Over the past week I have been thinking about where it all began for the guys. As you know, I have written excerpts from their story but, I thought it might be nice for some of the new fans to hear about where it all began for the guys. Three different stories but all with the same ending! This is the story of how they were discovered and of course their journey to Ti Lascio una Canzone.
Piero: The Beginning of the Journey
Most of you know that Piero was discovered by his grandfather. In the garden of his grandparents’ house there is a mulberry tree and hanging on that tree is an old-fashioned swing. Piero was swinging on that swing when his grandfather heard him sing for the first time! He was about four years old at the time. The following day Pietro had a recording made of Piero singing “Un Amore Così Grande.”
The evening of the recording would be the beginning of Piero’sjourney to stardom. As always, Piero’s entire family ate dinner together. The family consisted of his great grandmother, all the aunts, uncles and cousins who were like sisters and brothers to him. 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 because just one day earlier, Piero’s grandfather Pietro discovered that Piero had an amazing voice.
They had just finished dinner when *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 that had the recording of Piero’s voice. 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! His father did everything he could think of to start him on a musical journey. He wanted Piero to start the festivals but, he was too young. He needed to “put in a base” because the voice alone was not enough. Gaetano asked himself: “What must Piero start to do?” And the answer was: “Piero must start playing the piano”.
Piero began to study piano at the age of eight but, economically the family could not afford the costs of the lessons. So, Piero’s grandfather paid for everything, and not just from the material point of view. Stefano Tesè was Piero’s first piano teacher. The mother of Piero’s teacher lived on the floor below in his grandfather’s house and the master came to see his mother every Monday. Pietro made an agreement with Mr. Tesè to give Piero lessons every Monday at six o’clock.
Piero says, “The road was very short to my grandfather’s house, I could even go there alone, but here was the problem, to get there I had to face a dog that was going around in that neighborhood, that dog would approach and bark furiously. And I had a fear of dogs. Squeezed under my grandfather’s arm, he who being blind needed to be guided, I felt protected as behind a shield: when the dog approached, Pietro shouted: “Passa arrassu!” (fast pass), go away, and the dog went away.”
Piero confesses there was another problem, “Every Monday at six in the afternoon was a nightmare for me, because I did not like going to the piano lesson. Or rather, I liked it only when the lessons were good, when I could play, but at the beginning I was bored a lot with the hammers, solfeggios and all the things that you rightly have to learn to play the piano. Maestro Tesè was a tough guy and, I was always worried that he would scold me. After a while I started to understand how the piano worked and the lessons started to please me.”
The advice everyone gave Piero was that he should join the choir that met in the church of Santo Spirito in Agrigento. Originally Gaetano objected to this saying they would “break my sons voice,” but, eventually he came to the reality that this was the right thing to do. And so it was that Piero joined the Little Singers of the Philharmonic Association – Santa Cecilia of Agrigento.
And so it was that Piero started his classical musical education that would end at Ti Lascio Una Canzone.
Of the three, Piero is the only one who said, “…. if there is one thing I want to do in life, it is singing, living for and with music.”
The original story I wrote about Piero’s beginnings I called **The Mulberry Tree because Piero was swinging on a swing which hung from a mulberry tree in his grandfather garden. Around the time of this event, I was at home in New York busy writing a screenplay. The name screenplay was “The Mulberry Tree!”
Ignazio: The Beginning of the Journey
In this story, Ignazio leaves his friends and his school in Bologna and starts all over again in Marsala. He fought this move every step of the way but this move would bring him to the start of his journey to stardom!All the What if’s, come into play! What if the family didn’t return to Marsala? What if Caterina didn’t open the pizzeria? What if that customer didn’t hear Ignazio sing? What if Ignazio decided not to take singing lessons? Ignazio’s story begins shortly after his arrival in Marsala
In 2004 there was a great change for Ignazio’s family. Ignazio’s mom had regained her health and finally the family was financially stable so, they returned to Marsala.
Ignazio’s story of the building of the pizzeria was so inspiring that I called my original story, “A Slice of Pizza with Ignazio on the Side.”
During the first year they were back in Marsala, Ignazio’s mom had gone back and forth every day to the center of Marsala to be able to secure her great dream: to open a pizzeria of her own. In order to open the pizzeria, she needed to do certain things. First thing: she had to get the permits and all the bureaucratic things that she needed to do. Second thing: she used the ovens of friends and made pizzas. Ignazio said: “I remember it very well. She went from one oven to another and tried so many types of flour, she tried the dough, she tried so many types of mozzarellas so, when she finally opened the pizzeria, she already knew how to prepare the right dough. It is different to make pizza in Bologna than making it in Marsala, take the word of a son and brother of a pizza maker: it is different because it depends on the humidity, the temperature and the type of flour. It’s not a simple matter to make a really good pizza.”
While Caterina was preparing permits and trying different kinds of pizza, it was left for the men to build the pizzeria. With the savings Vito accumulated over the years he began the work on the pizzeria. He was now working in a company that built wooden structures and being an experienced bricklayer, the dream could be realized, and the pizzeria could be built in front of the house.
Ignazio said: “For a whole year, in every free moment, my father dedicated himself to building the pizzeria for my mother and I loved to help him, so much so that when there were a few days of school vacation, I went to work with him.”
Ignazio continues; “You will think that I tell you about the pizzeria under construction, but I am not a pizza maker. Of course, if there had not been the pizzeria, perhaps I would never have started singing seriously.
While the pizzeria grew, a passion grew within me. It was a passion for electronics and music. I had started to be part of the elementary school choir and my dad, who was more passionate about electronics than me, had bought me a mixer, a microphone and two speakers, with which we started doing the easiest thing that could be done with those instruments: karaoke.”
Finally, in 2005 the pizzeria was completed and, Caterina opened the Pizzeria dei Desideri.
Within a few months Caterina already had regular customers and since the pizzeria was right in front of the house, when Ignazio was singing at home, even 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 said: “Like everything else, we talked it over within my family and everyone was enthusiastic about it. It was decided, I would go and see what these singing lessona were like.
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.
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 do 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 said, 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),” I 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.”
Ignazio thought a little bit and then he said he sometimes sang Con Te Partirò by Andrea Bocelli. He started singing and, when he finished Liliana told him: “Ignazio, this is your musical direction”.
From that first lesson Ignazio began to study songs like “Il Mare Calmo Della Sera,” “Un Amore Così Grande” and all those that came to mind, and he liked it. The songs approached that genre that was not lyrical, it was modern music but with something classic.
Ignazio was very comfortable with Lilliana and they understood each other immediately because she was a sociable person, simple, as are all of Ignazio’s family.
After several lessons, Lilliana proposed that Ignazio take part in a competition organized in Paolini. Ignazio wasn’t completely convinced that he wanted to go on a stage. Until that moment he had only thought about singing, but he never seriously thought that all his singing one day could bring him into the spotlight. In short, he was afraid. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of not being able to face the stage, but just to gain mastery on stage, Liliana urged him to participate, and so in the end he decided to do it.
Ignazio said: “I was about to get on the stage. My legs were trembling, the butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies but crazy swallows.
I decided to participate with Bocelli’s “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.
After two and a half years, three that he was studying with Liliana, one day Lilliana told him that for the genre that he was going to sing another teacher was better suited to give lyrical singing lessons. So, Ignazio was convinced and started to follow another singing teacher, Roberta Caly.
So now his life became complicated. He went to Lilliana for singing lessons and interpretation. He went to Roberta for lyric singing. And he took a diction course from Lilliana and Roberta. He also went to a diction course with Lilliana and a diction course with Roberta but taught by other teachers in the school. And he also attended a jazz workshop.
Ignazio went to class every day except Sunday when he went to see Nina’s soccer matches. Nina was now playing in Serie B.
Between the school, the singing lessons, the piano lessons and diction Ignazio was always busy, so much so that he was forced to leave the school of soccer.
Ignazio could not do everything because of the economic conditions of his family. At this time Ignazio found another thing to do: an extracurricular musical laboratory. Ignazio was so busy but, he did not want to give up that workshop, it was about setting up musicals. Ignazio said, “It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.”
In 2007, Ignazio stopped studying with Roberta. He met Giovanna Collica, a very good soprano, who gave lessons in Siracusa. Even though Giovanna was in Siracusa, which was a long journey from Ignazio’s home, she was too important to give up. She was a very good soprano, she had even sung a duet with Luciano Pavarotti.
Ignazio concludes, “It took a lot of money to cover the travel expenses, the lessons and the registration for competitions that in many cases were not free. So, it was at a certain point, mom and dad found themselves not having enough money to send me forward. They were more hurt than me. Having always worked and being accustomed to face sacrifices for the family, they did not want to surrender to this obstacle but at the same time they did not know what to do. In the end, it was necessary to make a decision. The decision was to ask a person dear to us for a loan that, as soon as mom and dad had settled a little, would be returned.
This person has helped us with great generosity, so as, to allow me to continue to pursue this dream.” Next stop Ti Lascio una Canzone!
Gianluca: The Beginning of the Journey
So, finally, we come to Gianluca. I must tell you Gianluca’s journey to stardomwas different from Ignazio and Piero. The end result was the same but, the beginnings were different. Gianluca says: “Yes, we were lucky all three to have the families we had. Ignazio and Piero were able to study music thanks to the sacrifices, big sacrifices, of their families. I’ve never studied it, if I have to tell the truth, but the music at home has always been there.
Mom and dad 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 the beginning of Gianluca’sjourney to stardom.
Gianluca says, when he sings, he “doesn’t forget instinct.” What does that mean? Gianluca has never studied singing. He learned to ‘use’ his voice only thanks to his musical ear. He listens to the music and, it transmits everything he knows. And, for this, he is especially thankful to the Little Choir of Roses.
When Gianluca was about eight or nine, all those who knew him gave him the same advice: go sing in a choir. In Roseto there was the Piccolo Choir of Roses directed by the master Susy Paola Rizzo. They sang the songs of the “Zecchino D’oro” or other famous songs with arrangements in that style, with music for children. The Mago Zurlì, that was the presenter of the situation, was Gianluca’s dad, Ercole.
The choir was nice because they studied the technique of singing, the songs. It was different, because they did not study the notes and how to do them, rather they studied instinctively, following what the teacher said and what their ear heard.
Gianluca said: “If I think of 2009, the year in which I met Piero and Ignazio at Ti Lascio Una Canzone, it seems to me like yesterday.
Ignazio’s story shows that things come and you do not have to force them to arrive. It is not different from mine. Maybe, a little bit different because, apart from the Little Choir of Roses and those modest performances with my father’s theater company, I’ve never done anything else, no competitions, no festivals. I did not want to do them, I never thought about it.”
Gianluca participated in the Festival of the Adriatic, in 2006, and he won it. In 2007 he participated in Ascoli Piceno, for young talents. He sang at weddings, that’s it. He recalls, “I sang Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’ and they paid me. My first money earned with music. And for fun, in 2007 I recorded a CD in a studio in Roseto degli Abruzzi, it was called “Start from Here.” It was a study by Vincenzo Irelli, a very good musician.” Verilli heard Gianluca sing, probably in one of the Little Rose Choir’s performances, and he said to Mr. Ginoble, “Bring him to me.” Gianluca recalls, “We spent a couple of weeks recording the CD and then we gave it to all the relatives. If I think about it today, it makes me smile. Never, never would I have thought that it would not be the only one, that I could make music my life. I tell you I only sang because it made me feel good, I was happy.”
Then what happened? In his story, Gianluca said: ‘I do not know exactly, what happened, because everything happened very quickly. If I think of 2009, the year in which I met Piero and Ignazio, it seems like yesterday. Instead, six years have passed. To tell you the truth, seven years passed from the casting sessions because 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.” “Dad thought it was just a different experience something that could make me have fun. Mrs. Giunco made available her contacts, we talked to Franco Fasano, whom Licia knew, and he would take us to audition with Roberto Cenci for the broadcast of RAI. Maybe this is what I liked, the idea that it was only a life experience to do, an experience that would allow me to sing for a while. My parents, as they had always been until then, did not force me in the least. They left the decision to me. I had not the slightest idea of what awaited me, but I decided instinctively, with my belly, that yes, that audition I really wanted to do it.
At the studio, when they called my name, I entered the recording room. Roberto Cenci was there. It was the first time I saw him. The impact was big because he has a very tough character and, he did not convey much sympathy at the first meeting. But the essential thing is that I start to sing: I wanted to be a little alone to think, you know. I had chosen ‘The Voice of Silence.’ I remember it perfectly. I was thirteen, the first audition was in November 2008 and, I already had this deep, baritone voice.”
And so, we have arrived at “Ti Lascio una Canzone.”
These were the guys’ beginnings, but the real beginning was when they stepped on the stage and sang “O Sole Mio,” and began their real Journey to Stardom.
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
I started the translation of this radio interview with Gianluca, immediately after it happened, but then, the events with the postponement of the tour and the sale of tickets to Verona, I never finished the translation.
Now I have finally finished it, I’m sorry you had to wait a long time. This is an interview made by Radio Roma by the spouses “Perrollas”, Federico Perrotta and Valentina Olla.
Woman = The adrenaline has risen a little, we feel we are on an international stage, because detonating, was the news that we have hosted Gianluca Ginoble of Il Volo, who very courteously lent himself ……
Man = Yes, but make a fair presentation ….
Woman = I try …. Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor for us to be able to chat ….
Man = No, no this is not good, something more international is needed: “Cummare e cumpare (ladies and gentlemen in Abruzzo dialect) we are really pleased to have here, on Radio Roma International, Gianluca Ginoble, nu cumpare (meant as a friend, in Abruzzo dialect) from Abruzzo”.
And here he is, hello Gianluca !!
GIAN = Good morning, good morning everyone. I see you speak Abruzzo, we have this thing in common (Federico is from Abruzzo).
Man = Sure, indeed In your honor, I put on a shirt, let’s see if we can frame it, can you read? Look here.
GIAN = So … wait, wait, I can’t see it, wait for the shot …. SUN CAP REAL (laughter…the inscription could be translated about so “I am a real goat” in the sense of blockhead, one who understands little. It is a shirt that students wear when there are 100 days to go to the final exams and they go to S. Gabriel to make gatherings of students where they pray and have propitious parties for the exam.)
Read in this way, it looks like an English word, but NO.
Man = Exactly but this t-shirt is based on fake English, which instead means something else for us.
Were there the 100 days of St. Gabriel for you too, the 100 days before the exam?
GIAN = No, I kept it out. But in S. Gabriele (it is a place with a sanctuary) I went there with my grandfather. Every now and then we go there, take a day in the mountains and then we stop to eat there. I am very attached to my grandfather, so we go together every now and then.
Man = Meanwhile, social networks are going crazy, there are greetings from Argentina, France. There are those from Argentina who are unleashed.
Woman= There is a very young 91 year old fan of yours
Man = A groupie
Woman= 91 years old, Mrs. Lia loves you with all of herself, a very young fan of yours.
GIAN = I greet you, but I also greet another die-hard fan who is Grandma Maura, that’s what I call her, and I greet her, since she is in Rome and is listening and watching me right now.
Man = How nice !! Meanwhile, I wanted to thank your dad, Ercole, who acted as a hook for this live phone call.
Listen, let’s talk about lightness, we are both actors and live artists, is there something you miss, with contact with people?
GIAN = It is our life, that of being in contact with the audience, that of transmitting emotions, and also our audience, in a certain sense it helps us to bring out better what we feel inside and then it is clear we can play or singing at home too, but it’s certainly not the same thing, it’s not like looking people in the face, but we’ll be back soon. I would like to say that we are preparing a concert at the Verona Arena, on June 5th, and it will go live on RAI 1 and will be a tribute to Maestro Morricone. It is a new project, the CD will be released soon and then we will leave for the tour in 2022, we hope, bringing the great melodies of the master.
Woman = Listen, international stages, you have lived them from an early age, the big stages have seen you grow and mature. In the meantime, congratulations for being able to support all this, it is not easy, it is not easy to do it in a group, and we are truly honored by the talent you have and the prestige you bring to Italianness.
We would like to know if you have any anecdotes to share, funny, something that happens behind the scenes, we are crazy about these things.
GIAN = The incredible thing, when we went around the world, from Los Angeles to New York, I come from Montepagano, from Roseto degli Abruzzi, I didn’t speak English and neither did my colleagues, so you can imagine that to be able to have the hair dryer, we said “Phon” and rightly at the reception they gave us the phone, then with our hands we made the gesture of combing and they gave us the comb, and then we blew them on the hair to make them understand !!!
Man = Surely it was also difficult to be understood on tour, by the technicians who spoke another language, at the beginning anything will have happened.
GIAN = Yes, but these are the things that give you the strength to improve, because you can’t always make yourself understood with gestures, you have to learn the language, otherwise it’s hard !!
Woman= Can I ask you if you have been aware of success from the start?
GIAN = Let’s say that little by little you realize that what was initially a game becomes your life, but the memory of when I was a child must remain, because it is what gives you the strength to be truly yourself, without success you change, in fact it doesn’t have to be that something that changes you, and if you can keep the enthusiasm of the child, it makes a difference and people notice it, when you are on stage, when you talk to someone, this is the most important thing, never lose that authenticity, which somehow makes you unique.
I’m talking about the whole group, of course. It is a way to always be yourself.
Man = It’s an important thing, because, as you say, the audience feels it. There are some questions, someone writes to ask Gianluca how he can bear all the tension in cheering on Roma (football team).
GIAN = Look, I have to be honest, since Totti (captain of the team) left, I am no longer able to follow Roma as before.
Man = Have you seen the TV series about Totti?
GIAN = Yes of course, I saw him with my father. Since Totti left, I can no longer have that passion, I follow football, but it was he (Totti) who tied me to the team, more than anything else, by the way I greet him, maybe he is listening to the radio.
Woman= What a sincere statement of admiration ….
GIAN = Of love …
Woman= Yes, of love, even if in my opinion, there is an undisputed queen, Ilary (wife of Totti), a great woman.
GIAN = Of course, they are a beautiful couple.
Man = Beyond the declarations of love, we are flooded with declarations of love for you, and seeing you so beautiful, in the early morning, I love you too, (laughter), I too make this declaration to you.
Woman= Yes, because here in chat they arrive: I love you, I dedicate my life to you, I greet you, it seems they are for us , but they are all for you.
Man = We went to a concert in Civitella di Chieti, we were between 8000-9000 people that evening and there was a beautiful dedication to your family and your land, which is always present in your stories, Abruzzo and then the grandfather, if I’m not mistaken, with whom you have a special relationship.
GIAN = I am proud to be Abruzzese, I love my land, by the way my two colleagues always make fun of me, because wherever we go, I always put Abruzzo in the foreground, and they tell me, but the region (Abruzzo) pays you?? We are strong and kind (the people of Abruzzo) there is nothing to do. It is clear that I am very attached to my roots, to Montepagano, Roseto, the sea, my family, especially my grandfather. Grandfather is the love of my life, grandfather Ernesto is my great inspiration.
Woman = I want to ask: to go up on such prestigious stages, with Barbra Streisand, was there any time when your legs trembled?
GIAN = These are sensations that help you express your best, without those, you can’t give your all on a stage. Even when your voice trembles while you sing, it is that natural emotion that you feel.
Woman= It is wonderful to talk to you, your availability, your normality, denotes that if you are a great artist.
Man = Is it because we are people of the country, do you want to understand it?
Woman= He carries on the theory of Abruzzo, you are great because you are Abruzzese, my husband is really terrible.
Man = I want to know something, when you get angry, because things are not going well, do you shout in English, in Italian or in your mother tongue?
GIAN = (He speaks in Abruzzo) What are you saying? In Abruzzese, when you get angry you speak in Abruzzo tongue.
Getting angry in English makes no sense. (laughs)
Man = It doesn’t even have the same strength.
GIAN = No, no.
Man = Well, we are very happy and to thank you for your availability towards us, I read the greetings from “I am Carmen and I write from Spain”.
Woman = It must be said that the affection of fans from all over the world has arrived. They can’t wait to see you live again, I think the part of contact with the fans during a concert, is missing a lot, but on June 5th it starts again.
Man = Back on stage at the Arena with a concert which will then be live on RAI1.
Well, Gianluca, what to say a greeting from everyone, it was a great pleasure, a very strong hug and we hope to see you soon.
GIAN = I hope to see you soon, maybe …. let’s eat two rustelli (he says it in Abruzzo, it’s about roast meat)
Man = But the good ones, the ones on the coals.
GIAN = Well done, well done.
Woman = Thanks Gianluca, and happy Sunday.
GIAN = Goodbye !!
Gianluca, always available, on May 19th, also made another connection with the fifth grade classes of Cologna Spiaggia (town of Abruzzo). Here’s what the school’s Press Office published after the connection with Gianluca.
“Never stop believing in your dreams, pursue your goals with commitment and everything will be possible” 🤩
This morning a really exciting interview: GIANLUCA GINOBLE Il Volo meets the pupils of the fifth class of Cologna Spiaggia. When a dream comes true …
It was an exciting meeting, GIANLUCA in his naturalness told about himself and, aware of being a model for the boys, he sent them important messages based on values such as love for grandparents, the care of true friendship, pleasure. of reading, the tenacity and determination in achieving one’s dreams.
A heartfelt thanks from the students and teachers of the fifth class of Cologna Spiaggia! ❤️❤️❤️
Bravo Gianluca for these beautiful messages given to children, who in this period of pandemic have really had to endure restrictions and prohibitions.
Meanwhile, the Paris concert has also been canceled.
There is news on other concerts but honestly it is nothing official.
Here is the newspaper article that I translate for you.
The entourage of the trio of most famous tenors in the world has announced the new dates of the concerts of the Best of Tour of “Il Volo”, initially postponed from 2020 to 2021: the new calendar is being updated, but the live shows are already scheduled. Germany, Croatia, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. The concert in Opatija (Opatija) which was to be organized on July 1st 2020 will take place on July 4, 2021. The hope is that the health situation is such as to guarantee a show in the name of normality, including tourists.
Lovers of opera, Neapolitan music and cross over with Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble will have the opportunity to spend a memorable evening at the Open Air Abbaziano. The flight will later perform at the Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland on July 10th – tickets are already available online. Finally, the Best of Tour, which originally was to pass through Bulgaria and Romania in July 2020, will now touch Plovdiv on 6 July 2021 and Bucharest on 8 July, again this year.
Now I want to cheer you up a little with this beautiful clip of Gianluca singing in the car, together with his friend Giuseppe Di Stefano.
And finally, enjoy this nice video on the Il Volo alphabet !!
There is one last piece of news, Sunday 30 May, Il Volo will be the guest of the television broadcast DOMENICA IN, where they will advertise the Verona event and on 2 June, for us a national holiday, Festa della Repubblica, they will sing the national anthem, from Verona.
That’s all for now.
I can’t believe that in a week I’ll be in Verona and I’ll be able to see our young men live again.
I will also see some dear friends again.
Hope the staff will let us film.
I cannot wait.
I think you all know that Italy won Eurovision 2021. I’m happy with that, but hard rock is certainly not my genre, but all music is beautiful and must be respected. Il Volo also nicely sent its “good luck” to the Maneskin in the race.
Things here in Italy continue to improve, we hope to continue like this. I too had my first vaccine.
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!
If I must tell the truth, this is my least favorite holiday! To me it’s a sad day because we remember all those who we lost over the years and we think of them in a different way than we do on other days. We think that they left us too soon and this year too quickly! I, like many of you out there, suffered many losses this year and I saw many people I love suffer!
Halfway through the year, I was speaking with my aunt, who turned 100 this year! I said, “Aunt Christina, you’ve been around a long time. What do you think about what’s going on?” She replied, “Susan, I remember grandpa saying every 20 years we have to have a war to clear out the old and start fresh again. This is our war!” I guess she is right. This war we are fighting is different, it is a war with an invisible enemy that haunts each of us every day!
What made this year different? The one thing that was really different was we were all in this together. You woke up every morning and turned on the news and no matter where you lived New York, Italy, Germany, Russia, Australia, the news was the same – Wash Your Hands! Wear a Mask! Social Distance!
As to the guys, they certainly did a great job of reminding us to do these things! And when they weren’t talking about this, they were working to help people in Italy and around the world. They took us along on all their journeys in support of these people. We joined them for Altismo Live! In support of Latin American farmworkers. We enjoyed circling Italy through project Italians 4 Life with the wonderful song Ma Il Cielo è Sempre Più Blu (But the Sky is Getting Bluer and Bluer). And, of course, O Sole Mio for UNICEF!
So, we’ve come to the end of the year that was, and now we have to take time to reflect on what we are leaving behind! Yes, there were lots of bad things that happened but there were also some good things. Having a hard time figuring out what they were? Let’s take a look at some of the good things that the guys did! They came to us live every day! So, let’s start there.
LIVE FROM IGNAZIO’S HOME STUDIO
The announcement that came from Ignazio on May 16th kept us sitting on the edge of our seats waiting to see what this project would be. We knew it would include the Il Volo musicians but what was this big surprise. Ignazio gave us a hint!
Ignazio said: With this video, I would like to thank many people. First of all, the doctors who during this time made their lives available to others. Here it is, altruism. I think it’s one of the most important things in the world.
For me, this is one of the most important songs,this song makes us understand that we are all part of this world and everyone has a piece of the universe. And so, I decided to propose “Almeno tu nell’ Universo” . (At Least You in the Universe)
What we got was a production straight from Ignazio’s soul! The drama of the black and white video along with the most intimate, passionate rendition of “Almeno tu nell’ Universo” we ever heard left us speechless. His amazing voice brought us to a universe where there is no limit, and we could float along on his magnificent notes, reaching unbelievable heights! It brought us all to tears.
Ignazio along with Giampiero Grani on piano, Alessandro Quarta on violin, Bruno Farinelli drums, Pierluigi Mingotti on bass and Gino De Vita and Andrea Morelli on guitar, set in split screen, gave the performance of a lifetime. The arrangement and video mix were so perfect it seemed hard to believe Ignazio did it all from his home. Genius at work!
LIVE FROM PIERO’S TERRACE
We could hear the silence of this small beautiful town and the only sound in the background was the chirping of the birds. Then suddenly, Piero began to sing “Nessun Dorma” and his voice rang out over Naro inviting his neighbors to come out on their terraces to listen to him and applaud his magnificent voice. And how did Piero react, the same way he does in concert, with that beautiful smile he greeted his neighbors and thanked them for their applause. And then, he gave us a birds’ eye view of Naro from his terrace explaining about all the baroque buildings and structures in the town including the history of it all. Jovanotti was just as thrilled and impressed as we were. Piero showed us around his terrace pointing out his cactus and taking time to tell us about his antique coffee mill. What a treat to share this special time with him!
And what about his beautiful “AVE MARIA” that warmed our hearts.
And then there were the:
LIVE PERFORMANCES FROM GIANLUCA’S HOUSE
Gianluca really perfected his piano playing in quarantine! We listened to him sing while looking out over his beautiful garden which looks down to the Adriatic Sea and the beautiful beach of Roseto degli Abruzzi. Picture postcard perfect, it was amazing and we were all wishing we could be there with him! And he spent lots of time walking on the beach with Luna and playing out in the yard with her.
But the most exciting of all was listening to Gianluca’s very romantic voice which touches every one of our senses. He sang so many beautiful songs for us while playing his piano with Luna at his feet. It gave us a warm and happy feeling which left us feeling very secure!
And then the summer began and, the quarantine was over and, the guys came together after being separated for months. And what did they do? They took us on another journey. First, we watched them take on a new appearance with their Dolce & Gabbana wardrobe. Their mini-Concert for Dolce & Gabbana’s women’s line of clothing and the presentation of the men’s line of clothing at the Campus Parade in Milan. It was wonderful to see them back together and listen to them live.
Then they went to Monte Carlo for their first concert in five months followed by their appearance at the Taormina Film Festival where these three gorgeous guys appeared, dressed like three Princes, in their Dolce & Gabbana Tuxedo’s. They were so handsome they took our breaths away. And their performance at the festival representing the film “Devotion,” the story of Dolce and Gabbana, was amazing. Just seeing them back at the Greek Theater in Taormina made us feel everything will be okay from now on. After all, this is their theater, the heart of who they are.
And if that wasn’t enough, we got to spend a Special Day with the guys in Polizzi Generosa celebrating the opening of “Devotion” and Domenico Dolce’s 62nd Birthday! What an extravaganza! The parade, the costumes, the musicians and dancers. What can I say it was just a fantastic day and it was All Live for us to see on Instagram and Facebook.
As they stepped back on the stage at the Verona Arena, for the reopening of the music industry with their presentation at the Seat Music Awards, we remembered their last performance there in 2019. Spectacular then, spectacular now!
Then came the announcement that they would pay tribute to Ennio Morricone with a Concert in Piazza Pio XII next June 5th!
Il Volo with Roma’s mayor.
Which brings another thought to mind! Do we ever take the time to consider what goes into their performance? We see them on stage and we are in awe of them but, what it takes to get them there is amazing and a lot of hard work. In January they will start preparing for their June 5th Concert. It doesn’t start and end with the concerts. There’s lots of preparation and rehearsals. Everything has to be just perfect because, after all, these three young men are perfectionists!
And then there was their final performance for 2020, their mini-Concert at Piazza Pio XII on Christmas Day. And here the guys sent us their final greeting for the year!
Gianluca: On this special day when we all feel close from afar, we wanted to find a way to wish you all happy holidays.
Ignazio: And we did so in the way that best suits us, through music from this gorgeous square where we feel like we are enveloped in a welcoming embrace.
Piero:We hope this holiday season may bring a smile to your homes and warm your hearts. On this “Oh holy night” we wish to dedicate every single note and every single word to you all.”
Yes, there was so much that was bad about this year but, I just wanted to show you that there were some good things that happened too.
As we approached 2020, I thought with a number like 2020, this will be a year of vision. What was my vision for the year? I thought it would be my best year in ten years. I had so much business and the future looked so bright but, we all know how that turned out. But I never could have imagined, when it all began, that I would spend my whole year doing what I love best, writing! Thirty years ago, I walked away from a career critiquing films. Who could imagine that I would turn back the clock and start writing again! And above all writing 40 stories about our three amazing guys, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca!
The guys spent the year inspiring us, kept us company and certainly took the time to tell us what they were doing and what we needed to do to stay safe. In a recent interview they were asked what they missed most this year. They replied traveling. It is their life after all. And we are very much a part of that life. Hopefully we can all get back to it soon.
Finally, how do I sum up this year? Every morning when I get up, I sing. What do I sing? “Smile!” Is it because of the guys? Well, I certainly love when the guys sing “Smile,” but no, I’ve been singing this song since I was a child because I believe no matter what happened yesterday, today has the possibility to be better, so, “Smile, just Smile.”
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:
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
How to prepare:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Credit to owners of all photos and video.
Come in and share the love of life, friends and Il Volo!