Gianluca’s Passions by Susan De Bartoli

Episode One: Gianluca’s Story
Passions are the stuff men are made of! Gianluca is all about passion. I sometimes find it so difficult to write about Gianluca because he really doesn’t share words! He shares passions.  Gianluca talks in passions, not words.
I know I’ve written about his passions before but that is who Gianluca is and that’s how I need to present him. Even when he describes Montepagano, he describes it with passion. Think about how he can make you feel the crow in flight and visualize the sea below ….
*To be precise, I grew up, in Montepagano, on a hill two hundred meters as the crow flies and ten minutes by road from the sea, and Roseto degli Abruzzi.
This is a beautiful vision that can only be expressed through passion, Gianluca’s Passion!

Where does this passion come from? We need to look back on Gianluca’s childhood and feel what he felt as a child. Gianluca lived a very simple life. He had a calm and peaceful childhood. He didn’t have the challenges that Ignazio had or the intense classical education that Piero had.
There were no great demands on him. Just beautiful childhood days.

From a very young age he sang but his songs were for his own pleasure. He just enjoyed singing and he sang when and where he pleased without a thought for anyone around him. Ironically, when he was called upon to sing, he was very shy and would turn his face to the wall and sing.
So, we can certainly understand how music is a passion for Gianluca, but he has other passions and all these passions combined make up the person we know as Gianluca Ginoble.

My name is Gianluca Ginoble. I was born on February 11, 1995, at the Atri hospital….
The accents are beautiful, the dialects are beautiful, but I can say that what I prefer is the Abruzzese? I am very proud to be from Abruzzo. I love everything about this region. And I like to bring Abruzzo around the world and keep it high.
I am right at the sea. I’m relaxing, I’m calm! There is a sea breeze and nothing else. It’s Thursday and I am practically alone on the beach. I’m fine, from God! I’m fine because I’m home.

So, we introduce another passion. Passion for his Abruzzo. Gianluca describes his home his country as a place where he is at peace….
When I come home, I relax and I am calm, as I cannot be anywhere else in the world. And now, I can say I’ve seen a lot of places in the world. Coming home to Abruzzo, I feel like I am on vacation. Montepagano is right on top of the hill facing the sea, it seems to look like a postcard. It is here that I can get away from everything and everyone and stay in peace.

Gianluca certainly has a great passion for Abruzzo but how does he see Abruzzo in the future….
Montepagano is a perfect place, a kind of paradise, but what concerns me is I see Abruzzo “emptying.” The boys achieve a diploma and go to study in Bologna or farther. This is not new this is something that I have seen since I was a child.

But what about Gianluca’s other passions. His passion for family and soccer. Let’s listen to what Gianluca has to say about his childhood and how all his passions combined make Gianluca who he is….
My life as a child seems so far away. I remember, very, little of my childhood! It’s like twenty years have passed but, only five have passed. 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 with a knob that turned to find the radio station. What am I looking for? The songs of Andrea Bocelli, my absolute idol. Or Domenico Modugno, or others of this kind. In the summer, I would take the radio along when I went with my friends in what we call la pinetina (the small pine forest), that is a park with wooden games and tables and with lots of green space. Like today I was looking for music, for songs that inspired me and made me dream. My friends would listen to my music but, they liked Eiffel 65 and music from the early 2000s, and so they would tell me, come on, change…! What is this? I liked modern genres, I listened to everything, but what I loved was something else.

In November 2000, when Gianluca was five and a half years old, his brother Ernesto was born. Gianluca tells us how he shared his dreams with his brother, Ernesto and how he became Gianluca’s closest friend and confidant….
I was five and a half years old when I started to hum. A year later I started to get interested in Bocelli and Modugno.

So, Ernesto’s is in his cradle and he’s listening to me sing these melodies. The most beautiful thing I remember, and it is a memory that I have printed in my head is when Ernesto was big enough to come to the small pine forest too, I made him listen to these songs that my friends did not appreciate. We sat close together on the ground, and I placed the radio on my legs, or I sat on the swing with the radio resting on the ground and we listened to music that was so unusual for our age. I told him my dreams. I do not think I’ve ever had this confidence with anyone, and even today, it’s like that with my brother. The result is Ernesto has a natural talent for music. He has something “musically speaking,” both when he strums the piano in the living room, and when he sings. Who knows…studying? Today I trust him as I do not trust anyone else. After an exhibition I go to him for his opinion. Ernesto, how did I sing? Did you like the performance? He answers, well, yes, maybe you’ve been a little waning there. Ernesto always understands and gives me his opinion. He has never studied music, he has never studied singing, but he always knows how to give me the right advice, the right vision. It’s like when we sing together: I play the melody and he immediately makes harmony. At his age, I did not do that. I think the radio did well by him.

As I grew older, I became more passionate about singing, including the great American classics, first of all Frank Sinatra.

I’ve never studied music, if I have to tell the truth, but the music at home has always been there. My grandfather Ernesto has been a musician since he was a boy. He played the contralto flugelhorn in the band of the town, he toured all of Abruzzo doing performances with the band and has always been a lover of the opera.

My father Ercole, studied music, played drums and sometimes he still does. Let’s say he’s more rock than grandfather!

Dad and mom realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years. But, as it has always been, they let things take their way without ever forcing me.
Gianluca’s grandfather was the first to think of bringing him closer to music. He had a classic taste, more popular” to say, he is one of those gentlemen who fifty years ago listened to Luciano Tajoli, but he is also an opera lover.
So, around the age of eight or ten, I began to listen to classical music, opera, especially Luciano Pavarotti, and some genre of music from the Fifties to the Sixties.

I took the tape recorder and put the cassettes in, my parents told me, it seemed like I was immersing myself in those notes.

They tell me that, when I was three years old, I sang ‘O Sole Mio’ in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who, sitting around the bar table, were listening to this little boy with such a particular voice.

This was my first audience but, of course I don’t remember it. My grandfather wanted me to study music, he always told me: ‘Gianluca, study the piano, study an instrument.’ I’ve never done it. It would be a dream to sit down on the piano and startlaying and singing. Let’s say it’s one of my next goals: learning to play the piano.
As we know, since then Gianluca has studied piano.
While my grandfather made me listen to classical music, Pavarotti and music from the Fifties-Sixties, my father made me feel Fabrizio De Andrè, Francesco De Gregori, Giorgio Gaber, and Antonello Venditti.

So, let’s say that as a child I had a beautiful musical culture. What was left of that period? The classical opera no, because today I do not listen to it, it is not part of me and, I do not feel it particularly mine. The only opera singer I keep listening to is Andrea Bocelli, but I have come to him by another road.
So, we begin to understand how Gianluca’s grandfather and father were very instrumental in Gianluca’s musical education. Though he never had a music lesson in his life he lived with two men who shared all their musical expertise with him, and this was the greatest foundation for Gianluca’s musical journey which would lead him to the stage of Ti Lascio Una Canzone!

What about Gianluca’s education? It’s seems he really wasn’t all that crazy about school but he in fact he had a great knack for languages something that would come in handy when he began to tour….
I never liked school. I was a lazy man and I’ve never been a great scholar. But in spite of it, I had good grades. I liked algebra in middle school. But most of all I had always been fascinated by languages: Spanish, French, English. I did not have a hard time studying them, I am naturally inclined to study languages. I remember that when we sang the first songs in English and Spanish, I was the one who took the least time to do the right phrase, with the right pronunciation, because I immediately feel the musicality of foreign languages. I contribute this to listening to Sinatra who had perfect pronunciation and I understood every single word of what he sang. It was a great way to learn pronunciation and even the songs.

After middle school I did not choose to go to linguistic high school, it was only because I thought that with my work I would travel, and I would learn the languages directly.
In 2009, I enrolled in a classical high school as a privatist to study Greek, Latin and French translations. This is also difficult. I liked Greek more than Latin. Then unfortunately I had to stop in the second year, I could no longer continue because the work was too demanding.
If I have any regrets about my school years, it’s that I never studied music when I was ten or eleven. But there is still time.

Between the age of eleven and thirteen, Gianluca enjoyed playing soccer, long games with Pokemon cards and, and always music!

So now we come to Gianluca’s great passion for soccer. Not only did he have a passion for it, he excelled at it. Listen to how Gianluca talks about soccer. There is passion in his words….
Football has always been a great passion of mine. This too, like music, is a family passion.
My father is a big fan of Pescara, as is my grandfather. They were also big fans of Vialli, no matter which team he played on because he was a myth for my father. And because Gianluca Vialli also had a name that appealed to both my father and mother, when I was born, they named me Gianluca. Let’s say that name aside, my father gave me a piece of football culture. I am a big fan of Roma football, before Il Volo, more so. I watched all the games, I did not miss one, and every time Totti beat a penalty, I covered my head with my arms and, if I heard the scream from the television, I screamed from home. But now there are work commitments and that prevents me from following my favorite team. Even now, despite the commitments, I continue to play football as soon as I can.

When I go back to Montepagano I always try to organize a game with old friends with whom I trained in the youth teams of Roseto.

How did I play soccer? I was good, come on, I did not like losing, I wanted to score goals by force, I never passed the ball, and when I had the ball, I scored. Let’s say that I was a bit “instinctive” even on the football field.
Once when I was playing in Pescara there was a score of 4 to 4. I had already scored two goals, but the draw was not enough for me, I wanted the win. Only the field was difficult, it had rained, so there was a lot of mud. What happened? I pull, huge slide and I fill myself with mud, from head to toe. What do I do? I start shouting, ‘I got dirty!’ In all this, it must be said that the game was true, even if we were very young. There was the championship, with the ranking and everything else, it’s not that you could take and do what was going on in your head. The referee shouts, ‘Get up, what are you playing ball.’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I’m leaving, I’m all dirty!’ He shouts, ‘get up and go to the locker room.’ Not for nothing, they don’t call me the ‘little Cassano’ (famous Italian soccer player) for nothing. Cassano was so good and, he was so restless!’
Another time we were at the Borghesiana in Rome, at a national tournament. The Roseto was also in series C2 and even in the very young there were good coaches, competent, good, that when they told you one thing, that was that, because they knew what they were talking about. In that game at the Borghesiana, I do not even remember, against who we were, I did not score goals, the coach took me away from the game. At the beginning I came back on the bench nice quiet, but after a moment they did everything to restrain me. “I want to go in! I want to score!” I was shouting. I kicked the coach. Now obviously, I would not do it again, even if football is still my passion.

Want to know how good Gianluca is, watch this video of the guys playing soccer for charity.

Let’s listen to what Gianluca had to say about the match. This is one of my favorite videos. The guys gave it their all. Gianluca proved that he never gives up until he gets his goal!  Ignazio was also a great soccer player as a child, but he had to give it up when he started studying music. Piero never played soccer but his performance in this match was superb….
You cannot imagine the happiness of playing in the ‘Partita del Cuore,’ (Match of the Heart) a Telethon for Charity on June 2, 2015, at Juventus Stadium. The stadium, in fact, made Ignazio happy more than anyone, because he is a huge Juventino (a big fan of Juventus). I was more excited about having been called up for the first time in the National singers and even more for being able to score. The match was against the team of Champions for research, all great sports champions and big names in the show, from Alex Del Piero to Pavel Nedved, from Jorge Lorenzo to Liam Gallagher of Oasis. What a dream it was! The stadium was full of people cheering crazy. My team was losing, when I came in, we were 3 to 4 and not being able to do anything, apart from shouting directions to my team-mates on the pitch, it made me feel even more strained. It’s like, I know how to play football, you see the others, think about what you would do for them and tell them. No, you scream it, otherwise they will not hear you. Ignazio and I shrieked like crazy to Piero, and then Piero and I shrieked like crazy to Ignazio, but ‘my legs are trembling’, I had to run, enter the pitch, I wanted to score.

The coach made me enter in the 83rd minute.

We were, as I said, under a goal, but I do not like losing football. So, I took the ball and I scored. What magic! The stadium was screaming, the guys ran to hug me, it was almost like winning the Sanremo Festival again.
So, Gianluca has scored not just in soccer but in music. An amazing young man with a tremendous voice. 

We’ve come to the end of Gianluca’s story for today but let’s think about this for a moment. If Gianluca hadn’t become a singer, would he have become a soccer player? He was really good as is evident in the video!
Gianluca’s story today was really about his passion for family, country, music and soccer. All the things that make Gianluca who he is. If we take all those passions and roll them into one big ball we find the romantic Gianluca. Isn’t romance about passion? I think Gianluca’s Passion explains why he is so romantic!
How do I relate to this story? For one thing, my paternal grandparents were from Abruzzo. Their town of Introdacqua is about an hour from Montepagano.
The other thing we have in common is I had the same feeling for music that Gianluca did as a child. Every day I woke up singing! I, like Gianluca, loved to sing for myself. I didn’t need an audience. It was only later that I began to sing with friends of mine. My great teenage years. And yes, I still wake up singing every day.

*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. “Tres Voces Un Alma.”
Available on Spotify, Amazon, and other music media!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!  Next week we return to Naro and continue our journey with Piero.
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
Credit to owners of photos and videos.

15 thoughts on “Gianluca’s Passions by Susan De Bartoli”

  1. Such a lovely story about our Gianluca, Susan. Thank you!

    I have always thought he was the epitome of passion, through his singing, his feelings for people, for his beautiful country and his feelings for his fellow Il Volo brothers, Ignazio and Piero.

    Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he is beautiful to look at and his attitude towards his fans is outstanding, as I have had the pleasure to experience in person. As much as I like and admire Igna and Piero, Gianluca will always be TOPS with me! Hugs, Dol.

  2. Susan — Just read the article re Gianluca. Definitely was fantastic. So interesting. My take Gianluca was gifted with music from the day he was born. Thank u for sharing.

  3. What can I tell you, Susan, you know how I feel about GG……this was an amazing accounting of what his life was like! It’s no wonder he’s so close to his family, loves his home land and feels close to God and Peace only when he’s home. It must be very difficult for him to be away so much, even when doing what his heart desires.
    You also picked all my favorite songs he’s sung except MUSICA PROHIBITA (?)….like Sinatra GG can
    sing anything! Cannot wait for the next round of stories about our guys by them! Thank you so much.
    With affection to you, Carol💖💖💖🎼🎤🤍💙💛🦋🙏🤗❤️

    1. I’m off to PA this week. My speaking engagements start again. I’ll be at the Padre Pio Foundation Dec 1st & 2nd. Meet the Author. Book signing and M & G. Let me know if you’re in town!

  4. I am so thankful to you for your stories. You bring the feeling of being with these incredible artists and human beings. There are so few young people that you can look up to; so much gossip & bad publicity they bring and so much looking for the big payoff. These boys have fine minds & are good citizens and set great examples for young people. I have never had this amount of “passion” for following any artist before Il Volo. It has never ebbed or been a disappointment in any way. Keep writing your stories for us. Thank you 🙏

  5. Sempre é com alegria que leio seus relatos sobre os rapazes. Cada vez mais, aumenta a minha admiração, respeito e amor, por eles. Que Deus os abençoe sempre

  6. Hello Susan. Thanks for this fine presentation of Gianluca. Yes he is indeed a passionate and sensitive man – and I can only say: And I am passionate about Gianluca❤️

    I love all three guys – they are definitely a “package deal” – but it was Gianluca that did first catch my attention. Even just a mere teenager in the first video I watched with the guts – there was something special about him. Yes, his voice is like melting honey to my ears, and yes even as 16-17 of age he was already very attractive – but that wasn’t it – there was something mystical about him and the way he looked into the cameras. Somehow he spellbound me and has kept doing it ever since. Now knowing so much more about him he has won an even bigger piece of my heart as indeed he is a wonderful person in all aspects too.

    You have so very well described and revealed his special personality – but I should like to add yet a passion or two of his as indeed he is a multi faceted man that contains so much more than his face value. At the first glance he may appear as a “super model” due to his looks and his interest in the latest fashion trends – but he is so much deeper – in fact I really don’t know any young man that reflects so much about life and the many whys as Gianluca. Reading Goethe, Kirkegaard and the big Russian authors in his spare time. He is a thinker looking for answers and understanding . I even recall him saying last year that he would have liked to discuss various big questions with the Pope in private… He is so much more than his pretty face. And he challenges himself in an attempt to figure out who he is as a person crossing borders in doing so. To me he is a truly interesting person that I enjoy to follow and see evolve – only I fear that one day he may be very hurt as this world is cruel…
    Thanks again Susan for your fine story. All the best – Kirsten🇩🇰

    1. Kirsten,Maybe we could start a Gianluca fan club! I feel much the way you do…..there is something mystical in his eyes, I think he’s an old soul! I pray you aren’t correct about the world hurting him but share the fear. Gentle and sensitive people are easy prey. Let’s hope that’s not what occurs! Your description of Gian is spot on!. Carol🤍💙💛☮️🦋

  7. Great reading this story as I’m sitting here on a chilly fall afternoon. Thank you Susan for sharing these stories with us.

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