Tag Archives: Montepagano

CHRISTMAS WITH PIERO, IGNAZIO and GIANLUCA by SUSAN

Christmas with Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca!

Our Italian Family!

Yes, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca are our family! Why do I call them family? We’re their fans, yes, but, we are more than fans. We certainly do all the things that fans do but it goes deeper than that because our guys are different than other entertainers. The difference is the guys think of us as their extended family. Why? Very simply because they grew up with us. They spend more time with us than they do with their families. And they show us their love in everything they do. Think of how they treat us! When you meet them they embrace you. Most entertainers just want your praise and accolades. Not our guys! They want to know about us! They ask about our lives and our families. They listen to us and do things to please us. And think about how you spent your last nine months listening to their music and feeling secure with every song! So what is family? Family are the people who are there when you need them. When you’re sad you can always feel their love and their encouragement! Family is not just blood it’s the people who are there for us!

So let’s take a look at how our Italian family spends their Christmas.

The Christmas season starts in Italy on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary which is also a holiday in Italy. This is the day that many Italians put up their Christmas trees and the cities light up their streets with colored lights. Why? Because Mary is the mother of the Light, Jesus! But there are other traditions that are celebrated on this day!

Let’s go to Naro, Piero’s city, to see how they celebrate the Christmas season.

Every year, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of December, every inhabitant in Naro stocks up on muffuletti. Muffuletti is a bread which is stuffed with meat and vegetables. Some people go to their local baker to buy them and some people prepare them at home. The tradition is linked to religion. Naro’s sandwiches are blessed and distributed in Churches at the end of the Mass on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. The bakers donate the muffuletti to the Churches as a gesture of generosity towards their fellow countrymen but, above all, of love towards “a bedda matri ‘Mmaculata”, the Most Holy Immaculate.

During the month of December, the Christmas markets are held in Naro. The Fair is set up inside the cloister of the Town Hall. Many people go to the Franciscan cloister where, every evening, to the delight of the children, there is a special snowfall that whitens the baroque courtyard. On the final evening there is a concert of Sicilian folk music and an award is given for the best photo taken at the large Christmas tree in Piazza Garibaldi.

During this magical period the streets are colored by many Christmas lights and everyone visits the living nativity scene of Borgo Castello. There is Mass on Christmas Eve and between hugs, kisses and best wishes there are a thousand good intentions. And then, on Christmas day, the family gathers together for a dinner laden with many local delicacies.
And what would Piero do on Christmas day? Most likely, he will walk around Naro and visit some older people and his friends. He certainly would have decorated his home so I’m sure he will make a video for all of us to see. He will most likely sing at the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Mass. And I’m sure he will spend time singing with his grandfather, Pietro. Most importantly, he will spend the day with his family!

Christmas in Bologna! How does Ignazio celebrate Christmas?

Unlike Piero and Gianluca, Ignazio and his family live in a big city and like cities in America there are many events.
The Christmas tradition in Bologna has deep roots. The Bolognese Nativity Scene (Presepe) goes back to the middle ages. The tradition of the Presepe dates back to the 13th century and one of the oldest Presepe in the world is preserved in Bologna. What makes the Bolognese Nativity different? It is life size and includes clothes that are different from the traditional Neapolitan style. They are dressed in a medieval style. In Porretta Terme in the Emilian Apennines another Presepe which is one of the oldest Presepe in the world is kept in the church of Capugnano.
I’m sure Ignazio will visit the Christmas Tree in Piazza Nettuno. It is a Bolognese tradition. The beautiful tree is a welcoming and bright place to meet friends and feel the warmth of Christmas.
So, what will Ignazio’s family eat on Christmas? I’m sure on Christmas Eve there will be fish on the table. This is the tradition in every Italian house on “La Vigilia,” Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, there is another tradition. Lunch is the main meal and Pasta in brodo (pasta in broth) will certainly be served. In Bologna, it’s all about meat-filled tortellini in capon broth. These, small, ravioli, are filled with a mixture of meat, mortadella and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese but you will find in Bologna every family has its secret ingredient for them. You’ll recall in a recent interview, Ignazio mentioned his family buying Tortellini every Sunday.

The soup will most likely be followed by a roast and the meal will end with a traditional dessert like Certosino (or Pan speziale) which is made with almonds, pine nuts, dark chocolate and candied fruits. The recipe has its origin in the Middle Ages where Certosino was produced by pharmacists and later by Certosini Friars. Certosino is very popular in Bologna.

Having said this, I will say, since Ignazio is vegan, there are certain parts of this meal he won’t eat. He will certainly eat the dessert! What I do know is by tradition, Ignazio will join his family to celebrate Christmas Day!

So what will Gianluca do on Christmas?

A Montepagano tradition is the Nativity scene. At the end of the last century a famous living Nativity play was started in Montepagano which is a real theatrical performance, with a director and a narrator.

In the Abruzzi region, there is a tradition that bagpipers, so called zampognari come into the towns and play their flutes and bagpipes for the people. They symbolize the shepherds who come in search of the new born baby, Jesus. The bagpipers were once shepherds, today they are musicians who walk the streets of the cities, playing Christmas music. Often they are in pairs and one plays the zampognari (bagpipe) and the other the ciaramella (which is similar to a small piccolo).

For certain Gianluca will celebrate December 24th, Christmas Eve with a meal of fish including shellfish because he lives by the sea. As far as food traditions are concerned, on Christmas Day, the typical dish of the whole region of Abruzzo is spaghetti alla chitarra (which is prepared on a particular instrument called a guitar, because it is made of wood with metal strings) but most likely Gianluca will eat Lasagna. The second course will be arrosticini, which are pieces of meat, traditionally lamb, strung on long sticks, similar to a kebab. And for dessert, they will most likely have the traditional Christmas cake, Panettone.
Gianluca will surely spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his family including his Grandpa Ernesto!

If you’re wondering where Santa Claus is, in Italy he is known as “Babbo Natale,” Father Christmas, who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve but, in true Italian style, gifts are exchanged on January 6th the day of Epiphany when La Befana comes to Italian homes in search of the Christ Child and leaves gifts for the children. This is a tradition that is celebrated in the central regions of Italy.  La Befana is an old woman, with a hooked nose, badly dressed, with a handkerchief on her head, grumpy but good, she is not a witch. On January 6th, riding through the sky, flying on a broom, La Befana lands on the roofs, enters the houses from the chimneys and descends from the fireplace, leaving gifts and sweets in the big socks that the children place in front of the fireplace. If they were good, they get sweets. If they were bad, she leaves coal in the form of a sweet black candy. I’m sure there will be many sweets for Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca!

I would like to mention an important member of Il Volo’s family. Michele Torpedine!  His family is originally from the region of Puglia. He moved to Bologna when he was twelve years old. So he will celebrate Christmas with his family and the celebration would be similar to Ignazio’s!
I would like to thank two people who contributed to this Christmas story. Maura Pucci and Giovanni Granaro. Their knowledge of the regions of Montepagano and Naro and the different Christmas traditions made this story come to life!
In closing, I would like to thank two ladies who make all my stories come to life! Daniela Perani (a/k/a Sherlock Holmes) who is my second pair of eyes and provides all the photos and videos for my stories and Patricia Ward who does the layouts and final uploads for the stories.

I want to wish all of my Christian friends a Merry Christmas and all my Jewish friends a Happy Chanukah! And all my other friends, All the Happiness and Joy of the Season!

And finally I’m sure you will join me in wishing Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with many Concerts!

 

 

Credit to owners of all photos.

COOKING IL VOLO STYLE 2 by SUSAN

Gianluca’s Pasta cacio e pepe – Pasta with Cheese & Pepper

Time to move on to Gianluca. He was a problem for me. The only thing I’m sure of is that he likes bananas and I think he has a sweet tooth. So where do I go from there?
I was listening to him speak with some friends on Instagram one day and one of them mentioned Verrigni. Gianluca lives in Roseto degli Abruzzi this is where the company Verrigni is located. Verrigni is a company that makes pasta.
Let me say Abruzzo is known for its pasta. Why?
The pasta is made with the finest semolina and the water is from the Apennine Mountains. The water that flows down from the mountains is the best in all of Italy. Gianluca has talked about the Gran Sasso even in some of the concerts.
Gran Sasso contains the Corno Grande, the highest peak of the Apennines. So, the idea came to me to make pasta from the region and make a pasta which I’m sure Gianluca has had at some time in his life.

GRAN SASSO D’ITALIA

So, I went on Verrigni’s website and I saw a pasta that my mother used to make and so it is the one I chose. My mother’s family is from Abruzzo. They are from Introdacqua (Introdacqua means, built in the water – for the abundance of water in the region).
Introdacqua is about an hours’ drive from Gianluca’s town. We are on the Monte Maiella (known as the mother mountain) the second largest peak in the Apennines.
Before I go on, I would like to say a word about Gianluca’s town. Roseto degli Abruzzi (Roseto) is known for its beautiful beach. It’s called the Lido delle Rose (Beach of the Roses). Its beaches are pristine. It is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic Sea.

This town was already inhabited in the Roman age. The most ancient settlement going back to those times is Cologna today a “frazione” of Roseto degli Abruzzi, which is often mentioned in medieval documents, above all in relation to the presence of the Monastery of San Salvatore in Bozzino. In the Middle Ages and for centuries Montepagano was the main center in the area. It is mentioned in several documents both for the presence of the Emperor Lotharius and because it was part of the possessions of the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere. Remains of the ancient medieval fortifications can still be identified in the four entrance doors and in the Romanesque-Baroque belltower built in red bricks, belonging in the past to the now lost church of Sant’Antimo.
In 1251 Montepagano was included in the newly established Diocese of Atrii.
A beautiful town to live in! I’m sure many of you have seen the videos of Gianluca’s house and garden. Isn’t that a beautiful view of the beach from his garden?

So, the pasta I chose is: Pasta cacio e pepe – Pasta with Cheese & Pepper
This is a fast and fragrant dish made with a few ingredients:
Ingredients:
  • Pasta of your choice – I would use spaghetti or thin spaghetti (I don’t believe Verrigni pasta is available in the States. At least I haven’t seen it.)
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Peppercorns grated – you can substitute Black Pepper
  • Salt

How to prepare:
  1. Boil the water for the pasta with a little salt, since the Pecorino Romano Cheese is already very salty. When the water is boiling, add the pasta. Check the cooking time on the box.
  2. In a frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil with a grated pepper. This will emphasize the smell and taste of the pepper and give more taste to the dish. Add some of the pasta water – about a cup. Be careful adding the water. You are pouring the water into oil. Do it slowly and carefully.
  3. When the pasta is halfway done (soft but not ready to eat), remove it from the water but do not throw the pasta water out. Add the pasta to the frying pan. It will finish cooking in the frying pan.
  4. Mix the pasta well with the pepper and oil mixture in the frying pan. From time to time add a ladle of the pasta water until the pasta is al dente (to taste). Always leave some liquid in the bottom so it doesn’t burn.
  5. Turn off the stove. Add pepper. Mix quickly. Now start incorporating the Pecorino Romano Cheese little by little turning the pasta as you add it. The cheese will be melting. Add more cheese only after the previous one has melted.
  6. Transfer the Pasta to a serving dish, sprinkle with more cheese and pepper if needed. The pasta must be served when hot. If you let it lay it will get sticky.

I do hope this is something you will enjoy, and I wish we could all share it with Gianluca.
Serve with red or white wine. Of course, my choice is always Montepulcino d’Abruzzi!

Buon appetito!

Credit to owners of all photos and video.

IL VOLO ON THE ROAD TO PBS by SUSAN

Nine years ago, PBS introduced America to three teenage Italian boys, Il Volo.
Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca grew up on PBS. From their first concert on October 27, 2011 at the Detroit Opera House, they won the admiration of the American people. These three teenagers stole the hearts of the American people and they continue to do so today. They have done 6 concerts with PBS over the past 10 years. Their last concert in 2019 in Matera, Italy was to celebrate their ten years together as Il Volo.
They introduced America to a new style of music. Operatic pop and classical music! A very different kind of music for teenagers. Il Volo’s aim was to show young people how good this music is. They won over the children, parents and grandparents. They were an immediate sensation. America fell in love with them.
On the Ninth Anniversary of Il Volo’s concerts on PBS, let’s look back at how they started on this road.
Over the last year I have shared Il Volo’s life story with you, their fans. Now it’s time to go back and see how they landed on this road. Let’s travel back in time to where it all began in Naro, Bologna and Montepagano!
Piero’s best memories as a child were his Sunday dinners with his family which included every family member from his great grandmother, Lina, all the way down to his cousins who were more like brothers and sisters. And he recalls summers in the countryside with his entire family. Piero says, “I swear they were perhaps the most beautiful days of my life, and I will never forget them.”
Let’s take a closer look at one of these stories.
Discovering Piero!
Piero’s discovery starts in the Garden of Pietro Ognibene’s (Piero’s Grandfather) house.  
As was his custom, Piero’s grandfather Pietro, would come out on the terrace every morning and find a cool place to sit. Pietro always had a recorder with him. He has been blind for many years and he uses the recorder to record music, recite poetry and compose songs. Piero says, “When I think back to the first images I have of him, he is sitting on the terrace in the country with a stereo in his hands.”
On this morning Piero is the garden on the Altalena, an old fashioned swing that is hanging from a mulberry tree, and on the terrace, Pietro is preparing to record a song. It’s just a little song. The song is only two lines and it is pure Sicilian. Pietro begins to sing. E lu suli talia, talia, talia. Sopra ‘sta petra luci ci duna, that is and, the sun, look, look, look, to this stone gives the light.
Piero recalls, “I was swinging on the swing, I was about four or five years old, I was really, very small. I listened to him a little and at a certain point, when he stopped singing, I started: E lu suli, talia, talia, talia. Sopra ‘sta pedra luci ci duna. What can I tell you? It just came out like that.”
His grandfather turned off the recorder and called his wife. Rina came out on the terrace and he asked her, “Unni è Piero?” (Where is Piero?)
She replied, “In Altalena” (He is on the swing)
Pietro asked, “Ma cu cantava? Iddru?” (But who was singing? He?)
She replied, “Eh, si.” (yes)
He told Rina to call him.
So, Piero got up and went to his grandfather. Pietro lifted him up and put him on the table next to the recorder and told him to “sing the song again.” Piero sang the song exactly as his grandfather sang it. He listened to Piero sing the song and then he made the decision to go to his friend Antonio’s house to record it.
Antonio a friend of Pietro had in his home what was called at that time a “recording studio”. It was not very big but, it did have a bigger stereo and a microphone. So, that afternoon they recorded Piero singing his grandfather’s song in Sicilian. But it didn’t stop there!
The meeting with Mimmo Riolo, in the Garden of the Riolo House.
The next day Pietro and Piero went to the countryside to the Riolo’s house. Piero’s grandparents had a country house and the Riolos were their neighbors. Pietro had a good relationship with Mr. Riolo, they were family friends. At the Riolo house, they all sat together under a carob tree because the air was always fresh under that tree. While the men talked, Piero ate prickly pears.
Pietro said to his old friend, “You know, Mimmo, yesterday I discovered that my grandson has a nice voice.”
Mimmo thought about it for a moment and came up with an idea. “I want Piero to listen to one of my favorite singers.”
Piero recalls, “And this is how I listened for the first time to Un Amore Così Grande by Mario del Monaco. And I learned it right away, but right away. My grandfather was very proud. And something told me the next day we would go to record Un Amore Così Grande at Antonio’s house.”
The day after they visited Mr. Riolo, they went to Anotonio’s house to record Un Amore Così Grande.
That evening the family met for dinner in the countryside, as was their custom, in the summertime.
In the Garden of Piero’s Grandparents House
This evening would be the beginning of Piero’s journey to stardom. After dinner all the kids played soccer while the adults went outside to chat and enjoy the cool of the evening on the terrace. But this evening would be a little different.
On the Terrace of Piero’s Grandparents House
When they finished dinner, Pietro called his wife. “Rina, get the recorder.” Rina brought in the recorder and placed it in front of Pietro. The recorder was already prepared with the cassette. Pietro turns to Piero’s dad and says, “Listen to this voice, Gaetano.” He pushes play and starts the recording of Un Amore Così Grande.
Gaetano is amazed, like he has just heard a good thing, and he says, “It’s beautiful, who is it Daddy?” (he calls his father-in-law Daddy.)
Pietro says, “Piero.”
Silence.
Gaetano has a questioning looking on his face “How did Piero?”
Pietro says, “So”.
On that night Piero’s life changed!
In Ignazio’s story, I found out that he is an excellent writer. He is the only one who wrote his story. Ignazio is very articulate. His words just fly off the page. Ignazio’s mother says and I agree, “Ignazio is very serious and responsible.”
Let’s see how Ignazio views this time in his life.
Il Volo with Jim Masters and Lee Newton
Discovering Ignazio
Ignazio says, “My story is not a fictional story even if it seems to be one of those dreams that you never want to wake up from.”
Ignazio learns to play Nina’s piano
Ignazio remembers, “When I was three or four years old – I played with the piano my parents had given my sister, Nina. My mother says I was one years old when I played. Nina taught me to play Happy Birthday with one finger.”
Ignazio’s School in Bologna
Ignazio says, “I do not remember the first day of school, but I certainly did not take long to get noticed. If you’re thinking of scenes of me being put in the middle of the class to sing, forget it. I had a passion for music but, I had an even greater passion for pranks. I tell you, since I started talking and walking, mine was an escalation of agitation.”
Ignazio Joins the School Choir
With the passage of time, I found something good to do at school, that is, an activity that was able to hold my interest enough to prevent me from slipping into some disaster. I joined the school choir. I always liked to sing, to be ‘in the middle’ of the music. And more and more passionately I began to understand how to make better use of Nina’s famous pianola. I learned how to start the musical bases and flip through them. And that’s when I discovered La Donna È Mobile. I liked it so much that I sang with the base and invented words. I don’t remember the words but, it certainly was a song about Pavarotti. Having seen Pavarotti on TV, I knew he always had a big handkerchief so I would invent text and sing on the air La Donna È Mobile.
In 2004 at the age of 10, Ignazio’s family moved back to Marsala and opened a Pizzeria.
While the pizzeria grew, a passion grew within Ignazio. It was a passion for electronics and music.
Ignazio’s mother opens Pizzeria dei Desideri in front of their house.
In 2005 Pizzeria dei Desideri was completed and, within a few months Caterina already had regular customers and since the pizzeria was right in front of the house, when Ignazio sang, the customers heard him.
One day a gentleman said to Caterina, “You know, my daughter is studying singing, why don’t you come with your son once? Even just to try.”
Ignazio’s Meeting with Lilliana Andreanò in Marsala
Ignazio recalls, “I remember it as if it were yesterday…. I was eleven. I wore a yellow shirt with green stripes, fashion was never my strong point. Arianna, the daughter of the pizzeria customer, who had heard me sing, and her mother and I waited in front of the school for more than twenty minutes for Liliana Andreanò, the singing teacher. Lilliana Adreanò, arrived in a grey Opel Astra. She got out of the car and immediately entered the school.
Ignazio says: “I was worried, almost embarrassed. Hard to believe, right? Even as a child I’ve never been the type to be speechless. Lilliana begins to talk about music, what kind of songs I like to sing. It was already a strange thing because usually I just sang, no one asked me why and how. You know, Liliana I like to sing Giorgia’s songs.”
Lilliana said: “Strange for a kid to sing this kind of song.” She asked, “And which song of Giorgia would you like to make me listen to?”
Gocce Di Memoria (Drops of Memory), Ignazio said. “I didn’t even have a doubt. I start singing and Liliana was amazed by my extension but asks me to try a male song too. I thought a little bit and then I said to her: sometimes I even sing Con Te Partirò by Andrea Bocelli. I started singing and, when I finished Liliana told me: ‘Ignazio, this is your musical direction’.”
Ignazio continues: “From that first lesson I began to study songs like Il Mare Calmo Della Sera, Un Amore Così Grande and all those that came to mind, and I liked it. It approached that genre that was not lyrical, it was modern music but with something classic. With Liliana I found myself, very comfortable. We understood each other immediately because she is a sociable person, simple, as are all of us in my family.”
After several lessons, Lilliana proposed that Ignazio take part in a bullfight (competition) organized in Paolini.
Ignazio says: “I wasn’t completely convinced that I wanted to get on a stage. Until that moment I had only thought about singing, but I had never seriously thought that all that singing one day could bring me into the spotlight.”
Ignazio performs in his first Competition in Paolini
Ignazio says, “I was about to get on the bullfight stage. My legs were trembling, the butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies but crazy swallows.
I decided to participate with the song by Bocelli Con Te Partirò (Time to Say Goodbye), a song that I had studied and re-studied with Liliana, but as soon as the music started I had a terrible fear of forgetting the words. So, what did I do? I looked down all the time. So, the audience, the place, what happened around me while I was singing, it’s not that I do not remember anything, I just do not know because I only saw the tips of my feet.
Fortunately, however, I remembered all the words and it is not so obvious because sometimes it happens that I forget the words even today now that I have become professional, the emotion continues to take us despite everything and.… I came in third.”
Once the ice was broken and the stage panic was over, that ended up being just the first of many competitions for Ignazio.
As to Gianluca I was surprised to find out he was such a romantic. Everything that is important to him is a passion. He invests himself in what he loves and believes in: Family, Music, Country and Soccer! Above all, Gianluca loved to sing. Music was his whole life! Gianluca said, “Singing makes me feel good.”
Discovering Gianluca
Garden of Gianluca’s house facing the beach of Roseto degli Abruzzo.
Gianluca says, “I am from the town of Montepagano, Abruzzo. To be precise, I grew up, in Montepagano, on a hill two hundred meters as the crow flies and ten minutes by road from the sea, and Roseto degli Abruzzi.”
Gianluca continues, “My life as a child seems so far away. I remember very little of my childhood! I’m not like Ignazio I was born and raised in Montepagano. I was traveling only with dreams. What made me dream? Music naturally. Dad and mom realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years.
Town Square of Montepagano
My parents tell me when I was three years old I sang O Sole Mio in the town square in front of all the elderly gentlemen friends of my grandfather who, sitting around the bar table, were listening to this little boy with such a particular voice.”
Gianluca continues, “This was my first audience but, of course, I don’t remember it. My grandfather wanted me to study music, he always told me: ‘Gianluca, study the piano, study an instrument.’ I’ve never done it. It would be a dream to sit down on the piano and start playing and singing.” (Since this statement, Gianluca has studied piano and now he plays quite well.)
While his grandfather made him listen to classical music, Pavarotti and music from the Fifties-Sixties, his father made him feel Fabrizio De Andrè, Francesco De Gregori, Giorgio Gaber, Antonello Venditti and, as he grew older, he became more passionate about singing, including the great American classics, first of all, Frank Sinatra.
Gianluca says, “I never, never would have thought that…. I could make music my life. I only sang because it made me feel good. Then what happened? I do not know exactly, because everything happened very quickly.”
The phone call that changed it all!
“It was 2008 when my father received a call from Licia Giunco.”
Who is Licia Giunco. She’s an incredible woman, known throughout Italy for being the creator of an annual event called Sport for Life, a great international ice-skating gala. For the gala, skating champions come from all over Europe to participate. The reason for Mrs. Giunco’s phone call was Gianluca’s performances with the choir.
“We have a great talent here in Roseto,” Mrs. Guinco told Mr. Ginoble. I would like to bring him to RAI (Italian TV Station).”
Gianluca says, “My father had never thought about it. My parents had never even imagined that I would participate in competitions, let alone send me for an audition for television.”
“Let’s try,” Mr. Ginoble replied, “It would be a great opportunity.”
Each boy has now been set on the road to PBS so where did they go from here?
Over the years, each boy approached his musical education in a different way.
After his discovery in the garden, Piero embarked on a classical music education.  He began piano lessons at the age of 8. At 10 years old he joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento. And then he began the competitions around Sicily.
Ignazio continued his singing lessons moving on to other teachers as he progressed. He took three years of piano lessons. His relationship with Lilliana Andreanò continued. She advised him every step of the way right up to his audition at Ti Lascio Una Canzone which she convinced him to do. But I’m getting ahead of myself!
Gianluca, unlike Piero and Ignazio, never had a singing lesson or piano lesson. Gianluca joined the Piccolo Choir of Roses. At one of their events, he was discovered.
As you know, the three teenage boys came together on the Ariston Stage in Ti Lascio Una Canzone for the performance of O Sole Mio and stepped off the stage and embarked on the road to stardom.
They came in first, second and third. Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero. But the biggest prize was becoming Il Volo.
They signed a contract with Universal and recorded their first album.
In 2010 when they arrived in America, they took it by storm. After their performance on American Idol, they sky rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts.
What happened next? And, so, we arrive at PBS. But let me turn the story over to the guys. They will tell you about what happened after Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
“Spotlight” Producer Paul Larson just minutes before going on stage at Place des Arts in Montreal, Quebec spoke with the guys about their career after their performance on PBS. So, I invite you to watch this amazing video and listen to what the guys have to say about their beginnings and their future!

PBS Spotlight Video – Click Here

The guys have grown in their music and now they continue to bring their bel canto around the world.
We look forward to their 10th Anniversary with PBS. Stay tuned for more stories about Il Volo and PBS as we approach their 10th year of collaboration!

 

Credit to owners of all photos and video.

IL VOLO AND THE NEW SANCTUARIES by Daniela

A post published by Maura Pucci made me remember this beautiful feat, made by four very tough women.

Unusual and … amazing aspects of Il Volo’s popularity. 

THE NEW SANCTUARIES

We are in 2015.

Four American ladies, from different States, who met on social networks, animated by a great passion for IL VOLO and enthusiastic about the recent victory of the beloved group in Sanremo, decide to join together to undertake a trip to Italy.

Some new Il Volo fans might think: It’s not new! At their concerts in Verona and Taormina there are many fans from abroad and in particular Americans.

It’s true.

Today the Arena of Verona and the ancient theater of Taormina are places of great appeal for the fans of Il Volo from all over the world, who arrive there in droves, both to attend a concert in scenarios such as only Italy can offer, and to meet the virtual friends, frequented on Facebook.

SANCTUARIES 01

But in the spring of 2015 things were still not exactly like that. And the four ladies embark on an Atlantic flight, for the ONLY purpose of visiting the places of residence of Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca, with the same spirit with which the romantic young people of Northern Europe, three or four centuries ago, left for the Grand Tour at vault of Italy, to be satisfied with beauty and culture, but at the same time with the same religiosity of those who want to embark on the journey of Santiago de Compostela.

Because, let’s face it, when it comes to doing this, it means that the three characters have already risen to the glory of the altars and that their places of life have become three new Sanctuaries, pilgrimage destinations …

Montepagano, Marsala and Naro, three small towns in the Italian province have become places of international resonance.

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Okay, I just wanted to joke around.

But there are still many fans, especially Italian, but also foreigners, who go, or dream of going to Montepagano, favored by its proximity to Rome. And some of them even went as far as Naro.

Unfortunately, after five years, the sanctuary of Marsala today is not very frequent because S. Ignazio moved to Bologna.😂😂

When I read the news of this trip in 2015, I fully understood the attractive power of these extraordinary and unique guys.

Maura

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That trip, was undertaken by Deborah Georgini Beaupre, Joan Brenin, Madeline Vitella and Maria Lagostini Leps.

In Italy, it was an event, it had never been heard that fans came to get to know the countries of their favorites. Also Sanremo had just ended with the victory and therefore, the local newspapers talked about this trip, here are the articles.

Roseto.com Article – Click Here

FROM AMERICA TO ROSETO, TO SEE THE PLACES OF GIANLUCA GINOBLE

(I translate for you.)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

“I crossed the Atlantic Ocean to see you” is film stuff. Indeed, no?

Because four American ladies have been stronger than exaggerated idioms, making something that even in the best dreams come true: they came from the United States of America to Roseto just to see the places where Gianluca Ginoble, a member of Il Volo, grew up, then headed straight to Sicily and do the same in the native places of Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto.

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The super fans are Maria Agostini Leps from Pennsylvania, Joan Brenin from Florida, Madeline Vitella from New Jersey and Deborah Georgini Beaupre from Texas, who say: “We met on Facebook in 2014, thanks to an article written by Maria after a concert by Il Volo. Having the same passion, we decided to meet and organize this trip to Italy, to see the places of our three darlings. It was enough for us to have the photo all together with the sign of the name of the three cities, but today a dream has come true.”

The dream was to meet Gianluca Ginoble and it became reality again thanks to Facebook, given that Maria wrote to Ercole, the father of the singer, saying of their presence in Roseto.

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And since fate sometimes puts a good word on it, chance has meant that Gianluca was in Roseto in these days, before leaving again for the artistic and promotional commitments of Il Volo.

So, at five in the evening, on the Roseto seafront, the meeting of a thousand hugs and smiles, with selfies, dedications on records and photos.

Deborah shows a photo of the license plate of her car in Texas: “IL VOLO”, saying that after the death of her husband the songs of the group gave her strength.

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Maria confesses that she returned to Italy after 50 years (she left at 9) for this. All four have seen many Il Volo concerts and love the three singers.

Gianluca Ginoble says: “It is such a great thing that I can only thank these splendid ladies, because in the face of such demonstrations of affection there is the risk of getting your head up.” (feeling overly important)

FROM AMERICA TO MARSALA, IN THE LAND OF IGNAZIO BOSCHETTO

(I translate the most interesting parts for you.)

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Comune di Marsala Article – Click Here

They came from the USA to make their dream come true: to visit the places where the members of Il Volo, were born and raised.

In Marsala, in the city of Ignazio Boschetto, the first stop of the four American ladies was the visit to the representative office of the municipal administration which appointed the singer Ignazio “ambassador of Marsala in the world”.

The American ladies will leave tomorrow for Naro, the birthplace of Piero Barone; while in recent days they had already visited Roseto degli Abruzzi, the land of Gianluca Ginoble.

He, Piero and ours Ignazio, meanwhile, are already in Austria to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, where Il Volo is finalist by right with the winning song of Sanremo “Grande Amore”.

 

FROM AMERICA TO NARO, ON THE TRAIL OF PIERO BARONE FROM IL VOLO

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The last stop on the Italian – Sicilian journey was Naro, the city of Piero Barone. Here too the reception of the girls from “Il Volo Naro Fan Club” was warm.

In the town hall the solemn ceremony with the mayor Lillo Cremona, the vice-mayor Lidia Mirabile and the mother of Piero, Eleonora Ognibene. Then a tour to discover the baroque of Naro and its monuments: the Castle, the old C athedral.

The Sicilian tour will end with a visit to the city of Agrigento and then to Taormina. Then the return to Rome for the US.

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What women!

Admirable. They were the first, but then many others came.

I don’t think I would have had their courage, but I’m happy that they got what they wanted.

I bet that many of us would like to make this nice trip, and maybe be so lucky to be able to meet Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca ……… but sometimes dreams come true!

Daniela

 

Credit to owners of all photos and articles.

GIANLUCA and FRANCESCO RENGA by Daniela

And here’s another good call, this time between Gianluca and Francesco Renga, which I translate for you.

Gianluca starts immediately with a joyful phrase: “How beautiful we are !!” and Renga replies laughing, “Hi Gianluca, how are you.”

After the first greetings, Renga says he is making a red wine aperitif.

Gianluca explains that Il Volo returned from California on March 13 and have canceled the last concerts. They took the last Alitalia flight and the whole crew, about 20 people, fortunately they are all well.

Renga asks Gianluca if he is at his home and Gian confirms that he is in Montepagano and shows a view of the panorama from his home (very nice indeed).

Even Renga shows the view from his house and this is very nice too, in fact both claim that they are really lucky. (I remind everyone that Renga is from Brescia, my city. What you see above the hill in front of Renga is Brescia Castle, this means that to have this view, Renga lives on Monte Maddalena, a small mountain, from which dominates all of Brescia from above.)

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At this point they talk about future concerts and Renga asks Gian if he has heard that they will be able to return to concerts in a year.

Gianluca states, and says that he also heard Ferdi (Ferdinando Salzano, organizer of the concerts of many artists : F&P group).

Gianluca agrees that it will be very hard to resume for their singers, because restaurants or large companies, all have been affected, but in the field of music it is more difficult, (he is speaking for concerts) especially for fans, who are waiting impatiently, the dates of the concerts, to see them live.

Gian says fans will have to wait a long time and Renga replies that the solution could change if a vaccine is found, but certainly a year goes by. Gian confirms that he has read that it will easily return to normal life in March.

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In this photo, the wedding of Salzano, where many singers were invited. In the smaller photo is Gianluca with Renga.

Renga asks Gian with whom he is at home and he replies that he is with his brother Ernesto.

Gian remembers that a couple of days ago their 2015 concert was broadcast by RAI1, where they sang L’IMMENSITÀ (together Il Volo and Renga), and he also remembers that it is thanks to his brother Ernesto, (admirer of Renga) that IL VOLO sang L’AMORE SI MUOVE.

In fact, Gian remembers a fact that was also explained during the 2015 concert, that Il Volo was looking for a good song to make a new single and Ernesto told them to listen to the song IN MOME DEL PADRE (In the Name of the Father) that Renga had written for the birth of his son. Il Volo liked the song very much, so Gian called Renga and asked him to vary the words and make a version for them.

Renga found the right words and was born, L’AMORE SI MUOVE, and he says it is so beautiful that it is better than the original.

Gian instead says that the original is beautiful and also has an emotional value.

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Renga goes on to say that he sees Gianluca is in excellent shape and Gian replies that he has a small room used as a gym and does training. Renga says that he also has a small gym at home, but it is one thing to have it, another is to use it! 😁.

He admits to being very lazy. Both agree that if you have a goal, like a Sanremo festival, you have been training for a few months before to be fit, otherwise it is easier to lie on the sofa.

At this point Gian tells Renga that he wants to pay him a tribute.

Gian says he grew up with Renga’s music, and Renga claims that this makes him feel much younger thank you ….😁😁 (of course it’s the reverse.)

Gian sits on the piano and plays a part of one of the favorite songs written by Renga  (he is really a good songwriter):

DIMMI SE TU CI SARAI (Tell Me if You Will Be There).

Like a photograph
With uncertain outlines
And this life
My
I find it in a drawer
And then every day
Inside your eyes
If you want
talk to me
of how luck waits
And hold me
in your arms for a while longer
Tell me you’ll be there
When the weather is on us
It will have by now, imprinted
Signs you don’t want
Tell me you’ll be there
When melancholy
He will dress the memories
Of my life


Renga sends him a kiss, says it‘s fantastic, and that made him goosebumps and thanks Gian so much.

Affectionate greetings between both.

Renga says that Gianluca is an incredible person.

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Gianluca I must say that you improve more and more on the piano.

Of Renga I can only say positive things, he is a beautiful person, an excellent songwriter, his songs always have very sweet words.

He admires Il Volo and the boys reciprocate him with affection.

Hopefully there will be more Renga songs written for them.

Daniela

PS = For those who want to try singing the song with Gianluca, I also publish the verses in Italian.

 

DIMMI CHE TU CI SARAI

Come una fotografia
Dai contorni incerti
E questa vita
La mia
La trovo in un cassetto
E poi ogni giorno
Dentro gli occhi tuoi
Se vuoi
Parlami
di come la fortuna aspetta
E tienimi
tra le tue braccia ancora per un po’
Dimmi che tu ci sarai
Quando il tempo su di noi
Avrà ormai lasciato
Segni che non vuoi
Dimmi che tu ci sarai
Quando la malinconia
Vestirà i ricordi
Della vita mia

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Credit to owners of all photos and video.