Jane & Marie in Sicily…Part 1

Let me tell you about Sicily.  So different from northern Italy.  Reminded me of Arizona or New Mexico – arid, warm, sunny.   We even watched a gecko play on a sun baked wall while enjoying the warm breeze sitting in the shade of our Marsala Villa. 

I digress…

Montepagano to Naples was our longest drive.  We arrived in Naples in the late afternoon and happily gave up our rental car once we reached the city.  Very crazy drivers live there.  Here is a photo of the building across from our balcony and one of the plaza in the historic section of Naples.  So representative of what we saw of the city.  





Naples was just a stop over for us and we would see it again in a few days.  We wanted to be ready for our early morning flight to Palermo. So, we walked a few blocks, ate at an outdoor ‘ristorante’ on a small plaza and went back to “Bruno’s Historic Home”.

Palermo..city of my ancestors.  With the dazzlingly beautiful abundant mountain ranges on our left and the elegant Tyrrhenian Sea then the Mediterranean Sea on our right we knew we had made the correct decision to drive this amazing island.



Breathtaking barely describes the drive.


Marsala has houses that look like adobe.  The Streets are wide enough for one and a half cars.  Drivers will pass you anyway!  It’s a wonder there are any Italians/Sicilians left alive!  It’s not just that the streets are narrow, but the houses are all connected and right on the street. The streets are more like narrow alleys.  No curbs. No sidewalks.  Just a string of adobe walls.  They park and live inside these.

The  city turned out to be larger than we thought.  A lot larger….I know that because we were lost there most of the time and drove around looking for our next stop-over.  We gave up (so did Missy) and stopped at a small store.  Naturally Jane and I were the only English speaking people around.  Fortunately, “mi dispiace” (I’m sorry) and “guida” (help) were two of the Italian words I had practiced and ended up using the most…everywhere.  Jane became an expert in Italian sign language, pointing at addresses on paper and making herself understood. We were saved, once again, by handsome Italian men (why did I ever leave?) One fellow called the owner of our B&B then hopped in his car and led us to meet her….another point for a gracious people.  What a lovely place Villa Rustiko was! It had an equally lovely owner, named Matina.  Who, by the way, sang with a Ignazio when they were in school. 


What we were really waiting for was to meet Nina and we were about to do just that.  She knew we were coming, so you can imagine how excited we were when we drove up to…


I think Nina’s smile is even more captivating than her brothers.  Yes, I said that…just look… that’s Nina flanked by her happy helpers.



We gave her a gift from all of the Flight Crew.


She seemed to really like it and immediately put it on (her eyes light up like her brothers too!)  Later when I asked to take a picture of her wearing it she brushed away the flour that had landed on the apron from her work. Now, didn’t that make it even more special? 



Using some of Jane’s expert hand signals and a translator app, we spoke with Nina for a while.   Then she made us a marvelous mushroom and sausage pizza. 


I must tell you that I dreamed of this!  Eating pizza at Nina’s!  Life is good! 

I’m sure Nina thinks I have a learning disability.  All I remember doing was nodding and throwing my hands around a lot.  I was, after all, surrounded by Boschetto DNA and wanted to gather up as much as I could.  Jane wrote a sweet note for Nina’s brother on the back of our Flight Crew card.  After about two hours and more slow conversation (that would be Jane..I was still flapping and gathering) we said our goodbyes and returned to our splendid Villa for the night.

Next I’ll take you to (shudder) Naro.

58 thoughts on “Jane & Marie in Sicily…Part 1”

  1. this is written so well I could actually feel the sun on my body and smell the pizza and WISH I WERE THERE !

  2. Rosemarie, that’s exactly how I feel reading about Jane and Marie’s adventure! I can picture myself there too! This is a book I don’t want to put down! 😍

  3. Thanks, Marie, for the wonderful pictures and narrative. So wish I could do the same, but will have to rely on your storyteller skills!

  4. How cool is this! I love the apron you gave her on behalf of all of us, very thoughtful. Nina has always appeared to me as a very warm personality. I am sure she must have talked to Ignazio after you left
    As for driving, I think you are so brave, I remember traveling Itaian roads from a bus and I thought it was a bit unnerving.
    Now I look forward to your tale of Naro and find out what that shudder was about.

  5. Each episode of your travels gets better and better The apron gift was so thoughtful! Marie if you could bottle all that stuff you stirred up (BDNA) and bottle it , you could make enough $ for another trip!! It gives me great pleasure to know how much fun ya’ll had! Can hardly wait for the Naro chapter! Thanks for the memories! <3 <3 <3 from Texas!!

  6. Ciao Marie and Jane. Thanks for everything you do for us. I’m sure it was a great sacrifice (the trip) but someone had to do it, right? I was in Naples a few years ago and I remember the laundry being hung over the street from building to building. Such a burst of color that you forgot it was laundry. You are brave to drive, but you must drive like the Europeans drive or you will be left in their dust. Nina looks well and I’m glad you gave her the apron from us. Maybe Igna will wear it someday, BTW was Buddy there? I understand he lives with her now. McDonald’s in Italy has put “Sweety con Nutella” sandwich on their dessert menu. Is this true Daniella? Ciao for now.
    I am the other Rose Marie.

    1. Hello, other Rose Marie,
      It was a great sacrifice, but nothing is too good for the Flight Crew. So, we trudged on.
      Did not see Buddy.
      I was fixated on the colorful hanging laundry all over Italy.
      If Ignazio wears the apron he could have some of my DNA on him. Now I have to stop and think about that for a while. 😊

      1. That is an interesting thought, maybe your DNA will rub off on him. We could all send aprons to him seeing that he likes to cook. All that DNA , my oh my.! Looking forward to next episode..

  7. I still can’t believe you ladies would venture behind a wheel and drive yourselves! God Bless! What a nice experience at Nina’s! Did you get any interesting tidbits? Do you think Ignazio will hear about your visit & the special apron? I’m sure he will! Andiamo to Naro!

  8. I’m so happy that you got to meet and spend time with Nina that was great and the apron how cute. Can’t wait till you tell us about Naro. OMG if I am ever lucky enough to get there my knees would be knocking I would be a nervous wreck.

  9. Wonderful , Marie & Jane!!! Thank you so much for thinking of the apron for Nina! Sweet gesture. Your trip gets better & better with each chapter!!! Italy is a beautiful country!!! So glad you were able to visit & share your adventure with us!!! I am sure Nina has told Ignazio all about the day you came to the Pizzeria!!! They seem to be close!!!

  10. Marie, I all day to watch if you publish the stage of Marsala and just when I go out you do it.
    What an experience I will ….. I warned that the South driving is reckless.
    You’re too good, and that nice meeting with Nina, Marie understand that you were too excited by this encounter. I guess if there was Ignazio !!!
    Now I expect a visit from Naro.
    See you soon.

  11. Marie, maybe next time the guy’s do an interview in English that is videotaped, Ignazio will be saying hello to the Flight Crew or maybe to Marie and Jane!
    Thank you for giving Nina the gift from us, and how did she know you were going to visit her?
    It was a wonderful story and I can’t wait for the next chapter.

    1. Thanks Jill! I’d like them all to say hello to us! It’s hard to complain though. Whenever I have seen them in person, they and their family members have always thanked us for promoting Il Volo.

      Jane let Nina know we were coming a couple of months ago and then reminder her a few times.

      1. Hi Marie, just opened my tablet (4:10 am) Thursday, and saw and read about your wonderful trip with Jane. Thrilled seeing pictures of the beautiful places you visited. How great being able to meet Nina and how happy she was with your gift. You must be exhausted but happy. Have been ill for about a month now but getting better. Italian streets are very narrow and yes, the drivers are very skilled indeed. Can’t wait to read about Naro. Thank you for sharing your adventures.

  12. Hi other Rose Marie, I was wondering about Buddy also. I did’nt hear he had given Buddy to his sister. I saw on his Instagram page, pictures of him with Franz the dog, but was disappointed that Buddy was’nt there.

    1. Hi Jill, Yes; sad that the little Bud wasn’t apparently there that day. I have wondered if maybe Buddy lives with his Grandpa (Ignazio’s Dad) or if he lives with his Aunt Nina. Whomever is home the most often and is the most affectionate with dogs is the one whom I hope has the little guy, you know?

  13. Enjoy and appreciate reading of your experiences and your photos in Italy. After surviving intact the hazardous driving conditions there, you probably qualify as expert driver(s) now. Seems that their, generally, ‘laid-back’ attitude about life seems to vanish when many of them get behind the wheel; interesting from a psychological point of view. Just wondering what that’s all about. Regarding Naples, it does have a lot of problems and that’s sad for many of that city’s residents. It is a wonderful quality about you, Marie, that you recognized aesthetic beauty in all the colorful laundry hanging out to dry from the cities’ balconies. Interesting to learn that Sicily is reminiscent of two of the states of the American Southwest; could imagine it better with that info. So glad you were able to connect with Nina in her Pizzeria and present her with your gift from the Flight Crew, sampled and enjoyed their Pizza; wonderful on all counts! I wonder if you got to see the street(s) of marble in Marsala. So nice that you had a great B&B with a gracious owner who happened to have known Ignazio personally. It must have been a bit frustrating for you both re/ the language barrier: so much you must have wanted to ask about, etc. I see that Part II is coming. Thanks so very much for these stories and personal photos.

    1. HI Lydka, Yes, I think everyone who speaks English will certainly enjoy this little video interview. Always nice to hear from Il Volo. Thank You. I guess this long tour in South America was all mainly interviews and that is why they have to return there next year to perform the actual concerts? Those dear Singers are in the sky so much, etc. That must be physically hard for them, but it still beats most other types of jobs, especially for talented people who love to sing and love music. Doin’ what they love, bless ’em. Have a great day, Lydka, or what’s left of it.😸

      1. Laura, yes they did promotional tour in Latin America, because they will do concerts Notte Magica Tour in 2017 all over the world, in December they will come to USA, promotional tour continues :-), so again a lot of flying.It is certainly exhaustive, but it belongs to the life of successful and busy artists. But they are lucky that they are doing what they love ! Many people are not so lucky, because they need to work to earn money, they do not work with love but because they have to. Time is now difficult and there are many unemployed…My time is 23 hours 26 minutes. 😀 Have a nice evening ! God bless you.

  14. Marie and Jane, what fun!! I bet Ercole called ahead to Marsalla to let them know 2 VIPs were on the way. Seems like Nina was expecting you. Loved the story and looking forward to Naro , Pieroooooo!

  15. A fun trip is when all types of good and crazy thing happen. Sounds like you had some of both. Wish I could have tagged along but at my age I need three months just two make the same distances. So reading your experiences gives me an idea what it would be like to travel your route.

  16. 0h Marie, you tickle my heart when you write 😉
    And the pic (Palermo?) – the road with the ocean on one side (3rd pic) – looks much like coastal Southern California!… and this particular shot specifically – the drive from La Jolla to Del Mar on the 101! (with a gentler vibe)…

    I was thinking of eating pizza all day yesterday…. somehow…. and not just any pizza… a special ‘Mediterranean Pizza’ (a place here has it)….
    Then I read your blog late last night… then I knew why! 😉

    Thank you, dear Marie. Sweet.

  17. Love the apron, very nice! Pictures are beautiful. I really thought Nina would have spoken English? Jane – did you use translator on Facebook? Yes, got a kick out of the laundry hanging out – remember that from Venice, also. Glad you survived the drives…love the picture of the genie from Aladdin on the sign – reminds me of Ignazio!

      1. Diantika, our translators on our devices really came in handy!! Could not have communicated in many situations without this. Yes, we survived! 🙂

    1. Jana, yes I would translate all my messages into Italian before posting her on FB. She would respond with clicking on the LIKE icon. She is the sweetest young woman! So spontaneous just like her brother. She was laughing and giggling when we did the kiss photo.

  18. Damn! It must be so good for having you guys in Sicily. I do want to go there, esp to see that beautiful sunset on Mediterranean Sea. 😍

    Can’t wait for the Naro’s story! ♡

    1. Thank you, Diantika. Nope, she didn’t speak English. Hardly anyone spoke English in any of their towns/villages. Makes you even prouder that our guys have taken the time to learn our language so well.

  19. Jane and Marie, A trip in a life time and you are carrying us along. I am eating it up. Next will be your story about Naro. The town of MY Piero. I am eager to find out why the “shudder”. I think it must be the roads. Can’t wait to hear about it. Chiao. Joanie G

  20. When I was in Sicily ou dear boys were probably toddlers. But I do remember Sicily very well, and your stories are hilarious. And the pictures – ahh, I love seeing the clothes hanging on the line out the window. Cripes, in America we can’t hang our clothes on clotheslines in the backyard
    Your trip sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to read about Naro, home of my dear Piero. It has to be wonderful.

  21. I just love reading every episode of your adventurous and exciting vacation. This must be every IlVolover’s dream and Marie, your DNA story is hilarious!!!
    Looking forward to read Part 2 of your joyful escapades.

  22. If anyone is interested, I just received my DVD/CD with autographed card in the mail. I have already watched it twice, with English subtitles available. The one I got from Amazon.Italy did not have English subtitles. The other one I bought from Amazon did not have the autographed card.
    I know its overkill but I am waiting for DVD/CD from PBS too but that was part of the membership drive. Is 3 too many? Noooo! They do not sing Adestes Fideles or Ave Maria on DVD only on CD.
    It was very emotional to see them at Pavarotti’s house/museum and be able to understand what they were saying. Especially Piero who said this was something he would be able to tell to his children and grandchildren.

    1. Rose Marie, you mentioned those CD/DVD’s which did NOT have the autograph, but you did not tell us where you bought the set with the autograph. I would love to get one if they are still available.

      1. Linda, I bought it thru Amazon. I believe it was a special pre-order. I don’t know if there are more available. It specifically said DVD/CD with autograph.l and was about $20. I found out from a friend on another Il Volo group I belong to called Il Volo Mojo. The autographed card is small 3 1/2″ X 5″ and signed with initials only. Good luck.

      2. Thanks so much, Rose Marie! Amazon still has this set listed, and I have one ordered. Can’t wait! (My solo CD is almost worn out from playing it in the car!)

      3. Linda P, you are very welcome. I’m glad you found it. Whenever I get a new CD I make a copy of it only for myself of course ,so I always have one for the car. We don’t want to wear them out.

      1. Marie, I have always said their music is so beautiful it almost breaks my heart to listen to them. This CD/DVD especially does that to me. You can see the love they have for each other and Placido their mentor. Just gives me goosebumps. I was having a slight meltdown today and then the mail came. Played it twice and meltdown dissolved. Hope you get yours soon.

      2. Marie, can not believe it, you have not received your CD + DVD.
        It is true you moved when you looked at the DVD, have already passed 20 days, I have great memories.

    2. Thank you Rose Marie for that explanation of the DVDs. I also have one I bought that said Italian edition, and another one I bought on Amazon that is supposed to come this week. I was hoping for English subtitles on the second one. Now I read somewhere that there is another one due out this week. I wonder what is different about that one! Does anyone know? Has anyone gotten the PBS one? Does that one have English subtitles?

  23. Amazon initially said my DVD would be mailed out on November 4th from New Jersey, but I did’nt receive it. But now they say it will be delivered between December 20th and January 16th! I still could get it by Christmas, but I would be surprised if I did. ☹️I’ll just have to fly to Daniela’s house to see it!😊I’m only teasing you Daniela

  24. I have always said that their first CD was my favorite, but this one takes the cake!! Good luck to both of us, Jill!

    I’m sure Daniela would let you come over and watch hers. Daniela is like that.

    1. GRAZIE Jill, you are all adorable and I will want a world of good. Warm hugs and warm kisses from Italy

  25. Where do you begin, Marie and Jane? What a wonderful dream and we are dreaming it through you. Thank you for both of you! Can’t wait to hear everything else! 💗💖💞

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