While all of us who care about the Il Volo guys are bearing with Ignazio the loss of his Papa Vito, we also wanted to interject a moment of joy and victory. In Italian, Christians and Jews both say, Dio a volte toglie con una mano, ma restituisce con un’altra. God sometimes takes away with one hand, while He’s giving back with another.
In January, the Flight Crew posted that Gianluca and Erny Ginoble were at home for several weeks recovering from Covid. We got that information from one of Gianluca’s Instagram posts that week. In February, Gianluca made another post on Instagram that took us by complete surprise. He posted a photo of himself and Nonno Ernesto, his grandfather, announcing that his 86-year-old grandpa was finally home and recovering after a month in the hospital fighting a serious battle with the Covid virus.
So, when we posted in January, it wasn’t just the two young Ginoble men who were locked down in Gianluca’s home sick with Coronavirus, but Nonno Ernesto as well. While Gianluca and Erny got over their illness in under two weeks, Nonno’s situation, given his age, was serious, and eventually required medical intervention. Knowing how fiercely attached Gianluca and Erny are to their grandfather, this situation was both a medical and emotional crisis. That explains why both guys went “radio-silent” for a while in mid-January.
Nonno was admitted to the Ospedale di Atri, the same Ospedale San Liberatore di Atri where Gianluca brought roses to the staff last spring to thank them for their dedication during the worst part of the Covid pandemic. Gianluca mentioned back then that it’s also the place where he was born 26 years ago. You can see that story in a Flight Crew blog from last May, 2020.
As Gianluca described his grandfather, Nonno è forte. “Grandpa is tough.” So, God bless Nonno Ernesto, he beat this disease and was released from the hospital sometime in mid-February.
The Ginobles are understandably protecting Nonno’s privacy, so we do not know how he got infected, or what had to be done for his recovery. We in the Flight Crew just want to celebrate and share the Ginobles’ joy at having him back safe and well. We think it’s a great blessing that after his ordeal, Nonno recovered in time to be celebrating his 87th birthday this month.
So first of all:
We want to give a very big Grazie a Dio, “thank God,” and Auguri e Complimenti, “best wishes and congratulations” on your recovery, to Gianluca’s Nonno.
A Nonno Ernesto: Siamo tutti grati a Dio che sei guarito e sei tornato a casa con la tua amata famiglia. Le nostre preghiere sono per la continua benedizione della salute. I migliori auguri per il tuo ottantasettesimo compleanno e speriamo in molti altri. Con amore, dall’ “equipaggio di volo” (Flight Crew).
To Grandpa Ernesto: We are all grateful to God that you have recovered and returned home to your beloved family. Our prayers are for you to have the continued blessing of health. Best wishes on your eighty-seventh birthday, and we hope for many more. With love from the Flight Crew.
After Nonno’s return home, the Ginobles publicly thanked the doctors and staff of Atri hospital who labored to save his life. Mamma Eleanora copied the local newspaper article about him into her Instagram.
The article she copied from Abruzzo.cityrumors.it, thanked the hospital staff by name. I’ve translated it below.
He recovers from COVID at 86: Public Thanks
Roseto. Grandfather Ernesto returns home, recovered from COVID, after a month in the hospital.
Big celebration today in the Ginoble home, for the return of Ernesto (grandfather of Gianluca de Il Volo), who at 86 years old defeated Covid.
At this time, the Ginoble family wanted to publicly thank all the staff of the Atri hospital, starting from the head of medicine, Enrico Marini, to the doctors (Drs. Balena, Iorio, Fiorà, Luciani and Dr. Franzoni of rehabilitation) and the entire health staff involved in the emergency.
So yes, what is now a rough memory, for a time was an emergency.
Did you notice how the article referred to Gianluca as (“Gianluca de Il Volo”)? I was listening a few weeks ago to an on-line interview with Ignazio, taped in the summer of 2020. When the interviewer was trying to get his last name correct, Ignazio quipped about what people call him when they spot him in public. Says Ignazio: “Don’t worry about the cognome (surname). We don’t have last names anymore. People just yell, ‘Hey, Ignazio de Il Volo.’ So now we’re Piero de Il Volo, Gianluca de Il Volo, and Ignazio de Il Volo. Nobody bothers with our last names.” I’ve also heard Piero joke about it. In the articles below, the author didn’t even bother with Gianluca’s first name, and called him “the Voice of Abruzzo from Il Volo.”
The guys should be pleased. When people are recognizable with just one name, it means they have reached a certain pinnacle of fame. Think: Elvis, Sinatra, Marilyn, Liberace, Oprah, Sting, Madonna, Bono, John, Paul, George, Ringo. These stars are from several different generations and I haven’t mentioned a single last name, yet you certainly know who each one is. So, Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca are coming up fast.
On a much more serious note, Gianluca was also interviewed near the Atri hospital in a video posted on Il Centro around the time of his grandfather’s recovery and discharge. He was visibly distressed at what he had just experienced with his grandfather’s illness and struggle. I need to explain some of the back story, here. Since last year, Daniela has kept us posted from time to time about how regulations in Italy continued to change with the progression of the pandemic. Recently, in Gianluca’s home region of Abruzzo, as in several other parts of Italy, after the COVID case numbers started to drop, a few restrictions were eased, allowing some gathering places to reopen. In Gianluca’s community, instantly, many young people lost their sense of caution – abandoning the masks, social distancing and safe behavior. From his interview, you can tell that disturbed him. Why? Because at the exact same time as his grandfather was fighting for his life, he was seeing young people crowding into bars and hangouts, touching (as we Italians love to do), unmasked, acting like there was no longer any viral risk.
You can get the sense of his frustration as you read or listen to his first interview. On Il Centro, the interview clip was headlined like this:
Gianluca Ginoble: “We young people all need to be more responsible”
20 February 2021
In the video interview at Radiofrequenza, the program hosted by Sergio Pipitone, the “voice of Abruzzo” from Il Volo talks about his grandfather’s recovery from COVID after treatment at the Atri Hospital.
Here’s the link. I’ve translated it below. The video is made up of several segments cut together and some of them, including the opening segment, are barely audible due to the background noise. Here is the summary of what Gianluca wanted to share. Gianluca’s discussion may sound disjointed, but each of his statements was a response to a different interview question from a different reporter.
“In any case, I want to send this message to everyone. Vaccines will certainly play a part, but above all it’s going to require a sense of responsibility on the part of young people. . . They need to understand that no one is immune.” [He repeated this over and over several times in response to several questions, but I’ve only stated it here once.]
“Grandpa spent a month in the hospital, and I want to thank all the nurses and doctors of Atri because they provided such exceptional care for Grandpa. Grandpa has finally come out [of the hospital], but we should never have gotten to this point.”
“Fortunately, he’s doing well. He is still recovering. I only had it for two weeks.”
An interviewer calls his Grandpa “Grande Nonno,” “Big Grandpa.” Gianluca adds his name, “Nonno Ernesto.”
When Gianluca was asked his thoughts about vaccines and the pandemic ending:
“Yes, they should get vaccinated, but what’s more important is a sense of responsibility. That’s the real issue. It’s even more important [than vaccines]. Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end of this.”
When asked about the resumption of concerts, he commented:
“I’m talking about all the singers, and the events that have been postponed. This year, like last year, it will still be hard to have any concerts. We will have to wait a little more. In 2021, concerts in arenas and stadiums? At this time, it’s still impossible to even consider that. And that’s only right. It’s useless to try to force things. So, I refer again to the need for a sense of responsibility. Here, many young people have never had an experience like mine, like the negative experience I had, in their own home. But they need to have this sense of responsibility, maturity, above all. Not just for themselves, but especially for others [referring to the elderly]. Some live with their grandparents, or with their parents. Young people need to understand that no one is immune, that they [their elders] can get infected easily. I can see that we’re lacking this sense of responsibility. When I’m out and about, or even right here, I see crowded bars, young people without masks. This is not how this problem is going to be resolved. I don’t see a solution if we keep acting this way.”
“In one way, a complete lockdown may be better, but unfortunately, obviously, the economy would suffer. So maybe this is a reasonable compromise, these yellow and orange zones.” [He’s referring to Italy’s use of various levels of shutdown in different regions of the country, based on the numbers of infection cases.]
* * *
Gianluca was also recently asked to serve as a spokesman for Abruzzo’s regional Covid vaccination campaign, in part because he and his grandfather have both been up close and personal with this disease, and know firsthand how dangerous it can be to older people.
Here is a link to that very short video. I translated it below.
Interviewer: Gianluca Ginoble, you can testify in support of this vaccination campaign because you have had Covid, and your grandfather has had it. He is a great example, because he overcame it. What would you like to say to the people who need to undergo vaccination?
Gianluca: Let’s hope this [the vaccine campaign] is the beginning of the end, because we all need to be, shall we say, optimistic about this thing. And above all, young people need to have a sense of responsibility. I have seen this with Grandpa. Even though we [younger people] are not so fragile, we really need to care about our loved ones. That’s the important thing. As for the coming of the vaccines, I truly hope they will start to resolve this huge nightmare we’re living. I’m very optimistic about this thing. I’m glad to be here.
Interviewer: Grandpa has been a great example.
Gianluca: Yes. Grandpa is tough. That generation is stronger than us, we could say. Grandpa overcame Covid after a month in the hospital. I want to thank all the doctors and nurses of the Atri hospital who have been exceptional in so many ways.
Interviewer: Gianluca Ginoble, when your community calls you, or asks you to lend a hand, you’ve never said no.
Gianluca: Absolutely. I’m proud to be Abruzzese, and I also hope to be a spokesperson for all the other Abruzzese young people. A sense of responsibility is the most important thing.
* * *
I agree with Gianluca. The vaccines may be important, but are not a magic bullet. Recovery from the pandemic will be a team effort.
* * *
In preparing this article, I discovered something. Have you ever heard Nonno Ernesto speak? I listened to a video clip where a teenaged Gianluca, shirtless and covered in a goofy mask (who knows why), was helping his grandfather say “Hello, I’m Ernesto” in English to his fans. It seems that Nonno speaks in a beautiful, rich, deep, dark baritone, just like Gianluca and Erny. Now we know where both of his grandsons get it from.
And to all three of them:
Che tutti voi rimanere in buona salute!
May you all remain healthy!