Maria Leps ~ From Philadelphia to Sicily

Maria at the gate.  2 hours - 90 degrees - what a fan!
Maria at the gate.  2 hours!  90 degrees!  what a fan!

Together with my daughter I attended my first Il Volo concert on June 26 at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, PA. I was in the isle seat and directly behind me is the ‘cat-walk’ where our marvelous guys sang. We were able to shake their hands several times as they sang behind us.

Looking at that handsome Ignazio!
Looking at that handsome Ignazio!

I had this shirt made at a shop but I am wearing the black official Il Volo shirt. He was so close! It was the thrill of my life. I am so proud of them as I am from Sicily. The shirt I had made has their picture, the names of the 3 towns they come from and ‘Baci di Catania’ on it (my home town).

Gianluca replied to my daughter, Luisa, as he sang on the catwalk. She told him ‘you are magnificent‘ and he replied ‘ thank you‘ and shook her hand. He was being mobbed at the edge of the catwalk by female fans and he almost fell on my lap! I would have gladly caught him! Part of this is on another video of our boys. She is now an avid Il Volo fan, too. Piero passed right behind us and we got to shake his hand, too! You can see this video of us with our adorable and talented guys:

I have all their records and know each song. ALSO, because of them, in May 2015, I am returning to Sicily  for the first time in 45 years to visit my family there and they promised to take me to Naro and Marsala. I am from Catania so it is very close to Naro. I plan to have pizza at Nina Boschetto’s Pizzeria, Pizzeria Dei Desideri. I would love to also go to Montepagano which is near my cousins, but it all depends on my brother and sister-in-law whom I am traveling with. All my young nieces and nephews adore Il Volo and went to Taormina to see their concert. I have a childhood friend there, a retired doctor, who said he knows Ignazio and Piero from when they were children!!! Am I lucky, or what!

Please keep up your wonderful site! I check it every day.

Love to all,
Maria Leps


I’m too jealous to even talk to you!

44 thoughts on “Maria Leps ~ From Philadelphia to Sicily”

  1. Oh, Maria!!! That all sounds like a dream to me!!! I will be waiting to hear about your fantastic trip! I have distant relatives in Italy, but I don’t know exactly where :(. I am so very happy for you!!!

    1. Thank you! finding like minded people like me (crazy for Il Volo) has made me soooooo happy! I live near Philadelphia, PA. Anyone near me?

  2. Maria, I was trying to get someone to go with me to Sicily and see the towns where our boys are from. That didn’t happen so I am waiting for your story. I am trying to learn some Italian so I can understand what they are saying. I speak some spanish and it helps. Good for you. Joan Guyon

    1. I will definitely take pictures and write about it. I am also hoping to get some inside information on them from my relatives, too.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story, Maria. Just don’t forget to take me with you in May when you go. After all, I’m your long-distance cousin, right? (wink, wink).

    Don’t listen to Marie above. She has no reason to be jealous.

  4. Leelee, What do you mean I have no reason?
    I’m not going to Sicily.
    I have no family in Sicily.
    I’m not from Catania.
    I won’t be having Pizza at Nina’s Pizzeria.
    My nieces and nephews did not go to Taormina.
    I know no one who knows Ignazio and Piero.
    I don’t even have that t-shirt!

    Jealousy is just the tip of the iceberg!!

    1. Marie, you can definitely squeeze in my suitcase! Thank you so much for editing and posting my article. You can’t imagine how Il Volo has enriched my life! Their music, their wonderful personalities, the way they ARE!

  5. Maria-thank you for sharing your exciting experience with our precious guys !!
    I would give anything to be tucked into your luggage when you go to Sicily !! I’ll have to work on that !! Meaning I’ll have to lose at least half of my body weight ( or more !). Marie C- think we can stow away ?? Would be worth a try!!

  6. Joanie, I like the way you think! It’s worth a try! Half my body weight would still mean a very large trunk. But, if it’s ok with Maria, I’m in!

    1. Yes you are in! Why don’t we charter a flight to Sicily? Just kidding, but it is a nice thought.

  7. Wonderful story Maria and you are SO LUCKY to be going on the trip you describe!! I know MANY who would love to stow away in your luggage! Exactly how many pieces of luggage are you bringing?? 🙂

    1. YOU are jealous, Captain Crider?!?!?!?! Of all the members of this crew, you are the one I have the least sympathy for! I’m STILL re-reading Chapter 4 of your excellent adventure. You think YOU’RE jealous????? HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL?!?!?!?!?!?!? 🙁

      1. Exactly, Isabel. No one else I heard had over 1/2 hour one-on-one time with Piero and that was just one episode. Not to mention all her other escapades. Who does she think she’s kidding?

        Oh, and by the way, I was the first to mention about going with Maria to Italy so, Marie, I’ve got dibs and you have to take a back burner. So there! (insert emoticon with tongue out). 😉

    1. What’s really scary is Maria hasn’t responded to any of this. I hope we didn’t scare her away. I would say “I’m kidding” but I’m not so sure. Hmm

      Anyway, I don’t need anybody to provide me suitcases. When I read this the first thing I did was pack. I’m all ready to go! Isabel is too!

      1. Hi! Sorry about not responding but I just learned where to get all these wonderful replies! I am still learning using our wonderful site! So, you want to come to Sicily, sure, the more the merrier! I am SO looking forward to going! Love to all.

  8. No need to get cranky !! Tomorrow I’m gonna start collecting suitcases and trunks for all of us ( I’m pretty sure Isabel will fit into a suitcase !). That is if I still have any energy left after being on this diet that I’ve now been motivated to go on !!

  9. Maria, I am so excited for you! You may not believe this but I, too, was at the Philly concert (my 4th); I was the one who gave Ignazio the fan! I am also planning a trip to Sicily and Italy in May of 2015. My ancestors are from Caseltermini which is also in Agrigento, a mere 18 miles from Naro . I don’t know if I have any living relatives there, but my cousin recently gave me a family tree that goes beck to my great, great grandparents. I plan to send it to someone in Sicily who does that for a living and will find out for me. Maybe I will see you there! This will be my first visit ever!

    1. Hi Maddie: I remember you at the concert! I saw you give Ignazio the fan (picture, too). Please e-mail me regarding your trip. I am definitely going! May/June and staying one month. I would love to correspond with you regarding this ( Bye


  11. I am so excited for you Maria. My grandson and I were in Sicily in July and we were at the Taormina concert which was my first IL VOLO concert. My 18 year old grandson was not the best traveling partner as he didn’t want to do anything or go any where because it was so hot. I myself wanted to go to Naro since we were staying in Agrigento for a day. I wanted to have my picture taken in front of the “Piero, The Pride of Naro” sign. I will go back, just not with my grandson.

    1. The most wonderful exciting feeling ! I would travel anywhere on the East coast if they come here! We need to hire a bus/limo for all of us!

  12. Thanks to all who wrote and commented! I love finding such wonderful and kind people! LOVE to all. Maybe someday we will meet at a future Il Volo concert.

    1. Of course I will. He is adorable when he smiles, of course all three are adorable and talented!

      1. Your story is absolutely wonderful… To be so close to shake hands, to just enjoy the wonderful concert of Il Volo…. That is enough to make any heart soar… But to be able to go back to Sicily after 45 years, that is even a bigger dream come true…My father always wanted to go back to his little town outside of Palermo but never managed to do so before he went blind… I will go there someday so that I can see the beauty that he described of his beautiful Sicily… Yes I am envious that you will be visiting the towns of our beloved boys, Piero and Ignazio… But I am happy for you none the less, because what you are doing is a dream come true… Have a beautiful visit enjoy it and come back and share it with us… Your story of your vacation, meeting family, hopefully Piero and Ignazio and photos too..

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