22 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Italian Singers

Avatar photo
Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

Italy is known for its history, geographical beauty, and food. It is also known for their wonderful music that has inspired artists everywhere and continues to expand its tremendous fanbase worldwide.

Italian singers set the bar by fusing the richness of Italian culture, passion, and unique artistry into their songs and performances.

Examining the current popular Italian singers and historical legends will provide an amazing blueprint of the exceptional talent that has come from Italy. Thus here, we have listed 22 of the greatest and most famous Italian singers. Let’s get started.

1. Luciano Pavarotti

The epitome of legendary Luciano Pavarotti is renowned for expanding the world’s horizons to the world of Opera.

Born in 1935 in North Central Italy, Pavarotti had dreams of being a soccer player. However, his love of music shifted his focus, leading him into an exceptional musical career that would leave millions awestruck by his poise, charisma, and captivating voice.

Expanding the opera genre to reach a younger audience, Pavarotti collaborated with artists such as Eric Clapton, Bono, Celine Dion, and the Spice Girls.

A humanitarian, Pavarotti also worked with Princess Diana to ban landmines and received numerous accolades for his efforts, including several Best Classical Vocal Solo awards and a Grammy Legend Award.

2. Andrea Bocelli

Born in Lajatico, Italy, Andrea Bocelli is regarded as one of the greatest living singing talents.

Labeled as the world’s most beloved tenor, Bocelli’s life story is truly inspirational. Blind since the age of 12, he has defied the odds and allowed his love of music to guide him into legendary stardom.

He holds a musical résumé that highlights performances with Luciano Pavarotti, Sarah Brightman, and Céline Dion, as well as a performance for the pope.

Bocelli’s golden voice has charmed music lovers from all over the world. His ability to sing in Italian, Spanish, French, and German sets him a league apart from his contemporaries.

3. Enrico Caruso

From a humble background—raised in a large family with limited means—Enrico Caruso would grow to be one of the greatest tenors the world has ever known. His father was a mechanic and amateur singer, who recognized Enrico’s musical talent and encouraged him to pursue it.

Caruso made his professional debut in 1895 at the Teatro Nuovo in Naples, singing in the opera L’Amico Francesco, by Domenico Morelli. His performance was well received, marking the beginning of his journey on the Italian opera circuit.

With over 260 records, featuring notable works like Puccini’s La Bohème and Verdi’s Rigoletto, Caruso revolutionized the opera world, setting an unparalleled standard for tenors that continues to inspire and influence artists globally.

4. Laura Pausini

The first Italian female artist to win a Grammy, along with a host of other notable music awards, Laura Pausini is highly adored worldwide.

From Faenza, Italy, this talented singer-songwriter and producer gained international fame with her song “La solitudine” (The Loneliness) in 1993. She went on to release a total of 25 albums, most of them in Italian and Spanish.

Despite not having a real breakthrough in the English-language market, Pausini is one of the most successful female artists to create Latin music, having sold over 75 million albums.

Pausini’s talent has opened the doors for her to span several opportunities across the board in the entertainment industry as, aside from singing, she has hosted TV shows and has recently announced that she has been working on film.

5. Vasco Rossi

From the province of Modena, we have Vasco Rossi. This singer-songwriter extraordinaire has published over 30 albums and 250 songs and sold over 30 million copies.

In Italy, Rossi’s impact is profound. Known as Il Blasco, he is celebrated as one of the country’s biggest rock music stars. His concerts are known to sell out completely, reflecting his enduring popularity and influence.

Over the years, his work has been acknowledged with numerous awards from both Italian Music Awards and Premio Italiano della Musica. Of note is the album Stupido Hotel, which won not just Best Italian Album from the former organization but also Album of the Year in 2002 from the latter.

6. Fedez

Born Federico Leonardo Lucia in Milan, singer Fedez began his musical career by releasing a self-produced album in 2011. He produced another album shortly after this that hit #57 on the Italian charts.

Fame, however, came after his third album, Sig. Brainwash – L’arte di accontentare, in 2013, and all four other albums he released after this. The five were top hits, all reaching multi-Platinum. One of them, Pop-Hoolista, landed the singer a Pop-Rap Award from Lunezia.

Soon after the release of his third album, Felez became a judge on the Italian version of X-Factor and also hosted the comedy show LOL – Chi ride è fuori.

7. Eros Ramazzotti

Raised in Rome, Eros Ramazzotti had a passion for music since childhood. Though he failed to get admitted into the Music Conservatory, he did not let his dreams get deferred. Instead, he focused on learning to play the guitar and went on to perform at the Castrocaro Music Festival.

After releasing his debut album, Cuori agitati (Troubled Hearts), the sky became the limit for Eros Ramazzotti. “Una storia importante” (An Important Story) from the album was a huge hit in Europe.

However, worldwide popularity was gained after he released Eros – Greatest Hits in 1997. It topped charts in Italy as well as in the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, and Austria, quickly reaching Platinum five times. For this, Ramazzotti received Best International Male Artist of the Year from Echo Music Awards.

8. Sfera Ebbasta

Italian-born singer and rapper Sfera Ebbasta is known for popularizing trap music in Italy. Discovered on YouTube, he launched his first album, XDVR, in 2015, which catapulted him into superstardom.

Young and creative, Ebbasta’s music gained quite a loyal fan base—all albums he released following his debut landed the #1 spot on the Italian charts, with Rockstar, the third album, reaching six times Platinum.

Ebbasta’s latest album release is FAMO$O (FAMOU$), in 2020. It contains several collaborations with other famed artists. To go with the album, he also released a film of the same name, exclusive on Prime Video, that documents his life and success, though it is not without controversy.

9. Domenico Modugno

Recognized as Italy’s first cantautore, Domenico Modugno made major contributions to Italy’s musical legacy.

A singer, songwriter, actor, guitarist, and member of the Italian Parliament, Modungno’s career was extensive. His musical influence as a composer and flair for acting is also connected to the films Money Talks, A Fish Called Wanda, and To Rome with Love.

In 1958, his song “Nel blu dipinto di blue” (Volare) became #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It went on to win Record of the Year and Song of the Year Grammys. The song was so popular it was adapted into English by many other artists, including Dean Martin, Bobby Rydell, Barry White, and Linda Ross.

10. Alessandra Amoroso

From Galatina, Italy, singer-songwriter and producer Alessandra Amoroso was a force to be reckoned with. She started her music career by joining local competitions at a young age. Though some outcomes were not successful, she persevered.

Hard work paid off as Amoroso became the first female Italian artist to win the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Italian Act, and eight of her albums have topped the Italian music charts.

With a decade of musical accolades highlighting her illustrious singing career, Amoroso is also recognized as a famous TV personality, appearing in the romantic comedy film Io che amo solo te and co-hosting Grazie a tutti.

11. Ghali

There is not much known of Ghali from when he was younger, only that he was born to Tunisian immigrant parents in a poor Milan neighborhood. However, from sleeping on carpets, the boy grew to be one of Italy’s greatest rappers.

Known for fusing hip-hop with blends of Italian and Tunisian culture, Ghali’s music is definitely eargasmic. One of his singles, “Ninna nanna,” has been hugely successful. It topped the Italian charts and was certified Platinum four times.

As one of the voices of a new generation, Ghali is definitely an Italian musical phenomenon to watch. Major local newspapers like La Repubblica have praised him, calling the rapper “a blessing.”

12. Coez

From Nocera Inferiore, Italy, we have rapper Coez. Starting with producing mixtapes, this artist went on to become part of a group called Brokenspeakers with other members Lucci and Bruno Cannavicci.

In 2009, Coez collaborated with other singers and released a solo album called Figlio di nessuno. It did not chart, but with it, he started to gain some following.

Commercial success then came in the form of his third and fourth albums, Niente che non va and Faccio un casino. Both were #2 on the Italian charts, with the latter certified Platinum twice and gaining Coez a nomination for IMPALA’s European Album of the Year Award.

13. Gigliola Cinquetti

Singer-songwriter and TV personality Gigliola Cinquetti was born in Verona, Italy. At the young age of 16, she joined the 1964 Sanremo Music Festival, winning with the song “Non ho l’età.”

She sang the song again in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest and received another historic win, becoming the youngest to win the contest at the time. “Non ho l’età” became a commercial success internationally, with over 3 million sales.

She competed again in Eurovision, this time in the 1974 contest. And though she won second place with “Si” (Yes), the live coverage of the song was banned by broadcaster RAI, who feared that it might influence the vote on the pending divorce referendum the contest coincided with.

After her wins, Cinquetti went on to become a journalist and TV presenter, though, in 2022, Eurovision invited her to perform her signature song as an interval act.

14. Anna Tatangelo

From Sora, Italy, Anna Tatangelo from Sora, Italy, came exploding onto the scene. At just 15 years old, in 2002, she became the youngest person to win the Sanremo Music Festival.

From 2003 to 2019, she participated in Sanremo seven more times. The song “Essere una donna” in 2006 landed her another win.

Though Tatangelo didn’t win with some of the songs she sang in Sanremo, these still helped the singer gain fame. “Il mio amico” of the 2008 contest is one of her most popular. It was #2 in the Italian charts and became certified Platinum.

Tatangelo is still active. She released her latest single, “Sangria,” back in 2021. Views for the music video on YouTube have now reached almost a million.

15. Elisa

Hailing from Trieste, our next singer is one of the few Italian artists to write and record music in English. Elisa had big dreams from a very tender age. Inspired by famous singers like Björk and Aretha Franklin, she started writing songs at 11 years and was soon appearing on TV.

She had her debut in 1997 with the release of Pipes & Flowers. It was an immediate success, going Platinum multiple times. Elisa’s next four albums all became top 10, which was followed by another chart-topping release in 2009, Heart.

Some of her singles have also been included in film soundtracks, like “Love Is Requited” in Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You and “Ancora qui” in Django Unchained. Elisa was also the voice of Nala in the Italian version of The Lion King.

16. Giorgia

Born in Rome, Italy, Giorgia paid her dues spending endless years performing jazz and soul in local bars.

With her voice, she made her official debut in the 1994 Sanremo Musical Festival. She won seventh, but her captivating stage presence opened doors of opportunity that allowed her to perform with the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli.

She has made 11 studio albums since her debut. Seven of these have become top-three hits in Italy and all are certified Platinum. Due to her soulful voice, Giorgia has been dubbed the Whitney Houston of Italy.

17. Marco Mengoni

From central Italy, we have Marco Mengoni. This young music artist started taking singing lessons at the age of 14. In 2009, he competed in the talent show X-Factor and won with the song “Dove si vola.”

Mengoni’s life was never the same after this. The winning song went on to top the Italian Top Digital Downloads chart.

He then went on to release his debut studio album, Solo 2.0, which would become the first of five #1 album hits. Two of his live albums were also chart-toppers.

Mengoni’s amazing work has manifested in a number of accolades. At the launch of his fame, he received Best Italian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards and Man of the Year at the TRL Awards, but these were just the start to a string of honors he would receive in his career.

18. Mina

A soprano singer from Lombardy, Mina had a sparkling music career as a megastar. Her career start came in the form of the rock band Happy Boys. After she left the group, she founded her own band called Solitari.

They went on to perform a syncopated and loud version of “Nessuno” (Nobody) at the first rock festival in Milan. The performance portrayed her strong voice and timbre; thus, the queen of scream was born.

Fusing modern styles with traditional Italian melodies and swing music, Mina’s versatility has made her an Italian pop music icon. She is the only artist to stay at the top of the Italian charts in each of the six decades since her debut.

19. Patty Pravo

Born Nicoletta Strambelli in Venice, Italy, Patty Pravo was at the height of her success during the 1960s and ’70s, and it all began with her single “Ragazzo triste” (Sad Boy), an Italian cover for Sonny and Cher’s “But You’re Mine.” This was followed by another hit single, “Se perdo te” (If I Lose You).

However, Pravo’s most popular song would come in 1968, “La bambola” (The Doll), which was released with her eponymous debut album. Both song and album topped the charts.

Her popularity declined in 1980 after she posed for Playboy. However, she made a comeback in the late 1990s with a performance in the Sanremo Festival. Her song “…E dimmi che non vuoi morire” peaked at #2, her highest rating since the ’70s.

20. Umberto Tozzi

Beginning his career at a young age, Umberto Tozzi joined a band in 1968 called Off Sound and performed around his hometown of Turin, Italy.

He had great success, both in singing and songwriting, from 1976 to 1978, releasing songs that would top Italy’s charts, including “Ti Amo.” This song reached #1 and stayed there for seven months!

Then Tozzi’s career reached even higher levels in 1979 when his song “Gloria,” considered one of his best works, became a hit on the Italian and Latin American music charts.

It was later covered by American singer Laura Branigan and added to the soundtrack of Scorsese’s film The Wolf of Wall Street.

21. Adriano Celentano

Next up, we have singer-songwriter, musician, actor, and filmmaker Adriano Celentano, one of Italy’s most successful performers.

Influenced by Elvis Presley, he debuted in Italy’s rock-and-roll scene of the 1950s with the hit album 24.000 Baci, along with other band members Giorgio Gaber and Enzo Jannacci. Later that decade, Celentano had his first on-screen appearance as a rock-and-roll singer in the film La Dolce Vita.

With over 40 albums released and several movies directed, Celentano has truly provided Italy with a rich portfolio of talent that influences artists worldwide.

22. Fred De Palma

Italian rapper Federico Palana—known best by his professional name Fred De Palma—hit the music scene in 2007. Freestyling in Turin and Milan gained him recognition in the industry, which eventually landed him a record deal in 2010 as a member of the group Royal Rhymes.

In 2012, Fred De Palma went solo, ultimately cementing his fate as a famous Italian singer after generating numerous hits, including “Una volta ancora / Se iluminaba” from his fifth album, Uebe. The song, certified Platinum seven times, is one of his top-selling hits.

Summing Up Our List Of Famous Singers From Italy

Many Italian singers got their start in the music competition circuit. Their perseverance opened doors for them to receive exposure all over Europe and eventually the world, providing Italian music with historical relevance that has shaped music in general.

These singers above have broken barriers and reinforced the legacy of their great country in the music industry and in fans all over.

Thus, we hope that from this list, you gained a favorite Italian singer or two (or more!) to add to your playlist.

Have we left out someone? Let us know and we’ll add them!

Photo of author

Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.