CHRISTMAS WITH PIERO, IGNAZIO and GIANLUCA by SUSAN

Christmas with Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca!

Our Italian Family!

Yes, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca are our family! Why do I call them family? We’re their fans, yes, but, we are more than fans. We certainly do all the things that fans do but it goes deeper than that because our guys are different than other entertainers. The difference is the guys think of us as their extended family. Why? Very simply because they grew up with us. They spend more time with us than they do with their families. And they show us their love in everything they do. Think of how they treat us! When you meet them they embrace you. Most entertainers just want your praise and accolades. Not our guys! They want to know about us! They ask about our lives and our families. They listen to us and do things to please us. And think about how you spent your last nine months listening to their music and feeling secure with every song! So what is family? Family are the people who are there when you need them. When you’re sad you can always feel their love and their encouragement! Family is not just blood it’s the people who are there for us!

So let’s take a look at how our Italian family spends their Christmas.

The Christmas season starts in Italy on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary which is also a holiday in Italy. This is the day that many Italians put up their Christmas trees and the cities light up their streets with colored lights. Why? Because Mary is the mother of the Light, Jesus! But there are other traditions that are celebrated on this day!

Let’s go to Naro, Piero’s city, to see how they celebrate the Christmas season.

Every year, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of December, every inhabitant in Naro stocks up on muffuletti. Muffuletti is a bread which is stuffed with meat and vegetables. Some people go to their local baker to buy them and some people prepare them at home. The tradition is linked to religion. Naro’s sandwiches are blessed and distributed in Churches at the end of the Mass on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. The bakers donate the muffuletti to the Churches as a gesture of generosity towards their fellow countrymen but, above all, of love towards “a bedda matri ‘Mmaculata”, the Most Holy Immaculate.

During the month of December, the Christmas markets are held in Naro. The Fair is set up inside the cloister of the Town Hall. Many people go to the Franciscan cloister where, every evening, to the delight of the children, there is a special snowfall that whitens the baroque courtyard. On the final evening there is a concert of Sicilian folk music and an award is given for the best photo taken at the large Christmas tree in Piazza Garibaldi.

During this magical period the streets are colored by many Christmas lights and everyone visits the living nativity scene of Borgo Castello. There is Mass on Christmas Eve and between hugs, kisses and best wishes there are a thousand good intentions. And then, on Christmas day, the family gathers together for a dinner laden with many local delicacies.
And what would Piero do on Christmas day? Most likely, he will walk around Naro and visit some older people and his friends. He certainly would have decorated his home so I’m sure he will make a video for all of us to see. He will most likely sing at the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Mass. And I’m sure he will spend time singing with his grandfather, Pietro. Most importantly, he will spend the day with his family!

Christmas in Bologna! How does Ignazio celebrate Christmas?

Unlike Piero and Gianluca, Ignazio and his family live in a big city and like cities in America there are many events.
The Christmas tradition in Bologna has deep roots. The Bolognese Nativity Scene (Presepe) goes back to the middle ages. The tradition of the Presepe dates back to the 13th century and one of the oldest Presepe in the world is preserved in Bologna. What makes the Bolognese Nativity different? It is life size and includes clothes that are different from the traditional Neapolitan style. They are dressed in a medieval style. In Porretta Terme in the Emilian Apennines another Presepe which is one of the oldest Presepe in the world is kept in the church of Capugnano.
I’m sure Ignazio will visit the Christmas Tree in Piazza Nettuno. It is a Bolognese tradition. The beautiful tree is a welcoming and bright place to meet friends and feel the warmth of Christmas.
So, what will Ignazio’s family eat on Christmas? I’m sure on Christmas Eve there will be fish on the table. This is the tradition in every Italian house on “La Vigilia,” Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, there is another tradition. Lunch is the main meal and Pasta in brodo (pasta in broth) will certainly be served. In Bologna, it’s all about meat-filled tortellini in capon broth. These, small, ravioli, are filled with a mixture of meat, mortadella and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese but you will find in Bologna every family has its secret ingredient for them. You’ll recall in a recent interview, Ignazio mentioned his family buying Tortellini every Sunday.

The soup will most likely be followed by a roast and the meal will end with a traditional dessert like Certosino (or Pan speziale) which is made with almonds, pine nuts, dark chocolate and candied fruits. The recipe has its origin in the Middle Ages where Certosino was produced by pharmacists and later by Certosini Friars. Certosino is very popular in Bologna.

Having said this, I will say, since Ignazio is vegan, there are certain parts of this meal he won’t eat. He will certainly eat the dessert! What I do know is by tradition, Ignazio will join his family to celebrate Christmas Day!

So what will Gianluca do on Christmas?

A Montepagano tradition is the Nativity scene. At the end of the last century a famous living Nativity play was started in Montepagano which is a real theatrical performance, with a director and a narrator.

In the Abruzzi region, there is a tradition that bagpipers, so called zampognari come into the towns and play their flutes and bagpipes for the people. They symbolize the shepherds who come in search of the new born baby, Jesus. The bagpipers were once shepherds, today they are musicians who walk the streets of the cities, playing Christmas music. Often they are in pairs and one plays the zampognari (bagpipe) and the other the ciaramella (which is similar to a small piccolo).

For certain Gianluca will celebrate December 24th, Christmas Eve with a meal of fish including shellfish because he lives by the sea. As far as food traditions are concerned, on Christmas Day, the typical dish of the whole region of Abruzzo is spaghetti alla chitarra (which is prepared on a particular instrument called a guitar, because it is made of wood with metal strings) but most likely Gianluca will eat Lasagna. The second course will be arrosticini, which are pieces of meat, traditionally lamb, strung on long sticks, similar to a kebab. And for dessert, they will most likely have the traditional Christmas cake, Panettone.
Gianluca will surely spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his family including his Grandpa Ernesto!

If you’re wondering where Santa Claus is, in Italy he is known as “Babbo Natale,” Father Christmas, who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve but, in true Italian style, gifts are exchanged on January 6th the day of Epiphany when La Befana comes to Italian homes in search of the Christ Child and leaves gifts for the children. This is a tradition that is celebrated in the central regions of Italy.  La Befana is an old woman, with a hooked nose, badly dressed, with a handkerchief on her head, grumpy but good, she is not a witch. On January 6th, riding through the sky, flying on a broom, La Befana lands on the roofs, enters the houses from the chimneys and descends from the fireplace, leaving gifts and sweets in the big socks that the children place in front of the fireplace. If they were good, they get sweets. If they were bad, she leaves coal in the form of a sweet black candy. I’m sure there will be many sweets for Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca!

I would like to mention an important member of Il Volo’s family. Michele Torpedine!  His family is originally from the region of Puglia. He moved to Bologna when he was twelve years old. So he will celebrate Christmas with his family and the celebration would be similar to Ignazio’s!
I would like to thank two people who contributed to this Christmas story. Maura Pucci and Giovanni Granaro. Their knowledge of the regions of Montepagano and Naro and the different Christmas traditions made this story come to life!
In closing, I would like to thank two ladies who make all my stories come to life! Daniela Perani (a/k/a Sherlock Holmes) who is my second pair of eyes and provides all the photos and videos for my stories and Patricia Ward who does the layouts and final uploads for the stories.

I want to wish all of my Christian friends a Merry Christmas and all my Jewish friends a Happy Chanukah! And all my other friends, All the Happiness and Joy of the Season!

And finally I’m sure you will join me in wishing Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with many Concerts!

 

 

Credit to owners of all photos.

69 thoughts on “CHRISTMAS WITH PIERO, IGNAZIO and GIANLUCA by SUSAN”

  1. This is so beautiful and special. I can’t thank you enough for sharing all of these wonderful traditions and information. It is so lovely to know what our gorgeous young men will be doing at Christmas. I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and Happy New Year. Merry Christmas and a wonderful and Happy New Year to Piero, Igna Gian and their beautiful families. Lots of love from Canada xxoo

  2. I have known some Italians to celebrate the feast of the seven fishes. What region would this be celebrated in?

  3. Thank you so much for sharing the various Italian Christmas traditions!
    A very Merry Christmas and a blessed 2021 to your team and to our beloved Il Volo!

  4. I so enjoy reading your posts about II Volo and keeping informed about what they are doing since I don’t go on Facebook, etc. I recently lost my husband so its a difficult time for me but I get such comfort in your posts and listening to II Volo music.

    1. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Rona. I also lost my husband seven years ago and until I discovered IL VOLO in 2016 I had little joy in my life. The songs the guys sing really touch my heart. Hang in there! ❤️

    2. I’m very sorry about your recent loss, Rona. It must be terrible for you to spend Christmas without your husband.
      Listen to good music and keep in touch with us, we will keep you company!

  5. Thank you for the interesting post about the Christmas traditions of Italy and the good wishes for everyone. I want to extend the hope of blessings to everyone for this season and the coming year. May we soon be back to our freedoms to travel, to gather, to go without masks and free of all the restrictions of this past year. Much affection and seasons greetings to everyone!

  6. Thank you Susan and Danielle. I love the newsletters and I enjoy learning about these traditions.
    I listen to Il VOLO every day and their music makes me happy.

  7. Thank you for sharing this lovely story about how our guys celebrate Christmas in Italy. I would love to visit them. They are themselves always and that is why they are so loved! No pretense. Wishing “my guys” Gianluca, Piero, Ignazio a Merry Christmas and please come back to America as soon as possible. I adore you all and the songs you sing. May the New Year 2021 be filled with sunshine and laughter and song. Love U all!

  8. Susan, Maura, Giovanni, Daniela, and Patti, thank you so much for this wonderful informative article. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the various celebratory Christmas traditions in the home towns of Piero, Ignazio, and Gianluca.

    I wish you and our beloved guys a very happy Christmas, and many blessings in the New Year.
    Buon Natale!

  9. Merry Christmas Susan, Daniela and Patricia and Merry Christmas to our wonderful Piero, Gianluca, and Ignazio.

  10. Merry Christmas to all of you and your families. Your beautiful music and your amazing voices is keeping me sane during this long haul of lock downs. We hope to make it to Italy and see you in concert. Stay safe, Janice from Calgary, Alberta, Canada

  11. Thank you so very much all of you dear ones for sharing the Christmas traditions of our boys’ towns and villages in Italy. It was an eye-opener, and I thoroughly loved reading about each one. So heartwarming to know they feel as though we are an extended family for them. ♥ Buon Natale and Blessings of health, healing and love to All of you and dear ♥♥♥ Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca.

  12. Again all of you have outdone yourselves with giving us Ilvolovers something special. Thanks to all of you that made this possible. Knowing how Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca may by spending these days with their families is a special gift from you. Because of Covid, my families Christmas will cause us to be separated. It is amazing how comforting the singing of Il Volo is.

  13. A very happy Christmas to everyone and let’s all pray that 2021 is better for the world than 2020 was. Let’s remember all those who lost their lives to covid 19 and their loved ones they have left behind, trying to cope on their own. God bless everyone.

  14. Thank you Susan for this wonderful post it made me light up inside. I want to wish all members of the Flight Crew a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and may we all have a better year next year. Take care everyone in IL Volo land be well.

  15. Grazie,Daniela, Susan and Pat,
    It felt like I was there,immersed in the traditions of the regions. This Christmas Day for the first time I will be making a spaghetti dinner.
    The dessert that was mentioned is a lot like a English Christmas cake that I make. It has a lot of the same ingredients.

    I wish all the flight crew members, and of course Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca a very happy and healthy Christmas.

  16. Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year ! Thank you again for a great post as usual! And of course to our boys ❤️🙏🎄🎁🍷🎂👏⛄️🎉💋❤️🥰🎀

  17. Hello, ladies. Thank you for sharing Italian traditions of the Christmas holidays. Ignazio is standing beside a tree decorated with dolls and stuffed animals. I’ve never seen that before. I can relate to many of the foods you mentioned. May we all flourish in the New Year and be blessed with good health, sustenance, tranquility, personal and global peace. To the Il Volo family all over the world: Enjoy a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  18. Thank you ladies for highlighting the Christmas traditions in the areas where our handsome guys reside!! Being a third generation Italian , I can relate to some of them especially Christmas Eve -La Vigilia. My family always looked forward to it. Unfortunately, due to this pandemic I won’t be doing it this year!! Merry Christmas Pat, Daniella and Susan and especially to Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero! Buon Natale🌲

  19. Thank you so much, everyone. So informative and interesting at the same time. Merry Christmas to all.

  20. Thank you so much for all the information on Italian customs during this holiday Season. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a much better 2021 for everyone. Hopefully, our favorite singers will be able to perform once again on the stage! Dena Pitchfork, Mercer Island, Washington U.S.A.

  21. I loved that you started this post with Piero, Igna and Gianluca, our Italian family. Watching them grow up into lovely young men has made a special bond between them and their fans. I know I often feel like I know them, even though I have only met them in person once. That is the kind of feeling they pass back to their fans. Thank you for sharing the various Italian Christmas customs and food. It sounds like Christmas in Italy is wonderful. I hope the guys will enjoy the holiday close to their loved ones. And Merry Christmas to everyone on the Flight Crew. Especially Susan, Daniela, Pat ,Giovanna and Maura who do so much to keep us in touch with Il Volo and each other. Hopes for 2021 that we will be enjoying concerts once again.

  22. Grazie infinite a te, cara Susan, che mi hai voluto citare, nonostante il mio modestissimo contributo. Tanti auguri affettuosi per le prossime feste, a te e a tutte le amiche che frequentano questa bellissima pagina. Che ci unisce, ovunque noi siamo , nel nome di un GRANDE AMORE

  23. Merry Christmas to you and your family! Thank you for
    Providing this connection to “our boys”. All the best and success to the guys that fill all my days with great music
    And happiness!🎄🎄Sally McConnell

  24. Thankyou Susan, Maura, and Giovanni for this article and sharing the traditions of Christmas with us. It was fun and very informative. And thankyou Daniela and Pat for all the work you do to keep us informed about our boys. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year. I look forward to hearing more about our boys next year. I wish Piero, Ignazio, and Gianluca a holiday filled with love and laughter. Please stay safe.

  25. Thank you Susan for these great posts. We truly feel that Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca are family. Thank you also to Daniela, Pat and everyone at the Flight Crew for all you do all year long keeping us in touch with Il Volo and all those who love them.
    Merry Christmas and God bless all with a healthy New Year!

  26. Love and Christmas Blessings forbtruly Jesus Is The Reason For The Season. Always sing!❤️♥️☦️🌹

  27. All the Italian traditions sound wonderful. If I ever have a chance to visit Italy, I would do it at Christmas. Love and blessings on Il Volo and all of their families.

  28. Thank you for this lovely post! Are they not the handsomest fellas?
    They have such interesting customs, loving families and their voices have just endeared them to so many.

    Many blessings on the The Flight Crew and on all of the Barone family. Boschetto’s and Ginoble’s.

    Merry Christmas to all and wishing for all of us a back to normal 2021.

  29. My dear Susan, Daniela, Maura, Giovanni & Pat to include everyone who participates in bringing such quality messages to us! I continue to be immensely grateful for every one. May God bless us all with a healthy and happy 2021!🎉

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