To my fellow flight crew members and readers, the opportunity of a lifetime has bestowed itself upon me, and in the words of Ignazio’s tattoo – “Carpe Diem!”
No, I’m not the first to go to Italy. We all know Lisa Joy attended many concerts last year! And we can’t forget the Granny Groupies, either!
However, Marie is graciously letting me do a little countdown here on the site – so I can take you all with me – before, during, and after – at least as virtually as possible! And, in the words of Piero – “I hope I do not disappoint!”
Ok, here goes….
First, a little intro on how I got to this point….just about 7 weeks ago, the tickets for their Florence concert went on sale for presale to those that had the Il Volo membership. My new, dear friend, and Italian pen pal, Dani, sent me the link to the ticket site. On a really big whim, I bought two tickets. Third row, kind of in the middle, on the right of the stage. I really did not think I would be able to go, but had fun toying with the idea and figured I could easily sell the tickets. A few days later, I was explaining to Lorna my dilemma and she said, “I’ll go with you!” “Really??,” I said. Oh, OMG! I think I’m going to Italy! I called several people so they could try and talk me out of it, but no one would? (some friends, they are – lol!) It was quite a big expense, but thanks to a really, really, good friend; I was able to go!
Approximately, the 6-week point: I quickly went online to check out the flights – yikes! I had no idea they cost that much! Should we go direct to Rome, and then to Florence? Detroit to Florence, via Amsterdam? Ok, gotta book the hotels – made sure I booked ones that had no penalties for changes or cancellations and didn’t need a credit card deposit. Ok, got those! Whew! Checked the flights again and decided to fly directly into Florence, via Amsterdam. Was actually a little cheaper than flying directly into Rome from Detroit. The cheapest flights I really could find were on Delta, which was a good thing, because that is how I wanted to fly! Ok, checking on the seats – wow, not many left in the comfort class (Delta upgrade – free alcohol! Lol!). I was going to have Lorna come over on Friday, but felt the seats would go quickly, so called her up last Tuesday, and she came over so we could book our flights.
In the meantime, I was instant messaging again with Dani, and we were lamenting on how they kept saying the Verona concert was sold out, and yet we knew the tickets had been bought up by 3rd party vendors. Well, again, Dani sent me a few links to websites for possible tickets.
When Lorna arrived, I asked her, “How crazy are you?” (ok, we won’t answer that one – lol!) But I told her of the possible opportunity to go to the Verona concert if we could get tickets from one of these sites? I told her it might be a gamble and we might lose our money and not get the tickets. She said she was in! After some trial and error, and the banks trying to protect us, we finally managed to get a few tickets to Verona! We decided on a tiered/balcony seat – figuring we could see better, instead of staring through all the heads on the main floor area. Our tickets are sort of in the middle, in the front balcony area, on the right. Besides, we will have just seen them a few nights ago from the 3rd row!
After ordering our tickets, we quickly found a hotel in Verona – just about a mile and walking distance to the Arena di Verona! Our hotel for Florence is also just down the block from the Piazza Santa Croce – where the guys will be performing. Ok, on to the plane tickets! After some more technical difficulties, and a little bit of operator error, we finally got our seats booked on the flights. I am really glad we booked when we did, as there were only 3 seats left on the flight back to Detroit from Rome in the comfort class section! (also, I looked today, just for fun and our tickets have already gone up about $200!) We had also decided to take the train from Verona, to Rome, and then rent a car to go to Silvi, to meet up with Dani. We will stay in a quaint hotel for 2 nights nearby, that is connected to a winery (and overlooks the Adriatic Sea!) – what fun that will be! She also offered to guide us to Rosetto and Montepagano. Hmm… those cities sound really familiar? Oh, right – Gianluca! Lol! We will then drive back to Rome, stay the night in Rome, and fly out of Rome, back to Detroit. Yes, found our hotel in Rome, also. Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll run into any of them, as they will likely be on their way back to Mexico July 7 & 8. We might cross paths with them on the train from Verona to Rome – depending if Gian goes back home for a day before they take off?
So, this is just about all we have planned so far. The only other thing I want to make sure I do is take a side trip to Venice, during one of the days we are in Florence, but other than that, everything else is open for the days in Florence. Someone I work with suggested taking a cooking class, which sounded like fun – his wife did that when they went.
So, this is just about the 5-week point now: last Friday, we sent off to get our passports – expedited, of course. We should have those in about 2-3 weeks, they said. So, basically, we are leaving Detroit on June 29, and returning on July 8. I’ll have Saturday and Sunday to recover before having to return to work.
I promise the next posts will be much shorter! Really! Now, is there anyone else going to one or both concerts, from the USA? I know of two others, but she did not know of anyone else. We should try to make a point to at least meet up at some mutually convenient location!
Also, I’d love to hear any suggestions for other side trips from Florence from anyone who has been there or even lives there, or near there! We will have at least a half day when we arrive – shortly after 11am, and most of the day on Friday, as the concert does not start until after 9p. Then all day Saturday or Sunday, leaving one of those days for Venice. Still debating on whether to get a Eurail pass and which kind to get. Still many decisions to make!
Come along with me – I hope you enjoy the ride!
p.s. the Verona tickets arrived today!! It is real. We are going!