Flashback Friday: Italian rivers of words

On this glorious Friday afternoon we sail through the river of words and arrive at our final destination…… The beautifully picturesque Italy. This week our throwback will feature the country’s 1997 entry “Fiumi di parole” performed by Jalisse.

A walk through history

Despite winning the contest only twice in 43 appearances, Italy can proudly say that they were one of the seven original nations competing in the very first Eurovision back in 1956. Their two trophies feature Gigliola Cinquetti’s entry “Non Ho L’étà” back in 1964 and the legendary Toto Cutugno with “Insieme” in 1990.

However, today our Eurovision time machine takes us in 1997, the last Italian entry in the contest prior to their comeback in 2011.

Fiumi di parole

When It came down to selecting the perfect entry to review for this feature (with Italy in mind) I had zero doubts that this song will be our topic of conversation. “Fiumi di Parole” has a timeless feel, memorable chorus and it certainly does manage to pull on everyone’s heartstrings. Re-watching Jalisse’s performance just evokes a certain feeling of nostalgia about the good old days, where songs were simple but they struck a chord and were not purposely made for the sake of winning a contest.

In addition to the effortless vibe of the whole package, Alessandra and Fabio’s undeniable stage presence and chemistry lifted the song to a completely new level for me. And despite the fact that I started following Eurovision religiously from 1998 onward, “Fiumi di Parole” remains as the first memory I have connected to the contest.

What the others had to say…


Here we are with one of my favourite Eurovision entries of all time. Alessandra’s voice is similar to that of an angel and it looked really good. I mean, if a song like this can’t even win Eurovision, I’d also huff for a good few years! Definitely also my favourite Italian entry at the Eurovision Song Contest.


I always struggle to fully appreciate songs, not just Eurovision songs, from the other side of the millennium mostly because the production just isn’t up to the standards I’m used to. This isn’t an exception, but it is very pleasant and is one of the better pre-2000 entries I’ve had the opportunity to hear. There’s a lovely key change, and the backing vocal power at the end give this an anthemic quality. My favourite Italian entry, however, is Francesca Michielin’s ‘No Degree of Separation’ – a beautiful voice, beautiful message and utterly uplifting.


Fiumi Di Parole is one of my all time favourites, I adore it! There is such an authenticity to this song, which I find many Eurovision songs of today lacks – the melody is simple yet enduring, while Jalisse show great confidence when they perform it. As for their Eurovision performance, its one that I simply cannot fault. Alessandra & Fabio engage with us from the very first second, not missing a single opportunity to speak to us through the camera lens. For me it remains one of the classiest Eurovision performances of all time.

What do you think of Italy’s 1997 entry “Fiumi di Parole”? Is it your favorite Italian entry to grace the Eurovision stage? Let us know at @ESCXTRA.

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