12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands

Rock music thrives in Italy, spanning a diverse history from the 1960s to today. The genre has been shaped by various musical styles, including psychedelic rock, progressive rock, new wave, alternative rock, and electronic rock.

Italian enthusiasts exhibit a deep affection for rock ‘n’ roll, evident in their extensive history of creating and enjoying rock music. As already mentioned, Italy’s rock music story begins in the early 1960s, influenced by the genre’s emergence in the United States.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Italian-American singers and groups significantly contributed to the development and popularity of doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll in the United States.

Notable artists of that era, with Italian heritage, include Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Dion and the Belmonts, Connie Francis, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, Fabian Forte, James Darren, Bobby Darin, and The Young Rascals. These artists showcased the timeless charm of Italian-American musicians and their mutual appreciation for exceptional music through their talent and passion.

Read on if you want to learn about the most famous Italian rock bands.

READ ALSO: Most Popular Italian Songs

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands

Here are 12 of the most famous rock bands from Italy that you should listen to now.

1. Måneskin

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @maneskinofficial via Instagram

Italian rock band Måneskin, formed in 2016, gained fame by busking in Rome. Their hit song “Beggin'” topped charts, and they won the 2021 Eurovision with “Zitti e buoni.”

The band comprises Damiano David, Victoria De Angelis, Thomas Raggi, and Ethan Torchio. Originating from a Danish word meaning “moonlight,” their name was chosen randomly.

Måneskin started in Rome, appeared on X Factor Italia in 2017, and released albums like Il ballo della vita and Teatro d’ira: Vol. I.

Måneskin blends rock, pop, punk, and funk, known for flamboyant styles and social activism. They have received various awards, including Grammys, certifications, and global sales of 40 million copies.

2. Belladonna

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @belladonna_band via Instagram

Formed in 2005 by Luana Caraffa and Dani Macchi, Belladonna is an Italian rock band with six albums and numerous singles. Notably popular on MySpace in the mid-2000s, they took their name from the poisonous plant belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade.

The band has collaborated with composer Michael Nyman and shared the stage with artists like Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Dita Von Teese. Their music, termed “rock noir,” has featured in movie trailers for Minions, Split, Black Panther, and Fahrenheit 11/9.

In 2021, Belladonna made history as the first Italian artists to release a single as a non-fungible token (NFT). The track, “New Future Travelogue,” was auctioned on the blockchain platform Rarible.

Among their notable songs is “Spiders of Gomorrah,” drawing inspiration from the biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah. This track found its place in the trailer of the Netflix series Godless, a western drama set in a town predominantly inhabited by women.

3. Litfiba

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @litfibaofficial via Instagram

Established in Florence in 1980, Litfiba rose from the Italian New Wave scene to become a major force in mainstream rock. The band derived its name from the telex code for Via dei Bardi, their rehearsal space.

Their breakthrough album, 17 RE (1986), is often hailed as a masterpiece. It stands as a cornerstone in Litfiba’s discography.

The band has seen an evolution in their music. Initially influenced by British new wave rock, their sound transformed into a more personal rock style with Mediterranean vibes. Litfiba’s songs, mostly in Italian, mirror their diverse musical evolution.

4. Subsonica

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @subsonicaofficial via Instagram

Subsonica, a ’90s alternative rock band hailing from Turin, revolutionized Italian music with their blend of electronic, rock, and alternative sounds. Its name is a fusion of “Sonica” from Marlene Kuntz and “Subacqueo” from Africa Unite, paying homage to the Italian bands that influenced them.

Breaking into the mainstream with Microchip emozionale in 1999, they’ve since released 10 studio albums and earned accolades like the MTV Europe Music Award and Premio Italiano della Musica.

Subsonica’s band members are known for their activism and social engagement, supporting causes such as human rights, environmentalism, and anti-war movements.

5. Negrita

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @negritaband via Instagram

Known for their catchy melodies and witty lyrics that often deal with social issues, Negrita is an Italian rock band from Arezzo in Tuscany. It was formed in 1991. The band was named after the song “Hey Negrita” by The Rolling Stones.

Negrita is made up of Paolo “Pau” Bruni, Enrico “Drigo” Salvi, and Cesare “Mac” Petricich. They play a mix of classic and modern rock with influences from blues and funk.

They’ve dropped 10 studio albums, a live record, a compilation, and numerous singles, with hits like XXX (1997), Reset (1999), and HELLdorado (2008). Bagging three MTV Europe Music Award nods for Best Italian Act in 1999, 2003, and 2005, they also clinched the 77th spot on the Italian Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Italian Albums of All Time with Reset.

6. Banco del Mutuo Soccorso

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @bancodelmutuosoccorso via Instagram

Founded in Rome in 1968 by keyboardist Vittorio Nocenzi and his brother Gianni, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso is a pivotal figure in Italian progressive rock. They are among the famous Italian rock bands that have significantly influenced this specific genre.

The band’s name was inspired by a local financial institution or insurance company in their area. It translates to “Bank of Mutual Relief” in English.

Banco del Mutuo Soccorso produced notable albums like L’ultima canzone d’amore (1974) and Il viaggio di Ulisse (1983), showcasing their distinctive musical blend. Their debut (1972) had a cover shaped like a terracotta piggy bank. Darwin! (1972), their second album, explored Charles Darwin’s evolution theory.

Despite lineup shifts, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso’s distinct fusion of folk, psychedelic rock, hard rock, and classical music remains unwavering. Sadly, the band’s charismatic frontman Francesco Di Giacomo died in a 2014 car accident.

7. Timoria

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @timoriaofficial via Instagram

Formed in Brescia in 1985, Timoria was an Italian alternative rock band known for their intricate compositions blending heavy riffs, melodic vocals, and atmospheric keyboards.

The band’s name, derived from the ancient Greek word τιμωρία meaning “help” or “vengeance,” originally included members Omar Pedrini, Enrico Ghedi, Diego Galeri, and Francesco Renga.

Timoria achieved success in the 1990s, winning the Critics’ Award at the 1991 Sanremo Music Festival with “L’uomo che ride” and participating in the festival in 1993, 1995, and 1997.

Influenced by rock, blues, funk, and psychedelic genres, their popular songs include “Sole spento,” “Senza vento,” “Sangue impazzito,” and “2020.”

The band disbanded in 2003 after Renga’s departure for a solo career, with Pedrini pursuing solo projects and TV hosting. The remaining members formed Exilia with Masha Mysmane as the lead singer. Timoria briefly reunited for a 2011 concert commemorating their 25th anniversary.

8. Baustelle

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @baustelle_official via Instagram

Formed in 1994 in Montepulciano, Tuscany, Baustelle is an Italian indie rock band influenced by alternative rock, electronic music, pop, and film soundtracks. The trio includes Francesco Bianconi, Rachele Bastreghi, and Claudio Brasini.

Baustelle is known for their energetic live performances that feature pyrotechnics and crowd surfing. Their debut album, Sussidiario Illustrato della Giovinezza, was launched in 2000, followed by La Moda del Lento in 2003. However, it was their third album, La Malavita, in 2005, that propelled them into the mainstream, earning praise for its original and eclectic style.

Baustelle’s 2023 offering, Elvis, features songs inspired by the life and music of Elvis Presley.

9. Lacuna Coil

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @lacunacoilofficial via Instagram

Italian gothic metal band Lacuna Coil was formed in 1994 in Milan. It has nine studio albums, two live albums, two compilations, a video album, and sixteen singles and music videos.

Recognized for Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro’s dual vocals, they fuse heavy metal, alternative rock, and gothic elements.

Originally called Sleep of Right, then Ethereal, they finally adopted the name Lacuna Coil, which translates to “empty spiral” in Italian.

Lacuna Coil has won several awards, such as the 2012 Metal Female Voices Fest Award for the Best Album, the 2016 Metal Hammer Award for the Best International Band, and the 2018 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Award for Best Live Act.

They have a loyal fan base, called the Coilers, who actively support the band by wearing merchandise, attending shows, and engaging with the members through social media updates and photos.

10. Premiata Forneria Marconi

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @pfm.premiataforneriamarconi via Instagram

Italian progressive rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) was founded in Milan in 1970 and remains active today. They are known for their technical skills and their use of synthesizers, with notable albums that include L’ultima canzone d’amore (1974) and Il viaggio di Ulisse (1983).

PFM originated from I Quelli, a backup band for Italian singers in the 1960s. The original members included Franco Mussida, Flavio Premoli, Giorgio Piazza, and Franz Di Cioccio. Mauro Pagani later joined from the band Dalton.

The lineup changed over the years, with Di Cioccio being the sole remaining original member, but the has always maintained its distinctive sound that combines elements of folk music, psychedelic rock, hard rock, and classical music.

The band’s name means “Award-winning Marconi Bakery,” in Italian, was suggested by record producer Alessandro Colombini, a friend of the band.

11. Marlene Kuntz

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @marlenekuntzofficial via Instagram

Formed in 1987, Marlene Kuntz is an Italian rock band celebrated for blending noise rock and songwriting, influenced by Sonic Youth and alternative rock.

The band’s name combines actress Marlene Dietrich and the Butthole Surfers’ song “Kuntz,” a slang term for female genitals.

After the departure of original singer Alex Astegiano in 1989, guitarist Cristiano Godano took over. Their debut album, Catartica, launched in 1994, followed by Il vile in 1996.

The band earned a nomination for Best Italian Act at the 2001 MTV Europe Music Awards and participated in the 2012 Sanremo Music Festival with the song “Canzone per un figlio.”

Tragically, Marlene Kuntz drummer Luca Bergia passed away at 54 on March 23, 2023, at his home in Cuneo, Italy, where the band was originally from.

12. Verdena

12 Most Famous Italian Rock Bands
Photo: @verdena_official via Instagram

Verdena, hailing from Albino, Bergamo, emerged in 1995 and has released six albums under Universal Music Group. Originally named Verbena, after a plant, the band switched to Verdena upon discovering an existing American band with the same name.

The band consists of Alberto Ferrari, Luca Ferrari, and Roberta Sammarelli. Often dubbed the “Italian Nirvana,” a moniker that continues to be given to them to this day, they smoothly blend elements of grunge with psychedelia, stoner rock, and experimental music.

Some of their most famous albums include Requiem from 2007 and Endkadenz from 2015.

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