A Little History Lesson

The People of Abruzzi Reach for the Sky!

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Our young Gianluca wasn’t the first Abruzzi resident to reach great heights. Excerpts from another son of Abruzzi can be seen on Netflix in the documentary “K2: Siren of the Himalayas.” In 1909, the Italian, Luigi Amedeo, The Duke of Abruzzi, led the first major expedition to climb K2, the world’s 2nd highest peak. His goal was to survey and photograph the region while reaching the highest altitude to which man could obtain. There is a spot on the Mountain named, “The Abruzzi Ridge”.
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So, it looks like soaring to new heights is a common thing in Abruzzi.

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Some Abruzzo History From Wikipedia:

Abruzzo (pronounced [a’bruttso]) is a region of Italy, with an area of about 10,763 square abruzzo -gianlucakilometres (4,156 sq mi) and a population of about 1.3 million inhabitants. Its western border lies less than 50 miles (80 km) east of Rome. The region, divided into the provinces of L’Aquila, Teramo, Pescara and Chieti, borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Abruzzo is split into a mountainous area in the west with the Gran Sasso D’italia, and into a coastal area on the eastern side with the beaches of the Adriatic sea. Abruzzo is considered part of Southern Italy, although geographically it is arguably more central than southern. ISTAT (the Italian statistical authority) considers it to be part of Southern Italy, as a vestige of Abruzzo’s historic association with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.  (Click on map to enlarge.)

abruzzo -gianluca 10Abruzzo boasts the title of “Greenest Region in Europe” thanks to one third of its territory, the largest in Europe, being set aside as national parks and protected nature reserves. In the region there are three national parks, one regional park and 38 protected nature reserves. These ensure the survival of 75% of all of Europe’s living species and are also home to some rare species, such as the small wading dotterel, golden eagle, Abruzzo chamois, Apennine wolf and Marsican brown bear. Abruzzo is also home to Calderone, Europe’s southernmost glacier.

When the nineteenth-century Italian diplomat and journalist Primo Levi visited Abruzzo he described it as “forte e gentile” (strong and gentle) which, he said, best synthesized the beauty of the region and the character of its people. The quote “forte e gentile” has since become the motto of the region and its inhabitants.

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News Flash!!!

Tickets on sale for Detroit Concert February 27, 2016 tomorrow (7/30/15) in the afternoon!

Thanks for the heads up Chris.  She and I both received confirmation of this from DPTV!

Update: Detroit

IL VOLO management and Fox theater are ironing out details, but meet and greets are only being offered for $500 per pair through PBS, not fox theater and the tickets will not be avail until Friday at the earliest. The date is correct (Feb. 27 8 pm). The $500 is for your seat at the concert and meet and greet.

To Dance ~ Mary Bohling


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Have you noticed that the boys are doing a lot more casual choreography along with their songs lately? No question that they are quite adept at dancing. They have a good sense of timing, and their movements are seductively captivating. They seem toa mary 3 be having fun with it, often showing their playful sides, which we love to see. It is entertaining, to be sure, but does it detract from their main intent, which is the beauty of the song that is being sung at the same time? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Some of the songs lend themselves naturally to the accompanying movements, and it feels right. The problem comes when one is singing, and the others are doing their own thing, which seems disrespectful to the singer and the listeners who want to give him their full attention.

Don’t get me wrong—I would never criticize these great guys in any way. As far as I am concerned they can do no wrong. I love them no matter what they are doing. I even liked Ignazio’s push-ups when it had nothing to do with the song. But I remember how sweet it was back in the day when they just came out and sang with all of the gusto in a mary 15their hearts…..no antics, just amazing voices.  Maybe what was appropriate for them at that time is different now….not saying that one is better than the other—we know that change is inevitable. And to reiterate, we love, love, love them no matter what they are doing.

So, as for the dancing, I say, “dance away, guys.…just remember that the song and the singer and the listener should be respected. Your power is in the quality a mary 2and dignity that we have come go expect in your performances….the “class act” that puts you so high above other singers. Your fans have the utmost respect for you. You have earned that respect, and we love you whether you are dancing or standing on your heads. Just keep on being your beautiful selves, and we will keep on loving and supporting you.  ~Mary

“Love From The Flight Crew” ~~ Keepsake Book

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Hey Everyone!

Here it is: our gift to Il Volo this summer!

(note: the pink text on each photo does not appear in the actual book)


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"Dedicated to The Guys of Il Volo...because we love them..."

“Dedicated to The Guys of Il Volo…because we love them…”

I have to say, Il Volo has the best fans in the world!  I know they know that; we know that.  But, I’m just amazed each time we ask, you guys deliver.  :)  So many beautiful sentiments/pictures were sent, and so many monetary donations.  Thank you for your generosity!

I can’t take a picture of every page, but if you sent me something, I put it into the book — even the things people sent to my home.  Every comment and picture was included.  Finished, the book is 31 pages long, an additional 11 pages to the 20 it came with.


We also included some posts from the site.  I have to thank Marie for doing the lion’s share of work on that piece of the project.  She went through all of our posts (do you know that we have over 700?!) and then emailed me her top 50.  I have no idea how she narrowed it down even that much.  :D  You all have been so prolific and engaging here that there were so many that we wanted to include.

In the end, I narrowed it down to 10 and then further when I received the converted .pdf files (thanks to WordPress for helping me figure out how to do that).  Some of the posts were much too long when converted into documents (some were 20 pages by themselves), and on others, the integrity of the formatting/text was actually compromised, so they couldn’t be used.  The posts that were included are:

  • Il Volo is a Phenomenon ~~ by Jeannette
  • Music Notes; Myron’s Take on Eurovision ~~ by Myron
  • Indescribable ~~ Flight Crew game to use every letter of the alphabet to describe Il Volo
  • Grande Amore; The Wait is Over ~~ by Jana
  • Coming Home ~~ by Marie
  • One Soul With Love for the Holidays


I will ship the books to our wonderful news contributor, LiJoy this week.  She graciously agreed to carry our gift with her to Italy.  I have not included pictures of gift wrapping since…well I haven’t bought it yet.  :)  But, LiJoy has asked that they be gift bags; they will be easy to pack, easy to use when it’s time to give them to The Guys and will still allow her to get through security and customs during her journey since the books won’t already be wrapped.

Now down to brass tacks.  I promised that I would be up front with you about how your donations were being spent, so here we go:

  • Over $200 was given for this project.  Our order for 3 books (one for each of them) with shipping came to just over $100 during Shutterfly’s 4th of July sale.
  • The package will be sent UPS to allow me to receive a tracking number, have insurance provided and insure that it is taken care of better than when it goes through the post office.  The gift bags will also be purchased out of this money.
  • The remainder of the money has been saved.  We can use that for another project or for something else.  We will “talk” with you before using any of it to get your input.

I hope this meets with your approval.  Thank you again for participating and your generous help in providing this gift for Our Guys.  I hope they love it!  And thank you, LiJoy, for taking it to them!


Il Volo Professional ~~ Live Tour 2015; Cernobbio


Il Volo Facebook

Il Volo Facebook




July 23 had our guys in beautiful Cernobbio, next to beautiful Lake Como.  Is it just me or is each town/venue more breathtaking than the last?

Cernobbio Wikipedia

~~ Kelly


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(please respect the watermark)

Il Volo Facebook

Il Volo Facebook



Why Are You Smiling?


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By Silvi Irr


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Doin’ It Their Way


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Il Volo on TGR Lombardia Rai 3 ~~ All About Il Volo (interview)




Piero’s Beautiful Day



Concerto Cernobbio 23 luglio 2015 ~~ Il Volovers Italy Official Facebook Album



Surrender?  Gladly ….






Who Needs a Shave?



Uncle Giuseppe

Uncle Giuseppe


Good Night!



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Up Next….

Torino Aspetta Il Volo; Laura Pecollo

Torino Aspetta Il Volo; Laura Pecollo

Tanti Auguri, Piero! (somewhat belated….)

It was June 24, 2015, and everything was a buzz of excitement as we waited in anticipation to celebrate Piero’s birthday in Detroit! Most of the same group that celebrated Gianluca’s back in February, was once again, joined in Il Volo love, to celebrate the “real” opera singer of the group!


The balloons were in place outside to make sure no one missed where the party was. Red, green, and silver star balloons were waving in the wind to announce his special day. Along with a happy birthday one, of course!


Sharon and her lovely house were the hosts of this event. Everyone started arriving around 6p. Our theme was “make your own pizza” and we had salad from Buddy’s and angel hair pasta to go with it with a very creative tomato sauce! And, how could we forget all the wine! Oh, did I mention cake???


About 6:30p, we decided we better quickly make our “tanti auguri” video for Piero. So, we all gathered around Emilia’s phone and we sang “Tanti Auguri” to Piero and even added some harmony in at the end! Emilia sent it off into Ivolosphereland and it was quickly picked up on a few Facebook pages.

After some more chatting, it was time to prepare the toppings for the pizzas! I put on the Italian apron that Sharon had won at the Gianluca party, and I went to work chopping and prepping the toppings. We fired up the grill – yes, we had pizza cooked on the grill! They actually turned out wonderful and we all enjoyed our individual pizzas, angel hair pasta, salad, and wine. We ate outside in Sharon’s lovely backyard, surrounded by beautiful trees, a few Koi ponds, and a lovely breeze. It was a very beautiful evening for Piero’s birthday.

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Of course, earlier in Italy, he was having his own fun at their last concert in Roma, where they gave him a cake, and flowers, and he had his fun with Ignazio!


Later, it was time to cut the cake and it was delicious. We also had some M&Ms custom made with Piero’s picture on them, along with Tanti Auguri, his birthdate, and stars. The M&Ms were in red, white, and green. We also had lots of other Italian themed decorations to go along with the other festivities of the evening.

mms packages


We were stuffed full of pizza, pasta, wine, and cake, but we finished off the evening watching one of our favorite videos of them – “Il Volo Takes Flight – from the Detroit Opera House!” We never tire of their first performance taped live from Detroit!


By then it was nearing 11p and the party started to break up. Emilia had a really long drive home and a few of us had to go to work the next day. We helped Sharon clean up and Emilia, Ginny, and Donna had gone home. Chris, Sharon, and I were just about to leave when we got a Facebook instant message from Emilia! She was very excited and said that she thinks Piero saw our video on Facebook and gave it a “like!” Well, that just made the perfect ending to a perfect evening for us! All of our hard work and efforts did not go unnoticed by our guest of honor for the evening.   Even though he was thousands of miles away, he was as close as our fingertips!


Chris and I finally left about 12:30am! We were exhausted, but sated, and are looking forward to Ignazio’s celebration in October!

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Part II


Since I did not write this story as soon as I had wanted, and as often happens, procrastination pays off, I have some personal accounts from Piero that I can share here to go with his birthday celebration!


As everyone now knows, the guys were here on July 6 at PBS and all of us at the party were fortunate to have also been at the PBS evening with them. A few of the girls, Donna and Sharon, from the party, were also lucky enough to meet them at the airport when they finally arrived. They brought some of the decorations from the party, and they also told Piero about the M&Ms that were made special for his party. He was very excited about seeing the M&Ms and lucky for him, we had each saved one package of them! They told him about the cake and showed him the pictures of our evening. I do have a direct quote from Piero…. he asked, “Who ate the part of the cake with my glasses?” Sorry, I don’t have a answer though – I don’t remember! Lol!


So, at the meet and greet, Donna, Sharon, and I all brought him our saved package of the M&Ms with his picture, etc. on it. I later found out that he was very excited to receive each package and even though when I gave him my package, and it was the 3rd one he had gotten, he was still very happy, as he showed it to Gianluca! I wonder if they ate them and if he shared? I guess we will never know the answer to that one….mms small

Fun Italian Stuff From Ann

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Sinatra often performed to packed houses at Fontainebleau Miami Beach‘s La Ronde nightclub, vacationed at the hotel and even filmed some beloved movies there. Yesterday, they announced that the hotel will celebrate the legacy of the legendary singer and his upcoming centennial birthday with 100 days of unique programming, starting September 2nd!
a ann 2 thisThis is where I met Sinatra when he was making a movie!!!!” ~ANN
What?  You met Sinatra?  You must tell more! ~Marie

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The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)

Did you know that gondolas are shaped like a banana? Here are 5 other gondola facts & traditions that you might not know, courtesy of L’Italo-Americano Newspaper:

a ann 4 this5 Things you didn’t know about Oaring a Gondola  ⇒ http://ow.ly/OxItO

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aacaio finishToday marks the 360th birthday of Italian musical instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano, as we know it today. Including Cristofori fortepiano, here are 15 inventions that I bet you didn’t know were Italian.
a ann 6Click Here ⇒ http://bit.ly/1IKFEll

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Thanks Ann!

I Had to add this from Mary Strickler.  I love this signore and his little story in the beginning!  You cannot go to Italy without knowing this, unless you have Maria Leps along.  Like Mary S. said, “If you ever go to Italy you will be prepared to blend in!” ~Marie