Piero is a great storyteller! In his stories he recalls every detail. He makes you feel like you’re a part of his story. When the story is over you know the event as it happened and there is nothing more for you to know. He’s told it all. He is very sensitive and very emotional when he speaks about his childhood and his family.
So, without further ado, let us begin Piero’s Story in the courtyard of the town square of Naro.
The heat of the day has passed and, the time of rest is over and it’s time for people to come out into the square. On the bench nearby are old men. Piero is playing soccer with his friends. They are playing with his SUPER TELE (a plastic football). The ball flies off in the direction of the old men and they shout, “Slow with the ball or we will cut it.” The old men frighten Piero with their threat.
My name is Piero Barone. I was born on June 24, 1993 in the Sicilian city of Naro.
What can I tell you about Naro? For me, it is the most beautiful city in the world! There are dozens of baroque churches and above the city the Chiaramonte castle. Below the castle is the beautiful Valle del Paradiso with its green pastures and the green sea that separates Naro from the real sea… and there’s the Spring Festival Narese!
Piero would gather with his friends in the afternoon and usually they played until ten in the evening but there was always the fear that the old men would pierce the ball. Piero says, “Five or six years have passed since the old men scared me. The old men are still on the bench but now when they see me, they come to meet me, to greet me. Before, they scared me, and now they hug me and have that look of being proud and moved. It’s too strong for me! Yet, I still can’t explain why I become ‘weak inside’ when I see them.”
The truth is, I’m still that kid with his SUPER TELE.
I think it is an effort to remember when we were young. We were young the day before yesterday. In fact, all three of us, feel that time has run too fast. Yesterday we were children, and, in a moment, we found ourselves grown up with a great job to carry on. Its’ 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.
I remember in detail the years from one to fourteen. Details like how many euros of gasoline I put in my motorbike. That would be 10. Or how much gasoline I consumed each day.
I recall for a few months, during the summer, when I was nine years old, I went to work in my father’s body shop but because I had bad allergies and asthma I was not able to deal with the paints and powders so, the decision was made that I would go to work in my uncle Angelo’s (my mother’s brother) mechanic shop which was just in front of my father’s shop. I clearly recall, at half past ten, on time, my uncle gave me two euros and I went to buy a sandwich at the supermarket. The sandwich was ham and provolone. How good was that sandwich!
To Piero, these are things that have remained in his head and will not go away. Piero recalls a morning in 2001 when….
At eight o’clock, as I was getting ready to go to school, a phone call arrived, my grandfather Francesco, my paternal grandfather, died. I was small, but the pain was great because I always had a wonderful relationship with my paternal grandparents. These are the sad things that remain in my head and will not go away.
Piero’s grandmother Graziella was always proud of what Piero’s father had done in life and she is so proud of what her grandchildren do today. In moments of happiness Piero’s thoughts go to his grandfather Ciccio. He recalls his father saying, “What a disappointment that his grandfather did not get to enjoy all the beautiful things that have happened to him.”
What does Piero say about all of this …when you love a person, that good remains inside you, you cannot forget it anymore.
What I’ve done in the last five or six years, I tend to forget. Not because I’m not happy to have done it, on the contrary, I am, very, happy. It’s to have the life I have and have a dream come true: living with music was all I wanted.
Piero recalls a very sweet memory.
When I was a child, I visited my father’s body shop. The shop was, very, big and was full of cars and lots of noise. This was my “first stage.” I was not yet four years old, and I was starting to sing. My father lifted me up and placed me on the hood of a car that was jacked up and I immediately began to sing. The people in front of the shop looked out. Slowly one after another, they came out. I remember them, they stood there listening to me, their heads popping out of the door and, I sang and, it was the most natural thing in the world for me!
But what remains in Piero’s heart is what he calls the “campaign” of his grandparents.
How do I explain this campaign? I think ‘Campaign’ and I think ‘family’ a couple that cannot be divided.
Piero compares this campaign to his mother, Elenora, and his father, Gaetano. He sees their marriage as an example of love that he hopes to one day share with someone. Piero says, “I want someone with whom I can carry on that love that is so great even in times of difficulty.” But he is not naïve about love. He knows that in most families there are obstacles. He recalls “I happened to see some quarrels between my parents and, I did not understand. However, all things worked out and the two returned to be more united than before.”
Perhaps the, worse, moment was when my mother had serious health problems. My parents left me and my brother with my grandparents and, my father took my mother to Milan for treatment. They were always united and always facing difficulties together. A ‘campaign!’
My brother and sister and I are three pieces that cannot be divided. The oldest is Francesco he is 17 months older than me. I am very proud of my brother. Francesco graduated cum laude in Literature in 2015. I am very proud that he is working hard for his future. If he wanted to, he could travel the world with me, work with me. But, no, he wants to be known as Francesco Barone and not Piero’s brother and that’s why I respect him so much. I have realized my dream and, he wants to make his own.
Piero and Francesco resemble each other and when they were young their mother dressed them as twins. Piero say, “I tell you the same: same shoes, same pants, same shirt, we looked like twins. Everyone thought we were twins.”
And then there is Mariagrazia. She is six years younger than Piero and he says, “I love her endlessly.” While she was in high school, she lived at home with her parents. Piero regrets he doesn’t see her very often and he says, “I am sorry because I miss her very much.” Although the three do not see each other often, Piero says, “Francesco and Mariagrazia are my friends, the people I trust and with whom I confess, me.”
I am proud to say mine is a real Sicilian family, one of those that on Sundays reunites at the grand house, the grandparent’s house. There are great lunches from the first to the sweets, things so good that you cannot even imagine them. And the saga continues, when summer arrives and, everyone moves to the countryside.
From the time I was one until I was thirteen, I spent every summer at my grandparent’s house. And who was there with me, my grandparents and my great-grandmother Lina (my grandmother’s mother). I swear, they were perhaps the most beautiful days of my life, and I will never forget them.
Piero’s grandfather Pietro, his mother’s father, had made a campaign with his hands. He built it all, the house, the plants, the land, everything.
I could not wait for it to be Saturday morning when we lit the wood burning oven. I went to collect wood around the ground, I helped to light the fire, and I helped to take out the pizza. In addition to pizza, we did “u pani impurnatu”, which is bread baked in the oven. How good it was! It kept that good taste all week. The week passed and the next Saturday we started over again. The bread was beautiful, warm and fragrant. We also made the ‘impanate’ which are rolls of pizza dough with vegetables inside, a typical dish of my area. In short, I ate a lot of good things and it was visible. (I was really fat.)
The ‘campaign’ was also the kingdom of my minicross. I always had a passion for motorcycles and cars. And at age six or seven my father gave me a minicross. It is a cross-country minimoto, but without the gears. Why did I tell you that I spent the best time of my life in the country because I was there with my minicross!
I have lived the most beautiful adventures in the garden of the Riolo family?
The neighbors in the countryside were the Riolo family. They were the owners of the villa that was right next to Piero’s grandfathers house. They were the richest family in the country. They lived in Agrigento and since they only came to the villa once a month, the marvelous orchard that surrounded it was practically abandoned.
What was I doing then? I took the minicross, my grandmother would sit back, and we would get into what we called “a stradella pi ‘Riola”, the road of the Riolo. Their gardens were full of, very, beautiful fruits trees. The Riolo’s knew of the raids. My grandmother, Rina, told them that we went to collect the fruit and they gave her permission to do so. My grandfather had worked for Mr. Riolo for many years and they were family friends. But for me, what was I doing I was going to “steal”, it was a secret.
There were no fences, so you could enter from anywhere. The fact that we entered through the gate in the saddle of the minicross gave me the feeling of really doing something dangerous and secret.
“Grandma, where are we going?” I said, even before finishing the road.
“Lemon trees” she answered.
“Here we go!” And off we go to fill the bag of lemons.
“Grandma, where are we going now?”
“Pear trees.” And off we go to fill the pear bag.
There were peaches, plums, there were fruits of all kinds.
One day, the Riolo’s came to the countryside with us and they carried a bag of small, round, burgundy fruits. I asked Mr. Riolo, what are these things? I had never seen them before. They tasted very good, very soft, very sweet. They were jujubes.
“Where did you get them?” I asked.
“There are many trees like this,” Mr. Riolo said. And while Mr. Riolo explained it to me, I already saw myself under the tree picking up the jujubes.
But how did we get the bags home? I put a broomstick on the handlebars of my minicross, we hung the bags on both sides and, we walked.
Also, on the ground were walnuts and prickly pears. We picked up the prickly pears, and then with my great-grandmother we peeled them, she cleaned them without even putting on her gloves, at the end she scraped away the thorns from her hands with the knife, rinsed herself with water, all right.
In the countryside there were almonds. My aunt Lucia, my grandmother’s sister, had them on her land, and in the second half of August she had a “cugliuta di mennule” (almond harvest). There were always two, three huge bags to be shared for the whole family.
Who peeled those almonds? My great-grandmother. Stone fingers, tac, tac, tac. And after who divided the almonds from the skins? I. So, my grandma tac, tac, tac, and I divided. An assembly line!
This was what happened to us in the countryside. They are images that I will never forget.
So, we leave Piero chopping almonds with his great-grandmother and we go back up “a stradella pi ‘Riola” and wait for Piero to arrive at Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
The following is a video of Piero and Ignazio doing a duet at Ti Lascio Una Canzone. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have never seen this before. Two amazing tenors! Fifteen and sixteen years old!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure! Next time we will explore Gianluca’s beginnings!
What I have written here are excerpts from the book the guys wrote about their lives. “Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinario, La Nostra Storia.” (An Extraordinary Adventure, Our Story) This is just a small piece of each mans’ story. The book is written in Italian. If you can read Italian, I would highly recommend that you read it. It’s wonderful! If not, I can only hope that someday it will be translated into English. Or you can use Google Translate to translate it.
I also recommend you read their second book “IL Volo: Quello Che Porto Nel Cuore” (What I Carry in My Heart).
And let’s not forget the new album. Available on Spotify, Amazon, and other music media!
15 thoughts on “When They Were Children ~ Piero’s Story by Susan”
Hi loved the story about Piero and his minicross
Thank you Susan for the life of Piero,he is big on family and he had a lovely childhood by the sound of it ,his love also for his grand parents who also give him thier time ,i just wish he will find biggest dream [not only to find true love]but to sing in an Opera ,i think some times these tours are too long and i hope the dont get burn out, they are so precious with thier fantastic voices, regards
That is what bothers me too Pamela. I watched a video a couple of days ago from Brazil, at least I assume it was Brazil. He looked not only hot and bothered, but totally shattered as well. There are still two weeks of this tour to go, I just hope he gets through it ok, Ignazio and Gianluca too of course.
I enjoyed seeing and hearing that video of when Piero was 16. How far he has come!
From their new album Tan Enamorada has taken over my brain. Piero’s voice on that song is my all time favorite of his except maybe for some of his solos.
Thank you so much!❤️🎶🇮🇹❤️
Thank you, Susan, for this latest offering, which we look all forward to.
Roz told me that she sent on the translations to each story of our so talented men. She sent me a copy also and I applaud her for all her hard work, as Italian certainly isn’t her first language! Dol
Another great story by you, Susan! Piero is truly amazing! Good looks, great voice and a big heart!
Roz told me she had sent you the translation she had painstakingly done of Gianluca’s, Ignazio’s and finally, Piero’s sections of their book. She sent me a copy, also. What a great job she has done, as Italian certainly isn’t her first language! Way to go, Roz!! Hugs, Dol
Thanks sweetie, but I wouldn’t have achieved such good results with Piero’s section without your help.
I’ve only sent the one part to Susan, blessed if I can remember which!
I have found a couple of glaring errors on Gian’s section which I am trying to sort out, but this infernal cold just refuses to let me think straight. I check through his section properly, and Igna too, when I feel I can do them justice. 🙂
I did enjoy translating Piero’s part the most, even when he chucked in a Sicilian word just to confuse me, or even to see if I was paying attention enough to hunt around and find out what it meant. He also reduced me to tears several times. Not because there were any sad parts, quite the opposite in fact.
Have I got the energy to translate the other book as well? We shall see, maybe in due course of time. One thing I did find, I learned more about my word processing program in the last few months, than I have in all the years I have had it on my various laptops/PC’s!
Jó lenne ha magyarul is el lehetne olvasni,sokan vagyunk akik nemtudnak semijen nyelvet csak magyarul,
Thanks Susan, I always love reading about the boys, particularly Piero.
I wish he would/could release an album on his own, preferably singing opera, or something similar to the sort of albums Lesley Garrett releases. Just make sure it is released throughout the entire world, and not just confined to ‘bits’ of it as the latest album is.
Thanks Susan, these stories are a joy to rea., One thing, in addition to their voices, good looks and great personalities, that I love is their love of family! I think that’s what allows them to love all of us fans!! Piero, like Gian and Igna, are so sweet and lovely. I think we are all worried about their long tours and the wear and tear on them and their voices and how it must affect their loved ones. But I am sure they have a bit of control over all these things 🤞🏻.
It is a privilige and a joy to have met IL Volo guys. By a coincidence I happened upon a site on the Internet and saw and heard them sing. That is all it took, one song, three guys with voices of angels. I am 86 years old and in 2022 I took an airplane to Arizona and saw them in concert. I’ve been to concerts in younger years, but this concert here was the very best of the best! It is with pride and adoration for “my three guys” that I believe they are the greatest vocalists of all I’ve seen and heard in my life. Hugs and kisses to each one. Love my guys! Be safe always.
Thanks, Susan – and no, I’d never seen that duet before. It was a treat!
Thank you Susan for this beautiful insight – Piero is such a warm loving sensitive young man – one can not help but love him – he has an amazing family & he is the subject of great parenting – which is reflected in the beautiful manners & the gentle way he treats people – he has a stunning smile with beautiful eyes & besides all that – he has this profound gift he has been born with & shares with the World – I would love to be able to run up & give him a huge hug if only haha!! – thank you once again Susan for all your efforts – great reading!!
I loved reading about the earlier days of Piero’s early life!!! He is such a fine and talented man!!!