Roberto Benigni to return to Sanremo stage.
will become the first president of Italy to attend Sanremo, the nation's top song contest, when the popular five-night extravaganza kicks off on Tuesday.
The news was announced by the festival's presenter and artistic director Amadeus who described Mattarella's presence as "an important sign of closeness to the world of entertainment".
Mattarella, 81, is the first Italian head of state to attend Sanremo in the 73-year history of the festival which is Italy's answer to the Eurovision Song Contest.
Amadeus also announced that the Italian comedian, actor and director Roberto Benigni
- who famously appeared at Sanremo on horseback in 2011 - would return to the Teatro Ariston stage on Tuesday night.
The annual song contest will take place from 7-11 February in Sanremo, a seaside town on the northwest Ligurian coast, with 28 artists battling it out over five nights.
The event, whose official title is the Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo, has been held every year since 1951, making it the world's longest-running annual televised music competition at a national level.
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