A Trip of a Lifetime ~ Part II ~ Maria, Madeline, Joan and Deborah

Ok, Ok…Here’s the next part.  Stop with the emails and the begging.  Sheesh. ~Marie

May 12:


This was the day that Gianluca and his father, Ercole, came to the Liberty Hotel to meet with us.

We had no idea if Gianluca would be available that day so we waited with baited breath in the glass enclosed café for the car to pull up. Finally, there it was, and there was a passenger in the front seat too!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Madeline had the best view of the road and saw the car first. When she told the rest of us, we had to contain ourselves so as not to jump out of our chairs, although, we believe one of us did!! (not to mention any names, Joan!)

Gianluca, with all his fame, coming to meet 4 old(er) women who just happen to love him immensely! We all know that Gianluca is a sweet, sweet young man, so very humble, but to meet with him and his father in this way was just unbelievable!! Gianluca was so excited that we came all the way from America to see his surroundings and where he grew up and still lives. He and Ercole treated us like WE were the stars! They spent the better part of an hour with us and Gianluca kept hugging and kissing these 4 Granny Groupies (as Deborah labeled us)!!! He signed autographs and hugged and kissed us even more. Gianluca also asked us what we thought about “Grande Amore” (Need he ask!!) and also wanted to know how the Americans liked it. Gianluca loves America and was sorry they did not have a tour there this year. He and his father are so down to earth and treated us like we were long lost relatives. Words cannot describe the experience of meeting this sweet, handsome, talented, and humble young man on his own turf with no other fans vying for his time and attention. He took selfies with each of us, since he said he was the selfie king, and took time with us to discuss little things, like where to have dinner! When they had to leave for another commitment, Gianluca and his father both thanked us again for coming to their part of the world. What a pleasure to meet such wonderful, caring, loving people.

After Gianluca and Ercole drove off in the car, with Gianluca waiving to us and smiling that precious smile, we were all so excited we could barely talk to the reporter, Luca Maggitti, (who arrived about the same time as the Ginobles). Mr. Maggitti interviewed us and then wrote a nice article about us in the Roseto newspaper! As it turned out, Mr. Maggitti included us in a second article about Gianluca on June 6, long after we returned to the US.


a trip 7
Deborah, Joan, some handsome guy, Madeline and Maria


a trip 8

That evening we went to Don Franchino’s (Gianluca explained that the ch is pronounced like a k in Italian). When you walk in the door you immediately see pictures of IL Volo throughout the restaurant. Before we even sat down at our table, we spent at least 15 minutes talking to Franco Cardelli (does the name sound familiar?), who was so happy that we came to his establishment all the way from America.

Mr. Cardelli suggested that he make 5 of his most famous pizzas for us; the Pizza Il Volo, with a mayo-type floret, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, broccoli, and thinly sliced cod; the Fossa, with thinly sliced pears and mozzarella then drizzled with honey; another, the Colonnata with strips of grilled zucchini and different cheeses, and the Papa Francesco (the Pope), with mozzarella, thin slices of parmagiano, coated nuts and marmelade onions. Dessert was Ciocori, a pizza topped with grated chocolate, ricotta cheese, and powdered sugar. All were delicious! The best pizzas we ever ate, especially—guess which one!

Pizza Il Volo

a trip 9

From there we went to Montepagano to see if we could find Bar BereBene. When we approached the square we (by chance) met Ercole Ginoble again and asked if his father was around, but he was not. We thanked him again for meeting with us earlier in the day. We said good night to Ercole and headed toward the bar.

May 13:

We went to Bar BereBene in the morning for coffee, where we met Emiliano again and there was Nonno Ernesto, sitting outside with a group of his friends!

That’s next!  Do not email me for part 3.  I’m in no hurry.  I’ve already read it all!  ~Marie

38 thoughts on “A Trip of a Lifetime ~ Part II ~ Maria, Madeline, Joan and Deborah”

  1. That was a dream come true. I am sooo jealous, I won’t even be able to go to a concert if the have one in US. Thank you for letting us in your marvelous experience. Jacque

  2. I get excited again and again and again just thinking about this visit with Gianluca !!! As some of you know I have a VERY soft spot in my heart for this precious young man !!! He was said to have a cold and Eurovision was coming up so I never in a million years thought he would show up !! And yes !! when I saw him in the car running his hand through his hair so he could look perfect for us I jumped sky high out of my chair !!!! The first thing he said to me when he saw my shirt with their photo on it was “let me see your shirt” and where did you get it and he autographed it for me. Then I thanked him for coming and he said “No. Thank you for traveling so many miles to see where I live !!” He is absolutely the sweetest, kindest, most charming and gorgeous person in the whole world !!! I had lots of time to look at his exquisite face and study his eyes,lashes, nose,mouth and adorable smile !!!! Then I gave him the biggest tightest hug ever and he murmured to me “warm heart ” !! Oh yes!!! Very warm heart !!! And the cheek kiss wasn’t too bad either !! With all of the fame and adoration he is getting it is truly amazing how normal, down to earth and humble he is. I know that I’m gushing away here but I also know that I can hang my heart out on a limb with my Flight Crew Family !! That’s what we’re all about here on this site and I bless the day that I found Il Volo and all of you wonderful people !! Once again thank you Marie for posting our story !!

    1. Joanie, you are so welcome. I really would be jealous if I wasn’t so happy for you. You know, if you went back to exactly the same places, it could never be as magical as it was then. I would certainly be gushing too. As you know I have also met up with him a couple of times. Hard to believe he really is as sweet as he is. And OMG you have to see him in person to realize just how gorgeous he actually looks.

      This is a wonderful story!!! Thank you for allowing me to share it!

    2. OMG. I’m so happy for you. I am just so happy he is just as wonderful as I thought he would be. Yayyyy for you and thank you so so much for sharing. <3

    3. Thank you joanne for sharing your wonderful visit with the gorgeous Gianluca and his father. Yes, as ann said, you really have to see Gianluca in person to truly see have beautiful he is. His facial features are magnificent. An Italian/Greek God. Flawless skin. So very happy for you ladies. What an experience of a lifetime. I can’t be jealous, just very (jealous) happy for you all.

  3. Yes my son, son-in law & I saw Gianluca talking to people beside his tour bus in Toronto 2013 & Steve called to him as we were looking for a parking spot. He came over to us & assured us the concert was going to be spectacular. He is a caring & wonderful young man & the concert was more than spectacular.
    I so wish I could have been with you on the tour. Did you finally get tired of pizza although they sure are made different than here. What a treat to see where they all live.

    1. Loretta I do believe that anyone who is fortunate to cross GG’s path feels his warmth and falls in love with him.
      As for the Pizza–it was delicious and we never tired of it but Sicily being an island we also had a lot freshly caught fish and fruit and vegetables that are grown there. We had many very healthy meal !!!

  4. I failed to mention how kind and charming Gianluca’s father Ercole is( the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree !!). We enjoyed visiting with him very much. He doesn’t speak or understand very much English. Maria speaks fluent Italian which was very helpful on our trip as she was able to translate whatever we wanted to ask or say to him. We all told him what a beautiful family he has, thanked him for coming and thanked him for giving us his wonderful son. By the way–he is much more handsome in person then in his photos !!!

  5. OMG!!! This fantastic trip just gets better & better!!! Gianluca is such a charming, charismatic, handsome, loving, young man! I am so happy for you ladies ( just a teeny bit jealous!) Looking foreward to the next installment!!!

    1. and don’t forget how intelligent our Gian is. They say you can talk to him on any subject and he just keeps going and going and he also studied Latin.

  6. What a wonderful experience for you all, and I’m so glad you’re sharing it with all of us! Thank you! <3

  7. He is very bright and articulate Ann. You can see his mind working all the time and he is very observant and perceptive. He doesn’t miss a trick.

      1. That’s right Marie! Ignacio is always picking on him and picking him up too!! Gian has a dimple too but he’s so handsome, he only shows it when he smiles!

  8. I am so glad you ladies have been given the chance to go to Italy and see the beauty of the country. My heart was pounding in my chest as I was reading this 2nd article. You are the luckiest ladies in the world and I am jealous of all of you that got to go. It sounds like a once in a lifetime chance to go and the moments you had with Gianluca & Ercole could never be replicated. You must have felt like you died and went to heaven! I could feel the big hug you gave him and it gave me goose bumps. The food sounds wonderful and I am so glad you shared this story along with the pics with us. Maybe one day I’ll be able to meet our young men in person 🙂
    Enjoy the rest of your time there and Godspeed for your safe return home <3
    If you by chance get to meet them again please give them lots of hugs and kisses from us.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you Barb for your kind words on our wonderful trip. From the moment I heard from Ercole that he was coming to see us, it was an unending thrill. Personally, It surpasses my first time I saw them in concert last year! What a wonderful family. I hope they always stay that way.

    2. Even though my travel partners left on May 24 to return to the US, I stayed on another 2+ weeks in Sicily. Taking tons of photos and enjoying my home-land. I was born in Catania. I returned June 9th. Believe me, It was over a month and much too short!

  9. Joanie, Did you get to Sicily and Naro? I would love to see my precious Piero’s home and family. The other Joanie

  10. Waiting for the trip to Masala as well. What an experience. I also recognized the compassion for others Gianluca has when being interviewed when they were starting out he directed the interviewer to ask Ignazio a question. Some interviewers are quite rude & ignore & bypass a heavier person but Gianluca put his hand on Ignazio’s shoulder & said “Now ask Ignazio a question” I could have crawled through the computer & given him such a big hug. I have always respected him. He is the best crooner since the 40 & 50’s

  11. What a wonderful diary you are all writing. The pic with Gianluca is great. I get the chills just reading you diary and all the great comments.

  12. How nice it is to read about the experiences of you four ladies. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.
    Joanie your description of Gianluca’s features is so special to me as he is my ‘Number One’ and believe me I was hanging on to every detail of what you wrote. Your encounter with him is such a dream come true!!
    Looking forward to reading more of your journey.

  13. Well girls,…….have any of you come back to Earth yet,…or are you kids still spinning in the clouds? Lol.

    I greatly enjoyed the two-part series of memories made and magic manifested that you all have shared with us about your recent journey! What wonderful experiences for each and every member of the Flight Crew Quartet!!!

    And what a wonderful expression of genuine love and admiration you girls offered Gianluca and his father, Ercole. And, in return, the gift of honest affection and appreciation those fellows presented to each one of you. The four of you have returned to your homes and have taken the time to entertain and enthrall us with the tales of your Italian Adventure, with all of the humor, insight, and zest we would expect.

    But,…think of the memories you kids created for Gianluca and Ercole. They meet all sorts of people in the entertainment industry they serve. Who would even begin to know the number of encounters they have in a single month of their hectic professional year.

    Ladies, I can guarantee you all, that those two gentlemen will always remember the true warmth they received from four very exquisite women who had traveled the world over to patiently wait with no promise of appearance of Gianluca or Ercole, to simply honor father and son with an authentic gesture of Grande Amore. That ladies, is what memories are made of!!! You made a qualitative difference in their lives just because of who you are and how you came to meet them. I’m proud of each one of you for making that trip meaningful for all involved.

    I applaud the recount of your adventure, BRAVO!!! And, I certainly applaud the representation of The Flight Crew you girls generously gave the Ginoble’s!!! BRAVO!!!

    1. Jim, thank you for the beautiful words you have expressed above regarding our fabulous experiences. We also appreciate The Flight Crew Board for posting this on their site! And thanks to all who are reading each segment of our story. There is much more to come!

  14. I want to thank each and every one of you who have posted and beautifully expressed your appreciation of our dream trip. It is fun to share it with all of you !!
    Stay tuned — there is more to come !!!

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