Books ~ Mary Bohling

Those guysPre 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.

courtesy michaels travelog
courtesy michaels travelog

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 a book 1Revelations 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.”

a book 2Also 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.


From “An Italian Journey”


a book 5Here’s to you, Mary! 

13 thoughts on “Books ~ Mary Bohling”

  1. Another great book about Italy with a few recipes is The Tuscan Sun cookbook by Frances and Edward Mayes. This is about the couples life and friends around Cortona Italy. A great read with beautiful photos.Frances also wrote Under the Tuscan Sun the film with Diane Lane which if you haven’t seen you might enjoy.

  2. Yes, Mary, you said it perfectly! They definitely “jumped into our hearts” and gave us the desire for all things Italian! I am half Italian, and the “Il Volo Experience” has given me a new appreciation of my heritage!

  3. Mary, I especially loved your line, “They just jumped into our hearts and minds and literally transformed our lives”. That is exactly what they did for me five years ago.

    I have made note of those two books, and plan to get them as soon as possible.

  4. I, too, knew little about Italy: except from school history and Latin class. I never dreamed I’d ever go there. My heritage is English and German. I still doubt I will ever be able to afford to travel to Italy (I’m a retired teacher). BUT, the young men of ILVolo have brought Italy to me. PBS introduced them to me and my heart was lost. I adore them and thanks to all of you, I can follow them and see them through your eyes. Their music goes straight to my heart! Thank you for sharing your experiences with them…I feel a part, too!

  5. Mary, Thank you for the book suggestions. Stefano, my Italian exchange student, is now home, vacationing in Sardinia where I will spend Christmas vacation (along with a few days in Rome). I miss his “Italian-ness” and have been listening to Il Volo even more since he’s be gone, if that is possible. I’m so excited to know they will be coming to Ohio and would love to meet any of the Flight Crew there as I will probably be traveling alone. 🙁 Stefano shared this little message with me on WhatsApp: Food = Love and Love = Italian. I just wanted to share that with you. It was so beautifully stated.

  6. I like movie Room with a view (director James Ivory) based on the book by E. M. Forster. It shows the beauty of Tuscany, Florence. The writer liked to travel, attracted him the Mediterranean and later orient. In particular, India and Italy have literally fallen in love. From there, staring at his native England and saw the “island of hypocrites.” Stay in Italy inspired him to write two short novels Where angels fear to set foot and Room with a View, which confronts the prejudices snobbish Englishmen with charming Italian nature.-spontaneity. Room with a View is not just a description of banal love story. His heroine as if before our eyes get off from herself, letting her past in the past and before our eyes, thanks to the love that she survives, gets up to her natural essence. And I saw nice film.Volare La grande storia di Domenico Modugno. Domenico “Mimmo” Modugno has barely outgrown his childhood when he leaves a small village in Southern Italy to make his fortune as an actor in Rome. He ends up staying in a homeless shelter, singing at downtown bars to survive. His strong Southern accent and other misadventures will change his dream to become an actor and lead him to choose music over cinema. His song “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (better known as “Volare”) will receive two Grammys with sales over 22 million copies, and will represent Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest. “Volare” will revolutionize the Italian music scene of the 60s, becoming the soundtrack of a country now aiming for the sky. 🙂 I recommend you see this movie.

  7. Mary, your comments were so accurate, that it’s almost as though you read my mind, and saw inside my heart. Il Volo, I’m sure, may appreciate favorable comments given to them personally, and ones also about our love for their countries; but they would never be able to understand the extent to which they have, by their example, caused us to research, learn, envy, discover, and absolutely crave knowledge of anything and everything having to do with Italy or Sicily. They truly are, as should be, the appointees to represent their homleands, it’s music, and especially it’s people . Thank you guys, just for being who you are!

  8. Mary, thank you for the great book ideas. Your comment about “Their humility, love of family and God, generosity and kindness has endeared them to their fans” is SO ACCURATE! I think all of us here on this site love them more and more with each sunrise and sunset!

  9. Oh Jane! Truer words were never spoken! Now I have an excellent reading list too. Thank you Mary!
    Thank You Il Volo for bringing me all of this!

  10. Mary, thanks for the reading list, I am waiting for my copy of An Italian Journey to be delivered! I love these guys !

  11. Mary, you have voiced what all of us feel about these three beautiful people. I
    can’t seem to get enough of them and would love to be at many more concerts than I could possibly attend. I recently purchased “An Italian Journey” as well as “The Italians” by Luigi Barzini but have not read them yet. I am starting on ‘Journey’ today. Thank you for the other title, I’ll be looking for it as well. I too would like to meet Flight Crew members, perhaps in Las Vegas, where I plan to go for that concert in March, 2016.

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