Browse all

The history of Fantasanremo as told by its founders

Once upon a time there were four friends in a bar in the province of Fermo.

The history of Fantasanremo as told by its founders Once upon a time there were four friends in a bar in the province of Fermo.

If in 2022 the competing singers shouting 'FantaSanremo', 'Papalina' and 'Greetings to Aunt Mara', high-fiving the presenter or doing push-ups on stage amazed and exhilarated the festival audience, the edition making its debut on Tuesday 7 February promises to be even better. It began as a joke among friends at the Corva da Papalina bar in Porto Sant'Elpidio, in the province of Fermo, a joke that numbered little more than 47 people and has now reached a record 1.8 million registered teams and established itself as a true Sanremo tradition. To explore this extraordinarily popular national success, we spoke to those directly involved, the initiators of Fantasanremo, who for this edition decided to move the bar from Fermo to the Ligurian coast, to the Palafiori, to see the fruits of their crazy proposals in even greater detail.

The idea was born in 2020, after years in which a group of listeners had already been set up, the Giuria Microscopica, the humble version of the demoscopic jury that, from the comfort of their sofa at home, evaluated the performances of the competing singers through a kind of report card. It was all very simple. Plus and minus points for the singers' performances were noted on slips of paper and everything was 'logged' by sending an Excel spreadsheet to the participants via a WhatsApp group. «We started the 2020 'Zero' edition with a bang thanks to the unforgettable duet/duel between Morgan and Bugo, an absolutely unprecedented episode in the history of Festivàl, which we intuitively included in the regulations, even though we had imagined it as one of the most impossible things to do.» The driving force behind this success? The pandemic. «In 2021, thanks to the mandatory health isolation due to the pandemic, we switched to the website and from 47 pioneers the year before, we are now at 47,000 members.»

As for the awarding of bonuses, the Papalina boys mention as memorable episodes the handbag Piero Pelù stole from the lady in the audience, also in 2020, which earned a bonus of 30 points; the various 'scapezzolate' introduced by Achille Lauro and continued by many other artists; and the string of expletives Victoria of the Måneskin spouted after her victory with 'Zitti e buoni' in 2021. Last year there was the climax when Emma Marrone was chased by the police and the countless 'FantaSanremo' and 'Papalina' were uttered on the Ariston stage. «The highest bonus single and probably one of the most exciting moments for us in the FantaSanremo team occurred when Lo Stato Sociale included the word "FantaSanremo" in the lyrics of their "Combat pop" in 2021. For the first time, in the temple of Italian music, the name of our game was pronounced. At that moment, the shout of jubilation that erupted in the Papalina bar was comparable to that which immediately followed Fabio Grosso's penalty in the 2006 World Cup final. Back then, fantasy footballers brought home a good 100 points.»

The tried and tested mechanism of the game remains unchanged: each participant has 100 baudi (the game's official coin, dedicated to the legendary Pippo) to form a team of five singers, one of whom is appointed captain (the most popular is Tananai). At stake, as is tradition, is the coveted 'eternal glory'. To sign up, you have until 11.59pm on 6 February 2023, the night before the festival begins, at, where you can also view the regulations, with all the bonuses and maluses provided by the game, as well as the fantasy rankings of the 28 greats in the competition. Among the most epic bonuses this year? The arrest of an artist during Sanremo week, an unscheduled stage invasion, a rave on stage or, why not, stage diving in the front rows of the Ariston Theatre.