The rules for the 65th Sanremo Festival have been released and they include an interesting item regarding the Eurovision Song Contest. The article 27 of the Italian music contest rules say that:
The winning artist of the "CAMPIONI" section will have the right to participate representing Italy at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest. In case they do not intend to make use of this possibility, the organizers of this event will reserve the right to choose the participants according to their own criteria.
The "CAMPIONI" section is the "established artists" category of the Sanremo contest. So basically this means that it's up to the winning artist to decide about the Eurovision participation and also about the song to be performed in Vienna.
A historic link
Since Italy's debut in the European competition in the very first contest in 1956, Sanremo has been linked to their participations.
The winning songs and artists of Sanremo represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest in the period 1956-1966, including the popular winner Non Ho L'Età by Gigliola Cinquetti. But in 1966 top star Domenico Modugno came last with his Sanremo winning song Dio Come Ti Amo which might have created some doubts about this selection system. The Sanremo winning entry was also the Eurovision entry in 1972, 1997 and, as we remember recently, in 2013.
In other years the winning artist/s was sent to Eurovision with another song, that was the case in 1967-1969, 1987, 1989 and 1993.
Since Italy's much awaited come back to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, their broadcaster RAI chose their performers from one of the participating artists in the corresponding Sanremo year, which resulted in the winner of the newcomer's section, Raphael Gualazzi and his victor song Folia D'Amore. placing second in Düsseldorf. Nina Zilli followed in 2012 and Marco Mengoni in 2013.
And in 2014 Emma Marrone and her song La Mia Città were chosen internally and sent to Copenhagen without a Sanremo connection. Coincidentally Emma was the winner of the national music competition in 2012.