Category Archives: Our Stories

Through the Fields of My Mind: She Stopped the Presses by SUSAN

Today I would like to give you a heads up about what will be going on at Flight Crew for the next few weeks! Our dear Pat has had surgery (which went well and is on the road to recovery!) and we will not be posting for a few weeks but, we will report any new and important news to you. What will go offline are our stories which require a lot of detail in order to be posted. This will be a short silence and when we come back it will be in full force.

Continue reading Through the Fields of My Mind: She Stopped the Presses by SUSAN

Part II: Verona, Italy September 24, 2019 (2 yrs in the making!) – The Story of Jana, Lorna, & Rose Marie…

Ok folks, here’s Part II:

And the adventure continues….we got up early and walked a few blocks to the nearest McDonald’s.  Was interesting for me, as we had to order through a kiosk and then pick up our order and drinks on the other side there.  Just after we got there, I guess the student tour entered and it was filled with “kids!”  Older teenagers I guess, maybe college-aged… we had a nice breakfast and had some time to stop for some souvenirs of Verona after, at a little store.  Bought a few postcards, magnets, and a mug for my neighbor who was taking care of my cat.  We managed to find our way back and decided we needed to pack up and get to the train station.  It was a sunny/cloudy day, so far.  We had wanted the owner to call us a cab, but for some reason, I still do not understand, he said he couldn’t.  I was afraid my limited Italian would be fruitless, so they said to just wait down by the taxi stand.  Ok, I was ready first, so I went down to make sure I could get a taxi and wait for the girls.

(I realized through this whole ordeal, I did not take any pictures!!)

Remember this was a Wednesday morning, about 9a or so.  Lots of traffic around and lots of taxis.  The taxi stand was just the other side of the Arena di Verona.  There were several people standing there waiting for a taxi.  The girls finally made it, the others were starting to give up, as no taxis were in sight!  Everyone left except for us and it was getting late.  There was this one poor guy from the middle east who had lost his passport and he needed to get to an embassy or something, we felt bad for him.  We waited a bit longer and then we finally gave up.  It was getting late and we were going to miss our train, if we stayed much longer.  I got out my trusty Google Maps again.  It seemed the train station was not too far away, so we decided to walk.  We did not have much choice.  Unfortunately, we did get turned around a few times and everyone we passed, we asked about a taxi and the few people I saw, kept saying the closest taxi was the train station, which is where we were headed!  As we walked, and walked, we realized we were definitely going to miss our train.  I contacted Daniela in a crisis mode, but she said she could not come and get us.  So, we kept trudging along.  I felt bad for Lorna, as she was hanging behind both Rose and I.  Every so often, we had to stop and wait for her to catch up.  After some more twists and turns, we finally made it to the train station – I swear we were walking for over an hour or more.  We were so exhausted by the time we got there!  We had definitely missed the train.  The only positive thing was that the train to Desenzano was like a commuter train and it left every half hour or so.  I had contacted Daniela and was concerned our pick-up time had changed, thinking we were going to be on a later train now.  Ok, THIS is bizarre…. As much as I had most everything planned down to the last detail, I somehow had sent Daniela the “wrong” time to pick us up from the train – or so I thought!!  Ironically, I had sent her the “right” information, so she had already planned to come and pick us up at the “later” time of our arrival!  So, all in all, it worked out well. Was it fate we missed the first train??

 

I was still not feeling all that well and was still taking it quite easy.  I was walking slow and Lorna, even slower.  It was a pleasure to finally meet Daniela and she helped us with the bags, etc. and she took us to our hotel.  Desenzano is a beautiful city.   The sun had come out and it was a gorgeous day.  I’ve already decided, if I ever go back to Italy again, I’d love to spend a few days around Lake Garda and maybe go around the perimeter of the lake in a few hotels.

Our hotel was very nice, although the room was not all that big.  The bathroom was almost as big as our room!  Daniela took Rose and I up to the roof view – very spectacular, although there was a slight haze over the lake.  Lorna was completely exhausted by the time we got to the room and just plopped in the bed and did not move.  I think Daniela had some bigger plans for us when we got there, but I was not feeling well and Lorna was stuck in the room, so instead, we had lunch at a restaurant next door to the hotel, and then walked up and down the boardwalk of the lake for a few hours.  Lunch was very nice, had pasta, salad, and wine.

Much to our surprise, Daniela’s English was very good!  She kept telling us she really did not speak English very well.  Let me tell you, her English was WAY better than our Italian!!  We got by pretty well and I threw in a bit of Spanish, which she also understood.  Every so often there would be a word she did not know, so Google Translate to the rescue!  We were out there for several hours and then stopped off at the little store where they sold gelato and bought a few snacks, to go along with our gelato.  We ate that, and went back upstairs to join Lorna.  We had also brought her back our leftovers.  She ate a little and her gelato and cappuccino we had brought back for her.  We were pretty tired after that, so we said our goodbyes to Daniela and she left, as she had to get back to Brescia, which was about an hour from there.  We wished we could have seen more of the city and surrounding areas, but things don’t always go according to plan – even as good as mine were!  Haha!

 

Our nap lasted til quite late and we really never ate any dinner and just snacked on the chips, etc. we had brought back to the room.  Later that night, I was feeling really, really, bad.  So bad so, that I was looking to see how I could leave early and go back home.  Unfortunately, there was no logistical way I could get back to any city to catch a plane and head back home early, so I just took it easy.  I almost went to an urgent care there!  I managed to have breakfast.  Rose had called Daniela and Daniela called the hotel and told them I was not feeling well and they might need to call a taxi to a hospital.  Luckily, there was one not too far away.  One funny little thing, the concierge person came over to me, not realizing I was the one that was sick and asked me about me – lol!  I told him I was the one not feeling well.  They were very nice.  I managed to have breakfast and a bit later Rose and Lorna came down to join me.  We sat there for a while, until I felt confident enough that I felt ok and did not want to go to the hospital.  Again, it was a beautiful day and a bit of the haze had lifted and I was able to get in a few more good shots of the lake. I was sorely disappointed in the weather though.  Although gorgeous, it was still hazy and you could not see the beautiful mountains, I knew were there!  (Luckily, Daniela had checked out the Hotel Aurora for us earlier and took some beautiful pictures – so I have included them as well!)

We had called the taxi and it was there to take us to the train station.  Very small little train station area.  We got a snack for later and then waited for the train.  Of course, the train was late…. But was glad when it finally got there and we were on our way back to Verona.  We had a few delays along the way there, also, but had nowhere to get to, so no big deal.

It was after 1p or so by the time we got back to Verona and we had a few hours to kill.  The Verona station is nice, so we ate at the little café and I bought some chocolate bars and had a glass of wine.  It was finally time for our train to arrive. It was nice to finally get on the train and relax a little, on the way back to Rome.  The last few days had been exhausting for both Lorna and I.  Rose, many years older than the two of us, was in much better shape!

It was late afternoon by the time we got back to Rome and our last hotel.  We had been so exhausted after the last walking tour, we had cancelled the last tour I had planned for Friday.  This last hotel was a bit strange, as it was encased in this grotto of sorts.  You had to go through this big gate with this security code and they hadn’t given it to us.  Luckily, someone was coming out and we got in.  They were a bit wary of us as we didn’t know the code, but I guess we looked harmless. Lol!  After a bit of confusion, this lady finally came down and took us up to the hotel, which we later found out, really only had like 4 or 5 rooms.  They had expanded and taken over this other area, also another hotel.  When we finally reached our room, it was really small.  It had a queen size bed and a twin size rollaway.  So nice Rose didn’t mind the twin bed!  We did kind of have a balcony, but it was dark inside the covered grotto area.  Not the best design.  We left the heavy drapes closed for most of the time we were there.  Again, a really nice bathroom.  Tiny fridge and coffee maker.

The room was kind decorated in an art deco style with mirrors and gold, and a diamond-like mirrored light fixture.

After a short rest, we went down for dinner at the little restaurant recommended and down the street from the hotel.  We ate outside. Had a nice dinner, then walked across the street to a gelato place.  Believe it or not, I was too stuffed to even have any gelato!  ☹

I think we turned out the lights shortly after that!

Next morning, breakfast was at 7a and we were up shortly after that to get ready, as it was only served until 9a, which I thought was not very long… for once, we got to enjoy breakfast and not have to run for a train!  Lol!  Breakfast consisted of a grouping of sunny side up eggs, lots of breads/sweets, rolls, of course cappuccino, various juices, some fresh fruit, etc.  It was pretty tasty.  We got there on the late side, but others were coming in after us!

It was a beautiful day, so we decided to explore the city!  I was so glad I had cancelled that other tour.  You always want to pack in as much as you can, so you can see everything… but this was really the only day we had of “had to ourselves” to explore what we wanted, without any other obligations – trains or tours!

So, we asked for some directions and they said we could go either right or left out from the hotel.  We chose left and started our walk up the street.  There were lots of people out, it was a lovely, sunny, Friday morning!  Shortly after our journey started, it seemed to slow down and this HUGE crowd of protesters gathered and were blocking the streets!  I guess you could say it was peaceful.  It mostly consisted of young people, college-aged, likely, holding signs about pollution and being a part of the solution, not the problem, etc.  We had planned on walking to St. Peter’s square, but apparently, that was where the crowd was going.  There were also polizia cars, trying to move the crowd along.  You could barely cross the street!  We finally gave up and did cross the street, as there were shops over there.  OK, we hit a few souvenir shops on our way back and I did a lot of “damage” at this one Murano glass store.  Nice older lady – found out (later when we went back) she was actually Jewish!  Bought 3  little Murano glass clocks, some necklaces, and little pendants.  Then as we made our way back to the hotel, I picked up a scarf, a few t-shirts, a purse, and I think that was it!  Did buy a few Murano glass pendants at the first shop.  😊

We got back, exhausted, but happy.  Rose was in such better shape than Lorna and I.  We had to keep yelling for her to wait for us!  😉  I’m sure we must have eaten something when we got back, but I can’t remember now.  (ok, it HAS been over a year! Lol!)  I do know we just rested and took a little nap.  I’m sure we had a snack of something.  We may have raided the little goodies in the room.  Lol!  After our rest, I kept thinking and thinking about that Murano glass shop.  Lorna was still tired, so Rose and I ventured out again.  When I went back, I bought those other items mentioned and bought myself a large necklace of Murano beads in amber/black.  Gorgeous of course, as well as pricey!  But, I figured, I may never come back here and what is a few more dollars spent!?  We got back and Lorna was still resting.  I think we decided to have an earlyish dinner and ate at a different restaurant down the street.  Inside, this time.  😊  Rose treated Lorna and I.  I had pizza, and I think Rose and Lorna had some kind of pasta.  We also ordered a bottle of Moscato.  I was still not feeling well.  (I had no idea at the time, my affliction was really acid reflux and all the tomato-based stuff I was eating, was what was killing me! – as I just found that out THIS January 2020!)  So, again, after dinner, they went for gelato, and again, I was not feeling too keen and didn’t get any.  I did take some pictures though!  😊  I didn’t even finish my Moscato! ☹

An early departure again, for us.  Again, I think we missed breakfast again, since our flight left about 11a and we had to get to the airport.  Luckily for us, this hotel called us a nice taxi, was more like limo ride, in a older model Mercedes or Lincoln.  Nice, sane driver, even in a suit.  We had no idea, we were so close to the coliseum! We had only gone a few blocks, and around a few corners, when it popped into view!  It was a sight to behold.  So, took my last picture on the way to the airport.  The driver took a bit of a scenic route to the freeway, through a park of sorts.  It was very pretty….

Since Lorna was not feeling well and walking a bit slow, and I was not my best, we requested wheelchairs for when we got back to Detroit.  They asked if we wanted them for Rome, as well, but we said no.  After our at least mile plus walk to get to the terminal, I wish we HAD asked for wheelchairs.  

We finally had a chance to get a bite to eat at a little café area near the gate.  I got a sandwich and a chocolate filled croissant for later, and a bottle of water.

It wasn’t long before we could board the plane.  Rose was not feeling well and wanted to upgrade to first class.  Luckily, I think there were only 2 seats or so left and she was able to get one of them.  So we kind of said goodbye and we boarded the plane.

Ah, finally on our way…. As luck would have it, there was a delay!  Like, an hour delay!  Oh man, I was so miserable.  I was having another attack.  Fortunately, at least the movies were working, so I chose some dumb movie, I don’t even remember what it was.  I was so miserable until we were finally airborne and I was able to get my prosecco!  It’s the oddest thing, they say that carbonated beverages are a trigger for the acid reflux, but the prosecco calms mine down!  So, nearly 2 hours of feeling miserable, I finally got some relief!  We were finally on our way.  Lorna and I were sitting next to each other and Rose was in first class.  Lorna put on a movie and then dozed off.  I did the same, on and off.  It was an extra long flight, with the hour delay on the ground, but I think the pilot made up some time, as I don’t think we were that late coming in.  I think Delta buffers in a lot of extra time, for delays, etc.

Our good friend Chris, picked us up from the airport and dropped us safely to home.  As always, there’s no place like home and I was so glad to get there and see my kitty!

 

All-in-all, we did have a good time and I hope Lorna and Rose Marie, agree!  I just hope, the next time, if there is one, I am a lot healthier!  No surgeries, 6 weeks prior, no acid reflux – trying to control with diet, was on Prilosec for like nearly 6 months, until I was reading and you really are not supposed to be on it for more than 2 weeks!?  And no more blood clots (this past January, so now on coumadin for likely life..).  Seriously, I’m so tired of being sick and doctors and hospitals!  I know I’m not the only one with health issues, but these past few years have been so rough, with my job depression, then the hysterectomy, the acid reflux, the blood clots (found another one in October on TOP of the other one that will never go away), and chronic, intermittent leg aches and pains from the blood clots.  I would just like to be able to go and enjoy myself and be healthy at the same time.  If I go again, I’d of course like to see Sicily, perhaps.  I’d also like to spend more time around the Lake Garda area.  It was so beautiful and the little town we stayed in was so quaint.  Of course Brescia is beautiful and I know Daniela was disappointed she could not show us around her city.  I love meeting my new Italian friends, Daniela, Dani, and Veronica.  Sadly, I missed seeing Veronica this time.  Would love to visit the Adriatic coast again, as well.  I know there are so many beautiful places to see in Italy and you can only do so much in a week or so.  Hopefully, the world will be a better and healthier place in the next few years!!

Thank you, Daniela, for being so gracious and understanding to Lorna and I.  We wished our health had been better and we could have done more while in Desenzano!  But it was lovely to just walk  along the lake and sit in the sunshine!

 

Until, next time???  Ciao a tutti!!  🙂 

 

Jana

Part I: Verona, Italy September 24, 2019 (2 yrs in the making!) – The Story of Jana, Lorna, & Rose Marie…

Yes, so sorry all, it has taken me 2 years to finally put this together.  Hard to believe that 2 years has passed… so much has happened to the 3 and 4 of us and to the world!  Just a little tidbit fact, if you watched Jeopardy a few nights ago, one of the clues/answers was Ennio Morricone!  🙂  Apparently, he had to wait until he was 87 for his first Oscar!


Ok, on with the story…. sit back and relax for a few – this is part I.

It all began, a little over a year ago (ok almost 2.5 years ago now!) – Lorna and I decided to go to the Verona concert in September 2019!  We, along with many others, were so bummed they were not coming to the US last year, so we decided to go to them!  Just about mid-February, we bought our tickets!  (with  many  thanks  and  help  from  my  friend  Veronica!)

Along the way, Rose Marie P. from Ohio, decided she’d like to join us and leave from Detroit, as there were no direct flights out of the Cleveland area.

So, I started making plans for the 3 of us and we were soon on our way.  It seemed so far off this time, compared to my 6-week whirlwind planning in 2016!

Alas, along the way, I misplaced my passport.  I looked and looked for a few months and gave up, thinking I better just get a new one.  As luck would have it and everyone told me, as soon as I got the new one I’d find the old one.  I was sure I’d never see it again.  It was in the apartment somewhere, but was lost to my unfortunate housekeeping skills.  But, like a bad penny, there was this ONE box I did not look in.  It was literally, under another box that I had looked in, but tucked away under a table.  As soon as I saw the box, I knew the passport was in there!  Lo and behold, there it was!  Now I had 2 passports!  😊  Ok, I put the new one in a safe place, until we left!

I decided this was going to be a more relaxing trip this time, not a different city every few days… Besides, we really only had 6 days in Italy this time.  Our itinerary was somewhat packed, but we only went to Rome, Verona, Lake Garda, back to Verona, Rome, and home.  I booked a few walking tours, and did the Vatican museums, as we kind of missed that last time.  Lol!

As a few of you know, I had some somewhat serious health issues plague me last year, with major surgery just 6 weeks before our plane departed!  The doc cleared me for takeoff, just 5 days before we left.

We managed to find and meet Rose Marie at Metro airport and we quickly found the Delta Sky Miles lounge to eat, drink, and chat before our flight left.  We had about 3 hours to kill or so.  We thought it would never get there.  Finally, we were airborne and it was serving time.  Prosecco, por favore!  😊  Yep, had 2 on the way over – got the last one the 2nd time around!  Dozed here and there and watched a movie or 2.  Rain was predicted in Rome, so that was a concern.  But by the time we had landed, the rain had stopped; it was cool and a bit humid.

The Rome airport was a nightmare.   They had changed it a lot since the last time we were there, although, we only flew out of Rome last time.  We finally made it to the customs area, and were then herded like cattle through the maze of security passages.  I swear it took us over an hour to get through after our plane landed.  We found transportation and made it to our first hotel.  I was pretty good on timing and had estimated pretty well.  Our rooms weren’t quite ready yet, so we relaxed a bit in the lobby for not quite an hour – it was just a bit after noon, or so.  We could hear the nearby church bells ringing.

Our room was quite small and had 3 beds.  After thinking about it, the beds were almost like the 3 Bears!  One was hard, one was harder, and one was almost just right – lol.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, I ended up with the hardest mattress, Rose Marie had the 2nd hardest and Lorna had the softest one.  Of course, hers was a couple of softer cushions, thrown onto almost a cot-like surface.  We did not realize all the beds were different until the 2nd day we were there.  First order of business was a slight nap.  When we woke up, we were hungry.  Lorna was still out, so Rose and I went in search of food and brought Lorna our leftovers.  We found a nice little place just around the block from our hotel.  We shared some pasta and a pizza.  Food was really good.  Many places weren’t open, maybe because it was Sunday and mid-afternoon.  We seemed to have started a rush, as shortly after sitting down, the place became very crowded.

I had booked a walking wine tour for us that evening.  We met at this bus terminal area and waited for our guide.  We were led to this bohemian district of Rome.  Lucky for us, it had just stopped raining.  We were really lucky with the weather, as it was supposed to rain the first two days we were there and it had been pouring just about half an hour, before we had to leave.  It was a great tour, just the 3 of us and the guide. We walked a short distance to this little wine bar.  It was very quaint.  We sampled 6 different wines and had some meats, cheeses, bread, oil, etc.  It was after 9p when it was all done, so we asked our guide to find us a taxi to take us back to our hotel.

The next day, was our Vatican museum tour.  Rose had been before, so it was just Lorna and I.  I had picked the skip the line tour, however, so did 5,000 other people!  Ok, I may have been exaggerating, but not by much!  The skip the line part was that you got in at 8a, instead of 9a, with the rest of the public.  We had to stand there for nearly an hour, before we were let in.  We didn’t have time for breakfast before we went, so we were able to grab a snack from the vending machines.  I guess we missed the guide’s speech about the stairs vs. the elevators.  She asked us which we wanted to do.  I looked over to the stairway and it didn’t look too bad, so we took the stairs.  And we went up, and up, and up, and up…. Walked some, up some more stairs, …. OMG, I was already exhausted.  We finally made it to one of the rooftop areas and outside where we could see the Vatican.  I sat on the first stone bench I saw and did not move until it was time.  Remember, I had just had surgery 6 weeks prior!  I could walk ok, but the stairs were killing me.  Then it was time to go up this steep 5-level ramp.  I thought we were never going to reach the top.  By the time we got to the museums, we just didn’t care anymore.  It had been raining that morning, so it was not so much hot, as it was humid.  There was a slight breeze, but not enough.  As we trudged through the maps, mosaics, tapestries, statues, etc., all I could think of was “is it over yet?”  Ok, on to the Sistine Chapel.  Then we went DOWN more stairs…. At least those were easier, but I was still exhausted.  When we finally got there, we had about 15 minutes or so to take a look around, and then we were to meet on the other side.  We quickly looked up and made a beeline for our meeting spot, and was able to find a place to sit.  We were planted there until it was time to leave. There were lots of people!  Ok, we looked up and there were paintings on the ceiling.  We didn’t care, we wanted out.  I hate to say it, but I was a bit underwhelmed.  There were so many people in there, we were herded like cattle up until that point.  I wonder if the lines were less after 9a?  After that, we made our way out into the somewhat fresh air again, to St. Peter’s Basilica.  There was some special pilgrimage group ahead of us, so we had to go outside for a bit.  I took a few pictures, and then we headed back inside.  I have to say, I was impressed with St. Peter’s.  It was absolutely gorgeous. We walked around there a bit and we had had enough.  Of course, there is always the one person that asks the dumb question… “aren’t we supposed to see such and such?”  I never did figure out what she was asking about, but Lorna and I took one look at each other and said “where’s the door?”  I guess the rest of the group did that other thing and we were out of there.  We were so tired.  I swear, it was another mile walk across the piazza to get to the taxi stand.  We practically fell into the taxi and back to our rooms.  We collapsed on the bed and slept for several hours.  I think we walked about 5000 steps!

After our nap, we decided we should walk around a bit and get a late lunch.  I had another walking dinner tour booked for that night – not realizing how exhausting the Vatican would have been (ok, of all the various people I talked to, no one warned us of all of the stairs??)

This tour, all 10 of the group showed up, although the tour company initial guide, never showed?  She did a count, we were all there, so we took off.  Before the tour, in a different part of the city, we were able to do a little shopping before it started.  Lorna bought a few pieces of jewelry.  They had some nice shops with reasonable prices.

This tour was supposed to be a sampling of typical street food of Rome and ended with dinner at a restaurant.  Ok, I’m a bit of a fussy eater…. The first stop was for some “white” pizza, which was basically a bologna and cheese sandwich on some flatbread, a glass of very strong red wine, and these little biscuit type cookies.  Edible, not bad.  Second stop was for some freshly fried cod (I don’t eat fish), so I passed on that, but Rose and Lorna said it was very good.  I had some white wine instead and we were able to sit down for a short while.  Next stop was the actual restaurant.  Ok, we started walking again.  It was starting to get dark.  The tour didn’t start until 7p.  And we walked, and walked, and walked some more.  We passed over the bridge with a beautiful night view of the lit-up Vatican over the Tiber (I think one of my favorite pics, I had a nightlight made out of it from Shutterfly!), of which I got an awesome picture.  Then we walked some more.  It was nearly 8p by then and we were getting pretty tired.  We finally showed up at the restaurant about 8:30p.  We were all hot and tired, again, it was very humid out.  We walk into this tiny place and then walked out again.  Bad news, they never got our reservation!  Uh oh, but good news, the guide was able to find another restaurant – further away!  So again, we walked.  Kinda scary, she was using Google maps to find the place.  Down dark alley-ways, twists and turns we went.  It was very dark by the time we finally arrived, 30 minutes later, about 9p at the other restaurant.  Again, hot and thirsty, we made our way into the restaurant.  Down the stairs and my first trip was to the bathroom.  The water in there was blessedly cool, as I washed my hands.

I got to the table and there was already wine, bread, and cheese.  They said the cheese was really strange, so I skipped the cheese and had some wine and bread.  We were able to meet and chat with a few of the folks.  There were some from England, Australia and Hawaii.  The first course was red and white pasta.  That was excellent.  The red pasta being rigatoni with tomato sauce and guarchelli? Apparently, the inside cheeks of a sheep?  The white pasta was linguini with a white cheesy sauce, on the dry side, but both were very good.  Had we known what the main course was, we would have eaten all of it.  The main course turned out to be veal ossobuco?  Bummer, none of us would eat veal!  Lorna and I passed on other suggestions.  Oddly, they had no chicken?  Rose had eggplant parm, which she said was very good.  It was nearing 10p by then.  Lorna and I had, had it, after walking the Vatican tour in the morning.  I could not walk another step.  After we left that restaurant, they were walking for gelato for dessert.  Uh, taxi!?  We asked our guide to call us a taxi.  It took her like 3 tries to finally find one.  Don’t know what it is about taxis and Italy, certainly not like New York!  There is certainly no hailing of cabs, there!

We finally made it back to our hotel, once again, but we still wanted some gelato.  We had passed an American-like restaurant with a huge menu that was still open and it included a nice gelato bar.  It was nearly 10:30p, but we strode in and we each had some.  It was pretty good.  We also decided we’d come back there for breakfast the next morning, as we had to get to our train before our hotel would be serving breakfast.  We spent our last night on our hard beds and got up early for breakfast.  It was an “American” breakfast of sorts – lol.  Orange scrambled eggs, a sausage, that looked like a hot dog, some toast, and I think some ham or bacon.  Cappuccinos were good!  😊

We made it to Roma Termini.  Last time we were there, was to get the rental car to take to Silvi!  Luckily, we did not rent any vehicles this time!  The Roma terminal was huge.  We were almost scammed by this young girl that tried to get us to buy tickets, that we already had!  Good thing for the nice policia!  They must have had an eye on her, as next we knew, he was escorting her out!  FYI… beware of very helpful people in Rome!  We finally made our way to the schedule board.  There was NO PLACE to sit down – no chairs, benches anything!  It was awful.  Of course, we were there in plenty of time, but were standing there, waiting for our train to get listed.  We waited, and waited, and waited, until I could not wait any longer.  I had to start walking.  So, I told Rose and Lorna I was going to take a walk.  I thought they would follow me, but they didn’t.  I took off and walked the perimeter of the station area.  Lots of shops, etc.  I came around to where we had been standing, and no Lorna or Rose!  Uh, where did they go?  Our train was finally listed, but no track number.  It was leaving shortly!  Before we left, I had created this full, beautiful, color, itinerary for all of us, listing all of the details of everything, including all of our train vouchers, etc.  I texted and called, but no one answered.  Ok, it was getting late, so I went through the gate and was able to find someone to ask which track our train was on.  I found the track and I waited.  I texted and called some more, and still no response.  The train arrived and I got on and found our seats.  Panic mode was setting in.  Where were they?  I finally got a text from Rose – they went to McDonald’s for coffee!  We tried to make calls, but they weren’t going through.  I’m frantically trying to contact them, telling them I’m on the train.  The train was literally supposed to leave in minutes. I’m hanging outside the train door, looking for them down the platform – no one running for the train.  By this time, I’m in between really angry and total panic for them.  Well, I thought, they have all of the info, it’s their own fault if they don’t make it.  I sat down and the train started to take off.  Finally, I see them coming down the aisle.  I started yelling at them!!  I was so upset!   Ok, they finally made it.  Prosecco, por favore?!  Verona, here we come!

About 3 hours later, we arrived in Verona.  When we got there, we had to find the bookstore to buy our copies of the Fan Book put together by Patrizia Ciava.  We found that and the elevator was not working in the store and the books were on the 2nd floor!  Ok, great – more stairs!   I picked up the books and we were on our way.  We got turned around several times, but finally made it to the outside.  We found a taxi and made it to our hotel for the night.  As many know, I was not feeling well.  I think the panic of Lorna and Rose almost missing the train, etc., had put me on edge, and I was not feeling too good by the time we finally made it to our room.

It was actually the nicest, and biggest room, we stayed in for the trip.  It was huge, with a king-sized bed and 2 twins.  And lots of room to move with a huge bathroom and shower as well.  Of course, as soon as we got there, about 3:30p or so, we had to get ready to buy our tickets for the US tour concerts!  Whoever decided to put the tickets on sale, the same day as the Verona concert, when many US persons were going to be in Verona and the sound check at 4p, was not too smart!  I was in a clear panic – we had our trusted designee, Emilia, with my credit card, trying to buy 8 front row seats for the Detroit concert.  We were all waiting for the special code.  I was texting with Donna, and Emilia, and Daniela.  Finally, Daniela was able to get the code and I texted it back to Emilia.  Emilia was still having trouble getting through.  Ok, I tried to get on ticketmaster and I was having issues, also.  I was totally stressing out, yelling at Rose and Lorna, barking orders at them, and telling them I did not feel good.  It was awful. We also had to make a connection with Veronica, who had our tickets for the Verona concert.  I barked orders to them, to go down to meet Veronica to pay her and get the tickets.  I so wanted to see Veronica, after so long, but I was so stressed out, that I just laid on the bed and rested until they got back.  In the meantime, by some miracle, Emilia was able to secure 8 tickets.  Four front row and four second row.  Ok, that will have to do!  I was pretty much passed out on the king size bed when the girls came back.  They said they decided I should have the big bed after what I had been going through.  Grazie mille!  Ok, it was time for Rose to get her exclusive VIP tickets and go to the sound check.  Lorna and I had already decided we didn’t want to go to the sound check, as we would have been trapped there until the concert.  I was very disappointed though, that I was not able to meet up with several persons I had promised to meet, but in my current condition, I was just praying I would be ok for the concert that night!  I was able to rest and relax for a few hours before I had to get up and get ready.

It was time to go and we made our way down to get a bite to eat, and to the concert.  Prior to this, Rose had gone down to get her tickets, but then SHE was trapped there for the sound check.  She also had low battery on her phone, and our room key!  So, Lorna and I had a quick dinner at one of the restaurants near the arena and then made our way to the concert.  Our seats were in the 6th row on the left, behind the orch pit area.  Not bad for viewing, but not good for pictures.  We were, however, right in front of the big screen, which is where most of my pictures came from.

THE CONCERT!

As many of you know, the guys had this lady playing the piano as a bit of a warm-up, I guess.  She was ok, but most didn’t see the need.  The guys came out and it was pure magic until the last note had been sung! Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my jacket with me, and Lorna and I were freezing for most of the concert!  It was like in the 60s with a light breeze. Beautiful, but chilly!  We huddled under her light wrap for most of the concert.  Of course Alessandro Quarta was amazing.  To see him in person is just incredible.  The concert lasted just over 2 hours or so.  I was so glad when Grande Amore was over – I had to go to the ladies room!!  Ok, like salmon swimming upstream, we were able to fight our way to the bathrooms.  The way back, was another story – try fighting a crowd of people going out of a concert and you trying to make it back to the front row! Well, I grabbed Lorna’s hand, and I “mi scusi’d” my way, all the way to the front.  It was almost like the Red Sea parting at times.  I have to say, most people were pretty nice and didn’t mind me shoving my way forward!  In our haste, we even passed by Fabio Ingrassia! 😊

We finally made it back to our seats, after I realized I had dropped our tickets on the floor.  However, I don’t recall them making it home again…. We were finally in line for the meet and greet crowd.  In the midst of people, several people came up to me and asked how I was.  Which was so nice, as Rose told them I wasn’t feeling well.  I also ran into Jeannette and Deborah – also a nice surprise!  There was also this other lady who was very nice with a short gray bob and glasses, that was talking to me like she knew me.  I admit, I’m horrid with names and faces.  I was of course, friendly, but I had no idea who she was….

We were still trying to find Rose, as she had our only room key, so we had to try to stick together.  We didn’t find her until we were just about in the herding line for the meet and greet. We kind of pushed our way to near the front of the line, as we were looking for her.  We went through the doorway, left of the stage area, and were ushered to stand in front of the roped-off area. Rose caught up with us, but then saw her friends from Greece and went to talk to them.  We kept trying to get her to come back to us, but she ended up staying with them. Ok, just me and Lorna.  We saw this entourage come through that seemed to be getting the VIP treatment and someone was making sure they were on some “list?”  I didn’t realize it at the time, but among the group, was Francesca and some other friends and relatives, of the guys.  Yeah, guess they were VIPs – lol.  A short time later, we saw the guys come strolling through – just a few feet away from us, actually.  All in all, the wait was not too bad. We were among the first twenty or so to go through the line.  We saw Mr. Boschetto, and a few others walking by.

We finally made it in and of course, there were those that were just hanging on the guys and didn’t want to let go.  It was the normal rush, but did not feel quite as harried as they usually are.  I did notice the parents to the other side of the room.  It was a pretty small area – just longish rectangle, maybe 10 feet by 20 feet?  I gave all the guys a hug, with Gian being first.  He was very gracious.  I think, maybe, they are starting to recognize me?  Lol, at least he sort of had the look of recognition on his face.  Maybe he remembered seeing me at PBS just a few weeks before?  I told him they should bring Alessandro to the US tour, but he didn’t seem to understand.  Igna was next and I again told him he was my favorite,  I also told him he was the best of the group.  He immediately said, “no, no, no, all 3 of us…”  I said yes, you are all great together, but you are still the best!  I wasn’t thinking at the time, I’m sure Piero must have heard, as he was next.  Gave him his hug and I thanked him for saying hi to all of the PBS volunteers, as he was the only one.  He smiled at that.  Then, of course it was time for the picture, snap, it was over.  We had to wait outside for Rose to come through.  They tried to make us leave, but we stood our ground and said we were waiting for someone.  That lady was out there again, with a few others.  We were chatting and she was giving me complements on how I always took a good picture.  I was really flattered and then I finally had to ask.  I said, I don’t mean to be rude, but who are you?  Joanie! She said!  Oh, of course, Joanie Greenspan!  I hadn’t seen her since Vegas 2016 and her hair was dark then.  Yes, she let it go gray.  Ok, mystery solved!  Rose finally came out and we made our way back to our hotel.  It was really late, nearly 1am, but we were hungry. There were a few places still open, so we ducked into this one little café to get something sweet, along with some coffee.  I had the last piece of this triple chocolate fudge torte thing.  It was awesome!  It had to be close to 2am by the time we finally fell asleep.  The next morning was our little side trip to Lake Garda – Desenzano/Sirmione train station.

Part II to come on Saturday!  🙂 

Il Volo’s Viva Las Vegas (Almost) By Giovanna

Today it is exactly seven months to the day, since I was supposed to see Il Volo in the US for the first time.  It would have been my third Il Volo concert.  As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the last three shows of Il Volo’s 10th Anniversary USA tour.  The third of the cancelled shows was going to be the grand finale at the Pearl Theater at the Palms Casino in mid-March.

Since Il Volo was going to perform in Las Vegas, home of all Elvis impersonators, good and terrible, I was looking forward to how many Elvis songs they might do (“Surrender/Sorriento,” “It’s Now or Never/O Sole Mio,” “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” etc.) 

Maybe they would even do a little Freddie Mercury, while playing around at soundcheck.  I understood a certain high tenor named Boschetto does that sometimes with backup harmony from the others.  And, of course, Il Volo appeared with “La Streisand” when she had a residency at one of the clubs on the Vegas Strip 10 years ago.  I thought they might do “Smile” as they did with her back then.

Strange as it sounds, I was also looking forward to hearing the guys do the scripted joke routine that they do repeatedly in English on American stages.  Even though it may be “old hat” to Americans who have been to multiple Il Volo concerts in this country, the well-rehearsed wisecracks and gimmicks in English would have been new to me.

You see, the only two Il Volo concerts I’ve ever been to were both in Italia.  The guys, relaxed and on their home turf there, didn’t do their usual routine, but instead did spontaneous jokes suitable to the locale.  For example, at the Lecce concert in 2019, Ignazio admitted he no longer had a fidanzata (girlfriend) and was “available.”  As an afterthought, he remarked that maybe he needed to find a nice Salentina girl from among the local Lecce young ladies. (They are very slender and very dark, and as a rule very beautiful.)  That caused a predictable response:  a flock of young Salentina girls, dressed up for the occasion, tried to rush the stage.  Igna didn’t seem to mind at all.  He seems to like to cause a disturbance, then take it all in stride, while the other two want to know “Ma cosa sta combinando, ora?” (What is he stirring up now)?

And of course, in Taormina, Sicily, when Ignazio started razzing Piero about his chopped off summer haircut, it was in Sicilian slang (which I won’t repeat here).  He was implying, with rude words, that Piero cut it himself.  If you know Piero, you know that his usual response to that kind of thing from Ignazio is, “Ma che te ne frega?” So, what do you care?  Actually, I thought Piero’s summer haircut looked fine.  Check out the picture below from Italy last July.  What do you think?

By the way, Piero does occasionally cut his own hair. During the period when he was in voluntary quarantine after first returning to Italy this March, I saw him video-chatting with Gianluca.  He proudly announced that he cut his hair himself, then lifted some of it with his fingers and showed the shorn part of the side of his head, where he nearly scalped himself bald with the razor.  Gianluca responded that he would never consider cutting his own hair.  His own hair has to be done expertly, because it’s so curly and unmanageable.  He said this with a completely straight face.  I couldn’t tell if he was serious.  With these guys, you never know.

But I digress.  As I said, I had never heard Il Volo do their scherzi (stage jokes) in English, and the Pearl Concert Theater in Las Vegas was going to be the place.  Of course, as we know, it didn’t happen.

I was excited about Las Vegas because I thought I was going to have three opportunities to see the guys up close and maybe visit for a minute or two.  As it was: 1) My ticket included something called a Meet & Greet.  At first I didn’t even know what that was.  2) I was signed up for access to the soundcheck before the show.  3) I was signed up for the Fan Faire get-together with the guys which is hosted in Las Vegas by Myron Heaton and Jeanette Giglio at the lucky Penny Café at the Palms Casino Resort, where the theater is, and where I was staying.  Three for three.  I thought I had hit the Trifecta.

I had already met Jana VandeLaare, of Flight Crew fame, by phone when we decided to share my apartment in the Palms Place for a few days around the show.  She kept me informed by text as soon as she started hearing murmurs that the boys might need to cancel this show and go right home due to COVID-19-related travel issues.  I was on board my flight from Denver and taxiing out to the runway, when I got her text that it was likely cancelled!  My mouth fell open as I squirmed with disappointment in my seat belt.  It was too late to do anything except go on to Las Vegas.

Yes, the heartbreak was final after I got to the Palms Casino.  Jana, who had cancelled her trip, asked me to go and confirm the cancellation at the theater box office as soon as I got there.  When I did, it seems that the theater people, God bless them, had no idea what was going on and did not have the inside info that Jana already had.  When I asked them about the show, the young desk agent I spoke to told me something like:

“The band is OK with it and it’s still on.”

He was wrong on three counts out of three.  Il Volo is not a “band;” they were not “OK with it” (performing in a close crowd during a viral epidemic); and it was not “still on.”

The theater’s delayed reaction to the facts had one nice side effect.  The staff was unable to remove the Il Volo concert advertisements all over the casino, theatre, hotel hallways, in-room televisions, and outdoor marquee.  Everywhere I turned for the next several days, including all night on my apartment TV, I saw this:

Although two out of three events were now gone, at least the Fan Faire people chose to have their get-together anyway.  It would be a good way for the fans still in town to get to visit with each other, even though there would be no Il Volo guys this time.

Until then, I had two days to myself in Las Vegas, but I don’t know how to gamble.  I’m an engineering geek, so I just had to visit the Atomic Testing Museum, and I’m a Sicilian Jew from “New Joisey,” so of course I had to visit the Mob Museum.  That place was so “familiar” to me it was almost funny.  More than once, while looking at some of the old photos of Sicilian-American and Jewish-American mobsters, I did a double-take, thinking I recognized one of my old relatives.

I used the time to talk to all the young people working at these places to promote Il Volo, and was surprised to find out how many kids were interested in opera and bel canto music.  That was a pleasant surprise, and not what I expected from hardened Las Vegas natives.

On Sunday before the Fan Faire I just had to do something Italian.  I jogged up to the Venetian Casino on the north end of the Strip, past Caesar’s Palace.  As kitschy and artificial as the place is, it still made me homesick for the “old country” as we used to call it.

I came across this singing toy dog who does “O Sole Mio” in alternating Italian and English (“It’s Now or Never”).  Do you suppose that was copied from you-know-who?  It was cute, but the tenor voice they recorded in the singing dog was not that great.  Jana later said the dog reminds her of Ignazio’s mustache. Have a look.

The singing gondoliers rowing guests all over the indoor canal were iffy, except for the older baritone.  He was impressive – a mature voice, dark and smooth.

This authentic Venetian gondola below is there for display only, and is not used in the faux canals.  The black paint job is traditional, and became law in the 15th or 16th century, to stop wealthier Venetians outdoing each other with their outlandish, gaudily-painted, plush luxury vehicles.  The seven arms on the white mast represent seven of the main islands of Venice.  The one arm facing backwards represents the Jewish quarter on Cannaregio.

At least the rock and pop music outside on the piazza was in Italian.  As I picnic lunched there, I recognized some of the modern Italian music I heard in espresso bars and on cab drivers’ radios the last two years in Sicily and Puglia, and also some Italian hip hop thing that I knew the words to.  I had heard Ernie and Gianluca singing it once when they were goofing around on Instagram.  Have you ever heard Ernie sing?  His voice is as deep as Gianluca’s baritone.

I ate below this bridge facing Las Vegas Boulevard.  It’s supposed to be a reduced-scale model of the Ponte di Rialto across the Grand Canal in Venice.  Except this one has a Walgreen’s Drugstore and fast-food chain next door.

Do you remember this view from below the Ponte di Rialto, half a career ago?  It was posted on the Flight Crew page some years back.  It’s the “same bridge” I photographed, but it has a better view in the foreground.

Here’s an update of the foreground – Venice has been undergoing restoration.

This view from the bridge isn’t bad either.  Las Vegas’ Venetian Rialto didn’t have anything like this.

The Fan Faire people turned out to be superb and sweet.  Thank you to Myron and Jeannette for having the dinner.  Myron, Jeanette, Linda, Diane, (and I’m sure I missed several others) all told me Il Volo stories.  I like Myron’s story best.  He had sent flowers to Italy when the Boschetto’s grandpa died. Assuming Il Volo was back on tour, he telephoned Nina Boschetto’s pizzeria, to ask her if the flowers had gotten there in time for the funeral.  When Nina couldn’t understand him very well, she asked him to wait until she could find someone in the pizzeria who understood English.  Guess who came to the phone to interpret for Nina?

The Fan Faire bunch took this group photo before we left.  I’m the Sicilian runt, the one whose head barely reaches above the sign.

The Las Vegas that didn’t happen was valuable despite Il Volo’s cancellation.  Without it, I would not have met Jana and Pat, the Fan Faire folks, and Daniela and the rest of the Flight Crew, and I would not have started writing to all of you.

I also came home all cranked up about helping in some way.  I understood we need to develop something akin to Fan Faire for when Il Volo next comes to Denver, whenever that will be.  It’s been several years since they’ve been here, so I’m hopeful that when touring eventually resumes Denver will be back on the schedule.  More importantly, I have heard the guys often say that their favorite concert events are where there are lots of young people.  We really need the next generation to catch their fire.  I repeatedly hear the guys say they want to and need to get in front of kids.  And we need to make their next trip to the mountains better than the last time.  Piero had an attack of cold-induced asthma on one trip, and Denver Airport nearly lost one of his suitcases (with his eyeglass collection) on another.

I’ve been learning my way around the music community here in Denver to create settings to get Il Volo in front of kids to give them more publicity among their own generation.  Folks that I know are involved in the University of Denver’s opera school, and their youth vocal program, who would love to hold something Italian and interactive between their vocal students, or their children’s chorale, and Il Volo.  I even started visiting with managers of Italian restaurants in downtown Denver, and found one who would love to host a Fan Faire-type event at their place near the Pepsi Center or the Opera House.  The Dante Alighieri Society (Italian language, food, and culture society) would probably spoil the Il Volo guys, feed them (knowing their allergies and special diets), and throw an Italian open sing-along complete with accordion and mandolin.  I can picture Ignazio, whom Gianluca calls “Il Canta-Cuoco” (the singing chef), taking over the Saint Anne’s parish kitchen.

I’m in the process of calling/emailing Barbara Vitale to ask her to put this in front of Piero, Gianluca, and Ignazio early enough for future planning, long before they confirm a new tour schedule.  Touring has to wait until post-COVID of course, but planning early won’t hurt.

If you are from any large city in the US, you probably have been to and have experience with Il Volo receptions and such.  We Denver folks can learn from you.  If you are from the Colorado Front Range, or even if you’re not but want to help, get in touch with me. Email me comments with ideas, contacts.  If you are from the old Denver Il Volo on-line fan club, tell me.  When the touring resumes, let’s don’t wait for an Il Volo event to appear.  Let’s create one.

Oh, by the way, Denver has already started doing something for Il Volo.  As of now, we have two synagogues praying for Alessandro Quarta’s complete recovery. Che Dio sia misericordioso e che la sua guarigione sia rapida!  May God be merciful and may his healing be quick.

Credit to the owners of all photos.

MOMENTS TO REMEMBER by SUSAN

Over the last seven months I’ve been writing about the lives of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca from the day they were born to the present day.  As I wrote each story, there were certain highlights in some stories that I thought should be put aside and revisited in another article. These were, what I consider, Moments to Remember.

If I asked you “What would you consider to be a memorable moment in the career of Il Volo?” I’m sure you could come up with at least 10 if not 50 moments. So, I needed to take these moments and decide what I thought were the most memorable and I actually got it down to 13 memorable events.

So where do we begin? Well you might say the night the three won first, second and third place (Gianluca, Ignazio, Piero) of Ti Lascio Una Canzone. Yes, that certainly was a memorable moment but, I think there was a moment before then that was more memorable. Gianluca points to that moment, “I thought there were three hundred thousand boys singing like me, and instead that night I discovered that there are only two: Ignazio and Piero.” Of course, Gianluca was referring to the night they sang together for the first time on Ti Lascio Una Canzone.  So, let’s begin there!

Ti Lascio Una Canzone, Night 4 and Michele Torpedine – I have to put these two together because one wouldn’t happen without the other!

It is the fourth episode of Ti Lascio Una Canzone and the boys are given the music for “O Sole Mio.” They walked out on the stage, sang “O Sole Mio” and walked off stars!  

Alone in his apartment, Michele Torpedine was sitting on his sofa with the volume off on his TV. The show he was watching was Ti Lascio Una Canzone. He keeps looking at the screen and he suddenly thinks, Ignazio reminds him of Luciano Pavaroti, Gianluca seemed similar to Jose Carreras and Piero is similar to Placido Domingo. He still had not heard them sing. Out of curiosity, he raised the volume and Michele says, “Here I am aware of another element, that is even more important than the first. The three casually put together to sing a song of the program possess an incredible vocality for their age.”

At this point Michele’s head is spinning. He’s thinking these guys are good and again repeats it to himself, they’re good! He thinks, “What if I try to put them together seriously? A trio, he tells himself.”

The rest is history!

“We Are The World for Haiti”  – In 2010 shortly after arriving in America, the guys were invited by Quincy Jones to join “We Are The World for Haiti,” together with 80 international artists such as Celine Dion, Bono, Lady Gaga, Carlos Santana, Barbra Streisand, Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Natalie Cole. Il Volo were the only Italian artists to be invited. The three voices from the background caused such a sensation. “Who was that?” Everyone present couldn’t believe what they were hearing but, “Who were they?” Soon they would find out!

Barbara Streisand’s Back to Brooklyn Tour – In 2012 Barbra Streisand invited the guys to be an integral part of her “Back to Brooklyn” tour. They performed with her in America and Canada. They were not an opening act, no, they shared the stage with Barbara. To the guys this was a dream come true!

2014 Latin Billboard Music Awards – In 2013, “Más Que Amor” was certified “Gold” in Mexico and Argentina. And this catapulted the guys into the Latin market. From that day on they took the Latin market by storm.  In February 2014, they receive two nominations at the 2014 Latin Billboard Music Awards, as “Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group” and “Latin Pop Albums Artist of the Year, Duo or Group.” At the awards show they were awarded as “Best Group of the Year in the Latin Pop Album” category and they also won the “El Pulso Social Award,” as the artist who dominated interactions on social networking sites during the Billboard Awards. This is unheard of! Three Italian kids taking over the Latin market! What a win!

The Christmas Concert at the Italian Senate,  December 21, 2014.  Ignazio wrote in their book: “We want to talk about the thrill of singing in front of the highest offices of state! What twenty-year-old boy has something like that happen? It happened to us, and it seems to me a beautiful result, an honor. You cannot imagine the emotional feeling to be called “guests of honor” inside the Senate. We were accompanied by the, fantastic, Filarmonia Orchestra Veneta conducted by Diego Basso. Half the beauty of the song is in the orchestra.

The most exciting moments? Everyone! But the hymn of Mameli was the heart-pounding one, the first song, singing in that place, with everyone singing along with us, including Giorgio Napolitano, (President) and Pietro Grasso (President of the Senate). It is one thing that I cannot explain.

And then, of course, the pleasure of shaking hands with the President of the Republic and of feeling that he knows Marsala, he has been there.

Sanremo Music Festival 2015 – On February 14, 2015, the guys participated in and won the Sanremo Music Festival with “Grande Amore.” This is the top award in the Music Industry in Italy. With this win the guys really came home. They were finally recognized by the Italian people. This win also gave them the opportunity to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. 

Eurovision 2015 – As Italy is a member of the Big Five, Il Volo went straight into the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Vienna on May 23, 2015. Grande Amore came in 3rd with 292 points but, they won the televote with 366 points and won the Marcel Bezencon Press Award, as best song according to the collective voting of the accredited press. The extended play Sanremo Grande Amore was released in Italy on February 20, 2015 and it was certified triple platinum by FIMI. At the Latin Billboard Awards, they dominated the social networking sites and now, they win the televote and the best song according to collective voting by the accredited press. The people speak!

Ignazio’s Accident in Tampa March 7, 2016 – While they were singing in concert in Tampa, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca brought 3 children on to the stage. The stage was narrow and, Ignazio picked up a child and carried him in his arms to take him to the center of the stage. There were electric cables on the ground and Ignazio tried to avoid them, but he tripped, and fell on the stage with the baby in his arms. To defend the child, who in addition to the fall would also have Ignazio on top of him, Ignazio twisted his body, so that his shoulder hit the ground and the child was protected. The two of them immediately got up and Ignazio finished the song.

When Ignazio began the next song, it was clear he had a problem with his arm but, he managed to finish the concert. He did not stay for the final greetings instead Barbara immediately took him to the hospital. At the next concert he had a splint on his arm and for the next two concert his arm remained in the splint. It was also recommended that he rest. Fabio Ingrassia, Ignazio’s dear friend, was in Miami, and he immediately came to help Ignazio. Ignazio was disheartened by the experience and Fabio remained with him to help him through it. Fabio made a nice drawing to dedicate to the fans with two hands that clasped. What a Friend!!!

Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, July 1, 2016 “Notte Magica” – 2016-2017 were the years dedicated to the “Notte Magica” project, the tribute to the 1990 event where the Three Tenors, Josè Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, enchanted the whole world from the stage of the Baths of Caracalla. On July 1st in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence Il Volo presented on stage “Notte Magica – A Tribute to the Three Tenors,” which was broadcast in prime time on Canale 5.  The guys were joined by Placido Domingo who conducted the orchestra. This marks the beginning of the world tour of “Notte Magica – A Tribute to The Three Tenors” which debuted on March 4, 2017 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. The show was sold out. After 15 stops in the United States, all sold out, the tour is extended to Europe from May 5, 2017 for 29 performances and from September it extended to Latin America. The concert “Notte Magica – Tribute to the Three Tenors” was filmed and broadcast in the United States by the national television network PBS, and in Italy by Canale 5 and, starting in June, it was broadcast in over 500 cinemas in Italy and around the world.

Ignazio Conducts the Asti Symphony Orchestra while the guys sing with Marcello Rota Jul 5, 2017 – During the rehearsals of the last date of the Notte Magica Tour in Naples, Ignazio steps in as conductor of the Symphonic Orchestra of Asti while Maestro Marcello Rota sings Ignazio’s tenor part! They sang “Libiam ne lieti calici.” Ignazio had everyone in awe of his performance as a conductor. The guys enjoyed singing with Marcello who usually conducts for their Concerts. Gianluca enjoyed it so much that he hugged Marcella in the middle of the song! All good sports! They all had lots of fun! A unique performance!

Mexico Earthquake September 8, 2017 – On Thursday evening September 8th, at 11:49 PM Mexico City time, (in Italy it was 6.49 on Friday) an earthquake of 8.2 on the Richter scale sowed panic in the country. The earthquake, defined by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as “the strongest since 1932”, had its epicenter off the south west coast of Mexico, but its strength reached the capital where the guys had just finished their concert at the Theater Metropolitan. Gianluca gave Facebook a short message shortly after the earthquake: “Thank you all for the messages, we are fine despite the strong shock that hit Mexico a little while ago.” Read the full story here!

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World Youth Day Jan 27, 2019 – If you ask the guys after winning Sanremo, which truly brought them home, “What was your greatest performance,” they would probably answer, there were two. Singing for the Holy Father at World Youth Day was one of the most amazing events in their life!

Por Una Cabeza, Il Volo at Luna Park Buenos Aires October 30, 2019 – So I will end by going back to the beginning. This last moment tells me how far the guys have come and how the strangers became brothers.

When these three young men started out, they were 15 and 16 years old. Think of being 15 or 16 years old and you have a dream, and someone tells you that that dream, needs to be shared. To fulfill that dream you have to leave your family, your friends, your home, you have to go to another country and you have to share this journey with two people who you really know nothing about except that they had the same dream you did. You have to trust that the decision that was made by you and your family, was the right decision. If not, it’s back to square one! You’re going to be lonely and you have to learn to survive without the people you love. So, you learn to lean on one another. That dependence turns into a friendship and that friendship into a brotherhood. It enabled them to trust enough to collaborate and perfect something truly amazing. Something that revolutionized the music industry. Let me go further by showing you a collaboration by these three amazing, very, very talented, young men that is so unreal that it boggles your mind. This is a collaboration of love. You will notice that the whole Orchestra is in awe and Giampiero Grani can’t stop smiling. Stop and listen to this performance of “Por Una Cabeza”.

Look at how they smile at one another during the performance. A smile that says yes that’s it! Their faces are ablaze! Their expressions let one another know that it works. And, finally, when it’s over, they are so excited they can hardly contain themselves. Look at their smiles, their faces are lit up in joy and their embrace says it all! They are brothers who love one another! This is truly a Moment to Remember!

Credit to owners of photo and videos.