After starting with 11 bids to host Eurovision 2021, Italian broadcaster RAI have whittled down the list to a remaining five cities: Bologna, Milan, Pesaro, Rimini, and Turin.
The host city must meet the criteria below:
An international airport within 90 minutes from the city
More than 2,000 hotel room close to the arena
An audience capacity in the arena of at least 8,000 to 10,000
The arena must have air conditioning, requirements for broadcast production and space for press centre, delegation spaces, artists and staff facilities, dressing rooms, audience and hospitality facilities
Exclusive availability for 6 weeks before the event, 2 weeks during the show in May and a week after the event
With the announcement of the host city expected next week, we've taken a look at the remaining cities in the running.
The city of Bologna (with a metropolitan population of just over 1,000,000), located in the country’s central north, is located ninety minutes north of the city of Florence, and ninety minutes north-east of the enclaved country of San Marino. Bologna has two potential host venues – Unipol Arena and Fiera di Bolgona.
The Fiera di Bologna is an exhibition centre with eighteen pavilions, a dedicated motorway exit, and more than 14,000 covered parking spaces, which hosts more than seventy-five trade fairs annually.
Meanwhile, the Unipol Arena is an indoor sporting arena with a seating capacity of 20,000 for concerts, making it one of the largest potential venues being offered for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Unipol Arena already has an extensive lists of events planned throughout April and May, including a hemp fair in early April, Bol on Ice in late April, and three concerts for David Garrett, Eric Clapton, and Dua Lipa in the second half of May.
Bologna’s closest international airport, Bologna Marconi, is located just thirty minutes away.
The city of Milan (with a metropolitan population of over 4,300,000) is located in the country’s north-west, near the cities of Turin and Genoa. Milan has two potential host venues up for consideration – the Mediolanum Forum, and Palazzo delle Scintille.
The Palazzo delle Scintille is a large building that has served as a sports palace and a fair pavilion throughout its history, and even served as the largest coronavirus vaccination centre in Italy this year. The building can host up to 18,000 visitors, but does require some adjustment works to be able to work for the Eurovision Song Contest, and is therefore considered the lesser of Milan’s two options.
The Mediolanum Forum, on the other hand, is a large indoor sports arena with a seating capacity for nearly 13,000 people. However, the issue with the Mediolanum Forum is that it has already been extensively booked out for the months of April and May, meaning that the rescheduling of so many events would be considered a difficult challenge. These bookings include concerts for Francesco Gabbani, Eric Clapton, and Dua Lipa throughout May, as well as David Garrett, Tommaso Paradiso, and Liberato throughout April.
Milan’s closest international airports are Milano Linate (located forty minutes away) and Milano Malpensa (located fifty minutes away).
The city of Pesaro (with a population of 95,000), is located in the country’s east, roughly equidistant from the micronation of San Marino as the city of Rimini is. Pesaro’s potential venue for their bid to host the contest is the Vitrifrigo Arena.
The Vitrifrigo Arena has a seating capacity for 13,000 spectators during concerts, making it the fifth-biggest indoor arena in Italy.
Pesaro’s closest international airport, Bologna Marconi, is located two and a half hours away, putting it well out of the EBU’s requirement for a host city to have an international airport located no more than ninety minutes away.
The city of Rimini (with a population of just over 150,000), is often cited as the potential host city should the micronation of San Marino ever win the Eurovision Song Contest, located in the country’s east, nearby the aforementioned micronation. The city’s potential host venue for consideration is the Rimini Fiera.
The Rimini Fiera features a conference centre capable of hosting over 9,000 spectators, an exhibition centre, 11,000 car parks, and an internal railway station on the Adriatic line.
Rimini’s mayor posted on the city’s official website:
“The city of Rimini meets all the requirements: it has an international airport less than an hour and a half away, offers over 1,100 hotels with more than 36,000 rooms and a multifunctional infrastructure suitable for hosting the event.”
Rimini’s closest international airport, Bologna Marconi, can be up to two hours away (depending on traffic) according to Google Maps, putting question marks over EBU’s requirement for an international airport to be located within ninety minutes of the host city.
The city of Turin (with a population of just under 850,000), located in the extreme north-west of the country, is very close to the borders of France and Switzerland. Turin’s potential host venue is the Pala Alpitour.
The Pala Alpitour has an end-stage concert capacity of over 13,000 fans, and is one of Italy’s most booked venues for large-scale concerts.
The venue is also completely free throughout the month of May, and only has three concerts scheduled in early April – Sting on April 2, Maneskin on April 3, and Tommaso Paradiso on April 10, leaving the venue available for multiple weeks to prepare for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Regional Council of Piedmont has supported the bid for Turin to host the Eurovision Song Contest, with councilor Sara Zambaia stating:
"We have the opportunity to host the most important musical event at European level, followed all over the world, and we must not lose it . . . Our city has all the numbers to become the European capital of music in 2022. Turin completely deserves this prestigious international stage and we will continue to support its bid wherever we can."
Turin’s closest international airport is Torino Caselle, located just forty minutes away.
So which city will host 2022 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest? We'll hopefully find out next week!