That was Then ~ This is now!

I would like to think that somewhere in the back of their minds our guys knew that someday they would be famous but, no that wasn’t the case they never knew that their love of music would bring them around the world and make them superstars!
These are three young men who came from simple families. Very close families. Families who shared everything! And suddenly they were thrown into the spotlight and their whole world, as they knew it, disappeared!

They followed a path that was laid out for them! In the beginning they reveled at the things they saw and the places they went to. They couldn’t believe what they were doing and seeing! And their families came along with them on the journey and were just as amazed with all they saw and did. So, let’s see what the guys had to say about their beginnings before the music became their whole life!
That was Then

What an effort, you will think, to remember when you were little. In practice, we were young the day before yesterday. The feeling that all three of us have and, I do not say it because I am the oldest and the one who is accused of being the fussiest, is that time has gone by too fast, yesterday we were children and, in a moment, we found ourselves grown up with a great job to carry on.
It’s the most beautiful job in the world, what we dreamed and desired but, the truth is that none of us really imagined what would happen because each one of us was on his own and was busy doing different things. We did not know where it would bring us.
From age one to fourteen, I can tell you in detail the different things I did. I can tell you how many euros of gasoline I put in the motorbike. That would be 10. And, I remember, how much I consumed each day.
Then I remember that in the morning, when I went to work in the workshop during the summer with my uncle Angelo (my mother’s brother) I was impatient for it to be half past ten so I could go to the supermarket to buy a sandwich of ham and provolone.
For a couple of months, when I was nine years old, I worked with my father in the body shop, but being allergic to the powders and paints, I had to stop because I had asthma.
Then I went to the workshop of my uncle and there I had no problem because mechanics had oil and fat, but nothing that made me asthmatic.
These are things that have remained in my head and will not go away.
And there are also sad things that have remained in my head and will not go away, like that morning of 2001 when, at eight o’clock as I was getting ready to go to school, there was a phone call, my grandfather Francesco, my paternal grandfather, had died. I was small, but the pain was great, because I had a wonderful relationship with my paternal grandparents.
And today, in moments of happiness, the thought always goes to my grandfather Ciccio. How many times have I thought of him and how many times have I heard my father say, “What a disappointment that his grandfather did not get to enjoy all the beautiful things that have happened?”
Because when you love a person, that good remains inside you, you cannot forget it anymore.
Instead, what I’ve done in the last five or six years, I tend to forget. Not because I am not happy to have done it, on the contrary, I am very happy. I do not like to say banality but, the life I live is a dream that came true: living with music was all I wanted.

Is it the same if the images that I will never forget are … the memories of my parents? It’s not that I’m crazy or strange, it’s right that my story would never have existed without my parents.
Therefore, their memories are mine too.
Mamma Caterina and my dad Vito left Marsala in 1990, when my sister was four years old, and they moved to Buonconvento, in the province of Siena. I do not remember that city because I did not exist yet. The only thing I know is that they had chosen that city because there was a great friend of my maternal grandfather who was a building contractor, it was he who offered my father a job. In Marsala things were not going well, it was difficult to make the family live, and so my parents decided to try to move.
I imagine them leaving with many hopes but also many fears and having in mind only the thought of how many things they will do to make the family, they have just begun to create, feel good. Of sacrifices they have made many and big for me and for my sister.
I spend every day thinking about how proud I am of them.
Mom has done many jobs and also dad did many jobs. They have always tried to learn any trade, just to earn some extra money.
In Buonconvento, dad started immediately as a mason with that friend of my grandfather and mom had changed a bit of work but has never been with empty hands.
By 1992 they realized that they did not earn enough to keep going.
And that’s why I was born in Bologna: because they decided to leave Buonconvento and move to San Martino in Argine, a fraction of the Municipality of Molinella, just near Bologna.
Even in this case, the move was linked to a knowledge of my parents. My father met, by chance, an old friend during a visit to my grandmother’s cousin house.
In San Martino in Argine my father, being a mason, immediately found a good job.
Mom, who has always been a determined person with a great desire to get busy, has improvised herself as a cook – she’s very good at cooking, I do not know if you understand – and she started working as a chef in a restaurant not far from our home.
Nina grew up and the two of them made sacrifices, but within a few years they managed to achieve a certain economic stability and decided to move into a house, finally all for them, in the hamlet of Guarda di Molinella. Even though the house was very small, it was still my first home, the one in which I was born.

No, I’m not like Ignazio, I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally.
I had a radio of those with the knob that turns to find the radio station, and I always looked for someone who would broadcast the songs of Andrea Bocelli, my absolute idol, or Domenico Modugno, or others of this kind.
In the summer, then, I would take the radio when I went with my friends in what we call “la pinetina” (the small pine forest), that is a park equipped with wooden games and tables and with lots of green space.
When I was between eleven and thirteen, I used to go play soccer, make long games with Pokemon cards and listen to music.
With my radio, I was looking for songs that made me dream, even though I knew that my friends, on the other hand, liked the Eiffel 65 (we were in the early 2000s). For a while they agreed to listen to what I chose, but at a certain point the protests started: “Come on, change … What balls! What’s this?”.
I liked those even more modern genres, I always listened to everything, but what I really loved was something else.
In November 2000 my brother Ernesto was born, when I was five and a half years old, so just when I was starting to hum.
A year later I started to get interested in Bocelli and Modugno.
And Ernesto in the cradle, listened to these melodies from me.
But the most beautiful thing I remember – and it is a memory of those that I have just printed in the head – is that when he was big enough to come in the small pine forest too, I made him listen to these songs that my friends did not appreciate, always with my radio with the knob.
We sat close together on the ground and, I kept the radio on my legs, or we sat on the swings with the radio resting on the ground and, while listening to the music so strange for our age….
I told him my dreams!

So, this is where it began. This was the beginning of their lives. For most people, where the guys are today, in their twenties, is when people start to find their way. They choose their careers and, they start thinking about their futures. But, no, not for our guys….
They’ve been there and they’ve done that.
This is Now

I have to tell you that I scrapped the second part of my story because this morning I woke up and found an interview in my messages that captured me. I listened to the first few minutes and said I’ll listen to the rest later but as the day went on, I found myself reading bits and pieces and became so fascinated that I decided to scrap the article as I had it and instead include excerpts from this interview, “4 chiacchiere con il volo” (4 chats with IL Volo) with Marco Montemagno.
I’ll be talking about this interview but, rest assured that Daniela will translate the whole interview for you soon.
A great interview!
Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard a lot about the Morricone project. What I liked in this interview was the guys talked a lot about their relationship. So that is the part of the interview I will be talking about here.
The guys talk about how they’ve grown. What their priorities are and how they got to where they are. This is only a small part of the interview but, I think you will enjoy it.
Piero said that there have been moments of tension and quarreling in the past, but since they have matured, this attitude has disappeared. Indeed, he says, that if he thinks of the last time they disagreed, he must go far back, because lately they no longer argue.
A meeting point and a compromise to move forward, clearly as a group, caused them to create three roles. Each has his own role and, there are those who commit themselves to some other things. It is a fact that all three are a little good, bad and ugly but these days they are happy and, they have become three mature guys who above all have a lot of understanding of each other.
It is clear, they were three soloists put together and when one is small you notice the various facets. They are more instinctive now. The fear of being judged is no longer there. Between them today they get along because they have learned to know you cannot expect to change another person or at least think that you think the same way so, you change so as not to offend the sensitivity of others. They say the most important thing in their relationship is “us three.”
The fundamental thing all three have learned in these years is gratitude. Gratitude and being grateful to someone and, also  grateful to oneself. This is what is important! It is important to recognize what others do for you. This is the thing that made them grow.
Of course, the guys always go back to 2015 when they felt this need to do something in their country because they feel the most beautiful thing for an artist is when you walk down the street and people recognize you. They don’t need to ask for an autograph. You know that look, that smile, they know who you are and, they congratulate you and that look is the most beautiful thing that can happen.
So, all this started from Grande Amore.  As a results, Italy has joined the world tour. The guys always wanted to have some concerts in Italy. After Sanremo they began!
For the guys preparing for the tour is as important as the tour itself! When they start to prepare, they look at the deadline and they say in the last tour you were here, I was there and so now they better understand each other. So, they decide, what is a better way to work. How do you best express the movements?
Everything is based on experience. They know each other now and it is beautiful to share movements. They have a dynamic on stage and clearly there is an artistic director there. Just last week they had a meeting to plan and define the production for the American tour. The whole lineup with the conductor. It takes a lot of patience to arrange everything.
Marco asked the guys, “How do you do a tour and every evening bring it to a level of a fresh performance?” The answer, “Every night you must come to the level that one expects so you must love what you do and prioritize it!”
They have an understanding between them and with a look they can say they are okay. If one feels bad, he can look at the other two and they will know how to help.
The guys explained, what they do is difficult. It takes a lot of perseverance.
The one thing they know for sure is, they have truly faithful audiences that have been following them for 13 years. They grew up with their audiences and it was really a new thing in the world to see three children as a bit reminiscent of the three tenors with the slightly big voices who sang the Neapolitan songs as well as singing Elvis.

They also joked with one another. Remember when Ignazio showed up with that bandage on his left eye. Ignazio pointed out the scar. It seems when they were playing one of their famous ping pong games, they were playing two against two. Gianluca shot a right, incredible, at a certain point he was standing next to Ignazio and Gianluca hit him. It looked like a crime scene in Turkey. Gianluca said he felt so bad watching Ignazio sleeping on the plane.
What I truly loved about the interview was it was very open and very truthful. The guys have truly grown in these last thirteen years. They have presented a united front, a true unity between brothers who love their music and love one another!
And so you have it! That was Then ~ This is Now!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at


42 thoughts on “That was Then ~ This is now!”

  1. Thank you again, I love reading these. Been with them for 13 years, loved them then and love them now. They are so talented. I knew they were headed for stardom., I will be a follower as long as God let’s me. Have a great life there is so much living for you three guys to experience. One of my happiest moments is when I tuned into PBS and they were performing , I figured God presented them to me as a gift to make my life happier, and I thank him for that… all the luck to them in the future.

    1. Hello Maureen, Did they have a PBS concert 13 years ago?
      Living near Chicago, I discovered them on PBS only a few years ago.
      Didn’t know what I was missing.

  2. Thank you. It is great to get to know these boys this way. They are remarkable. I’ve seen them in Toronto before all this began. Nice men.

  3. These young men are nothing but AMAZING , they love what they’re are doing, and that’s entertaining and bringing joy to their listeners.

  4. Such wonderful human beings they are and so tuned into each other’s feelings. They sense when something is bothering the other one and act accordingly. Whether it is a touch on the shoulder or a hand clasp, it works.
    Even blood brothers don’t seem to have that ability as they are usually jockeying for top place in the family. With these men, who grew up together, lived the ups and down together, they are unique and loved by so many because of their sensitivity. May they always stay that way!

  5. I’ve never heard the guys sing a song that I didn’t care for. I’m not a heavy opera fan, but like the lighter version songs, especially when Piero sings, I’ve heard both Gianluca and Ignazio sing also. I wouldn’t shut the door on any of them. Thank you for the story, interesting always. My “guys” somethin about my guys that makes me crazy in love with them.

    1. Like you I am not into heavy opera. I lean more towards Gilbert & Sullivan with a bit of Mozart, Verdi, Beethoven, and what have you thrown into the mix. Must admit that I now have a preference for Piero, though like you I wouldn’t shut the door either. 🙂

  6. Hi Susan
    Loved the story these boys are friends but they are truly
    brother who will do everything they could for each other and their families your stories let us see these boys who they truly are
    Love Jenny

  7. Thank you, Susan!

    Love the deeper insights into the guys’ lives when they were young. Would have shaped what they are today.

    Also loved how Gianluca was influencing his baby brother Ernesto with the music he loves.

    Reminds me of my own attempts at playing music to rock my children to sleep when they were babies. Also played music to them when they were in my womb. My 2 kids are now in their 40’s. One is now a voice n piano teacher, while the other listens to music of the older genres. My 9-year-old grandson has also been exposed to music from womb till now, and is learning to play the piano. I’m now trying to introduce him to the music of Il Volo. Started with playing their Christmas CD. :))

    Best wishes to everyone!
    Peckyin frm Singapore

  8. I received the new cd today before I left to drive to my family for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t wait to play it . What can I say! I have no words to describe how incredible it is. Beautiful, spiritual, soul stirring! Their voices! The orchestra! The arrangement for each song! WOW!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to see them singing those beautiful songs in person in Durham, NC, March 21, 2022!🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶❤❤❤❤❤❤❤😁😁😁😁😁😁

    1. Linda, I’ve been listening to the songs on the CD that weren’t in the concert. Are they trying a new style?
      I grew up when a lot of Italian-American singers were appearing on TV.
      The way IL Volo sings these songs remind me of them.

      1. What I want to know is where has Come Sail Away been hiding. There are a couple of songs with the same name, but they are definitely not the same song, nor are they credited to Ennio Morricone.

        I love all the new songs, but especially Come Sail Away. The others I have heard other singers and musicians preform, Soooo where has Come Sail Away been hiding?

  9. Thank you once again for letting us know their childhood thoughts. For those of us that have watched them from the very beginning, we have seen their treatment of each other grow as they mature. I am happy to hear that they don’t have the disagreements now as they had before. I, along with many others wish them a long and happy life as IL Volo with their beautiful voices making beautiful music together, and also as great friends when they start their own families as family mean so much to each of them.
    Thanks for passing all your inside information on to us that care so much for these fine young men.


  10. Thank you for the insight into the backgroung of our three singers, how their childhoods influenced their lives and personalities. Although I’ve read everything I could find about them, I love reading more – so thanks again ! Looking forward to more stories from your “fields”.

  11. Roz, I don’t know where Come Sail Away came from but I get filled up when I hear it each time, and play it over and over just for the feeling. I notice that Piero has turned down the volume when he sings his part and is sooo seductive and melancholy you want to cry! Or am I just an old softy???

    1. Well that makes two of us who are old softees. The pieces I play most often are Come Sail Away, Highland Cathedral, Il Silenzio and In Flanders Fields. They all make me fill up, but hey ho, I’m all for a bit of emotion. 🙂

      Hugs Roz

      1. where did you find the songs highland cathedral and In flanders fields by Il Volo

      2. Sadly Christine they don’t do those two songs. I can’t really imagine them singing Highland Cathedral, though singer who does sing it also sings the Italian Anthem. As for In Flanders Fields, only heard Eric Bogle sing that.


      1. Misspent! 😉 I think that is why I like the song so much, it reminds me of so many memories, some good, some bad, and some indifferent. The university of life in fact. 😉

        Hugs Roz

  12. Somewhere I got the idea that IL Volo was going to be on Chicago public television tonight. Does anybody have any information?

  13. Of the 14 Morricone songs, 4 were not written for a movie. Come sail away was not written for a movie. I am enjoying Piero using his “popular” sounding voice for this song. So tender. I thought at first, I would have a favorite, but now, I realize each song has a meaning of its own and I love them all equally. Music written for movies intentionally draws out our emotions and we may not even realize it. And now, Susan, I really appreciate your writing today. I could feel their brotherhood. I would add that not only are they brothers also the families are joined together. It is not just the 3. I thank the Italian culture for that.

    1. Who else has recorded Come Sail Away? I can’t find it on either Amazon music or Spotify, other than by Il Volo of course. The others with the same name are not the same song by any stretch of the imagination.

      I’m not sure that music from films has that effect on me. About the only one I would go overboard for would be The Wrong Box, but I can’t say it brings out any specific emotion for the film itself.

  14. Roz, you’ll never believe this!!!! You know the DVD I’ve waited three months for from Detroit PBS? Well, it arrived today!
    And guess what Detroit PBS is showing as a special tonight??? Il Volo sings Morricone in Verona!!!!
    I could have saved the $120.00 I paid for the darned DVD! But, I’ll watch it anyway.
    Thought you’d get a chuckle out of this.
    Hugs, Dolores (DeeBee)

    1. That sounds par for the course love.

      To say I am jealous would be the understatement of the year that fans across the water get to see these things, while us in the UK don’t. Sob, blubber, wail. I will console myself with the thought that there were a couple of things I wasn’t too keen on, one being Il Mondo. I didn’t much care for Riccardo Cocciante joining in.

      Hugs Roz 😉

  15. Boston PBS has finally aired the June 5 Morricone tribute from Verona this evening Nov. 27. I figured that sooner or later they’d use it as a fund raiser. Selling tickets for March 15 and their usual begging. Better late than never. Glad I didn’t have to wait for them to wake up.

    Thanks to you Daniela regarding the Ireland comments. One detail I never thought about was how and why they went where they went!

    One of these days Roz, we’ll talk about “Kathleen”.

    1. My mother nearly called me Kathleen, but she changed her mind (again) and came up with Rosalene. Of course it should have been Rosaleen, but I don’t think spelling was my mother’s strongest point. Soooo here I am a Scot with my brains bashed in (Geordie) with a misspelt Irish first name, a who knows what second name (Mae) and a Welsh surname. The latter acquired through marriage I might add.

      Hugs Roz

  16. It was on Seattle PBS station last night, too, with the same presenters that were on Detroit PBS. Go figure!!!

  17. People near Chicago: Once I really looked I found the concert on WTTW on Mon. night. Also it’s streaming on their site for members.
    So I’m all set.

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