Summer Is Here! Choose Your Brew!

Ann (Anncruise) sent in a photo of a delicious looking cup of Italian iced coffee.  I love iced coffee year round, which got me wondering about how many other types of  summer Italian coffee drinks there may be out there.  Here is but a few of the many tempting delights I found!  Thank you Ann, for the wonderful idea to research yet one more thing we love about Italians…their specialty coffee drinks!

As the temperatures begin to rise, bars all over Italy start serving iced coffee, a beloved summer tradition many Italians enjoy. How do you like yours?



Italy’s Answer to Iced Coffee


It makes sense that the Italians would invent a most exquisite coffee drink for the summer. It’s a shaken-over-ice, slightly sweetened espresso called shakerato, served in a stemmed glass, prepared in bars all over the county.

The shaking process yields a thick crema that floats on the espresso. In Italy, ice is viewed with suspicion, and you’d never be served a tall glass of coffee over lots of ice, the way iced coffee is in the U.S. Too dangerous!

(From The Atlantic.)


Coffee granita


You have surely heard of granita, the Italian dessert consisting of sugar, ice and flavorings. The original recipe comes from the town of Messina, in the region of Sicily – that’s why it is also called “granita siciliana” – and it derives from sherbet, an Arabic dessert. Today we teach you how to make a real granita siciliana al caffè (Sicilian coffee granita).

The original granita siciliana is made from three simple ingredients: coffee, sugar and ice.

Prepare 10 ounces coffee using a good Italian blend. A strong Arabica blend is the best choice. In a small pot, pour 16 ounces water, 9 ounces sugar and one vanilla bean. Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely melted and has turned into syrup. Take out the vanilla bean. In a steel pan combine coffee and syrup and stir using a wooden spoon. Let chill, then put the pan in the freezer.

Now comes the most important part. After one hour, take the pan out of the freezer and use a whisk to scrape the ice. Put the pan back in the freezer and do this every 30 minutes for three or four times. Serve the coffee granita in small glass cups and add some fresh whipped cream on top. Garnish with coffee beans or a dust of cinnamon powder.

Fun fact: granita siciliana was historically eaten along with fresh crisp bread. In today’s cafes it comes served with “brioscia”, a typical Sicilian pastry.
Enjoy your granita al caffè!


Coffee frappe


In Italian it’s called “frappè al caffè” and it’s usually consumed during an afternoon break rather than as a dessert. A coffee frappè is a milkshake made with Italian espresso, milk, sugar, ice cubes and chocolate powder. Some recipes also feature two scoops of coffee gelato


Coffee soda


This coffee drink can’t be found everywhere in Italy: it’s a recipe from the southern region of Calabria, where it’s known by the name of Brasilena. It’s a sweet, cold drink made of Italian espresso, sparkly water, sugar, caramel and lemon juice


Coffee cocktail


How about an alcoholic drink with your favorite Italian beverage, to enjoy with your friends after a nice dinner? To make a high-quality coffee cocktail you will need an Italian coffee blend, vodka, coffee liquor and some ice cubes



I do not know what Piero and Max  are drinking, but it sure looks like it could be some sort of coffee cocktail!!  Looks good what ever it is!

(Credits to Filicori Zecchinis Usa…one of the most ancient coffee roasters in Italy, founded in Bologna in 1919.)




Well I don’t know about you,

but I am ready to settle down in a comfy lawn chair on the beach

gazing out over the Adriatic Sea,

while sipping on my coffee cocktail listening to Il Volo.

(Oh yes, and it would be perfectly alright with me if that nice young man in the blue shirt and glasses wanted to sit right next to me.)

  Anyone want to join me?





VERONA Concert, May 19/20, 2017 ~ Personal Review by Patrizia Ciava

arena di verona - leonora



On the 19th and 20th  of May, the pop-lyric trio Il Volo held two concerts, both sold out, at the Verona Arena, as part of their world tour “Notte Magica: Tribute to the Three Tenors”.

The Verona Arena, a temple of opera for excellence, offered an ideal setting for Il Volo’s concert “Notte Magica: Tribute to the Three Tenors”, an event where the magnificence of the location, the charm of the music and the extraordinary voices of the three performers blended in a perfect combination, stirring enthrallment and marvel.

Since afternoon, it seemed that every element wanted to help create an ideal atmosphere, starting with the abundant rainfall during the day, which abruptly ceased, against every forecast, shortly before the concert began, giving a starry mantle to the public who had traveled from all over Italy and the world to acclaim the three young artists.

Anyone walking around without knowing which show was going to be on stage, might have thought it was an international gathering. Groups of people of different ages and nationalities talked to each other in a jumble of English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and even Japanese

What was above all so striking was the diversity of the audience; entire families with young children and elderly parents, young and not so young couples, adults in evening dresses and festive teenagers showing off t-shirts and bandanas with “Il Volo” written on them.

The newly arrived looked around eagerly, searching a familiar face met at a previous concert or on social network; some American fans proudly showed bunches of concert tickets, stating that they had followed their idols, first in the United States, and now in Italy.

Looking at the mixed multitude who crowded the Arena stalls area and terraces, whose only unifying element is the common passion for Il Volo, it is only natural to wonder what these artists have that is so special. How many singers are able to move fans from one continent to another? Nowadays, virtually no-one. 

The orchestra goes first on stage and intones the notes of Verdi’s “The Power of Destiny”, almost as if to emphasize the mysterious power of fate that has brought three teenagers with prodigious vocal talent to meet in the same television program, with the same unusual passion for classical music, overturning their lives, those of their families and the thousands of people who would otherwise never have met each other or be there in that moment.

Finally in they come, Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio, welcomed by the roar of the crowd. To see them on that stage, so young, fresh and relaxed, it seems impossible that they are the stars of that magical evening. The feeling that pervades those who attend their live concert for the first time is to finally understand the mystery of those voices that have bewitched millions of people around the world.

Gianluca sings “Nessun Dorma” and it’s as if a spell is cast on the Arena. His deep, warm, velvety voice seems to creep into the folds of the soul, wrapping each of those present in a poignant embrace. The giant screen projects his intense, almost painful expression; Prince Calaf seems to have emerged from Puccini’s opera to seduce the beautiful Turandot. Ignazio takes over, whose vigorous and clear tones are reminiscent of the flow of a rushing river, evoking the figure of the bold knight who wins the princess thanks to his boldness and his passion. Then it’s Piero’s turn and the millennial stones of the Arena seem to flinch and vibrate under the power and intensity of his voice; you can imagine the princess Turandot who surrenders to the strength and security that emanates.. . Three different interpretations of the same aria, up to the climactic moment in which the three voices join in sublime harmony, each remaining distinct yet, at the same time merging with each other to create a perfect chemistry The audience who had listened in sacred silence erupts into a loud and heartfelt choral ovation, the first of a long series.

For more than two hours, the songs continue uninterrupted, with three voices, duets, solos, with no faltering in the performances of the three young artists, simply impeccable in interpretations, tones, and vocals. The expressions of the spectators denote a bewildered admiration mixed with disbelief, as if they were really watching a magical show and couldn’t find a rational explanation for what they were witnessing. The question that seems to float in the air is: “is this really possible”?

Gianluca’s voice reveals surprising qualities, possessing a sweet and caressing tone but at the same time, profound and sensual, that can suddenly explode with unexpected strength reaching tenor notes without ever losing its sweetness. His passionate performances leave the audience almost overwhelmed, unable to contain the intense emotion he is able to arouse and, when in the finale of “Aranjuez” he maintains the last note and increases its volume and intensity without taking a breath,  the stunned spectators hold their breath too and then explode into an endless and liberating applause.

Ignazio has the ability to transform himself, in a fraction of a second, from a funny joker into a masterful interpreter of very demanding pieces where he and the music become one. His surprising vocal extension, its versatility, its ability to reach high-level notes while at the same time maintaining a clear and light weave of pop singer, make his performances incomparable.

When he sings, the audience seems to be caught by a temporary estrangement, as if the music and his voice fills up every corner of the mind and leaves no room for anything other than emotions.

As for Piero, his extraordinarily full-bodied and mighty voice seems to come out of his mouth as breath comes out of other common mortals’, without any apparent effort. Sometimes, watching him on the screen, he surprises you as he is following what is happening in the audience, smiling or nodding to those who he recognizes in the crowd, while continuing to sing without skipping a beat or missing a note. In his solo songs, his virtuosity reaches its highest expressiveness. His passionate interpretations of “No Puede Ser” and “E lucevan le stelle” make chills run down your spine, the screen enlarging the sparkle of emotion shining in his eyes and reflecting in those of the spectators in an ideal bond, and when his mighty and boisterous “E muoio disperato!” (I die in desperation) resounds in the Arena, it seems that even the walls are aggrieved  with emotion and sadness.

The concert ends with the triumphant final of a “Grande Amore” sung with the audience and the Arena lights up with thousands of lights that seem to compete with the stars in heaven. Finally, the audience moves reluctantly to the exit, while the echoes of the concert still seem to linger in the air, as if wanting to hold on, a little longer, to the charm of that night where the ineffable beauty of a timeless music combined with that of three extraordinary voices have been able to recreate the magic once again.

Translation by Susan J. Ambrosini and published on All About Il Volo on June 10, 2017.





Notte Magica, June 15/16, 2017, Dusseldorf and Hamburg, Germany


nottemagica header

Sprechen sie Deutsch?

Team Il Volo had a few days of “relax time” and then were off to thrill the people in Dusseldorf and Hamburg, Germany  this past week.  Do you remember back in 2009 when they were asked what the most difficult language was to learn?   Yes, it was German.  All three of them agreed and attempted to say a few German words.  But, that was then and this is now…world class singers with style and grace…at ease with knowing bits of language from all over the entire world!    

Getting ready for the concert.  Piero with Master Diego Basso.


Yep, tie looks straight!



I am sorry some of these videos are a little blurry, but the music is sublime!




This next video is about 10 minutes long, but worth watching it to the end.  It’s so cute, they ask the audience if anyone speaks Italian, then English, then German…then they say that Piero will speak Italian, Gianluca will speak English and Ignazio will speak German to them!  The audience loves it when Ignazio speaks his German!



Ignazio hamming it up in Hamburg!

Don’t know where they were when this photo was taken, but I just had to end the post with this heavenly vision in BLUE!


And now it’s on to Moscow!!


Credit to all owners of videos and photos.





Un Amore Cosi Grande

Daniela sent us this wonderful sneak preview of the movie the guys have been working on.

By now we all know that ILVOLO will take part in a movie entitled UN AMORE COSI GRANDE, which will be released in 2018.

This article was published a few weeks ago, that speaks of the plot of the film.

From the giornal THE ARENA


The protagonist is Vladimir, a young Russian who lives with expedients to keep himself and the mother who has been a great soprano.

His mother convinces him to go to Verona in search of his father.

In Verona Vladimir performs his singing talent and conquers young Veronica and attracts the attention of ILVOLO manager who is looking for a debutant to launch in the trio concerts.

Of course the story will be much woven, and will be shot in St. Petersburg.


The guys with Vladimir’s mother


Gianluca and the actress who interprets Veronica.


Vladimir e Veronica


Un Amore Cosi Grande, is a film that wants to relaunch the lyrics to bring young people closer to this world up to now unknown.

Tell precisely of the “grande amore” of the protagonist for the work but also for his mother and his girlfriend.

The music of the movie will be drawn from the operas as well as some songs IL VOLO.
On the set, between a slate and the other, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca, gave some explanation about their role “Recite next to professionals, but in a role that favors us because we remain Il Volo, essentially doing what is better: singing”.

Behind the shots appear at ease. “The lights we are accustomed,” say in choir boys de Flight, those of the stage of the Arena then know them very well, in fact you have organized various concerts, the last last 19 and 20 May.


Thank you, Daniela!  




Nutella Dreams Are Coming True!



On their Italian journey last year, our world travelers,  Jana and Lorna,  stopped by the little cafe in Montepagano and enjoyed Nutella crepes.  Little did they realize that soon Chicago would boast the first stand – alone permanent Nutella cafe!

But first a little history on where Nutella came from…

Pietro Ferrero, who owned a bakery in Alba, Piedmont, an area known for the production of hazelnuts, sold an initial batch of 300 kilograms (660 lb) of “Pasta Gianduja” in 1946. At the time, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing.[3] Ferrero instead used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy (northwest), to extend the limited chocolate supply. This product, called “Pasta Gianduja” was originally sold as a solid block, but Ferrero started to sell a creamy version in 1951 as “Supercrema”.[4]

In 1963, Ferrero’s son Michele Ferrero revamped Supercrema with the intention of marketing it throughout Europe. Its composition was modified and it was renamed “Nutella”. The first jar of Nutella left the factory in Alba on 20 April 1964. The product was an instant success and remains widely popular.[5]

And now fast forward to May 31, 2017…

America’s first Nutella cafe opens!



People enter the cafe through a door shaped like a Nutella jar, which also includes pendants shaped like hazelnut flowers and a ceiling designed to remind customers of Nutella waves.

The 2nd floor of the cafe features a fireplace.

Their menu goes beyond sweet stuff with savory sandwiches and salads made with the hazelnut spread, including panini with speck ham from the same Italian region where the spread originated.

Nutella has held cafe pop-ups across the country but nothing permanent like this new one in Chicago.  Chicago is well known for it’s flourishing food scene, so it was a top choice for the Windy City to be home to the first cafe.






So next time the guys are back in the U.S.A. those of you in Chicago,  be on the look out for a famous Italian singer who just happens to love Nutella.



You just never know who you  may run into at this very cafe!!

Nutella Cafe, 189 N. Michigan Ave., (312) 729-5186, open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

For those of you from out of town, if you take the train, the Nutella Café is just a little over a mile from Union Station and about a 30 minute walk.  If you walk, then you won’t feel too guilty about eating there!  🙂

Buon appetito!

Photo and story credits to Eater Chicago, Wikipedia and Facebook.



Il Volo ~ Inmenso




If I’m exhausted

You reap my strengths

If I am defeated

You give me hope

If I die of anguish

You make me happy

You never left me

And you never would

If one day the road

It gets blurry

And I’m scared to complain

My sobbing assaults me

You hug my soul

I fall asleep in peace

I have never left

Of feeling your relief


Your love is immense

Who harbors me, calms me, heals me

The evils inside


Your love is immense

Unbreakable, your infinite love

Your love is eternal

Yes sometimes my anger

Clouds my sight

Conversations with me

You give me a clue

You wipe the tears

Your love is perfect

You wash my feet

And you blow my breath


Your love is immense

Who harbors me, calms me, heals me

The evils inside


Your love is immense

Unbreakable, your infinite love

Your love is eternal

Your love is immense

It transforms my life

It makes me happy

I dream you awake

Your love is immense


Your love is immense

Immense until the end

Who harbors me, calms me, heals me

The evils inside

Your love is immense

Your love is immense


Here is a nice little bonus.  A promo video Il Volo did to promote the CD.  Even though it took them 6 attempts…they did it!


Jose’, also known as El Puma (cougar) is a Venezuelan singer and actor. 

Il Volo collaborated with him this past April to create this beautiful song.

Daniela says…”I like it very much and the guys are very good and they give a great contribution to the song.”


Videos and translation provided by our very own Flight Crew Italian Extraordinaire, Daniela Perani!




Verona Concert, May 19, 2017~by Valeria Bosch, Daniela’s friend



“Dedicated to all the friends I promised a comment on the first Verona concert.”  Valeria

Shakespeare said that there is no world beyond the walls of Verona (“there is no world without Verona walls”, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, scene III) and although for me, Veronese of ancient generation has always been this way, never was true like today  May 19, 2017: in fact it is concentrated here, in Verona, indeed in its ancient Arena, the world that tonight I want is mine, the world I want to enjoy, that I want to savor and centinine! For more than two years I have been following and loving the music of three young people who, by absurdity, can say I am almost familiar with my own children because they daily inform me about their travels, their concerts every day listening to their songs , I rejoice in their success, get angry and, if necessary, fight if they are unjustly attacked and offended. For the first time tonight I will see them alive, but I keep my emotions closed within me, in fact only for affiliate love is accompanying my son, he is not their admirer, indeed belongs to the category of those who mock them without knowing them . We arrive at nine o’clock, I just have time to notice some ladies who are frantic and think, smiling, that surely they are Facebook friends who have finally met in flesh and bones!

The only person I recognize is the Torpedine manager who stays alongside the stairs to the stage side nervously. And here’s the lights on the stage, the orchestra, the director and then … they, here, strangely cool, are like I’ve seen them a million times on Youtube, TV, DVD, being just a few feet away Away does not send me any particular emotion. Appearance. And they open their mouth: it is Puccini’s “NESSUN DORMA”, and suddenly everything changes, it’s kind of a miracle. Angels from the sky have come down to sing, in this cold evening in Verona, their voices, as superb as they can be recorded, are all another story, the volume of voice and harmony that invests you and crushes you improbable!

First, Gian’s voice, warm and sinuous, envelops you and gulps you in soft velvet shawls, you almost want to be able to distract you more and more, it’s just perfect in tones, in passages, in harmonic turns; then Ignatius enters that voice at the same time fierce and vigorous, but also moved and passionate, who takes you by the hand and carries you to flowering meadows, crystal clear waters and blue skies, a voice that passes so passionately in some passages be able to unleash the emotions from the deepest, the most hidden desires, an ancestral emotion you would ever have thought to be able to try. Finally he closes the circle, Piero. Dear Piero, I have to apologize to you, I send the ash head and I regret it all the times that in my comments I wrote that your voice, while being beautiful and powerful, could not exercise on me or the seduction of Gian’s voice, not the passion of Ignatius’s voice.

When you started your part, I was literally annihilated, a voice so full, with such a harmonious power, a stamp so beautifully deep as I did not expect it: your voice was reeling from the Arena filled with centuries and I with the fantasy I saw the gladiators stop fighting and lions sit down to listen! Then I turned my gaze to my son and did not believe in my eyes. He was stunned, astonished, looking at me as if to say, “but how is it possible?” And I realized that the walls had fallen, that IL VOLO had won another battle! The audience toll is overwhelming, applause and ovations will continue without counting them until the end, in the Arena the “Magic Night” becomes even more magical, in few other places in the world the show is dual, one takes place on the stage, the other on the poles: the glimpse of the full moon to the unbelievable is of those that are not forgotten and the two shows blend together to almost make you feel lost.

 The concert continues without a moment of failure, without the three boys having a fall of yield, a voice fogging: and so they pass all the arias we have so many times enjoyed, three voices, two , the solos. I was a little disappointed that, with respect to Florence,” Mamma” was so tender, but obviously some cut was needed to make room for those who were in the end the most moving songs of the evening: a wonderful “Caruso” of to which the boys make an interview that, I am sure, would be applauded by the same great Lucius, and the incomparable “Ave Maria, Mater Misericordiae”, which Gian, Ignazio and Piero perform so inspired to transform it into an immense choral prayer, capable of touching the heart of anyone, believing or not believing it is. Towards the end of the concert I reflected on how far the guys made the concert from Florence to today, their improvement is palpable, they emanate security, strength, mastery of text and notes: their music accomplishes the miracle of carrying you while listening to them, on a happy island, a kind of island of blessed ones where only the law of love is concerned and its expressions are beautiful and good.

Their voices are at this time the most beautiful we have in Italy and I am proud of the thought that in a few days they will shine the Italian name in the exclusive music temple that is the Royal Albert Hall in London. The concert is at its ultimate performance, and while the happy boys leave in the middle of the general jubilation to a crazy and festive ending with their “GRANDE AMORE”, I, who feel the hostility of my son now dissolved and indeed I became a little girl, I got up and tried to go under the stage, but a severe bodyguard blocked me, and then I just have to look up to Verona’s sky, that sky that tonight had to overwhelm us with thunder and lightning, and instead of the stars, because he felt obliged to adapt to the magic and the charm of a night like this. And as we leave the Arena, the echoes of the last notes go out in the air, but not in our hearts where they will be long, to preserve the magic effects of the wing music that tonight was donated to us.

Note from Daniela:

As promised I am sending you a wonderful review of my friend VALERIA BOSCH of the Verona Concert 19 May.

When I asked Valeria if I could send you the translation, she told me she knew Flight Crew well and that it was honored that I sent it to you.

Note from Jane:

I have left the translation just as it is as it adds to the beauty of the story.  Thank you Valeria, for taking us with you to your incredible night under the stars.  Once again, a huge thank you to Daniela for translating!