The sun, the sea, the beach, some great food and a healthy dose of culture. People who visit Italy sure know why they do it. Sadly, they don’t always know that much about Italian music. If you don’t want to look like an idiot next time you visit Italy, you have to read all about these amazing Italian acts. Off we go, straight to the sun!

1. Vasco Rossi – Come Nelle Favole

Vasco Rossi has been in the business for many years. Since the 80’s, he has released more than 25 albums. He is best known for his obscene lyrics that needed censoring more than once. Earlier this year, he played a show in Modena for which 220.000tickets were sold. This made it the biggest ticketed concert ever, which says something about his popularity in Italy.

2. Ligabue – Certe Notti

With looks resembling a young Bono, Ligabue conquered Italy. Not just as a singer, but also as an actor and director, he is responsible for 11 studio-albums and a dozen movies. Earlier this year, he was supposed to tour Europe to promote his latest record, but due to vocal problems he had to cancel the shows. The Italian rockstar has already proven himself in Italy, and has even caught the eye of Bono, who asked him to play as opening act for a few U2 dates in Italy.

3. Laura Pausini – La Solitudine

The difference between Laura Pausini and many other Italian artists is that she had some international ambition. After Italy, The Netherlands were the second country where she became popular. After that, Spain and Portugal followed soon. Laura Pausini mostly sings about love, but other themes like peace and racism are also addressed in her songs. Her surprising pop tunes are liked outside of Italy because she sometimes translates a record with Italian lyrics to a different language, like Spanish.

4. Eros Ramazzotti – La Cosa Mas Bella

From an international perspective, Eros Ramazzotti is one of the best selling artists from Italy. He had already worked with artists like Anastacia, Tina Turner and Joe Cocker, but he achieved his highest successes solo. Just like many other Italian singers, Ramazzotti makes pop, but he distinguishes himself with his quirky voice and rich sound.

5. Zucchero – Baila Morena

Zucchero means sugar, which is probably why Zuchhero makes such sugary sweet poprock. However, he does know how to blend in influences from blues and soul. He is one of the most internationally known artists from Italy. He is also one of only few that can say that they performed at Woodstock ’94. Besides that, he is known for participating in events like the Pavarotti & friends benefit shows and the Live 8 concert series.

6. Jovanotti – L’Estate Addosso

On your trip to Italy, Jovanotti will take care of the necessary summer vibes. When he started his career as a radio host, he never expected that they would be playing his music on the radio years later. Now, 30 years later, he is one of the most successful Italian artists, and he has collaborated with Sérgio Mendez and Ben Harper. In Italy, he is best known for not making traditional pop but also mixing influences from rap, disco, funk and hiphop. Jovanotti once proves that Bono has many friends in Italy. They became friends through their joined quest to support African countries.

7. Tiziano Ferro – Lento/Veloce

If you still plan to go to Italy this summer, there is a good chance that you will hear this song somewhere. It’s one of the biggest summer hits and it can be heard everywhere, a bit like Despacito. Tiziano Ferro mixes Italian pop with influences from R&b and hiphop. This original mix that he was asked to work on was one of the songs used to promote the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Unlike other Italian artists, his songs are usually not about love but about his weight problems as a child or the struggles he has to face being a gay singer.

8. Alessandra Amoroso – Comunque Andare

This proof that a talent show on TV can also launch talent. Alessandra Amorodo was discovered in 2009 in the Italian talent show Amici di Maria De Fillipi, which can be described as an Italian Got Talent. She won the competition with a cover of Alicia Keys. Just like Keys, she regularly combines a pop single with soulful vocals and a very distinctive timbre.

9. Annalisa – Used To You

After all that original Italian music, it is time for some English-Italian music. Annalisa also participated in the talentshow Amici di Maria De Filippi, but she didn’t win. However, her second place did get her a lot of publicity and a record deal. Because the song is in English, it has a bigger international appeal. If you have to compare it to something else, it somewhat sounds like P!nk, but slightly less commercial.

10. Giorgio Moroder – I Feel Fove ft Donna Summer

Do you remember the golden age of disco? Giorgio Moroder is one of the living legends from that time. He started as a disco producer in the early 60’s and he rose to the top pretty fast. Because of this fame, he was able to collaborate with great artists like Donna Summer, Freddie Mercury, Daft Punk, Sia and Kylie Minogue. He also made numerous soundtracks for movies including Top Gun, Midnight Express and Scarface. Lately he’s been taking it easy, as the man is 77 already, but he still performs regularly. And when he plays a dj-set, it’s always 100% live.