MEMORIES OF A LONG AGO TRAVEL TO ITALY

Here is a lovely story of a trip to Italy submitted by Gina Hanna . . .thank you for sharing it with us!

I have enjoyed (with envy) all the posts by everyone who has made a trip to Italy and had a chance to get to an IL VOLO concert.

I doubt I will be making a trip to Italy AGAIN so I closed my eyes and tried to remember the trip I and my family made to a beach on the ADRIATIC SEA.

Now you must UNDERSTAND we were In the US Army stationed At Bad Kreuznach Germany and on a budget. So this story will not have much glamour.

My friend Anna, who was stationed in Frankfurt, invited her elderly aunt, who had just married, to spend their “honeymoon” in Italy. Then my husband’s young brother decided to come over to Germany and go with us to the beach. My three young children invited one of their good friends.

We had shipped over an OPEN ROAD camper as our transportation during our Army tour so we packed the camper with everything we thought we could not live without, packed the kids, my husband’s brother Rick and picked up Patty on the way to Italy. Anna with her aunt and new uncle drove her car.

About a hundred miles on the road Rick discovered he forgot his passport on the dining room table. Same was discovered with Patty. We knew that Italy would let us in but we might have problems coming back to Germany. Decided to keep going.

I will not describe the trip with four children ages 9 and three 6. “Are we there yet?”, was their favorite conversation.

We had rented two cabins on the beach. One for Anna and one for us. Within seconds the kids found out that the Italian children (girls)  did not wear tops of their bathing suits. Modesty was the conversation but finally settled on the individual’s choice. The group of four was made up of three girls and one boy.

After a group conference it was decided to go to VICENZA to look around and then go to the Army base laundromat to do all the sand-soaked clothes. While there we went to a ceramic factory and “loaded” up on pretty bowls and ceramic chandeliers.  Back to the beach.

Vicenza on Map

Vicenza on Map and website – http://www.comune.vicenza.it/

Città di Vicenza A collage of Vicenza showing: the Villa Capra “La Rotonda”, the classical temple in the Parco Querini, a panorama of the city from the Monte Berico, the Piazza dei Signori and the Renaissance Basilica Palladiana. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicenza

One more group conference and the decision was to go by boat to VENICE. We squeezed on this hot boat and hoped we make it  to see a gondola. The boat stopped right at San Marco’s square. Everyone was hot and thirsty so we sat down at one of the tables on the square and ordered Iced tea. WELL besides busting our budged due the exorbitant prices the “Iced Tea” was warm. “Refreshed” we then made a tour of interests on the square and wound up at a crystal store.

The tourist blood boiling in our bodies we started the shopping. The store had several floors and the higher the more expensive. We shopped on the first floor and again  bought a chandelier. To this day I do not know why the fascination with chandeliers since we were living in base housing and crystal chandeliers did not fit with the “decor”. A year after trying to clean all the tangling crystals I sold it to an unsuspecting newcomer.

St. Mark’s Square

St. Mark's Square overview– St. Mark’s Square overview-

St. Mark's Basilica– St. Mark’s Basilica-

St. Mark's Campanile– St. Mark’s Campanile-

Doge's Palace– Doge’s Palace-

The Basilica of San Marco overlooks one of the most beautiful squares in the world, a real marble salon, the city center for centuries. Next to both the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, all the most important religious and civil ceremonies have always been held there and now the Piazza San Marco is considered the city’s main symbol and tourist attraction.

This great square overlooking the water is a mixture of spaces, volumes and styles: the Procurator’s residence, the bell tower, the Doge’s Palace and the Sansoviniana Bookshop.

On Ascension Day, the Doge and the city’s most important members got on board and sailed out to the Adriatic, to the Lido port. Here the Doge threw a ring, symbolizing union between Venice and water, into the sea and pronounced the solemn formula: “We wed you oh sea, in the sign of true, eternal dominion“.

Now to the highlight of the trip. A RIDE IN A GONDOLA. We found an empty gondola and asked how much? The price was astronomical so we went into the bargaining mode.  This poor gondolier gave in and took 8 of us for one price and then got yelled at by the other gondoliers for taking so many and and not sharing.  We had a “wild” ride thru some canals and were happy to get back on solid ground. Where was Ignazio singing “O Sole Mio”? Not born yet since this was 1975.  All the movies presented a different picture of a gondola ride.

Gondolas

A Practical Boat for Romantic Venice

The gondola originated in Venice, Italy, that magical city situated on a series of six islands at the edge of the Adriatic Sea. The “streets” of Venice are waterways, making boats the official transportation choice.

Of all the differing watercrafts in Venice, the gondola is the most well-known. It is an ancient row boat, evolving over the last 1,000 years to become the sleek, graceful shape you see today. Its unique, asymmetrical design allows just one oarsman to navigate the narrow Venetian waterways using a single oar. http://www.gondolaromantica.com/gondolas

Time to go back to Germany. Problem Rick’s lack of a passport. After checking we were told that he had to go to Trieste and get the papers to get back home. He went on his own and came back with the right papers. We hid Patty in the camper’s bathroom.

We packed, loaded all our purchases in every space we could find and hoped no one would stop us and ask why we had all these chandeliers. Anna left her purchases with us.

As it turned out no one asked us for passports at the German border and no one checked the van for the chandeliers.

IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ITALY ON A BUDGET, BUT THE BEAUTY AND HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY DID NOT CARE AND SHOWED US ITALY’S BEAUTY AND UNIQUE CHARM.

We loved every minute of the trip and started talking where to go next.

 

Credit to all owners of photos, websites and videos.

Are You A True Italian?

I’m sure almost all of us here at the Flight Crew would like to feel a certain kinship to Italy and the boys of IL VOLO. Whether we are Italian by blood or by desire, the feelings are still there and grow stronger as we watch them mature and take on new projects.

My church choir got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity 10 years ago to travel to ROME, sing three times in two different churches (including St. Peter’s for Pope Benedict at the New Year’s Day Mass 2008), visit many of the famous landmarks, walk along the little side streets and eat Italian food! It was not only a moving experience for me because of my faith, but I also felt like I belonged there. I was so at home and never wanted to leave!

I do a lot of genealogy research for my family so I thought I should do the DNA test. I knew I would have a lot of Eastern European in me from my Mother’s Polish roots –  I am 55% Eastern European. And my Father was mostly Irish/Welsh/English –  I am 27% Irish and 12% English. There are four other trace regions listed and one of them is 2% Italy/Greece! I knew it! It’s not much, but it’s there!

So in that spirit here is an Italian quiz idea from Ann Cruise. Grazie Ann! I took the quiz and, without cheating, got 80% Italian! Not bad for someone with only a smidge of Italian ancestry! 😉

Give it a try! It’s fun! And you might learn something new!

Italian Quiz

Click this image to take the quiz.

Credit to Brainfall.com

Jana & Lorna, the Adventure Continues (about a year later!) The Road to Silvi, July 5, 2016

 

 

Let’s recap a bit, shall we? I know it’s been a while. I can’t believe it’s been over a year now.  I guess I’ve just been a bit busy?

We started in Florence, then Venice, and Verona. We are now on our way from Verona to Rome….

We caught our train from Verona to Rome, a 3-hour trip, and were looking forward to the long ride to get a little shut eye, as our train LEFT at 7am. We safely arrived in Rome; again, enjoying a little prosecco on the way. We had reserved a car at the train station and it was in Lorna’s name, since she was driving. I could not drive a manual transmission. We managed to find our way to the main street and waited in line for the taxi. I had the address, but could not figure out where it was from the train station. We 20160705_141159did not see any signs for auto anywhere. After the nearly 30 minute wait for the taxi, in the hot sun, we we finally get in and show the driver the address. He says, “that is around the block!” Ok, then take us around the block. He still charged us 10 euros to go around the block. He dropped us off and I still did not see any signs for cars.  I walked inside. There were tons of crowds. I figured we had to take a number and there were different ones for each rental company. I told Lorna to go in, since the car was in her name and I’d watch the bags. By now it was nearly 11am. Our train got there on time at 10am.

After about an hour, it was finally her turn. There were only 2 or 3 people ahead of us, but it took forever! About 20 minutes later, we had our paperwork and out the door we went. Lorna said it was out the door, a few turns down the block and the garage was on our right and the car on the 6th level. We walked in circles and could not find it. I went back to the car place and asked again where it was. The address was on the back of the paperwork – duh! Ok, Google maps, once again, to our rescue! As we were walking, we ran into a Swedish couple, also looking for this same garage. We finally found it and the elevator and rode to the 6th floor. We finally make it! By now, it’s about 12:30p or so. I had reserved the car for 10:30a. We were tired and hungry. We go get the car and all they had left was a Peugeot SUV! Not the size car you want to drive around in Rome! When we finally got on the road, it was about 1:00pm – nearly 3 hours later!

Getting out of Rome was a little harrowing, but we made it to the highway and we were on our way. I texted Dani to let her know we had finally left Rome. Silvi was about 2.5 hours due east of Rome. I told her if we weren’t there by 4:00pm to send out the guard!

The road to Silvi was gorgeous.  I had brought our solos/duets CDs to give to Dani and we played them on our way.  Ah, what could be better than being serenaded by our guys on our way to the sea?  It was a sunny day with blue skies and big, puffy clouds and the 20160707_090845.jpgmountains – oh so bella!! About 3:30p, Dani texted back and asked us if we were there yet. We took a slight detour, but got back on the main road again. We were getting pretty close and started seeing signs for Pescara. By about 4p, we finally made it to our hotel. We saw glimpses of the Adriatic Sea – it was breathtaking!

Our hotel was on a high hill! Lorna put it in gear and up we went. Good thing she was driving. It was probably about 4:30pm or so by the time we got settled into our room. I 20160707_065720.jpgtexted Dani and told her we had finally arrived. We decided to meet at Murphy’s Irish Pub, on the beach, at 6pm. Ok, here we were in Italy and we were eating at an Irish Pub – the irony!! We had a short nap and then made our way down to the beach and restaurant.

Down the hill we went, and down the street, down another, hang a left and then a right, and there we were! I had seen pictures of Dani, so I had an idea of what she looked like and she, me. I think she spotted us first.

We decided to stroll the beach, first, while it was still light outside and I took a few pictures. I took my shoes off and was walking in the sea. The water was warm, just like bathwater. We sat down for a little bit, taking in the sights. The beach was pretty20160705_195855 deserted by that time in the evening. I picked up a few shells for souvenirs. We were getting really hungry by then, so we went back to the restaurant.

We looked at the menu and it was full of various pizzas and calzones and appetizers. We decided on the famous arrosticini to try. I couldn’t resist passing up a calzone called “Boschetto,” which consisted of spinach, mushrooms, cheese, and sausage. Italians don’t seem to be as much into tomato sauce as Americans.  Lorna opted for a hamburger and fries. Dani had a pizza with just cherry tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. We all loved the arrosticini, as you can see from our picture! 😊

Of course, everything was delicious and the conversation lovely. Dani speaks very good English, so it was easy for us to understand her. Before the evening was over, we decided 20160705_212047to meet the next morning and go into Montepagano to see if we could find where Gianluca and his family were…

We went back to our hotel, completely exhausted and fell into bed. We slept so long, we literally slept through our breakfast time, but it was the first time in 4 days that we didn’t have to get up before the crack of dawn! However, I did get up at the crack of dawn, so I could take a few pictures of the sunrise. Very similar to many 20160707_054121-1 - Copythat Leonora posts! After I took my pictures, I promptly went back to sleep!

We called Dani when we finally woke up and agreed to meet at the bottom of the hill where our hotel was. Dani did not drive, so her sister dropped her off. We then went to lunch at one of the restaurants on the beach. On the way, we went down this fairly narrow, one-way street. The street dipped and there was this really low overpass. We had no choice, we had to get to the road that ran with the sea, and we couldn’t really turn around. So, we forged ahead and as we went under20160706_131635 the overpass, all we heard was this frightful rumbling sound as we drove, very slowly, ahead. Lorna and I were fearful of what we might find when we got out, imagining the whole roof of the car being scraped! Cautiously, we got out and held our breath and looked.   Nothing! We realized it was just the antenna that was hitting the top of the overpass. Whew! Escaped that one!!

Dani asked us what we wanted and she ordered for us. I had some penne with tomato sauce and some prosciutto with melon. Dani had some kind of pasta with clams or some type of seafood with these little shells and I think Lorna just had prosciutto and melon. The wine and pop were so cheap. I think I drank a whole bottle of frizzante though! After lunch, our adventure to Montepagano awaited. When we left that morning and were getting closer to the restaurant, the skies looked a bit 20160706_140229threatening, but it was pretty far off. As we left the restaurant, it was getting closer and closer, as we drove toward the little mountainous town. As soon as we hit the street that went uphill, these big splats of rain, bombed our windshield…. TO BE CONTINUED….. Next – A stroll through L’Amore Si Muove!  🙂

Scala Dei Turchi ~ by Daniela

Today we saw Piero having fun with his friends on a water bike (his passion).

 

Piero and his friends were going to the sea in Sicily in front of the area called Scala dei Turchi.

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LA SCALA DEI TURCHI

 

The Scala dei Turchi is a rocky wall (cliff) rising over the sea along the coast between Realmonte and Porto Empedocle in the province of Agrigento.

The Scala dei Turchi has a wavy and irregular shape, with sweet and rounded lines.

The name comes from the past raids of Turkish pirates, who were sheltered in this area less than the winds and representing a safer landing.

The beach is famous for the candida and dazzling color of its rocks; is a protected area but in the past it has been threatened several times by tourism …

 

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In the first video, Piero says:

 

“Guys, Good morning to everyone, from La Scala dei Turchi

 

And one of his friends says:

 

“Look what spectacle we have here in Sicily guys”

 

In the second video Piero presents his friends.

 

Credit to all owners of videos and photos.

 

 

~~Jane~~

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?

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Italy’s Answer to Iced Coffee

willinger_shakerato_post

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

coffee-granita-siciliana

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

coffee-milkshake-recipe-coffee-frappe-smoothie

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

coffee-soda-recipe

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

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

 

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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.)

 

mottagrossa-11

 

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?

~~Jane~~ 

 

 

 

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

1-unamorecosi

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.

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The guys with Vladimir’s mother

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Gianluca and the actress who interprets Veronica.

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Vladimir e Veronica

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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.

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Thank you, Daniela!  

~~Jane~~