Italy special, in depth party guide.

Words by: Marx
Posted: 26/1/09 16:04

In perspective, Italy's contribution to arts and music has been immense and it was proudly one of the leading European countries to embrace electronic sounds.

For our World Dance Music Capital series, we found it almost impossible to pick out just one location from 'The Boot', so instead we've decided to cover the whole country. In recent years, the predominating sound in Italy has been, without question, minimal techno and all major cities now have some forum for showcasing all the heavyweight players at the forefront of that sound.

Pierfrancesco Pacoda, Editor of Hot Contemporary Magazine, advises people visiting Italy for clubbing to "find the unusual venues outside the main club circuit, the place we call 'centri sociali', often big warehouses squatted by young people, where you can listen to the best in techno, dub, and other sounds in the most friendly atmosphere you can imagine."

Luca Piccolo from Orbeat, Italy's most high profile booking agency, explains, "At the moment it [the Italian scene] is very crazy. When I started there were just a few promoters in Italy interested into electronic techno music. Napoli was one of the most important cities for techno music in the 90's. But since this sound became 'popular' every commercial house music promoter tried to jump onto it and in the past 2 years many of them have lost a lot of money." So here in no particular order is our clubbing guide to Italy, with a selection of the most well known clubs, underground picks and happening cities.


Goa Club Goa Club
The wood and metal interior design of this 700 capacity institution amongst Roman clubs has become home to all the big names when they play in Italy, Sven Vath, Villalobos, Loco Dice, you get the idea.

Promoter Ultrabeat’s Thursday night events are quite possibly the best midweek night out in the world, meaning that getting pre-sale tickets or ensuring you are some kind of guest list is essential for entry.

Bruno Pronsato told us that Goa is quite simply the mecca of minimal techno in Italy, Thursday night has now become the party night in Rome

Pierfrancesco Pacoda, Editor of Hot Contemporary Magazine, puts it simply "Goa is a small club where everything is based on the music, and the DJs can play everything they want, researching all time."

Address: Via Libetta, 13 - Metro Garbatella Rome
Tel: +39065748277

Brancaleone Brancaleone
Brancaleone is the underground cool spot in Rome, located in the Northern suburbs of the city. Originally started in an abandoned house, the venue is now a cultural centre and arts exhibition space as well hosting some of the best underground nights in Italy.

All forms of music are covered from reggae to drum n’ bass but house and techno predominant. Jeff Mills, John Digweed, Deadmau5, Cadenza showcase, Dixon, Steve Bug and M.A.N.D.Y. provide the evidence of part of 2008’s roster.

Address: Via Levanna 11 - (00141), Rome
Tel: +390682004382

Rashomon Rashomon
This more intimate setting has arguably the most cutting-edge programming policy in all of Italty and one that points firmly towards the underground and the future.

Promoter Loaded has showcased the likes of Mike Shannon, Sascha Funke, Lemos & Kreon, Radio Slave and Efdemin this year. Combine the deep and meaningful music policy with a tight, dimly lit venue and you have all the makings of a great night in the eternal city.

Address: Via Degli Argonauti, 16 - Roma
Tel: +390697602477  

Pallazo dei Congressi
Another major congressional and conference centre, this venue hosts the annual Dissonanze Festival in May/June, which had artists such as Carl Craig and Loco Dice in 2008, as well as special one off events like Circo Loco and Minus presents Conkakt.

For listings, check out Time Out Roma, Roma C’è or Wanted in Rome and go around Piazza Navona or Campo De Fiore where flyers and passes might be handed out.

Address: Piazza John Kennedy, 1 - 00144 Roma
Tel: +39 0654513705

Rialto Santambrogio Rialto Santambrogio
This dilapidated hostel is primarily an arts and cultural space hosting regular exhibitions and performance arts events. Yet it also doubles as part time night spot hosting quality underground house and techno devoid of superstar DJs but with well known names none the less, for example Audio Werner, Sascha Dive and the Secretsundaze posse.

Not a place for posers or glam clubbing, this is a bohemian retreat for people passionate about their music.

Address: Via S. Ambrogio, 4 - 00186 Roma
Tel: 06/68133640

One of Rome’s more popular and better known venues with a dance floor located in a cave and a great Japanese style garden space for summer months.

Whilst the music can range from pop to rap to commercial dance, Tuesday promoter L-Ektrica host a weekly party of quality dance music encompassing house, electro and minimal and including recent guests like Tiga, M.A.N.D.Y. and DJ T.

Address: Via di Monte Testaccio 69 - (100) Roma
Tel: +390657250585  

Located in downtown Rome, this large venue vies with Rashomon for most forward thinking and underground programming.

Friday is the hot night through promoter Beat Connection and their Dinamo branded events, which have seen Minilogue, Layo & Bushwacka and Oxia as guests in 2008, as well as label showcases from Mobilee, Poker Flat and Vakant.

Address: Via degli Argonauti,20 - Libetta Village, Ostiense / Roma
Tel: +39065746999

Fiera di RomaFiera di Roma
This huge exhibition centre gets a mention based purely on the annual end of year festival held here, which attracts the cream of dance music’s heavyweight artists. 2008 marks the inaugural event at the new location for the Fiera near Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Fiumicino).

Despite the location change, the lien up is as strong as ever, with Sven Vath, Villalobos, Digweed, Ellen Allien, Tiefschwarz and a thousand others.

Address: Nueva fiera di Roma – Ingresso Est - Via Portuense 1555 Via ALEXANDRE Gustave Eiffel 1
Numero verde: 800.90.70.80

Milan & surrounding area:

Magazzini Generali Magazzini Generali
This former abandoned warehouse provides an atmospheric location for the Milanese clubbing family with Wednesday (electro and tech) and Friday (minimal and techno) the main nights for quality music. The futuristic yet industrial interior has seen all the big boys

Sven, Ricardo, Dubfire, Dice, Carl Craig - whilst also doubling as concert venue for Justice, Roisin Murphy, Ladytron and Franz Ferdinand. Stefano Fontana is resident. Holding up to 3000, it is the premier venue in Milan without question.

Address: Via Pietrasanta, 14 - 20141 Milano
Tel: +39025393948

Amnesia MilanoAmnesia Milano
Maggazzini Generali’s main competitor is this near 2000 capacity, multi room club located towards Linante airport to the East of Milan. This is where you’ll find big brand DJ events held, such as David Guetta, Paul Van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold. 

Further, Sven Vath has also recently played as well as showcases from Drumcode, Poker Flat and Minus. The main party night is Friday.

Paul Van Dyk: Amnesia is my home in Ibiza and Amnesia is my home in Milan. The Milan version is much smaller than in Ibiza but the atmosphere is just as special.

Address: Via Alfonso Gatto - 20138 Milano
Tel: +39 02 7382653

In a little over 2 years, Limelight has been one of the brightest lights on the Milano scene. The 2000 capacity venue, previously known as Propaganda, had a complete makeover adding smart furnishings, soft lighting and an all round more authentic clubbing experience.

Events range from commercial to underground, with Friday and Saturday the main clubbing nights. A flavour of guests would include Dinky and Cirillo, as well as a label presence from the likes of Great Stuff and Cocoon and the wild Minimal Hospital bandwagon. In the past Luciano and Loco Dice have played here and it is yet another Circo Loco staging post. Enjoy!

Andrea Pelino, of Circo Loco, comments "That Limelight is one of the best underground clubs in Italy, for sure, we don't only do Circo Loco events here but through DNF Bookings do gigs for our artists"

Address: Via Castelbarco, 11 20136 Milano
Tel: +390258310682

Fluid ClubFluid Club (Bergamo)
Located only an hour north east of Milan, Fluid Club is Bergamo’s premier nightclub and has hosted some monster line ups in 2008.

headlined a Circo Loco Halloween event and other guests run the house spectrum from Steve Lawler to Shonky to Onur Ozer. This is one club whose motto should probably be “nothing exceeds like excess”, especially given the flamboyant dancers and glitzy productions.

Address: Localita Portico 21 - Orio al Serio, Bergamo
Tel: 0355340044

Tunnel ClubTunnel Club
For a true underground techno and minimal experience, this place is a definite. Not always with big names but with truly authentic dark and usually dangerous techno.

Address: Via Sammartini 30 Milano Tel: +39 02 7382653

Florence & surrounding area:

Tenax ClubTenax Club
Open since 1981, this place has also seen gigs by everyone ranging from Human League to Radiohead to Sigur Ros since then but it is Alex Neri’s ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ party that has made Tenax one of Europe’s legendary club names. Those Saturday night parties have played host to practically every top DJ worth his salt over the last 20 years and currently marks one of the main stopping off points for the minimal bandwagon led by Ricardo and Richie Hawtin and the like.

Pete Tong described Tenax as What I call a 'family' club, It's all about the regulars and if you get to play there you feel like you have been invited into a very special family. Quite how one of the world's most amazing underground clubs ends up in sleepy Florence is beyond me but it is. Alex Neri and his partners have built something very, very special here

Address: Via Pratese 46 R - Quartiere di Peratola - Firenze (FI)
Tel: 055308160

Klang Klang
Situated in Arezzo, an hour or so south of Florence, Klang is quickly establishing itself a great party place that relies on quality deep house and tech house sounds rather than just big names.

That said, premier Italian names like Gabry Fasano and Ilario Alicante play regularly.

Address: Via Newton 1, Arezzo
Tel: +393391064670

Kama KamaKama Kama
The 2500 capacity 100km northwest of Florence is located in Camaiore, a town with a population of only 30,000.

In the last 2 years it has held numerous Circo Loco events, seen Luciano twice, Arpiar, Cecille Records as well as all sorts of interesting names from Seuil to Serafin . A true underground club, in musical direction and design; most certainly worth a trip if you happen to be nearby and there is an event on.

Address: Via Provinciale 260 Camaiore Tel: 3883485003


red zoneRed Zone
Legendary club that has followed every genre and trend of dance music since its inception in 1989, making it one of the most recognised and well visited clubs in Italy. This year has seen true legends of electronic music every Saturday as well as the future stars, read Timmy Regisford, A Guy Called Gerald, Carl Craig, Dixon and Martin Buttrich.

Quentin Harris described this place as “A gushing underground crazy house, perfect for pushing musical boundaries and losing your mind”.

Via Fratelli Servi, 1 Cassa del Diavolo, 06100 Perugia Tel: 0755941655


This relatively new club has established itself as the big thing on the Bologna scene, and when we say big, we’re not talking about the building dimensions. This intimate club with low ceilings and packed to the rafters events is home to some of the most cutting edge and underground techno music in the world.

Fridays are Playhouse with familiar names in the minimal techno world such as like Marco Carola, Paco Osuna, Richie Hawtin and Radio Slave. But the club also hosts hard techno events typified by the regular presence of DJ Rush as well as quality drum n’ bass nights.  Expect the time of your life!

Luca Piccolo from Orbeat bookings: At the moment, in my personal opinion, Bologna is one of the most important cities in Italy for electronic music, where Kindergarden club is representing it. There is big research of new talents there; the clubs are really underground and the people really cool." 

Address: Via Calzonni, 640100 Bologna
Tel: +393387736242

La MaisonLa Maison (Ferrara)

Situated not far from the very cool Bologna, La Maison scores the perfect balance between international chic and domestic excellence.

With a policy grounded in deep house and intelligent electro, La Maison provides a refined atmosphere and has played host to the likes of Anthony Collins, Tiefschawrz, Fabrizio Maurizi, Claudio Coccoluto, Marc Antona and Rino Cerrone.

Address:  club Via Canalazzi 23 44030 Corlo (Ferrara)
Tel: +39.320.0627064

This centre for arts, culture and political action hosts one of the hottest events in all Italy particularly, Altavoz, whose lineups reads like a trip to dc10. Cassy, Cirillo, System of Survival, Mike Shannon, Matt John and Alex Picone.

Add in live sessions from, for example, Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts and you have, for only €10, one of the best value nights out in the country.

Address: Via C. Casarini 17/5 - 40135 Bologna
Tel: +390516241854

CaleidoCaleido Club
This venue is another example of Bologna’s burgeoning scene with recent guests encompassing Efdemin, Ben Klock and a Raum Music showcase.

This 700 capacity location also doubles as a kind of arts academy providing training and workshops on audio engineering & speaker functionality as well as DJing & VJing.

Address: Via Enrico Mattei, 48G - 40138 Bologna
Tel: +393924286938


Disco Metropolis
Huge venue that been host to the major parties for Erick Morillo, Jeff Mills, John Digweed and Carl Cox in recent times.

Most typically these events are run by one of Italy’s leading and most well known club brands, Angels of Love.

Address: Via S. Maria a Cubito - Ischitella, Napoli
Tel: +39330868323

golden gateGolden Gate
Quality club that is guaranteed to throw up an interesting booking at least every other week, read Carl Craig, The Chemical Brothers and Monika Kruse the evidence in the last month.

Expect a big production from on stage theatrics to clichéd club dancers to glitzy tickertape.

Via Campana 233 - 80078 Pozzuoili, Napoli
Tel: 0815265134

Duel BeatDuel Beat
Another host to sporadic AOL parties as well as other house and techno nights.

Big light and sound system with hallucinating projection facilities make this a proper full on clubbing location.
played here in November 2008.

Address: Via Scaforglio (ex cinema Duel) - 80100 Agnano
Tel: +393896868162

Under BridgeUnder Bridge
Home to promoter Minimalismi and their proper underground events, with guests such as Agnès, Joel Mull and Kompact DJs.

Young, trendy, well dressed and up for it crowd. Friday night is the best party.

Address: Via vicinale San Dominico - 80100 Napoli


alter egoAlter Ego
Easily the most famous club in the region, the Alter Ego Club, provides underground house and techno from the beauty of the Veronese hills. So underground it’s almost impossible to find out listings for the place, try your own luck on their website or myspace, yet bookings with a commitment to quality house sounds guarantee an enjoyable evening.

Paul Woolford has described it as One of those rare breed of clubs that has a tangible yet hard to describe atmosphere from the moment you walk in, Musically you can play from deep house to frantic techno and they'll have it. I love Alter Ego!  Note: the club has recently been shut down by authorities, should re open soon.

Address: Via Torricelle 9 - Verona
Tel: +390458340025

mazoomMazoom - Le Plaisir Club (Brescia)
This hotspot just west of Verona on Lake Garda has been providing top notch dance music parties since the mid 90s.

In that time practically every big name DJ in the world has played at one time or another, whilst the continued domination of minimal sounds in Italy is evidenced by recent big line ups here, such as the Minus showcases, Cocoon tours and guest slots from Arpiar and Loco Dice. Throw in soundsystem and design to match the world’s finest and you have another heavyweight of the Italian scene.

Address: Via Colli Storici 179 - 25010 - Desenzano del Garda (BS)
Tel: +39 030 99 10 319


Iconic Italian club built in the shape of a pyramid, á la Es Paradis in Ibiza, situated in Riccione near Rimini.

Coco Ricó is probably my favourite place to play outside of Ibiza,” says Circo Loco resident Cirillo “It is great in summer.

And summer is when the club is in full swing with 2008 guests in the order of Danny Tenaglia, Tobi Neumann, François K and Richie Hawtin.

Pierfrancesco Pacoda, Editor of Hot Contemporary Magazine, puts the "mighty" Cocoricò Club as his favourite in all Italy, "It's a place where the word 'hedonism' has a meaning and there is a wonderful area, called 'Morphine' - the best kept secret of the Italian club scene, where you can chill listening to ambient, classical, jazz while in their big dancefloor all around there is the nosiest techno in the universe !"

Address: Viale Chieti n. 44 - Riccione
Tel: +(39)0541-605183

Echoes ClubEchoes Club
Now departed from their home of well over a decade, Echoes has relocated towards the hills at a grandiose location, one time fit enough for a Prince.

Since the move in October 2008, the club has renewed their pioneering thirst for electronic music, predominated by house and has seen Louie Vega, Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie and Tony Humphries since then.

That is only half the story though, as the club has a rich pedigree of underground sounds, for example, Marcel Dettmann, Anja Schneider, Timo Maas and the Freak n Chic crew have all played recently. A true mecca for real clubbers.


Il MurettoIl Muretto
A gig at this famous club has been a permanent fixture in the diaries of the best international DJs for over a decade. Read Tiesto, Erick Morillo, Pete Tong, David Guetta as well as Luciano, Arpiar and Trentemoller. Situated a stone’s throw from Venice on the edge of the Adriatic, it is unfortunately only open during summer months.

Dubfire explains that Il Muretto has always been one of my favourite clubs in Italy, which is why it was pleasure to host 5 SCI+TEC nights there in summer 2008

Address: Via Roma Dx 120 Lido di Jesolo (VENICE) Tel: +394101120


Suono ClubSuono Club
The Suono Alive Club is a cool Turin club right in the heart of the city and is a bastion of electronic music.

The pit like circular dancefloor provides a capacity of around 700 and ensures you are never too far away from the booth; factors that combine to provide a dynamite party place when artists like Adam Beyer, Dave Clarke or Scarlett Ettiene come to play.

Address: Via San Masimo 1, angolo via Po - Torino
Tel: 0118136485
Jam Club Jam Club
This riverside club has a garden terrace on the roof with deckchairs to chill in the summer months, but it is the warehouse environment inside that has made it Turin’s premier club.

Well, and the booking of Carl Craig, Johnny D, Ame and Nathan Fake over the last year or so.

Address: Via Murazzi del Po 19 - I-10100 Torino
Tel: +393485154921

Worth a mention just for the underground techno night, Savana Ponente, held each and every Friday.

Recent guests include Cassy, Petre Inspirescu and Loco Dice.

Address: Pier Murazzi del Po lato destro Torino Tel: +393400933159


Ovest ClubOvest Club
Located on Sardinia, the second largest island in the Med, Ovest is where locals and tourists combine to dance until the sun streams through the windows and onto the dance floor.

Minimal and techno are the most popular events attracting the usual Minus and Cocoon tours and guests such as Marco Carola and Chris Liebing.

Address: Via Ghilarza 09170 Oristano - Sardinia Tel: 3403436320 


Roberto Capuano
Politics Of Dancing
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