Nostra Grande Avventura Italiana…Montepagano!



We left Assisi via a cab with Marcello, a friendly Italian, driving us through the countryside to Perugia where we would rent our first car.  After nearly two hours of waiting for our car to be ready we were ready to roll.  Didn’t mind the wait as we were getting used to the Italian way of doing things…relaxed and at their own pace.  Our new best friend, our GPS, was named Missy by Marie.  Marie had studied her road signs and Italian rules of driving very well, but there were times when Missy had a mind of her own telling us to turn a sharp left and go directly into a mountain!  Missy eventually straightened herself out and quickly became a best friend you never wanted to lose!  Marie deserves a gold medal (or a date with Ignazio) for maneuvering her way along the busy autostradas and not being hit off the road by crazy fast drivers!  We also never did quite figure out what the warning signal was that kept beeping on our GPS with a little blue camera icon on it.  All the other cars were going way faster than we were so we figured we couldn’t have been speeding.  Maybe they just like taking pictures of American girls driving Italian cars!

With the help of Missy, we found our way to Montepagano!  We drove up a mighty narrow simple road to finally get there.  Our B&B was just outside the main street of the little village.  The owner, Daniela, greeted us warmly.  She spoke  little English so out came the translators on our phone and ipad that proved to be of great value during this entire trip.
Marie, Nonno and Jane 
Within one hour of our arriving in this picturesque village we were walking to the town square with Daniela who introduced us to Gianluca’s Nonno, who just happened to be coming out of the cafe.  We were wearing our Il Volo t-shirts so smiles and recognition came quickly to all who saw us.  This dear man opened up an envelope of pictures he had had developed and gave each of us a photo of his precious grandson.  What a gift!     Nonno graciously allowed us to take his picture with us, we thanked him and moved on.  Within 2 more minutes down the street came Ercole right towards us!  Daniela introduced him to us as he lit up seeing our t-shirts!  Marie handed him a Flight Crew web site card and explained who we were, how many people read the site from how many countries world wide.  I thanked him for sharing his son with the world.  He smiled as Daniela translated for us and then let us take a photo with him.  Such kindness in that family.  It’s no wonder they have such wonderful sons!  Then Daniela took us to where the guys filmed their video of  L amore Si Muove, showing us exactly where certain scenes were shot.  I’m sure you will recognize them by the photos as we did.
Jane, Ercole and Marie
Video film site
Video film site
Then Daniela asks us if we’d like to take a passeggiata?  Of course we would!  So we strolled down the main street and soon came upon another Ginoble!  Uncle Dominic!  He stopped and chatted with us telling us about the oil boats he used to work on in the United States when he was young.  Marie and I were in total awe as we absorbed what was going on around us.  It was all too good to be real, but it really WAS happening!  Daniela’s daughter, Letizia, had joined us for our passeggiata, too.  What a sweet girl.  She had pictures of her with her friend, Gianluca, on her phone that she was very proud of.  We then returned to our B&B for the night and marveled as to what just took place!
Uncle Dominic 
Daniela and Letizia
 The next morning Daniela brought a friend of hers, Anna, to visit with us at breakfast as Anna spoke fairly good English.  Daniela told us that she had seen Ercole this morning and he had asked her if we had plans on going to Sicily also?  We told her we did as that was where we were headed next.  She said she would let him know.  I wrote a short note to Gianluca on the back of a Flight Crew card and gave it to Daniela to give to him next time she sees him.  She happily tucked it into her wallet and said she would be sure he got it.
Daniela and Anna 
And so, our first encounter with being Ambassadors of the Flight Crew was a complete success!  Oh yes, how could I forget…within 24 hours of us being with his family members,  Gianluca then said hello to the Flight Crew, their American Fan Club (!) during their interview in New York!  Two very happy ladies headed down the autostrada with Missy, on to their next adventure...Marsala!  

32 thoughts on “Nostra Grande Avventura Italiana…Montepagano!”

  1. A sad note. The bell tower in Jane’s first photo was later damaged in one of the earthquakes. People who lived near it had to be evacuated.

    On a lighter note…it is no wonder Gianluca is the kind and humble man he has turned out to be. He was raised in a small village of warm and gracious people. I loved Uncle Dominick! He walked part of the village with us. And how could you not love Nonno? Just look at that happy proud face!

    1. Marie, it is true, a few days after your visit there have been other earthquakes.
      We hope that everything can be recovered.

  2. Mamma mia Jane that beautiful stage, I have never seen Montepagano and what luck to meet so many of Gianluca family. I met Ercole and is a very kind person. You and Marie were beautiful in your T-shirts Flight, and it is true, many people who know your site.
    I laughed when you talk about Missy, perhaps the tone was to alert you were passing near a speed camera.
    It seems to me that your trip up here was great and generous of meetings, I expect the next stop.
    Beautiful photograph.
    A hug from Italy.

  3. small villages have such charm. everyone knows each other. I recognized the spot where our boys shot a video. It looks like a Roman arch. Keep on trucking. Love it all. Joanie G

  4. What a great day for you two I know you felt like your spirits were flying high I bet it was hard to say goodbye to everyone in Montepegano. I can’t wait till you get to Naro. Thanks for letting us all in on your beautiful memories.

  5. How wonderful to have had the opportunity to visit Gianluca’ s hometown & to meet & chat with members of his family!! I’m envious but happy for you two! Onward//Andiamo

  6. I loved your story of visiting Montepagano and meeting Gianluca’s family. So special and they must have immediately told Gian about the meeting because Flight Crew was on his mind at the end of that NY interview. Looking forward to your next chapter!

  7. Consider the chances of running into Gianluca’s family while on vacation in Italy. What are the odds? Good for you.

  8. Well, now I’m really turning green! Nonno, Ercole, and Uncle Dominic!! Be still my heart! I say give Marie a date with Mr. Dimples, but I’m glad I did not have to ride with Missy! I hate very few things, but GPS’ s is (or?)
    one of them! Waiting patiently for next edition! Thanks for the memories!

  9. OMG the thrills, laughter, tears and emotions I read into your
    experiences. What a thrill to be walking on the streets of
    Montepagano and recognizing people you know at least
    through pictures on the Flight Crew computer sight. A big
    emotion jumped up in my throat at the picture of you and Jane
    standing by Nonno, Ercole and Uncle Dominick all relatives
    of Gianluca. Love Gianluca, love his relatives. Anxiously
    waiting for the next additions from Naro and Marsala. You
    are doing a great “reporter” job. Love it.

  10. Thank you all for your great comments. It was such an awesome day. I don’t think our feet actually touched the ground after the first meeting with Nonno! It just kept getting better and better. Such gracious, kind people in that village. Not only Ginaluca’s family, but everyone we met. We saw his school and church and walked the streets he grew up on. A day we will never forget.

  11. What a wonderful time you have had Marie and Jane, thank you for the beautiful pictures of Italy and Gianluca’s family and friends. So looking forward to your next stop on “the tour”.

  12. Marie and Jane, I am in awe of your memorable trip and so happy for you both. It couldn’t have been better unless Gianluca baked for you, and that cutie pie would I know. Can’t wait for the rest of your trip. I hope you are putting this in a book. So priceless.

  13. Marie and Jane you transported me back to that magical village and all the beautiful emotions I felt when I was there surfaced again !! I am so happy that the two of you had such an exciting and memorable time there and got to meet family members !! It must have felt like a dream come true !! I can’t wait for your next chapter !!!

  14. Great story and pictures. Marie you were so brave to drive in Italy. While we were in Germany I walked since they drove only at one speed fast . Lucky we were stationed right in the middle of a small town so walking was easy and great exercise.
    Waiting for the Sicily chapter of your trip.

  15. This is like the Perils of Pauline! You lead us to the precipice and….wait for the next episode!!! How amazing your trip has been so far–I am sure the rest will live up to our expectations. Thanks for sharing. Photos are great!

  16. Omg, how thrilling to meet Gianluca’s Nonno and father and uncle. I’m so jealous. What a lovely town. Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventure with us.. Happy you’re safely back home.

  17. Oh I am positively green with envy! What a glorious time you were having in Gianluca’s village, meeting his Nonno, Ercole and Uncle Dominick. Wow.
    I also have to say Wow for Marie being so brave to have the guts to tackle Italian roadways! Those people drive fast!!! I look forward to every little or big photo you two post!

  18. Truly, your story and the way you tell it, Jane, warms my heart and brings me great joy! Again, thank you for sharing, Jane… and Marie.
    I read this briefly this morning, and now more thoroughly.

    I had seen the NY interview and caught that moment – when Gianluca greeted the Flight Crew. I was relatively new with the Crew then so I thought, ‘oh wow, he knows about the Crew, and sweet of him to remember and greet.’….

    Then Marie was informed about this moment, and she wrote a brief line that you both were just with Ercole, Nonno and Uncle Dominic so they must have mentioned it to Gianluca.

    At that time, I was under the impression that you both had met Ercole and family at another time in the past, and this was a reunion. That they were aware of your coming over to Montepagano … and you had gotten together with them for tea or dinner at their home.

    I understand here that you had just met, for the first time… yet, that your paths crossed so fluidly, seamlessly. What sweet destiny!

    Thank you again, for sharing.
    Warm greetings.

  19. Thank you for your story and personal pics of Gianluca’s village and some of his family and the villagers whom you met there. Outstanding trip to Italy and memories for you both.

  20. Ciao! Have been fighting a bit of a cold…

    Jane and marie, how awesome to have just run into the family like that! I have a surprise too, if I ever write it. 🙂

    Yes, montepagano was my favorite spot there. No Nutella crepes? Ashame the tower got some damage, but I had heard it was a little shaky.

    Jane, so great you felt the brick in assisi. It will be forever in your memory!

    I can certainly echo the harrowing ride up the mountain! So nice you had a sunny day.

    Looking forward to the rest. 🙂

  21. Incredible!
    Except none of your adventures completely astound me anymore. I just know you live an IL VOLO Love-Charmed Life!
    Totally precious!
    As usual, your angels were working over-time, this time lining up the family for your delightful connections!

    I’m sorry to hear about the bell tower in the earthquake.

    I must see the interview with the shout-out to the Flight Crew! 😊

    More adventures to read tomorrow. This has been a great start!

    Love you both,

  22. Hi Jeanine, How are you? I haven’t seen you here in a while. Are you planning on going to Las Vegas?

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