenzo) after releasing his first albums underneath the Jovanotti moniker.
Although much of his work is hip-hop-influenced, not all of it should be considered hip-hop music. Many of his tracks aren’t hip-hop-related and are more closely associated with the earlier Italian cantautore heritage.
Some of his older work is also more keyboard-heavy pop from the 1980s. The majority of his songs are in Italian, although he also has a Spanish-language best hits album.
The basic gist of the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” appears on his live CD. Jovanotti performs “I Got Rhythm” on various foreign compilations, including Red Hot + Rhapsody, a 1998 homage to George Gershwin, on which he also appears. In 1996, Jovanotti performed at a Luciano Pavarotti charity event.
Buon Sangue, his debut album, features rock and old-style hip-hop influences. It’s one of his most forward-thinking pieces to date. One of the tracks was co-written by Edoardo Bennato, while two of the songs had Saturnino, the bass player, as co-writer.
Ora’s most recent album, Ora, pushes new territory with a new production approach.
17. Tiziano Ferro
Tiziano Ferro is an Italian Latin pop singer who often records Spanish editions of his Italian albums and has remarkable success in Europe and Latin America. Ferro’s albums have sold over 7 million copies worldwide.
He is one of the most well-known musicians in contemporary Italy. His music is primarily pop, with hints of rock, r&b, hip-hop, and other genres.
Rosso Relativo, his debut album from 2001, had an R&B/hip-hop tinge to it. The Spanish rendition of this album has been dubbed Rojo Relativo and was a massive hit in Spanish-speaking countries.
Ferro released his second album, 111 Centoundici, in late 2003. It cemented his status as one of Italy’s most popular singers.
In 2006, he released his third studio album, Nessuno è Solo, charted in Italy and Argentina. In Chile, it opened at #10, and in Spain, it debuted at #11. The album received triple-platinum certification. In 2008, Tiziano published his new CD, Alla Mia Età.
18. Vasco Rossi
Vasco Rossi is an Italian singer-songwriter who has sold millions of albums despite being plagued by controversy. His lyrics were exceptionally provocative, but his audience loved him because he ranks among the top 20 most excellent Italian musicians.
He has released 21 albums (plus live and compilation discs) and written 130 songs and even some lyrics for many other singers during his 30-year career. He refers to himself as a “provoca(u)tore” (which is an Italian portmanteau meaning “provoking author”) because he has been chastised repeatedly during his career for his living choices and song lyrics.
19. Filippo Neviani (Nek)
Filippo Neviani began playing drums and guitar at nine years of age and subsequently enjoyed budding notoriety in the Bologna province with the soft-rock band “White Lady.” In 1991 he came second at the Castrocaro Song Festival, representing a significant promotional opportunity for emerging artists.
His stage name Nek dates back to 1992 when he released his first album with that same title: “Nek.” Despite being a newcomer to the music business.
In 1994 he received his first significant acknowledgment, together with Giorgia: the European Award as best young Italian pop artist. After signing a recording contract with WEA, which has remained his label to date (now Warner Music), in 1997, he took part in the Sanremo Festival.
His entry: “Laura non c’è” became that year’s edition’s most significant hit and boosted the album “Lei, gli amici e Tutto il resto,” which went six times platinum, selling over 600,000 copies in Italy alone.
Lei, gli amici e Tutto il resto” went on to sell two million copies worldwide. Nek’s confirmation as a significant international artist arrived when publications of the album occurred throughout Latin America, including Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. Soon, it reached gold status in Argentina and Mexico in its Spanish version.
In July 2007, he received the prestigious “Premio Lunezia” for “Poetry in Music.” This Italian award is given to the most successful and appreciated singer-songwriter. In 2008 he recorded the duet of “Walking Away” with Craig David, which became one of the greatest hits of the British artist.
20. Zero Assoluto
The Italian duo Zero Assoluto has been active since 1999 when their debut single “Ultimo Capodanno” was released. Matteo Maffucci and Thomas De Gasperi, friends since high school, had a tremendous hit with Mezz’ora in 2004.
They performed at the Festival della Canzone Italiana – Sanremo in 2006 with Svegliarsi la Mattina, which topped the charts for several months. Another hit, Sei Parte di Me, was released that summer.
In the winter of 2006/2007, Zero Assoluto collaborated with Nelly Furtado on the Italian version of her most recent hit “All Good Things,” which featured on the re-edition of Nelly’s album “Loose” as a special duet.
After a year since their last appearance at Sanremo, they returned with the song Appena prima di partire during the 57th edition of the festival. The duo grew on audiences globally and people still can’t have enough of them.