Taormina is not only a beautiful place, but also a place in full swing when there is IL Volo, a magical place, where in addition to listening to good music you can meet Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca walking through the streets or eating a granita at Bambar.
And it is here that Barbara di Palma met Gianluca and Piero and gave them a short and nice interview for the WEEKLY, a new program broadcast on RAI1.
BARBARA = I moved, I’m in a symbolic place in Taormina. The greatest artists stop here to eat the famous granita, and so I thought, for our first episode, to try to organize a little surprise.
I wanted to do it triple, but in reality I managed to do it double: Gianluca Ginoble and Piero Barone … Il Volo !!
(from the studio a voice “The friends of Il Volo, how wonderful.”) and I do the third. 😁
GIANLUCA = Look at Ignazio how beautiful he is, how Ignazio has changed.😁
PIERO = Can I ask you a question Ignazio?
BARBARA = (she imitates Ignazio’s voice) Tell me Piero, tell me.😁
PIERO = For 10 years I have seen you with a goatee, you are more beautiful without a goatee. 😁
BARBARA = This morning I took off my goatee to be younger, because I’m growing up (laughter) 😁
GIANLUCA = Good morning from Taormina, from the wonderful Taormina.
WOMAN = (voice from the studio) Hi guys, what a nice surprise!
BARBARA = Tonight and tomorrow night they have to sing, cheer the whole audience of the Greek theater of Taormina, and you don’t know what’s behind the cameras, then I’ll show you (she refers that behind the cameras there are all the fans who are waiting).
PIERO = We weren’t ready for the unexpected, it was something suddenly …… (Piero jokes to make it clear that they knew the interview was there)😁
BARBARA = In fact we came to eat a granita ….
PIERO = ….. I go out in the morning wearing this (he shows the earphone to his ear, Gianluca has it too, precisely because there was the interview).
You got it, I feel comfortable wearing this !! 😁
GIANLUCA = You from the studio and you from home, for those who are watching us, what a surprise, look how wonderful ….. (Saretto del Bambar’s daughter arrives and brings them the slushes).
BARBARA = The famous granita. So, Federica (Saretto’s daughter), at this moment I am Ignazio.
What’s your favorite flavor?
FEDERICA = Ignazio prefers peach and raspberry.
BARBARA = And they (Gian and Piero)
FEDERICA = They prefer almond and strawberry.
BARBARA = By now they are like little brothers to you.
FEDERICA = Of home, we have known them for many years.
GIANLUCA = We also greet the father, Saretto, who is watching us.
PIERO = Do you know what her father Saretto did? One day for my birthday in Naro, two hours from here, he came as a surprise with the trolley of slushes, we were celebrating 4 or 5 years ago and he arrived with the trolley of slushes. Saretto, a huge kiss (he sends a kiss).
GIANLUCA = We love you!
BARBARA = Taormina, you really have it in your heart, because it was also the first great theater that welcomed you, before the great success of Sanremo.
GIANLUCA = Yes, we were here in July 2014 (they won Sanremo in 2015), it was the first Italian concert, while our career started in 2009. Then, after the victory of the festival they started to know us also here in Italy, but it was weird for us.
BARBARA= The Greek Theater of Taormina believed in you, before the others!
GIANLUCA = Then, our musical genre is suitable for these prestigious and beautiful places like the Theater of Taormina, like the Arena of Verona. It’s always a pleasure to be able to sing and maybe represent our music, in such places ….. beautiful, let’s say.
BARBARA = In fact it is a curiosity that I had, that is, when you sing at the Arena of Verona or at the Greek Theater of Taormina, which have a truly unique setting, when you interpret the songs, does it give you an extra boost compared to a normal stage?
PIERO = It is clear, having the awareness of singing in a prestigious place, makes us feel privileged, sharing our music in these beautiful places, especially in Italy, but also in other places, in America, in Japan, we try not to lose never that emotion, that desire to be amazed and perhaps this, after 13 years of career, is the reason why, when we go on stage, we always feel the same sensation.
BARBARA = Instead you see here, your audience on the street following you … tell me Carolina (the woman from the studio)
CAROLINA = I was actually listening to the stories about the various tours and I was wondering what was the stage that they didn’t do, but that they would like to do …. where?
PIERO = In Italia?
CAROLINA = Even abroad, all over the world.
GIANLUCA = Look, there is a place where we would love to sing and it is the Baths of Caracalla (in Rome, where the concert of the 3 tenors was performed), and therefore it is not very far and it is a magical place ….
MAN = (from the studio) and then you come here to Weekly ….
GIANLUCA = Absolutely, then we come to you, but we invite you to one of our concerts, let us know where you want to come, it would be nice …
CAROLINA = Where can we come ???
PIERO = Let’s start from Italy, we will sing in Taormina, Agrigento in the Valley of the Temples, Torre del Lago, and many other concerts. Then we move to America, Japan and after 10 years, we will finally return to Australia.
We had two and a half years off, finally it seems that everything is back to normal.
After two and a half years we have planned a tour of around 100 concerts and so we are loaded.
BARBARA = I don’t know if you have heard, but the people behind us speak the languages of half the world.
GIANLUCA = Yes.
BARBARA = Two women from Brazil came to Taormina for their concert.
MAN = (from the studio) I wanted to ask Piero and Gianluca something, a hot comment, Ignazio is good though, is he getting along as a correspondent? (He means Barbara in the part of Ignazio)
GIANLUCA = Ignazio gets away with it, yes.
PIERO = Can I tell the truth?
MAN = Sure!
PIERO = I called Ignazio and he answered the third call and I said: “Igna, where are you? Maybe we need to do an interview, there is a live broadcast on RAI1” And he: “You do it, I’m sleeping” This is reality! (laughs).
GIANLUCA = It’s not true, he’s kidding!
PIERO = He went to sleep late, tonight he has to sing, he also has to rest.
BARBARA = I haven’t tasted the granita yet. Good, peach and raspberry.
CAROLINA = Next stop?
BARBARA = This evening and tomorrow evening the Greek Theater of Taormina.
PIERO = Do you know what the next step is? In a week we will have the honor of singing for Pope Francis at the world meeting of families on June 22nd. So see you on June 22nd.
BARBARA = And a few days ago, you interpreted our hymn in a way that always excites us a lot, with the celebration of June 2nd, and we have a little piece, right Carolina and Fabio?
CAROLINA = Sure, let’s watch it, let’s watch this video of June 2nd with you protagonists. Thanks to the friends of Il Volo.
(the video begins where Il Volo sings the Italian National Anthem)
And here they are Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio, shaking hands with our President Mattarella.
Very proud of them !! ❤❤❤
And now I am translating a video that aired on RAI 1 on 07 June.
But first I have to give a long explanation, so that you can see and rate this nice video without misunderstandings.
First of all, I’ll explain who Drusilla Foer is.
At the registry office, Drusilla Foer responds to the name of Gianluca Gori: photographer, painter, singer and actor originally from Florence, one day, out of nothing, he created this character that soon became a web phenomenon.
Her character is liked, because she is elegant, refined, is not coarse and does not show parts of the body (as many showgirls do), in short, it represents a little elegance that often, in many programs, is left aside to make room for voices more and more screaming and using vulgar terms and elegance has given way to transparencies and many centimeters of exposed skin and flesh.
Drusilla this year was co-presenter for one evening in Sanremo and was very successful.
Now she has been entrusted with this small 5-minute column entitled “Almanac of the day after” in which Drusilla has given space to “The enthusiast of the day after”, that is a small space where already famous people are invited , but pretending to be unknown.
In the second episode it was the turn of Il Volo and Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio were very good at keeping up with the game.
Drusilla interviews the boys giving them little space to explain and she ridicules their answers, as often people unknown to the world of entertainment have to undergo in their first approaches with interviews.
With all this premise, I am now translating to you what has been said.
DRUSILLA = Here we are with our guests: PIERO …. and then … Piero, who is from Naro, right?
PIERO = Yes.
DRUSILLA = Where is Naro located?
PIERO = In Sicily, in the province of Agrigento.
DRUSILLA = Very good. Ignatius instead?
IGNAZIO = I was born in Bologna, even if it doesn’t seem like it ….
DRUSILLA = This story is long ….
IGNAZIO = No, it’s short, that’s enough!
DRUSILLA = Enough … good. Instead, you will be Gianluca.
GIANLUCA = I’m the Abruzzese of the group.
DRUSILLA = Ah, Abruzzo.
GIANLUCA = From Roseto Degli Abruzzi.
IGNAZIO = Enough!
DRUSILLA = Very good. So guys I am truly enchanted by this common passion of yours. Let’s summarize a little. Do you travel the world always together?
GIANLUCA = Yes, we take many flights !! 😁😁
DRUSILLA = Because you travel far away? 😁 Not only from Abruzzo to Molise 😁 (these are the two neighboring regions)
GIANLUCA = We get together every now and then, we have many dreams, we hope to ….
DRUSILLA = How nice, that is, you go to the places and sing in the places where you go to work.
IGNAZIO = We have brought some photos.
DRUSILLA = Do you have any photos? (On the screen there is the photo of the video “Ecstasy of Gold” that they shot in Sardinia)
IGNAZIO = Here we are in Texas 😁 (before Texas he says in a low voice Sardinia).
DRUSILLA = In Texas, and you go to Texas dressed in the blue suit?😁
GIANLUCA = With the blue suit, we sing in the middle of the sand. 😁
DRUSILLA = Ah, so really ??
PIERO = We are afraid to get a tan.
IGNAZIO = You know why, now all these social networks are in fashion …
DRUSILLA = Are you afraid that there is someone taking pictures of you? But who knows you !!!! 😁😁😁
GIANLUCA = Look at those beautiful smiles. (There is a photo with them at the Arena and it is wet on the ground because it rains)
DRUSILLA = How cute, where are you in the pool? 😁
PIERO = No, we had just left the dentist, we wanted to show our teeth! 😁
DRUSILLA = Then what’s up (the photo changes, is made in Japan). Ah, how beautiful, but look, where are you here? In Molise, in the Marche (other region)
IGNAZIO = I think we are in America.
GIANLUCA = No, here we are in Japan.
DRUSILLA = In Japan, of course I recognize Japanese architecture! 😁
I hope that this dream of music will come true, maybe you will become international stars.😁
GIANLUCA = We would like to win Sanremo!
DRUSILLA = Ah Ah, but what are you interested in Sanremo (as if to say that it is something unattainable). 😁 But have you ever sung with a real pianist? 😁
Or do you just use Karaoke backing tracks? 😁
IGNAZIO = Sometimes.
DRUSILLA = Little though, would you like to try? I have a pianist, he’s excellent, his name is Maestro Di Leo.
IGNAZIO = Let’s say that in Japanese karaoke, there is no piano available. 😁
PIERO = He is very elegant.
DRUSILLA = He is very elegant, I have forced him to dress well.
PIERO = And how are we dressed?
DRUSILLA = Very good, very happy.
GIANLUCA = Thanks for giving us this chance.
DRUSILLA = Come on guys, let’s go to the piano.
Don’t be intimidated, I know that the first time at the piano, it upsets you a little. 😁
IGNAZIO = We can sing you something …..
DRUSILLA = What would you like to sing?
IGNAZIO = …… that puts us at ease ?? 😁
DRUSILLA = Yes.
IGNAZIO = One of our favorite artists has always been Jimmy Fontana. (Il Mondo)
DRUSILLA = Ah!
PIERO = See, we have this in common, we like the same musical genre, we sing the same songs ….
DRUSILLA = Beautiful, beautiful …
PIERO = We like the same artists …
DRUSILLA = But this beautiful thing (and then pretends to get bored and fall asleep) 😁
GIANLUCA = We are guys from other times! 😘
DRUSILLA = Well, very cheerful!
IGNAZIO = Do you start singing?
DRUSILLA = What song would you like to sing? I really like Jimmy Fontana
IGNAZIO = Since we talked about travel, places ….
PIERO = You know IL MONDO?
DRUSILLA = IL MONDO, if I don’t remember the words can you suggest them to me ???
PIERO = I suggest them to you.
DRUSILLA = And the hue ?? Come on guys don’t worry, how it comes it comes … 😁
IGNAZIO = But we follow you …😁
DRUSILLA = Yes, come on, come on …
(The song begins, Drusilla pretends not to know the words and Piero suggests them to her, then at the refrain IL VOLO brings out all their voices and amazes Drusilla who is offended for having been deceived) 😁😁
GIANLUCA = Enough, (he turns to Ignazio) We understand that you are good.
DRUSILLA = Not good ….. the technique needs to be changed a little, the emission is a little scarce ….😁😁
PIERO = Two more days of karaoke …
IGNAZIO = I miss karaoke in Japan.
DRUSILLA = No, guys, study! 😁
GIANLUCA = You seem a little annoyed … are you annoyed by any chance?
DRUSILLA = No, imagine,…. one two and three, out of the studio ……. come here with coaxing …. but please go far …. go out ….
IGNAZIO = We salute the piano teacher.
PIERO = We hope to see you again soon.
DRUSILLA = (to Piero) What goodbye, stop it …. (to Gianluca) goodbye ….. (to Ignazio) go to karaoke ….
IGNAZIO = But we go often …
DRUSILLA = …. to karaoke in Japan, especially you, you are disgusting, go ….. (Ignazio approaches her) Security !!
IGNAZIO = Shall we do a duet? 😁
DRUSILLA = What a duet, but go do it with Barbra Streisand !! 😁
IGNAZIO= We did it …..😁
DRUSILLA = But go away …… arrogant …. gne gne gne ….they travel …. rude … but who sent them here? ….. I’d like to know where is the casting one …..😁
What can I say, they were all very good at making this pungent irony.
Even the articles in the newspapers wrote that Drusilla was very good and also Il Volo who lent himself to this game with great self-irony.
The day after the broadcast, Il Volo published the photo together with DRUSILLA with this comment: “It was a real pleasure to participate in the ‘Almanacco del giorno dopo!’ Thank you so much @drusillafoer for hosting us!”
And now the last video I translate for you, a very important video, the news that Il Volo will be at the World Meeting of Families 2022 in the Vatican on June 22nd.
GIANLUCA = Hello everyone, we are very happy and excited to come to Pope Francis’ home and celebrate the World Meeting of Families together with the families of Rome and our families.
PIERO = On that day we will witness the importance of the strength of the support of our families in our life.
IGNAZIO = I will personally take my mother and my sister.
PIERO = I will bring mom and dad, my sister Mariagrazia and my brother Francesco, and we can’t wait to be able to hug Pope Francis.
GIANLUCA = I will come with my family, we are numerous, but the best thing is that I will be able to bring my grandfather Ernesto who, at the age of 88, will be able to shake hands with Pope Francis. These are the most important things, the most beautiful emotions in life, like a mother who is a refuge, a father who is a guide, and this is really the importance of the family.
IGNAZIO = In all these years we have always reiterated how important our families are and are still important to us, they have been like a pillar for our careers, like a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean, here, a meeting point.
So, we are really happy to be able to share this moment with them.
PIERO = In addition to our families, we will also bring our music.
See you on June 22nd. Hugs to all!
GIANLUCA = See you very soon!
IGNAZIO = Ciao!
As always, I am very happy with what Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca have said in these videos.
I hope you liked the translations and shed a little light on what was said by them.
On March 19, at the Pirandello Theater in Agrigento, an event in favor of peace in Ukraine was held. It was called, SICILY FOR PEACE.
Piero Barone took part in this event.
The event was organized by Silvio Schembri, (journalist) and Lello Analfino (singer and producer), both friends of Piero.
When Piero was proposed to participate, he wasn’t sure if he would be in Sicily on those days, but then when he was sure he could be there, he surprised everyone by attending the event.
The video begins with Silvio Schembri coming down from the stage and arriving where Piero Barone is seated.
Silvio makes Piero get up and the people, recognizing him, applaud, then Silvio, imitating the voice of a woman who says:
“Did you see, I told you it was him,”😁😁
and then presents: “PIERO BARONE, there is no need for an introduction.”(applause)
Come with me. (Piero takes off his jacket) Make yourself comfortable.
PIERO: Tonight, I am really happy, honored, to be attending this event. I was fascinated by the Pirandello Theater, because I had never been inside the Pirandello Theater.
SILVIO: This is news that I discovered today, Piero Barone who sang on the most important stages in the world ……
MAN: You went directly to the Ariston (Sanremo stage) without going through the Pirandello Theater, we can say.
PIERO: I realized that it is something that I should have done for some time, because today I arrived 100 meters from the theater and I asked a woman for information:
“Madam, where is the Pirandello Theater?” and she replied:
“You are not Sicilian.”(laughter)😁
“Yes, but unfortunately I don’t know where it is.”
SILVIO: There was never an opportunity, but who knows, maybe this is the first of a long series of occasions.
(on the stairs of the stage)
And here we are, moreover you tour New York, Las Vegas, all parts of the world, but always in Naro, then you come back.
VOICE: (from the audience) Bravo, Naro in the heart !!❤
PIERO: A little while ago I was saying, while I was doing the interview with Silvio…. (There is the overview of the theater, but the interview returns in the backstage)
MAN: The truth is that you like Agrigento so much, when you can live it, we have seen you around, on the seafront, at the tennis club, in short, when you want, Agrigento is your life.
PIERO: Agrigento makes you feel protected, it is a fantastic city. I was born in this magnificent province, I was born in Naro, but I often frequent Agrigento in the summer, I bring all my friends and collaborators to Sicily, I make them all arrive.
(continues on the stairs)
In the city of Agrigento, I don’t know many people, because I frequented it (Agrigento) for the choir of S. Cecilia (as a child, before participating in Ti Lascio una Canzone), when I was a beginner, with Professor Bonfiglio, I spent my childhood there.
SILVIO: Then at 14 you decided to become famous … right? (laughter)😁
PIERO: But I spend my holidays in San Leone (a seaside resort near Agrigento), it’s great, I take all my friends, my colleagues, I don’t go anywhere, they arrive here in Sicily …
SILVIO: Every now and then you also come to Siculiana Marina … (another seaside resort of Agrigento) 😁
PIERO: Because the best thing is to feel yourself. Today I called Silvio, but not only for this event, but also to ask him where we are going tomorrow, because the first phone call I make when I come to Sicily is to call Silvio Schembri (Silvio gives him a kiss …. applause and laughter)
SILVIO: Because he knows that I always take him to eat well, that you understand!! 😁
PIERO: Two weeks ago, Lello (organizer of the event) sent me a message, and I was far away (he was in the US), and I didn’t know what to answer, I would have said yes right away, but I don’t want to give a word, and then invent an excuse if I have a sudden commitment, because unfortunately I am here physically almost never, and now I am overjoyed to give my contribution. I don’t sing, without my colleagues (Gian and Ignazio), for various reasons, so today I called Ignazio and Gianluca and I told them:
“Any video you will see from tomorrow on the internet, don’t worry, I’ll sing in a theater, don’t worry”, and I’ll sing, we call it a song…. I want to sing a prayer, because everyone can come here and sing any song, but for an evening like this, I want to sing something special, an Ave Maria (Hail Mary) and it’s the only one way, for my part, to express my closeness, in such a complex and particular moment. (applause)❤
(The Ave Maria begins.)
MAN: Thanks to both of you, thanks to Silvio Schembri, thanks to Piero Barone, for what you are giving this evening to the Pirandello Theater, for the solidarity operation you are carrying out and which is not the first time, I also remember when the pandemic broke out, you took an important step.
SILVIO: With the help of many people who are also here, like Lello Analfino and Piero, in the midst of the pandemic, in the first wave, we immediately activated, with many other friends, to find funds.
PIERO: The idea was born during our phone calls: “Oh Silvio, what do we do?”
SILVIO: At the beginning of the pandemic our talks were about how to cook bread and pizzas, then we said: “But what can we do? Are we doing something concrete?”
Thanks to all of you.
(video resumes on stage)
LELLO: Piero Barone (hug) You are my nephews. ❤❤
And here is the full video of Piero’s entire performance, published by the Pirandello Theater.
SILVIO: I’ve dreamed of it for a lifetime (to introduce Piero) and tonight I have to do it myself: On the piano Maestro Salvatore Galante(applause), sings Piero Barone. (Applause – the Ave Maria begins, at the end, long applause, Lello Analfino enters, very excited, long hugs)
LELLO: You are like my nephews.
SILVIO: Yes, uncle, leave us some money later. (laughter)😁(To Piero) We talked about it before, now the concerts start again, the travels, the theaters full …..
PIERO: Yes, we start again on June 2nd after two years, in Italy, we start from the Verona Arena, we will also sing in Taormina, June 11th and 12th and maybe …..
SILVIO: .…. also, in other parts of Sicily, so to speak. Taormina is a fixed stop for Il Volo, as if it were a tradition …
PIERO: He is happy, because when he comes to Taormina, then we go to the disco.
LELLO: I know, he (Silvio) tells me crazy things.
PIERO: The last photo of the concert in Taormina ….
SILVIO: Be careful what you say there are so many secrets …
PIERO: …… it is not a photo of Il Volo on the stage singing, with Etna behind and the sea, but it is a photo of Silvio Schembri in the disco, without a shirt ….😁😁
LELLO: But did you have a bow tie?
SILVIO: I’ll explain why. We were in this disco, after the Il Volo concert, and all the girls were saying: “a photo”, Piero lifts his shirt and shows his abs and I thought, I can do this too …. and then I said: “Come here a second and I too will take off my shirt and take the picture, and the (the girls) came”😁
But one of the most beautiful things in Taormina, we tell this and then we let you go, it is a fixed stop, when I can, I always go there, and one of the fixed stops when Il Volo sings in Taormina, is Saretto al Bambar where we eat granite there in Taormina.
And when Il Volo arrives in Taormina, you can’t imagine what’s there, it’s all full, with their fans who come from all over the world, you hear them speak in all languages, and go inside the Bambar to get the slushes, with all these people, it’s packed, and so I pull away for a moment and put myself behind to let the fans get closer.
I put myself in a trajectory between Il Volo and two elderly people who were there eating the granita…. (while he talks he sees a woman in the audience laughing) “You already know this story madam? Already laughing?”😁
At one point the man stops eating and calls the waiter and asks: “Excuse me, this whole brothel (crowd of people)”
“You know, there are those from Il Volo.”
This man turns around and the first person he sees is me, he turns around and says to his wife: “How much has this become of Il Volo?”(he means: how much fat has this of Il Volo become)😁
I swear to you! 😁😁😁 It’s a true story !!
LELLO: And don’t you know that since Silvio goes to Bambar, they have made seafood granita😁
SILVIO: Piero, I don’t know what to say, thank you, thank you in my name and in everyone’s name.
It was a really good event and for a good cause.
In these days, Il Volo was live on a pop program of a Korean radio show. I saw them live and it was very strange, because that radio transmits very different music from the one Il Volo sings, but it was beautiful and also appreciated by the young presenter.
Here is the video of Il Volo’s participation.
Concert dates continue to be added here in Europe and also in Italy and it is with great joy that the date of BRESCIA has also been added. I couldn’t believe it, and the news came from OHIO (thanks Rose Marie). The concert will take place on September 2nd outdoors in the beautiful Piazza Loggia, the place where in 2015 I saw my first Il Volo concert.
I struggled a lot to get the tickets, something didn’t work in the presale, but in the end I made it, third row. I hope I can make some great videos for you, ideally I will take all of you with me!! It will be a great night.❤
Every Saturday morning, I sit at my desk and think about what I will write about this week! Since we’re closing in on Christmas, I thought maybe I should start a little earlier this week!
My first thought was last year’s Christmas message was amazing! Not because I wrote it but because of the people who helped me write it! Two wonderful friends! Our special little nonna, Maura Pucci and Giovanni Granaro local historian and my go to man in Naro. Over ten thousand fans responded to the story! It gave us a look at the different Italian traditions and an insight into our guy’s Christmas. So, I thought maybe I should republish the article but with a few new and interesting facts added.
But before we relive the story let me tell you what the story told us about each of the guys. It showed their different traditions based on the region they came from but, they do have one tradition in common and they share that tradition with Italians all over the world. It is the Feast of Seven Fishes that is celebrated on Christmas Eve. In Italy, the meal is known as Festa Dei Sette Pesci (the Feast of Seven Fish), or, more simply, La Vigilia. Now let me add some say the meal should include twelve fish. Why? Seven fish for the seven days it took to create the world or twelve fish for the twelve apostles. The number of fish is not as important as the feast, or La Vigilia, itself. This is a tradition that goes back to ancient times in the Church. Before a great feast day, it was important to fast to prepare for the feast. So, everyone abstained from meat, thus everyone ate fish.
In the early 1900’s when Italian immigrants came to America, they brought this tradition with them. This allowed them to rekindle the old country’s Christmas Eve tradition so they would feel close to their homes and the families they left behind. Today, it’s considered one of the oldest Italian traditions because most Italians still keep the tradition! I certainly do!
So, without further ado, let’s join Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca for Christmas with 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 any other entertainers. The difference is the guys think of us as their extended family 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 twenty-one 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 open 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, Tortellini, 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 an 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.
I know the part of the meal that Ignazio will like the best is the dessert! A dessert he will share with his family to celebrate Christmas Day!
There is one Sicilian tradition that I did not talk about last year and since we have two Sicilian men in the group, I think it is important to include it in the article.
For many in Sicily, the Christmas season starts on the Feast of Santa Lucia. In some regions of Sicily, the feast day is celebrated with Cuccia. The word itself is Sicilian. Cuccìa is typically made with wheat berries, ricotta and sugar. How did this tradition come to be?
In the winter of 1646, Sicily was undergoing a terrible famine. People were dying of hunger after a massive crop failure. The people of Palermo did the only thing they could in the circumstances: they prayed. And then on the morning of December 13th a ship full of grain arrived in Palermo harbor with enough grain to feed the whole city. Rather than wait to have the grain milled into flour to make bread, the hungry people boiled and ate the grain to satisfy their hunger and save their lives. The people were convinced that Santa Lucia (St. Lucy), Sicily’s most important saint had saved the city, since the grain arrived on her feast day.
I’m not sure if Piero and Ignazio’s family make Cuccia or eat it but I’m sure they know the tradition.
So, now let’s talk about Gianluca’s 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 newborn 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!
As you know my mother is Abruzzese and I must say, Gianluca’s Christmas is very similar my Christmas.
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 tradition, gifts were 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! No coal for our guys!
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!
Again, I would like to thank the 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!
Susan Daniela Pat
In closing, I would like to thank my team at Flight Crew! The 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 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 would love to join me in wishing Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with many Concerts!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
In my story today I am taking you back to the very beginning! I want to tell you a little something about the guys in their early years. I will be using excerpt from the book the guys wrote and various interviews they did about the book. This is just a small piece of each man’s story.
We begin by journeying back to Naro, Bologna and Montepagano where it all began, to meet, our guys as little children.
The stories are very sweet and sometimes very sensitive. I found myself in tears reading the beautiful accounts of their special lives. In one of the stories, I had to stop reading and take a breath because it was like I was reading my own story. I had experienced the same thing in my life and I understood where he was coming from and I felt his pain in my heart with every word he spoke! I’ve been there!
In some way I have a connection to each of these guys. In Gianluca’s case we are connected by country, my maternal grandparents where from Abruzzi but the beach we visited when we were in Abruzzi was Pescara. My connection with Piero is his family. He came from the same kind of family I did. Dinners with the entire family and summers in the countryside. As for Ignazio I have an emotional attachment to him. Ignazio sings with passion and, I write with passion. Many people have said when I write about Ignazio I write with the same passion as he has when he sings. I think this is because we are both very sensitive and we are alike in many ways. We have many of the same traits!
Let me begin by saying each one of the guys is unique in how he presents his story. Piero and Gianluca dictated their stories but, Ignazio chose to write his story. He has a writing technique very similar to mine. When he writes he speaks directly to the reader! He comes in and out of the story speaking to the reader and asking questions. He is an excellent writer.
Piero is a great storyteller! In his stories he recalls every detail. He makes you feel like you’re a part of his story. When the story is over you know the event as it happened and there is nothing more for you to know. He’s told it all! He is very serious and emotional when he speaks about his childhood and his family.
Gianluca is very different from Piero and Ignazio. He had a calm and peaceful childhood. He didn’t have the challenges that Ignazio had or the intense classical education that Piero had. No, Gianluca lived a very simple life. Perhaps that explains why Gianluca is a romantic.
So, without further ado, let’s begin with….
All of what is said here was said by Ignazio in his story. I did not change the thoughts or feelings of Ignazio or any of the guys in any of their stories. All the Italics are their own words. You might say I’m relating the story as seen through my eyes. Ignazio as the narrator gives you the facts and I follow him by giving you information that is important to the story.
This is a very, sensitive and sincere story!
“If a life is a story and, if every story needs someone to tell it, here I am to tell you mine, all of it from the beginning.” ~ Ignazio Boschetto
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. My story is sincere. It is the story of my life just as I experienced it before Il Volo and inside Il Volo.
My flight (every reference is purely coincidental) starts with a Christmas Letter.
It seems Ignazio’s mother, Caterina, and his father, Vito, were thinking about expanding their family. It is Christmas time 1993. Ignazio’s sister Antonia, who everyone calls Nina, is at school and the children are told to write a letter to Santa and the Baby Jesus. What Nina writes is a miracle and the beginning of one of the most beautiful and sincere relationships between a brother and sister. Nina, 7 years old, writes:
Dear Santa and Baby Jesus,
I do not want any presents for Christmas. Give my gifts to poor children. I want a baby brother for Christmas.
Ignazio continues, Said and done!
Shortly after New Year’s Caterina discovers she is pregnant. When Nina is told she wants to confirm that her wish has come true. Nina asks her mother if she can join her for her ultrasound. During the checkup, Nina asks the doctor, “May I know what it is?”
“What do you want, honey?” the doctor asks.
“I want a little brother.”
“Then come, I’ll show you the string bean.”
Nina’s first wish is granted but her second wish, not exactly! Nina wants her brother to be born on October 1st, her birthday. It seems Ignazio had another idea.
My name is Ignazio Boschetto. I was born on October 4th, 1994 in Bologna, Italy.
No, I didn’t make it for Nina’s birthday. I was wrong. What can I tell you? When they brought me home, I was better than any doll to Nina. Everyone was happy but soon, there are some worries. During the first visit, the doctor found that I had a strange kidney malfunction. After several checkups, they found I was born with a single kidney, but the one kidney I had was larger than normal and it works as if it were two kidneys.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, I was born with the squint of Venus, but I was fine, a Bolognese, brand new. The truth is, I could have been born Sicilian – Sienese. How would you see me with a Tuscan accent?
Ignazio continues his story always keeping in mind that his life is possible because of the sacrifices of his parents.
Is it the same if the images that I will never forget are … the memories of my parents? It’s not that I’m crazy or strange, it’s right that my story would never have existed without my parents.
In 1990, Ignazio’s parents made the decision to leave Marsala. They left with the hope of a better life for their family. As Ignazio says, “The family they had only begun to create.” Within a few years they managed to achieve economic stability and were able move into a house. Ignazio says, “The house was very small, but it was my first house, the one in which I was born.”
Of all the houses I lived in, one particular address remains in my mind: Via Marconi 94 in Molinella. It was a big and very beautiful house. We moved there just before I started elementary school. 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. But it was official I was not the most mischievous in class that would be my friend Nicholas. I was second.
Now I would not want you to get the wrong idea of me as a child. A saint I was not, mind you, but thinking about it now if I was mischievous at school, maybe there was a reason.
In 1998, when Ignazio was four years old his mom was diagnosed with facial cancer. For a child of Ignazio’s age, it was hard to understand what was happening.
Mom did something she always did with us, for as long as I can remember, she explained the situation to us, speaking openly. This is a great merit that I must acknowledge about my family, but perhaps a little more to mom, because the fact of speaking clearly with us children and telling us the truth about things that affected our family and life in general taught us to face up to early adult conversations.
Now, I’m going to step out of the story because there are no words that I can say that will express the emotion and the sensitivity of Ignazio words.
I do not even have to tell you that since my mother’s conversation, my life has changed. I was small, but I could not afford to think like the other children of my age. As for my sister the situation was even more complicated because since 1998, the year of our mother’s first hospitalization, until 2003, the year when all the bad story is over, my mother has become Nina. For the first two years of elementary school, I have not often seen mom, a little because I went to school, a little because she had to return frequently to the hospital and stay there for long periods. Dad worked and my sister, despite her twelve years, had to be a housewife. She has become my biggest reference point. We had to grow both of us very quickly, without thinking about toys and different entertainment, and not so to speak, but really. The truth is that we were not interested in anything that usually affects two children of that age, because the only thing we wanted was to have mom at home.
It is difficult to say what was the worst moment because her absence was always felt. For sure, however, I was particularly impressed by a quarrel with my sister. I was four and she was twelve and I was playing with a toy, she was fed up because I made noise, she took the toy and, we had a fight. After responding badly to her, I immediately repented. For me Nina was very important, really like a mother. In the end I did not sleep for a week. But I never told her, at least until now.
After five surgeries and one hundred and fifty points in the face, mom has returned home. Too bad they did not leave me much time to enjoy her. I wanted to sit her on the sofa and, I wanted all the kisses, hugs and everything I haven’t had in those years. Mom is mine and woe to those who touch her! And instead, a few years earlier, mom had started working in a pizzeria and, not even the time to leave the hospital, she rightly started working again. What could I do?
Let’s move on to Montepagano!
With Gianluca, everything is about passion! Actually, four passions! Family, Country, Music, Soccer! Not necessarily in that order! He takes his passion for Abruzzo around the world. On tour he always speaks about Abruzzo. He loves his country and, he wants others to love it too!
My name is Gianluca Ginoble. I was born on February 11th, 1995 at the Atri hospital.
“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 Ginoble
The accents are beautiful, the dialects are beautiful, but I can say that what I prefer is the Abruzzese? I am, very, proud to be from Abruzzo. I love everything about this region. And I like to bring Abruzzo around the world and keep it high.
My life as a child seems so far away. I remember, very, little of my childhood! It’s like twenty years have passed but, only five have passed. 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, Ercole and mom, Eleanora realized that I had something special in my voice when I started to sing at the age of three or four years. They 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 were sitting around in the square.
This was Gianluca’s first audience but, of course he doesn’t remember it.
Because Eleanora worked, Gianluca went to after-school session with the nuns. He had a teacher named Gabriella. One afternoon, while Gianluca was doing homework, he suddenly got up and started singing “Time to Say Goodbye.” The teacher was speechless. “What a voice you have, what a wonderful voice,” she told Gianluca. “But do you know Andrea Bocelli?” She could not believe how it was possible for such a small child to have such a voice and to know a singer of that kind. “Of course, I know him,” Gianluca said, “He’s my idol, my favorite singer,” Gianluca said this with a certain pride. “Only I do not have his CD yet.” “I’ll bring it to you tomorrow, I’ll gift it to you,” was the teacher’s answer.”
I was seven, maybe eight years old and thanks to Gabriella I was able to start listening to Andrea Bocelli as often as I wanted.
Are you wondering why I suddenly sang ‘Time to Say Goodbye?’ The answer is simple: because it made me feel good. Usually, I would sing at home or in situations where I felt protected as if I were at home. I did not care to make myself heard by others. It also happened that at school the teacher knew my particular voice and she would make me sing in the classroom. “Gianluca, let us hear your voice, guys, let’s listen to Gianluca sing.” Do you know how I reacted? I sang, of course, because it was the teacher who asked, but first I went to hide behind the blackboard and put myself face to the wall. I was ashamed to die. I still remember that feeling of being hidden, while I sang, without seeing anyone. Also, because I was already singing with this voice that tended to the baritone, it was really special. I understood that it was a beautiful thing, which everyone liked, but I was still ashamed. Dad says I also did it at home to turn my face to the wall while I was singing. What could I do? I was very shy and a little insecure.
But now, the shyness is over. Gianluca considered this a defect when he was a child but now, he has overcome the shyness. What hasn’t changed is the constant need for confirmation. On social networks, you see his selfies and people think he is vain, but in reality, he needs constant fan approval. He needs to know that they support him. Gianluca has been this way since he was a child. He always needed reassurances. If he only knew how much his fans love him, he would need no reassurances!
Time to move on to Naro.
Let’s join Piero in the courtyard of the town square of Naro.
The heat of the day has passed, the time of rest is over and it’s time for people to come out into the square. On the bench nearby are old men. Piero is playing soccer with his friends. They are playing with his SUPER TELE (a plastic football). The ball flies off in the direction of the old men and they shout, “Slow with the ball or we will cut it.” The old men frighten Piero with their threat.
My name is Piero Barone. I was born on June 24th, 1993 in the Sicilian city of Naro.
(Francesco and Piero Barone)
What can I tell you about Naro? For me, it is the most beautiful city in the world! There are dozens of baroque churches and above the city the Chiaramonte castle. Below the castle is the beautiful Valle del Paradiso with its green pastures and the green sea that separates Naro from the real sea… and there’s the Spring Festival Narese!
I would gather with my friends in the afternoon and usually we played until ten in the evening but there was always the fear that the old men would pierce the ball.
Five or six years have passed since the old men scared me. The old men are still on the bench but now when they see me, they come to meet me, to greet me. Before, they scared me, and now they hug me and have that look of being proud and moved. It’s too strong for me! Yet, I still can’t explain why I become ‘weak inside’ when I see them.
“The truth is, I’m still that kid with his SUPER TELE.” ~ Piero Barone
For Piero life is all about Naro and the family and his fondest memories are of his childhood and his family….
I think it is an effort to remember when we were young. We were young the day before yesterday. In fact, all three of us, feel that time has run too fast. Yesterday we were children, and, in a moment, we found ourselves grown up with a great job to carry on. It’s the most beautiful job in the world, what we dreamed and desired, but the truth is that none of us really imagined what would happen.
I remember in detail the years from one to fourteen…. I recall for a few months, during the summer, when I was nine years old, I went to work in my father’s body shop but because I had bad allergies and asthma I was not able to deal with the paints and powders so, the decision was made that I would go to work in my uncle Angelo’s (my mother’s brother) mechanic shop which was just in front of my father’s shop. I clearly recall, at half past ten, on time, my uncle gave me two euros and I went to buy a sandwich at the supermarket. The sandwich was ham and provolone. ‘How good was that sandwich!’
What I’ve done in the last five or six years, I tend to forget. Not because I’m not happy to have done it, on the contrary, I am, very, happy. It’s to have the life I have and have a dream come true: living with music was all I wanted.
When I was a child, I visited my father’s body shop. The shop was, very, big and was full of cars and lots of noise. This was my “first stage.” I was not yet four years old, and I was starting to sing. My father lifted me up and placed me on the hood of a car that was jacked up and I immediately began to sing. The people in front of the shop looked out. Slowly one after another, they came out. I remember them, they stood there listening to me, their heads popping out of the door and, I sang and, it was the most natural thing in the world for me!
But what remains in Piero’s heart is what he calls the “campaign” of his grandparents.
How do I explain this campaign? I think “campaign” and I think “family” a couple that cannot be divided.
Piero compares this campaign to his mother, Elenora, and his father, Gaetano. He sees their marriage as an example of love that he hopes to one day share with someone. Piero says,
I want someone with whom I can carry on that love that is so great even in times of difficulty.
And part of that love, Piero explains, comes from the closeness of his family.
I am proud to say mine is a real Sicilian family, one of those that on Sundays reunites at the grand house, the grandparents’ house. Together we are mom and dad with me and my brother and my sister, my grandfather, my grandmother and my uncle, my great-grandmother, my grandmother’s sister, her husband and their three children, who are the same age as us and for me they are like another brother and two other sisters.And there were great lunches from the first to the sweets, things so good that you cannot even imagine them. And the saga continues, when summer arrives and, everyone moves to the countryside.
Piero’s fondly remembers a family tradition…
I could not wait for it to be Saturday morning when we lit the wood burning oven. I went to collect wood around the ground, I helped to light the fire, and I helped to take out the pizza. In addition to pizza, we did “u pani impurnatu”, which is bread baked in the oven. How good it was! It kept that good taste all week. The week passed and the next Saturday we started over again. The bread was beautiful, warm and fragrant. We also made the “impanate”, which are rolls of pizza dough with vegetables inside, a typical dish of my area. In short, I ate a lot of good things and, it was visible (I was really fat).
We have now met the guys at the very beginning of their lives. What have we learned from each boy? We learned they come from very simple, very humble families. Hard working families. Not unlike the other children they grew up with. Their days were spent playing, being mischievous and singing on impulse. The one thing everyone comes back to in their story is their music. Piero tells us living with music was all he wanted. Ignazio tells us between the mischief, there was always the passion for music. And Gianluca says he sang because it made him feel good.
It seems for these young men not much has changed over the years. In the Beginning There was Music and not much has changed over the years except that now they share it with us!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
The Lion has roared! Sanremo is over and a new phase begins in the life of Il Volo.
It’s 2015 and the guys are on top of the world. They won Sanremo but above all they won the hearts of the Italian people. They were home! They were finally recognized by their people!
Let’s listen to what Gianluca had to say about returning to Montepagano after Sanremo….
“On Sunday evening, when I returned to Montepagano, I found the whole village in a party, not just my grandfather but all my countrymen were waiting for me from the morning to celebrate. Everyone was there, including the mayor. And then, the journalists, the local TV and a crowd of people who we could not count.
In a certain sense, the post-Sanremo celebrations continued until August 8th, 2015, the date of our concert in Chieti.”
This concert was important to Gianluca and he wanted to invite some special people to it.
Gianluca continues, “I went to visit the children of the A.G.B.E., the Association of Parents of the Emopatic Children, of Pescara. They ranged in age from 4 to 15 years, and I invited them to our concert of Il Volo Live 2015 in Chieti because I knew that Piero and Ignazio would have been happy to meet them. And so it was: they came, they had fun and we spent time together taking pictures and signing autographs.”
A.G.B.E. was born in 2000 from the idea of a group of parents with children from the hemopaths treated at the Santo Spirito hospital in the city. The purpose of the association is to give support in every way to the children and families during and after the period of treatment.
Gianluca continues: “The thing that honors me most is they were inspired by my story with Ti Lascio Una Canzone. These people have the children dedicate every year at Christmas time a show that keeps them very busy and the children have a lot of fun doing it.
Chieti was a very exciting moment of the tour but there were many if I think about it. Even just the fact of having scheduled twenty-five dates – from Locarno, in Switzerland, in Trieste and then up to Taormina, Palermo, Malta and the final date at the Arena of Verona, passing through Brescia and Rome, just to name a few – all sold out! That was an immense emotion.”
But, before we talk about all the emotions, let’s take a step back and see where this all began in December 2014….
Two months earlier!
On December 28th, Piero, became an honorary “Ambassador of Naro in the World”. The ceremony took place at the Baroque Church of San Francesco. Ignazio and Gianluca were also present.
It was obvious that many people from Naro and the surrounding area would attend so a large screen was placed outside the Church to accommodate all those who weren’t able to get into the church.
The event was presented by Totò Nocera, a doctor and artist from Narese, who recalled all the connections between Piero and his hometown of Naro, to which Piero has remained and will always remain very attached.
Piero and his guests Ignazio and Gianluca visited the monuments of the Fulgentissima Città Barocca. They also took part in the street festival sharing food with their fans and tasting typical local products.
Naro for Piero means family. It is in Via Verdessa, in the sant’Erasmo district, that Piero calls home. Via Vanelle, on the other hand, is the street where Piero spent most of his childhood. It is the street where his grandmother Rina and grandfather Pietro Ognibene lived.
Mr. Ognibene is a highly esteemed storyteller of the town and he writes poetry in the local dialect. He is at the heart of what Naro is about and he is at the very heart of Piero. It was Pietro who first heard Piero sing and believed that he had great singing skills.
In 2005, a landslide destroyed Via Vanelle but Piero decided to meet with the surviving inhabitants and share his affections with them. This is one of the oldest streets in Naro.
After this event it was announced that the guys would sing at Sanremo 2015. It was also announced that the winner of Sanremo would go to Eurovision 2015.
After the guys won Sanremo, the people of Naro crowned Piero “Baruneddu” of the city. “Baruneddu” and “Prince of Naro” are the names that fans have chosen for their darling, Piero. The first is the dialectization of the artist’s rather noble surname, the second alludes to Piero’s iconic responsibility to represent Naro in the world.
The victory in Sanremo represented for the Naresi a confirmation of the great talent of Piero, already demonstrated on the occasion of his participation in the Talent show that gave him notoriety in 2009, Ti Lascio Una Canzone (I leave you a song), when he was just a shy boy hidden behind his big red glasses, today they have become for him almost a distinctive sign.
Let’s turn to Ignazio to see what happened when he returned to Marsala….
“On February 18th, 2015 the president of the City Council of the City of Marsala, Enzo Sturiano, gave Ignazio a Gold Medal making him Ambassador of the City of Marsala in the World.
Ignazio’s remarks that day stayed in the minds of all present for a long time. Let’s listen to what Ignazio had to say….
“There would be many things to say, because it’s really unexpected, starting from a small city like Marsala and beginning to study a little for fun, and then after 11 years, you’re ambassador of your city, so it’s really something inexplicable. It is also difficult to explain the emotion, but what I can say is in recent years, sometimes I was also criticized by Marsala, people thought I was a haughty guy, who had found the opportunity to go on air to Rai1 and has become who knows what!!
What I have learned, and I do not want to be a teacher, is that before judging a person, one must know him. (applause)
The problem we have today is that many people judge immediately, instead of doing the actions, we all judge and say only words.
In fact, here today, I came with a friend of mine, he came to my house. I unfortunately was not there, but when I went home, we talked about it, it’s this boy here . . . get up.
What’s your name? Antonio Maniscalco?
Well, this guy is an Italian boxing champion, right? Lately I’ve heard people say that Marsala has recently forgotten about her talents and is only interested in me.
Instead, I hope that Marsala is aware, even of these small but great realities, that they are like him in boxing and many other people in all sectors, because Marsala is full of talents.
What I wanted to tell you, is that I am the first who would like to have a friend ambassador, in fact, I’m the first one who would like to share the emotions with another person, but I think that many people speak only to talk, and to get out the air from their mouth.
I wanted to say thank you, because in recent years I felt supported by Marsala, and, apart from the politics, with Enzo there is a great friendship.
I have always pulled back with regards to politics because in my position it is always better to avoid, but with Enzo there is a friendship that goes beyond politics, he is a beautiful person.
And then there are all of you here, I think that in the end there is always something that unites us, in this case THE MUSIC unites us all.
We may be acquaintances or friends but, in the end, we are all the same, we are all in the same place, so sometimes I think there is no need to make any difference.
So, I wanted to say thank you to all the inhabitants of Marsala and the city council.
(applause, people shout Mayor you, Mayor you and Ignazio respond to them)
I would not run a city ….. I must be mayor of my life, first of all.
Thank you very much for this nomination, I am truly honored and, I hope I will never disown this nomination, because it is really nice to be ambassadors of your city and I hope to always bring prestige to this city.”
I think the thing I love best about Ignazio is he is very truthful and, he always presents it as he sees it and, says it as it is! Bravo, Ignazio! Spoken from the heart!
Outside the Town Hall, everyone sang Grande Amore with Ignazio.
So, let’s return to Gianluca….
So as Gianluca said, on Sunday evening, when he returned to Montepagano, he found the whole village in a party, not just his grandfather but all his countrymen were waiting for him from the morning to celebrate.
Gianluca tells us what happened next….
“As happened to Piero in Naro and Ignazio in Marsala, the mayor appointed me Ambassador to the World from Roseto degli Abruzzi and gave honorary citizenship to Piero, Ignazio and Torpedine.
But before that happened, I was named, ‘Ambassador of Abruzzo 2015’ by the city of Roseto. The award for this honor was a statue depicting the warrior Capestrano, a well-known historical figure. The original statue was found buried in the soil by a farmer while working in his field and, it is now on display in the National Archaeological Museum of the Abruzzi in Chieti.
Every year on August 5th we celebrate the Day of Abruzzesi in the world, a day set up with a regional law to remember all the emigrants. On that day five ambassadors of Abruzzo are appointed in the world, that is, Abruzzesi who have come out of the regional boundaries for different reasons and give prestige to their region.
The ceremony, which has a different location every year, was held in the Fortress of Civitalla del Tronto, a village that is a jewel of the province of Teramo, right on the border with the Marches.
I however, am still in Abruzzo and therefore I cannot be appointed ambassador according to regional regulations, I was awarded with the beautiful statuette that replicates the warrior Capestrano, for having brought the name of my land around the world.
I cannot tell you what a feeling it is to receive from the regional Presidency the cultural symbol of my region.”
Gianluca was also given an award by the publishers of the Eldos News, who named him “World Ambassador of the city of Roseto degli Abruzzo.” This award was a plaque in gold and silver made by the prominent goldsmith, Roberto Talamonti. Piero and Ignazio were also included in this event, being named Honorary Citizens of Roseto and receiving awards printed on parchment and roses made of silver.”
All the ceremonies ended with the Concert in Chieti. Piero and Ignazio were very happy that Gianluca invited the children of the A.G.B.E. They spent time taking pictures and signing autographs for the children. The guys had as much fun as the kids did!
These were emotional days for the guys. They were home, they were honored, they were happy and they were ready to take on Italy!
Three proud Italian Ambassadors to the World!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!