Pre Il Volo I never gave much thought to things Italian. I did like Perry Como and Dean Martin and of course, Tony Bennett. I liked lasagna and spumoni, but didn’t think about their Italianess. I grew up with an English-Irish heritage—a far cry from Italiano. Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida represented Italian beauty, and I enjoyed their movies, but none of the above caused me to become passionate about Italy. However, when I first became aware of Piero Barone, Gianluca Ginoble, and Ignazio Boschetto, I totally fell in love with them, even though they were just boys at the time. And because I loved them so passionately, I wanted to know, taste, and feel everything Italian. The wonderful women of the Flight Crew have brought us so much of Italy with their pictures and narratives. We have become educated through their generous gifts.
But what I really set out to talk about is how much I’ve enjoyed two books that I’ve read recently and recommend to anyone wanting to get the real “feel” of the Italian country and especially the Italian people. One of them has already been mentioned on our blog, and that’s why I was eager to read it. An Italian Journey, by James Ernest Shaw, a Harvest of Revelations in the Olive Groves of Tuscany. His description of the countryside is so real that the reader feels like she/he is there. But his real emphasis is on the character of the people. To quote F. M. Forster: “Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvelous than the land.”As I read his glowing descriptions of the people he met, I thought, “yes, we see those marvelous characteristics in our boys. They truly exemplify the beauty of the Italian character. Their humility, love of family and God, generosity and kindness has endeared them to their fans.”
Also a good read: Somewhere South of Tuscany, by Diana Armstrong. Mrs. Armstrong is also a food writer, so in addition to lovely descriptions of the country and the people, she includes recipes for Tuscan dishes that are teasing to be made.
Isn’t it amazing that these young men of Il Volo have so impressed us with their Italian upbringing and charm that it behooves us to embrace all things Italian? They surely did it for me. They just jumped into our hearts and minds and literally transformed our lives.
Now I’m going to pour a glass of lovely Sweet Marsala wine, and get back to reading my book.