Our Final Observations ~ Jane & Marie

A little tidbit that Jane and I forgot to tell you before this final (I promise) wrap-up.  When we were having a chat with Nina we had a little stunned staring moment.  Nina with wide eyes to hear that I had been to 10 concerts and me with even wider eyes to learn she had been to none!


11 planes,
11 trains,
10 taxis’s (two of them water),
2 rental cars,
1 ferry,
2 airport shuttles,
1 bus,
1 gondola
and really tired feet, we have made these observations.  

(Please remember these are our opinions only)

* Italians eat late.  Most restaurants are closed until dinner at 7 o’clock all over Italy.

* Italian men and women are better looking than American men and women…by far!  Honest!  Jane tried to take one home in a produce store.  I was going to help.

* They also dress better than us and not just in the fashion districts either.


* They have got to be the worse drivers in the world!  You’ve heard this before.  It’s true!  My newest gray hairs attests to this.

* They will go out of their way to help you and think nothing of getting in their car to lead you to where you need to go.

* Most want to visit N.Y., L.A. and Las Vegas.  Some list Miami, also.

* They love their country very much!

* They show their affection for each other freely. Not just couples either.  Fathers and daughters, sisters and brothers, everyone.  We wish we saw that more in the U.S.

* They use a bidet.

* They put olive oil on everything except Gelato.

* There are two or three Gelato vendors on every block.


* Only Nina’s pizza is better than ours…Well, we think so.

* All of their pasta is better than ours.  Marie tried most of it…for comparative research, of course.  Marie also sampled a few Italian wines.

* Churches, homes, in fact most buildings were built before America was discovered!



* They put pianos in public places, people pause, sit down and play a while, then go about their business.  We really loved this.


* Their coffee will surely grow hair on your chest.  Jane must have some by now.  (No picture here)

* They mostly live in apartments with flowers and laundry hanging over balconies.


* They have no cows and don’t drink milk.  We saw about six cows our entire trip.  However, they have some really tasty varieties of cheese.  We can’t explain how they do that.  Just some Italian magic we guess.

* Stop lights, stop signs, no passing zones, turn signals, and your car are ignored…completely.

* They have blood red orange juice that Marie fell in love with and will find it in the states…somewhere…somehow.

There is a reason graffiti is an Italian word.  It’s plentiful!



* Their pastry is huge.  A croissant is bigger than your head.


* Most snacks in stores are of the sweet variety.  Ask Jane, she tried most of them.  Umm, research again.

* Their mountains are unbelievably magnificent!   There seems to be an ancient village and church bell tower perched on top of each of them.

* There are hundreds of miles of olive groves and vineyards.


* Have we said they are insane drivers?

* Wear an Il Volo t-shirt in the boys home towns and you are certainly noticed. Everyone is either related to them, went to school with them, played ball with them or sang with them at some time.

* Outside of their home towns Il Volo is NOT very well known.  We were told it’s because they sing old music or they sing mainly in English (?) Yet they fill venues all over their country.

* They have an amazing transit system.  It’s electric, cheap, quiet, comfortable and is everywhere.  Why don’t we have this in the U.S.?


Thank you, everyone for allowing us to share our stories and photo’s.  This was the trip dreams are made of.  It was hard to leave.  With all our hearts we would return!

***END*** (really this time)

95 thoughts on “Our Final Observations ~ Jane & Marie”

  1. Thanks again Marie and Jane for sharing your amazing trip and wonderful observations with us. To do all this planning, traveling, and driving on your own was so brave and adventurous but you were rewarded with a trip never to be forgotten. It is sad that Nina has never been to one of their concerts. No wonder Ignazio misses her so much! Having a business consumes your entire life unless you have someone who can really take over. I hope Nina will get to see Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca in May or June when they again tour in Italy.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures in Italy. A friend and I are planning to spend 4 months there in 2018 and your comments have given us lots to think about. Tonight we start our first Italian lessons with another friend who speaks fluent Italian.

  3. Marie and Jane, we loved every moment you have shared with us. Anytime you remember another tidbit you may have forgotten, please don’t hold back, just tell us. Interesting about Nina. I wonder if any of the parents will travel with them on the upcoming tour, none of them seem to be on this promo tour.

      1. Marie, I don’t recall the parents being along on promo tours. This particular promo tour is supposed to be a quick one.

  4. I loved reading about your trip. Having been to Italy 5 times over the past 10 years, I can agree with all of your comments! We always bring pasta and wine home with us, it is the best!! Also, most of our trips there have been on tours and I must say I admire you for having taken on Italy and their crazy drivers on your own, especially in Naples and Palermo. We are now looking forward to seeing the boys in Verona in May.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I have had a dream to see the Boys in Verona since I first saw them singing “Un Amore Cost Grande” there on YouTube. Good for you! Enjoy! Don’t forget to tell us about it.

  5. Marie and Jane thank you so much for your stories and insights, enjoyed every one. The possible reason that you saw no cows is that in most areas they keep them inside for the winter and then take them out to the fields in the spring. At least that is what my brother in law did and all the other farmers in the area. Just a thought.

  6. Hi Ladies, your stories of your trip are fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing them all with us. I was grinning and imagining being right there with you….and to me, that’s the sign of very good story tellers. Take care, and thanks again, IL Volo Sisters. Hugs!☺

  7. oh, Marie and Jane, thank you soooooooooo much. this is sooooo heartwarming… and all your ‘storytelling’ about your trip has been delightful and truly heartwarming.
    May you return to Italy every time you want to!
    warm greetings and, as Daniela would say, Baci 🙂

    1. Cynthia, I now understand why people keep returning to Italy over and over again. It fills a space in your heart and life that you never realized was empty. {Hug}

      1. Mary – ohhhhhh…… hmmmmm….. i’ve only been to Rome, and only for a few days…. a looooooooong time ago…………. fortunately, i was invited to a meal and cozy afternoon at the lovely home of an italian firend. their home was on a hill, a bit out of the city, with view of the city (Rome)…… the salad was from their garden!….. (and yes, even before knowing about IL VOLO, i’ve wanted to return to Italy…. (now more reason to, isn’t it? 😉

  8. Marie and Jane, I was with you every minute of your trip. I will never get to Italy, but I have adopted it anyway because of our boys. You made the trip sound very real. Looking forward to more tidbits. I will be at the concert next year in L.A. Hope to see some of you. Joanie G

    1. All of us here have adopted Italy whether we have been there or not. Because of our guys we loved the country before we stepped off the plane.

      Have a great time in L. A., Joanie!

  9. Marie as I read what you wrote I was next to my daughter and both were laughing about what we read. But tell me, are we really so terrible as we drive our cars ??? Really I remember to have you watched while my husband was a maneuver and you closed your eyes !!! Thanks for having painted so well our Italy, and also for saying that we are all beautiful, that compliment. On some things I had no doubt that we won the confrontation, such as pasta and also the variety of sweets, but I did not expect you liked our trains. When we brought you on Lake Iseo, we have moved from the ring road, if we had made the fields of road you’d see a large herd of cows and also of grazing sheep. You only had a little taste of Italy, but you have tasted decorated. Kudos to you. A kiss

    1. I am glad you laughed and did not take offense at anything we said here.

      Yes, I did close my eyes with some of Beppe’s expert maneuvers!

      We really did love your trains. Ours in the US pale in comparison. For fun, sometime look up our trains here in the states. You would be surprised how few cities our one system (Amtrak) reaches. Plus it is not electric. It is loud and uncomfortable (my opinion).


  10. You make me want to go back to Italy again! What a raconteur you are; I think you could make any place in the world seem exciting. Italy is always my “go to” country when planning a far-away get-away. I loved it long before I loved Il Volo; the boys are the icing on the proverbial cake!

  11. Marie and Jane, after seeing those beautiful photos, your descriptions of the very wonderful encounters on your journey through beautiful Italy, you have made so many Ilvolovers on your blog become very familiar with the hometowns and awesome country of Il Volo. I hope that Gianluce also managed to read your very entertaining adventures! Nearly all their interviews lately, he includes to mention his desire to make IlVolovers aware of his great country.

  12. Oh, I was caught when you said Il Volo is “not well known” other than in their hometowns. Firstly I thought you wrote they’re unwelcomed other than in their hometowns. Silly me. Anyways some wrap-ups you mentioned above startled me a lil’ bit, Marie. Some are just new to me, so thank you for letting me know! He-he.

    You and others are welcome to share your amazing journey with (or without) the boys. I’ll be honored to know. ^^

      1. You’re very welcome, Marie. There’s nothing much I can do, so giving a star wouldn’t be so much trouble. Besides, I enjoy reading what your crews ought to say about the boys. He-heh.

  13. Grazie mille, you crazy ladies! Thank you for sharing your awesome adventures in such a wonderous country. It was a trip of a lifetime I am sure.

  14. Marie, did you find any of the blood orange juice yet?
    My local Safeway store sell’s an Italian soda that comes in the blood orange. It is exported from Sicily.
    It is delicious! I drink that one all year round, and when it is so hot in the summer time, the lemon one is also delicious.The brand name is “O Organics”
    In reference to Nina not being able to go to a concert because of her business, I have a suggestion.
    Why don’t you and Jane take over the pizzaria for her? I can just see you and Jane throwing pizza up in the air, and all over everybody! It would be like an “I love Lucy” episode that a saw recently!

    1. I LOVE this idea Jill!! We would certainly create pizzas like they have never seen before! We will have to offer her our services. 🙂

  15. Ladies : All of your opinions of Italy are SPOT ON!! As I read each one, I said to myself how true! Thanks again Jane & Marie for your very entertaining narrative of your unforgettable trip!
    Also a little something on the cows. My good friend who came here as a bride from a small town south of Rome, tells the story that yes the cows are brought inside usually under the house in the wintertime. The reason is that they give off heat. She jokingly says depending on how cold it is outside , it could be a one or two cow night!!

      1. In Italy, there’s no cream or milk available for coffee? What is the coffee like there? Black and strong?? Also, really nice photos with your stories. Like the one here with the colorful (leather?) gloves; wonder if that was a shop in Milan. Daniella’s Cow pictures reminded me of a time when as a young teen, I was helping out on a dairy-farm in upstate New York during the cold Winter. There were eighty cows inside the barn and we started milking them very early in the morning. The heat given-off by all the cows’ bodies was amazingly and wonderfully warm when you entered the barn from the cold darkness outside and the sweet scents of the warm milk and all the hay on the floor was wonderful, too.

      2. yes, Laura, i agree…. you make milking cows a romantic reverie….
        complete with cozy warmth….. and sweet scents…..

      3. Thanks, Cynthia. The work truly were a pleasure – the scents, cozy warmth, soft lighting, the whole atmosphere – and best of all – the proximity to all those wonderful, sweet animals. 🐄❤️.( That entire county was beautiful, old, magical – as were the experiences there. It was so nice to be reminded, unexpectedly, here!).🎃♥️

  16. Lol, Jill 😊. But wouldn’t that be fun? I volunteer!

    I did find blood orange soda made by “Villa Italia”. It is delicious. Also makes a great wine spritzer. Problem is the store is in Columbus, Ohio. Over an hour away. I bought several and treat it like fine wine. Alas, it is still not the same as the juice in Sicily.

  17. Marie, me and Lisa buy the Sanpellegrino Aranciata Rossa (blood orange) here at any grocery story. I think you’d love it. I also love this last episode very much, reminds me of my wonderful fun days in Italy. Remember, I told you it was a laugh a minute, maybe a smile? It’s just the warmth that the Boys bring to us also.

  18. Marie and Jane, Your “travelogue” was so enjoyable and the pictures so perfect that you can write a travel column in your “spare time!” I hope you are making a photo book of your trip with all the wonderful text you have shared with us–my nieces went to Italy and they did that when they came home. Now they have a terrific coffee table book to show whoever is interested, and it makes a wonderful keepsake.

      1. No wonder we traveled so well together, Marie…you think I’m smart…guess I fooled you! 🙂

  19. I felt as if I went along with you both. What a great travelogue. I need to catch up on a few days with some hot chocolate and pannettone that Ijust bought. Happy Holidays to all here on the Flight Crew site.

    1. Ann, we tried to eat it everyday. Didn’t quite make it. Favorite was mint chocolate chip in Assisi. Or was it the strawberry in Venice? Could have been that dark chocolate one in Milan.

      1. Oh my gosh…I guess I am. Jane matched me gelato for gelato. Now we both need to attend Gelato anon meetings. Ann should know where those take place.

      2. Marie, you are so funny. I am a gelato anon member! Guess what? They serve it at all the gambling casinos here at the buffets. I’m a member there! Good excuse because I love casinos. It’s better in Italy because each store makes their own, nothing like home made!!!

  20. Also, Marie, did you throw your coins in the Trevi Fountain in Rome over your shoulder? I hope so. I remember once when 6 of us drove there in a little Fiat at night – I was really skinny then! It was beautiful as usual. Would like to see your picture throwing your coins, otherwise you have to go right back. lol

      1. Oh Marie, I still feel that way and always will. I hope you do go back, and Rome is definitely a must. You also must see the lake regions. Maybe you can stop by George Clooney’s place in Lake Como.

  21. My son and his wife visited Italy in September, 2014. I asked him if they
    saw any cows, he said yes a few when they were travelling on the train.
    They liked the trains and said they went really fast. I think he said 120
    mph if that’s possible. Did you know concrete was invented by the
    My son watched a glass blower, he said it was very interesting. They
    had good food everywhere.
    He really liked Venice and the gondolians. He said he didn’t see
    anyone fishing. They were able to tour for two weeks but it would
    take longer than that to see all the points of interest. They said the
    people were very friendly even if they didn’t speak english. Usually
    someone was around that could speak English (they didn’t go hungry).
    One man complimented my son on his choice of women (wife), she
    is a brunette and the man thought she was Italian. They had a
    chuckle from that. They each had over 300 pictures on their
    phones that I really enjoyed.

  22. Ladies, I thank you so much for sharing your trip and experiences
    with the rest of the Flight Crew. I loved every word.

  23. Ladies,

    I’ve been to Italy 4 times in my life, spending a total of about six weeks in various parts of the country. You two had more fun, more drama, more excitement and more hilarious adventures in one day than I had during all my stays. About the driving – I considered renting a car in Rome after arriving but before I did I stood near a busy intersection to watch what was going on and thought to myself – NO WAY AM I GOING TO EVEN ATTEMPT THIS!

    Congratulations on accomplishing the the trip of a lifetime!

  24. Marie, it occurred to me that you might be able to find your Blood Orange Juice in World Market store. They carry all manner of things in those stores and I know I have seen that juice and also a lemonchello ( non-Alcoholic) Actually I think I fell a bit ( maybe a lot) in love with REAL lemonchello when I was there!!
    Why has Nina never see Ignazio in concert??? I am sad for her. I’m sure it would be a delight for Ignazio! Or maybe IL Volo should perform in Marsala?
    Btw, did you order anchovies on your pizza as I instructed?

    1. I have never seen a World Market Store. Also, someones earlier comment, I haven’t seen a Safeway since I left California. Lemon hello was on my list to try, but I forgot.

      He’ll no I didn’t order anchovies…we ddn’t go fishing so didn’t need the bait.

      1. Marie, there is little I can add to the comments….love you gals! BUT, I feel the same way about anchovies. …and sushi! a good Christmas and a very Happy New Year!! Dot in Texas!♡♡♡

  25. This has been so much fun reading. You should write a journal wherever you travel and make it a book! Loved it all. Thank you.

  26. This trip, story and comments have been so much fun and informative. There’s several travel-related sites that I came upon early this year with lots of cautionary info. for travelers in Italy. The wild driving phenomenon was mentioned on all of them, so I, too, admire you for driving yourselves when possible. I wonder what the Il Volo guys think when driving/riding in cars in the USA.; wonder if they were initially surprised at the apparent contrast, etc. I agree with you that there are, noticeably, a lot of particularly good-looking Italian men and women. (Spent a number of years in a region with a lot of first, second and third generation Italian people and I have to agree that a striking, physical beauty was common among them, male and female). Have often heard that Italy and Ireland have an above-average warm and welcoming manner with foreign visitors. Would be happy to read of any more “tidbits” of recollection, too. Wishing for you to be able to return to Italy. 💘

      1. Marie and Jane, I’m glad you enjoyed the cows, of course this photo is the most common species here in Lombardy, but in Italy’s northernmost cows are blondes and not in patches and in Italy to the south are white, are buffaloes, from their milk is taken good mozzarella.
        Marie assure you that Jane did not use the translator, the cows use a universal language !!!

  27. Why do I not like the phrase “the end”? Any time either of you want to do a lengthy reminisce feel free to do so! Marie, sometimes in the fresh fruit section of the grocery store they have blood oranges. Ask your produce guy or gal if they can get them. Make your own juice? I feel sad Nina has never been to one of their concerts. I will volunteer to work for her anytime! I worked in a pizza shop all through college and if I do say so myself I was dang good at it! I saw lots of cows when I was in Italy, just not in cities. Cows don’t like cities. And they are as good looking as the people! The gelato was fantastic. I would go back just for that! Thanks so much, both of you for the enchanting stories you’ve told!

    1. I checked with my grocer who said they didn’t have any now, but it is blood orange season. Found out that if I squeeze then freeze them in ice cube trays, then to a baggie, I can have the juice whenever I want. Out today to check more stores. Darn you Sicily for making me do this.

      Anyway…Thank You Lynn for the kind remarks.

      1. Went to Kroger’s today. Bad news..no Blood Oranges. GOOD NEWS…produce manager ordered them, should have them in a day or two. Bought a new juicer!

        Another thing I fell hard for were the marinated Artichoke halves. I can find a few reasonable facsimiles (quarters not halves with stems), but nothing like on Daniela’s dining room table.

      2. Wow, you are just liked the artichokes. They are called artichokes alla Romana, they are packed full with stems, I cut them in half when I put them at the table to eat.
        Grazie mille Marie!

  28. Marie, I was going to wander through an artichoke recipe for you but I thought, ” Shoot, she’ll just have to go back and visit Daniela to have more marinated artichokes!”

  29. Daniela, we Greeks and the Italians eat alike. Our veins ooze Olive Oil. But I think it is very healthy food. Only Italians eat more pasta. Forgive me if I’m wrong. Lots of vegetables, melizanes, zucchini, etc.

    1. You’re right Rose Marie Paliobeis, healthy foods and our “Mediterranean diet” that everyone envies !!

  30. In case somebody missed this information, the guy’s will be appearing on the Today Show on December 14th with Jackie Evancho. Then on December 23rd,
    they will do their own performance on the Today Show between 10-11 am.
    I am assuming they pre-recorded these performances.🙂

    1. thanks for this info, Jill…. this is exciting. Jackie Evancho, my favorite femaile singer…. Il Volo, my favorite maile group……

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