Tag Archives: Un’avventura Straordinario

My Flight by Susan De Bartoli

Episode One: My Story
This week we will explore Ignazio’s flight through childhood. Let me start by saying each one of the guys is unique in how he presents his story in this book, “Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinario, La Nostra Storia.” Ignazio chose to write his story. He comes in and out of the story speaking to the reader and asking questions. He is an excellent writer. He articulates very well in English and Italian and that is why it was so easy for me to write his story.
(Listen to this video! Ignazio is thirteen years old and totally amazing! Mr. Perfection!)

All the Italics in this story are Ignazio’s own words. I did not change the thoughts or feelings of Ignazio or any of the guys in any of their stories. It’s all in their own words. As I said in Piero’s story, I’m relating the story as seen through my eyes. In My Flight, as the narrator, Ignazio gives us the facts and I follow him by giving you information that is important to the story and makes for a better narrative.
As I said before, when I write about the guys I always tell you how I relate to each guy in his story. At the end of Ignazio’s story, I will tell you how I related to him in this story!

This is a very sensitive and sincere story!  Ignazio is a very sensitive and sincere person and his kindness and compassion come through in his words and feelings in his account of his life. At times it can be a very emotional journey and you will find yourself full of emotions as you follow along! Grab those tissues, fasten your seat belts and let us embark on Ignazio’s Flight….
If 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.
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.
Nina
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 request has come true. Nina asks her mother if she can join her for her first 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 4, 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 were 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?

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.
I needed to put this break in the story to present something amazing!

He had it then, he has it now….and forever!
I really wanted to present 2008 alongside 2023. If ever there was a phenomenal collaboration this was it!  Two of the greatest tenors in the world are interwoven to present Allegri’s Miserere. They say heavenly voices are needed to properly present this Hymn. Well, these certainly are heavenly voices! They are the voices of men who are legends in their own time! They call Miserere “the stuff of legends.”   Ignazio and Piero were brought together for a unique presentation of Miserere. Their presentation is very unique, very touching, very emotional and always brings down the house. It brought me to tears in Athens! Totally amazing! 

Back to the story….
In 1990 when Nina was four years old and before Ignazio was born, his 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. Things were not going well in Marsala, and it was difficult to make a living for a family. They decided to go to Siena because a good friend of Ignazio’s maternal grandfather, who was a building contractor, offered Mr. Boschetto a job. Ignazio’s parents would do anything to make the family’s life better.
Ignazio says…. Of the sacrifices they have made, there were many and big for me and for my sister, I do not spend a day when I do not think about how proud I am of them.

When they went to Buoncovento, Mr. Boschetto worked as a mason. Mrs. Boschetto did many different jobs.
By 1992 the Boschetto’s realized they didn’t earn enough to keep going. During a visit to a cousin’s house, Mr. Boschetto met an old friend who made him aware of a job opportunity in San Martino on Agrine near Bologna. So, the decision was made to move to San Martine on Agrine. And Ignazio would say…. That’s why I was born in Bologna.
Upon arrival, Mr. Boschetto, being a mason, immediately found a job. Mrs. Boschetto. was always a determined person who had a great desire to keep busy. She reinvented herself. She was a good cook and she found herself a job as a chef in a restaurant not far from home.

Within a few years they managed to achieve economic stability and decided to move into a house. Finally, a house just for them in Guarda di Molinella. Ignazio says…. The house was very small, but it was my first house, the one in which I was born.

By far, Ignazio was the most pampered member of the family. He was a lively child who laughed all the time, Ignazio says…. I never stopped laughing. He learned very quickly to talk and walk. He was never silent.
When I was three or four years old, I played with the piano my parents had given Nina. My mother says I was one year old when I played. Nina taught me to play Happy Birthday with one finger. I was a happy child. My mother told me, ‘You’ve never been a child,’ in the sense that I was always quite serious and responsible. I ask you, ‘Would you ever say that?’ In all, I was a happy child. It seemed the situation started getting better. It wasn’t all roses and flowers but in four years it had changed a lot and so the moves were not finished. The moves were always to make a better life for me and Nina. The moves continued even after my birth. When it seemed that we were fine, it was always time to leave.

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. It was official I was not the most mischievous in class that would be my friend Nicholas. I was second. It was always an open challenge, a race to the red crosses. Now the question arises: What are the red crosses? The teachers had a billboard and on it they listed all the students in alphabetical order. If you were good in your school and good in your grades, you got a blue cross, however, if you had taken an insufficiency or if you behaved badly, evil was everywhere! Nicolas and I were the most popular! Our billboard line was a red fire specimen.

With the passage of time, I found something good to do at school, that is, an activity that was able to hold my interest enough to prevent me from slipping into some disaster. I joined the school choir. I always liked to sing, to be ‘in the middle’ of the music. And more and more passionately I began to understand how to make better use of Nina’s famous pianola. I learned how to start the musical bases and flip through them. And that’s when I discovered La Donna È Mobile. I liked it so much that I sang with the bass and invented words. I don’t remember the words but, it certainly was a song about Pavarotti. Having seen Pavarotti on TV, I knew he always had a big handkerchief so I would invent text and sing on the air La Donna È Mobile.

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.
Around 1998, when Ignazio was four years old and had just started kindergarten, the climate in the house changed. There was a problem in the family. Ignazio’s mom was diagnosed with cancer. For a child of Ignazio’s age, it was hard to understand what was happening. He realized that something was wrong when he began to see less and less of his mother. She was going back and forth to the hospital for months without finding a solution.
Ignazio said…. 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. With mom we always talked about sex, about society, a little bit of everything that life had in store for us as children.
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. So, I chose to have Ignazio talk directly to you

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, those dotted with red crosses, 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 the worst moment was 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 hadn’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?

Most of the time Ignazio stayed with Sabrina, his nanny, who was the girlfriend of the pizza maker who worked with his mom. But there were days when Ignazio was allowed to go to work with his mom. Since Ignazio never wanted to lose sight of his mother again, he would stand by the fridge where the drinks were held and, from there he had a perfect view of the cash desk. At the time, his mother did not work in the kitchen. She was now managing the pizzeria, so most of the time she was at the cash desk or answering the phone. And Ignazio never took his eyes off her. He was so happy that he could talk to her, and he did a good job of selling drinks to the customers.

So, let’s take a look at the situation. Ignazio’s mother is home, the pizzeria has become Ignazio’s second home, he certainly was good at selling drinks and everything seemed to finally be the best it could be.
Ignazio concludes…. at school, then, as I told you, I was part of the choir, and I was more passionate about my music. In short, finally a little tranquility. How long has it lasted? Four years, more or less.
In July 2004 we were on the road again.

So here we are, it’s 2004, Ignazio is 10 years old, and his life is about to take a major turn. La Forza del destino!

So now you understand why I let Ignazio take over this story. He is a brilliant writer, and I couldn’t possibly explain it better than him. My Flight is full of passion and emotion much like Ignazio’s music. My flight, as Ignazio calls it, is one that we can follow through the eyes of four-year-old Ignazio and share a tear with him! This story tells us a lot about how Ignazio was molded into the amazing man he is today!

In Episode Two of Ignazio’s story, we will follow ten-year-old Ignazio to Marsala where he steps on the stage for the first time and embarks on the road to Stardom!
So how do I relate to this story? When I was five years old my mother had a very serious blood disease and I remember how sick she was. I would be so worried that I would never let her leave my sight. In my tiny mind I thought my mother was going to die and each morning when I woke up, I would run into the kitchen to see if she was there. You can’t begin to imagine how happy I was to see her sitting at the table or washing dishes and she would turn and smile at me! The best smiles of my life! Yes, Ignazio, I get it!

Update on Bosky_TV

Join us today, October 25, 2023, at 2:45 PM New York time 8:45 PM Italy time for a new chapter on Bosky TV.
A new music format will start on my TWITCH channel “BoskyTV.” 
At The Floki Bar, we will talk about music in 360’, we will hear new emerging artists, new songs and covers from all over the world. Then with various friends, producers and not, we will go on a creative journey together in the production of live songs! We will see you later today!  Don’t miss this!!!!
Join us at The Floki Bar:  https://twitch.tv/bosky_tv

 

What I have written here are excerpts from the book the guys wrote about their lives. “Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinario, La Nostra Storia.” (An Extraordinary Adventure, Our Story) This is just a small piece of each mans’ story. The book is written in Italian. If you can read Italian, I would highly recommend that you read it. It’s wonderful! If not, I can only hope that someday it will be translated into English. Or you can use Google Translate to translate it.

I also recommend you read their second book “IL Volo: Quello Che Porto Nel Cuore” (What I Carry in My Heart).

And let’s not forget their album “Tres Voces Un Alma.” Available on Spotify, Amazon, and other music media!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure! Next time we will explore Gianluca’s beginnings!  
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com

 

 

When They Were Children ~ Ignazio’s Story by Susan

As I promised, for the next three weeks I will post a story about each of the guys when they were children. I begin this journey with Ignazio because his story begins at his birth.
Let me start by saying each one of the guys is unique in how he presents his story in their book, “Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinario, La Nostra Storia.” Ignazio chose to write his story. He comes in and out of the story speaking to the reader and asking questions. He is an excellent writer.

Thirteen years old and totally amazing! Notice how well he articulates. Mr. Perfection!
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. Its’ all in 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 and makes for a better narrative.

This is a very, sensitive and sincere story! This is Ignazio’s Story. So, let’s begin, in Ignazio’s own words!
If life is a story and, if every story need’s someone to tell it, here I am to tell you mine, all of it from the beginning.
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.
Nina
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 request has come true. Nina asks her mother if she can join her for her first 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 4, 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?
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 when Nina was four years old and before Ignazio was born, his 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.” Things were not going well in Marsala, and it was difficult to make a living for a family. They decided to go to Siena because a good friend of Ignazio’s maternal grandfather, who was a building contractor, offered Mr. Boschetto a job. Ignazio’s parents would do anything to make the families’ life better. Ignazio says, “of the sacrifices they have made there were many and big for me and for my sister, I do not spend a day when I do not think about how proud I am of them.”

On arrival in Buoncovento, Mr. Boschetto worked as a mason. Mrs. Boschetto did many different jobs. By 1992 they realized they did not earn enough to keep going. And, Ignazio would say, “that’s why I was born in Bologna.” They made the decision to move to San Martino on Agrine near Bologna. Upon arrival, Mr. Boschetto, being a mason, immediately found a job. Mrs. Boschetto. was always a determined person who had a great desire to keep busy. She reinvented herself. She was a good cook and she found herself a job as a chef in a restaurant not far from home.

Within a few years they managed to achieve economic stability and decided to move into a house. Finally, a house just for them in Guarda di Molinella. Ignazio says, “The house was very small, but it was my first house, the one in which I was born.”

By far, Ignazio was the most pampered member of the family. He was a lively child who laughed all the time, Ignazio says, “I never stopped laughing.” He learned very quickly to talk and walk. He was never silent.

When I was three or four years old – I played with the piano my parents had given Nina. My mother says I was one years old when I played. Nina taught me to play Happy Birthday with one finger. I was a happy child. My mother told me, ‘You’ve never been a child,’ in the sense that I was always quite serious and responsible. I ask you, ‘Would you ever say that?’ In all, I was a happy child. It seemed the situation started getting better. It wasn’t all roses and flowers but in four years it had changed a lot and so the moves were not finished. The moves were always to make a better life for me and Nina. The moves continued even after my birth. When it seemed that we were fine, it was always time to leave.

 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. It was official I was not the most mischievous in class that would be my friend Nicholas. I was second. It was always an open challenge, a race to the red crosses. Now the question arises: What are the red crosses? The teachers had a billboard and on it they listed all the students in alphabetical order. If you were good in your school and good in your grades, you got a blue cross, however, if you had taken an insufficiency or if you behaved badly, evil was everywhere! Nicolas and I were the most popular! Our billboard line was a red fire specimen.

With the passage of time, I found something good to do at school, that is, an activity that was able to hold my interest enough to prevent me from slipping into some disaster. I joined the school choir. I always liked to sing, to be ‘in the middle’ of the music. And more and more passionately I began to understand how to make better use of Nina’s famous pianola. I learned how to start the musical bases and flip through them. And that’s when I discovered La Donna E ‘Mobile. I liked it so much that I sang with the base and invented words. I don’t remember the words but, it certainly was a song about Pavarotti. Having seen Pavarotti on TV, I knew he always had a big handkerchief so I would invent text and sing on the air La Donna E ‘Mobile.
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.
Around 1998, when Ignazio was four years old and had just started kindergarten, the climate in the house changed. There was a problem in the family. Ignazio’s mom was diagnosed with facial cancer. For a child of Ignazio’s age, it was hard to understand what was happening. He realized that something was wrong when he began to see less and less of his mother. She was going back and forth to the hospital for months without finding a solution. Ignazio said, “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. With mom we always talked about sex, about society, a little bit of everything that life had in store for us as children.”
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. So, I chose to have Ignazio talk directly to you.

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, those dotted with red crosses, 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?

Most of the time Ignazio stayed with Sabrina, his nanny, who was the girlfriend of the pizza maker who worked with his mom. But there were days when Ignazio was allowed to go to work with his mom. Since Ignazio never wanted to lose sight of his mother again, he would stand by the fridge where the drinks were held and, from there he had a perfect view of the cash desk. At the time, his mother did not work in the kitchen. She was now managing the pizzeria, so most of the time she was at the cash desk or answering the phone. And Ignazio never took his eyes off her. He was so happy that he could talk to her, and he did a good job of selling drinks to the customers.

So, let’s take a look at the situation. Ignazio’s mother is home, the pizzeria has become Ignazio’s second home, he certainly was good at selling drinks and everything seemed to finally be the best it could be.
Ignazio concludes, “at school, then, as I told you, I was part of the choir, and I was more passionate about my music. In short, finally a little tranquility. How long has it lasted? Four years, more or less.”
In July 2004 we were on the road again.
So here we are, it’s 2004, Ignazio is 10 years old, and his life is about to take a major turn. La Forza del destino!
So now we will leave Ignazio’s Story but not before I give you an update on Bosky TV.

In our community which Ignazio formed we believe “Together is Better.”

The video has English subtitles so you will understand all that is said by Ignazio!  Basically he says, “Thanks to our community that we have created so recently, we have been able to contribute to the aid of people affected by a terrible tragedy.”
So here is Ignazio again asking for your help for the victims of the earthquake!
This is why I love this guy! Only Ignazio would take time out of his tour and busy schedule to help people who have been hit by a most devasting earthquake! He is truly blessed by God! The Lord said, “Love your neighbor!” For Ignazio the world is his neighbor. He tries to help everyone! I thank you God for putting him on this earth!
If you want to help people affected by this terrible tragedy, you can do it through this foundation https://www.fondazionepek.it/ PEREZ-KOSKOWSKA P&K FOUNDATION
“SOLIDARITY DOESN’T SHAKE, HELP US TO HELP!” Current account in the name of: Fondazione Perez-Koskowska ets Banca di Bologna IBAN: IT94 E088 8337 0600 4000 0403 993 Reason: Colletta Earthquake Turkey and Syria 2023
Or you can contribute in the following places. Watch the video to understand how this is done.
TWITCH: https://www.twitch.tv/bosky_tv
TIKTOK: https://www.tiktok.com/@boskytiktok
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/pells.offic…
SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0ZZ…
COMMUNITY DISCORD: https://discord.gg/w835KJMrg9
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure! Next time we will explore Piero’s beginnings         
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com

What I have written here are excerpts from the book the guys wrote about their lives. “Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinario, La Nostra Storia.” (An Extraordinary Adventure, Our Story) This is just a small piece of each mans’ story. The book is written in Italian. If you can read Italian, I would highly recommend that you read it. It’s wonderful! If not, I can only hope that someday it will be translated into English. Or you can use Google Translate to translate it.

I also recommend you read their second book “IL Volo: Quello Che Porto Nel Cuore” (What I Carry in My Heart).

And let’s not forget the new album. Available on Spotify,  Amazon, and other music media!
Credit to owners of Photos and videos 

Cooking Pasta for Piero by Susan

Alas! Piero doesn’t cook! I think during quarantine he learned how to use the microwave. In an IG conversation with his friend, singer, Anastacia, Piero mentioned that during quarantine, his mother was cooking for him every day. It’s so nice when mom’s your neighbor!
Piero may not cook but being a good Italian, he knows what’s best to eat ~ Pasta!

I’m sure by now you all figured out that Piero loves Pasta. And as part of his regular routine, he eats pasta three hours before a performance. How do we know this? Piero talked about it in “Un’avventura Straordinario, La Nostra Storia.”

As you know when the guys were young, they traveled with one of their parents at all times. In his story, Piero recalled an incident in Cuernavaca, Mexico…..
I remember my father talking to the Mexicans while he cooked me the pasta. Because before singing, three hours before, I always eat a hundred grams (approx. 3 ½ ounces) of tomato and basil spaghetti. I love that moment.
He (Piero’s father) comes in the dressing room, brings me the spaghetti made by him (we bring the packages from home). And that year he started explaining to the Mexicans how spaghetti, tomato and basil were cooked.
So, Gaetano, Piero’s father, introduced the Mexican cooks to spaghetti in tomato and basil sauce.

In Sicily they make a very rich tomato sauce and with this sauce we will be Cooking Pasta for Piero.

But, before I get to the recipe, and another little surprise, let me tell you a little bit about the town Piero lives in.
Naro is a small medieval town in the province of Agrigento, not far from the Valley of the Temples.
The hill town offers stunning views of the surrounding hills, all the way down to the sea.

This monumental city has a very ancient history, dating back to the Sicani, the most ancient inhabitants of the island. According to ancient Greek writers, Sicans, where the original inhabitants of central Sicily. The Greek historian Thucydides believed the Sicani to be Iberians from Spain who were driven out by the invading Siculi into the central parts of the island. (From Sicans and Siculi derives the name Sicily.) They were also invaded by Arabs, Normans and Swabians. We can find remnants of their presence everywhere: from the ancient city gate, the only one left from the seven gates to the mosque which was transformed into a Norman Duomo. There is also an ancient Jewish quarter and the Medieval Chiaramonte Castle which rises high above the city.

The monuments, also, tell us about Naro’s important history. The city received the title Fulgentissima (Splendor) and had a seat in the Sicilian Parliament.
There are many churches, in particular, the Church dedicated to Maria SS Annunziata (Our Lady of the Annunciation). Within the church we find many treasures including the statue of the Madonna of the Chains by Antonello and Giacomo Gagini. This beautiful church also has a medieval baptismal font.
Note: When the Spanish invaded, they brought along empanadas which Piero mentions in his story and calls by its Sicilian name “impanate.” This is how Piero described them, “Impanate are rolls of pizza dough with vegetables inside, a typical dish of my area.”
In Naro, there is an old tradition which says, “The righteous, before going to paradise, take a tour of the island to say farewell to seven ‘special’ places in Sicily: the Castle of Naro, which is windswept day and night; Caltabellotta, coiled up around the rock; Mount Erice, that looks towards Africa; Ustica, a small island in a green colored sea; Stromboli, the volcano that mingles with the waves; Ortigia, the ancient Greek island…” (I count six – I checked and couldn’t find seven). Piero, do you know what the seventh one is???

One of the most important events for the inhabitants of Naro is the Feast of San Calogero. The Patron Saint is celebrated on 18th and 25th of June. In nearby Sciacca you can visit the Sanctuary of San Calogero.

Now before we go to the Tomato Sauce, how about as little inspiration?

I always include this picture because Piero looks like one of my ex-boyfriends in this picture. Whenever I include it and say who he looks like, I get a hundred messages and emails! Let me save you the trouble! The answer is no and none of your business. Kind of the same answer I give you when you ask about the girlfriends of our guys!

Moving on! Concentrate ladies!
A little music to entice you!

I’m going to give you two recipes. One is the actual recipe with whole tomatoes. It’s wonderful if you want to do the work. The other is a simpler version which is very easy to make. The sauces in this region are very rich.

Tomato Sauce from the region of Agrigento
2 1/4 lb. of ripe tomatoes (you can use vine tomatoes or plum tomatoes)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion sliced thin or diced if you prefer
fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
pasta of your choice
Preparation:
Wash and dry the tomatoes, cut them in half and crush them. Put the tomatoes in a saucepan together with garlic, (If you were making this for Piero, you would have to leave out the garlic because he’s allergic to it.), onion and basil. Add a small amount of water. A half cup should do. Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and puree them. I’m sure you don’t have a mill to puree so, I suggest you take a colander and place it over a saucepan. Add the tomatoes to the colander and crush with your hands. Be careful it’s hot. You could use a spoon to do this.
This will allow the sauce to flow through and what will remain are the skins and seeds. Next, put the tomatoes back in the saucepan, add oil, salt and pepper and heat over a low flame to thicken the sauce. Cook for 30 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, boil the water for pasta. Add salt.
When the water boils, add the pasta. Follow the cooking instructions on the box. Try to have the pasta ready when the sauce is ready.
Before I get to the simple recipe, I want to mention Strattu. Strattu is a Sicilian word for tomato paste. The Sicilians jar their tomatoes in the summer for winter use. While doing this, they take some of the tomatoes and spread them out on a ceramic or wooden tray and leave it out in the sun for two – three days, constantly stirring it, to turn it into tomato paste. It takes about seven pounds of tomatoes to make one jar of strattu!

The first sauce I gave you is the recipe for is a plain sauce that would be used alone or with fish. When making a pork (sausage) sauce or any meat sauce (meat balls) you would add strattu (a couple of tablespoons) to it because pork will thin your sauce and, strattu gives it a thicker consistency.
Strattu is tomato paste. You can buy tomato paste in your local grocery store.

                                                  Their Version

                                                    My Version
Simple Tomato Sauce
In place of ripe tomatoes use one can of plum tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes with your hands. Or crush them with a potato masher but, make sure to poke the whole tomato before crushing it otherwise it will squirt back in your face.
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion sliced thin or diced if you prefer
fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper
pasta of your choice
Preparation:
In a saucepan heat the olive oil, add onions, garlic (remember Piero is allergic to garlic) salt & pepper. Sauté a few minutes and then add tomatoes. Now add the basil. After the sauce bubbles, lower the flame. Let it cook for 30 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, boil the water for pasta. Add salt. When the water boils, add the pasta. Follow the cooking instructions on the box. Try to have the pasta ready when the sauce is ready. If you want to make a meat sauce add tomato paste (two or three tablespoons) as a substitute for strattu. Serve with red wine. Of course, my choice, is always Montepulcino d’Abruzzi.
Buon appetito!
Dinner Music!

Now for my surprise!
A while back, I learned that Piero likes Pizza Margherita. Sorry, I don’t make pizza. My mother did but it’s not something I picked up from her. So, my advice to those who don’t make pizza, order from your local Pizzeria. They all make Pizza Margherita.
On Friday’s I always order pizza and the kids come over and we have dinner together. During COVID, this was not possible because it would require everyone coming to my house and we would exceed the 10 people limit so, we decided to share our pizza together on SKYPE.
For those of you who are brave, here’s the recipe for Pizza Margherita:
Don’t make the dough, pick it up from your local pizzeria or local bakery. Just ask for pizza dough.
Toppings:
2 Cans of diced tomatoes, drain some of the juice
Fresh basil to taste (for me I can’t get enough of it)
8 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella (you can use skim mozzarella if you like)
½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt (go by your taste but don’t get carried away)
1/8 teaspoon pepper (go by your taste but don’t get carried away)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Stretch out the dough and spoon the tomatoes on it. Top with Basil, Oregano, Mozzarella Cheese, Pepper Flakes, Salt & Pepper. Drizzle oil on top.
Bake in a 450-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. ~ Does that sound right Ignazio?
So where did the name Pizza Margherita come from? Margherita of Savoy (Margherita Maria Teresa Giovanna) was the Queen consort of the Kingdom of Italy by marriage to Umberto I. According to legend, in 1889, the Margherita pizza, whose red tomatoes, green basil, and white cheese represent the Italian flag, was named after her.

After I finished this story my dear friend at Flight Crew, Daniela Perani, sent me a picture of herself standing in front of this portrait of Margherita of Savoy. She was at the museum in Palermo.  She didn’t know I wrote this story. What are the chances?
Enjoy the pizza!

When asked “what is your favorite song from the Morricone album,” Piero answered, “Being from Sicily, I would have to say ‘Se,’ from the movie Cinema Paradiso.”
So, let’s listen to the guys sing this amazing song!

 

I hope you liked Cooking Pasta for Piero and I hope you try to make Pizza Margherita. As to me, I will leave the pizza making to the expert, Ignazio, as I’m sure Piero does!
Join me next week as I go back Through the Fields of My Mind and open the door to a new adventure!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email:  susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com
To read more Il Volo stories visit us at www.ilvoloflightcrw.com
Credits to the owners of Photos and Videos.
Excerpts from: Il Volo, Un’avventura Straordinario, La Nostra Storia

To Go or Not to Go ~ That is the Question!

After performing at the Senate, the guys woke up one day and decided perhaps we should go to Sanremo!

Il Volo performing for the Italian senate

This to me is one of the most challenging decisions they had to make in their lives. We all take chances in life but, this was a little different. If you go to Sanremo and you win then it was worth it. But, if you lose, it’s not just losing the competition, it’s losing your country, your people! No recognition! This is what was at stake. How do you decide with so much at stake? It’s tough!
The one thing that was difficult for the guys from the very beginning was the fact that they were not recognized in their own country.
Ignazio would say, A “prophet is not recognized in his own land.” Perhaps, but that doesn’t change things. It doesn’t change the feeling that you get when you are asked the big question. “You are loved even in Italy, right?” and as Piero said, “You have to answer no.”
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I’m going to take a moment here and vent because there is much more to that answer than “no.”
I have followed the career of these young men from day one and I am so proud of their accomplishments as I know many of you are. I see how they have grown and how much they are loved by their fans, all 5 million of them (and those are just the ones we know about).
Nothing bothers me more than how these men are treated by some of the Italian press, not just now but, from the beginning. It’s not about the Italian people. I know the Italian people love them but, many in the Italian press do everything in their power to mock them and mistreat them. It is disgraceful!
What was it that fifteen-sixteen year old boys could have done to cause the press to be so unkind, so mean and so vicious? If you don’t like a performance, you don’t have to give them a good review but, you have to respect what they do.
In March at Sanremo 2021, one reporter wrote “When they came on, I turned off my TV.” This is what I have to say to that reporter. Shame on you! These three men came to Sanremo with broken hearts, especially Ignazio and, this is how you treat them. They showed such professionalism just by being there and this is all you can say! They showed such love and respect for their country and the Italian people just by showing up. Where is your respect for your country, for your people, for your profession?
Everyone was so sad for these men and all you can think of reporting is that you “turned off your TV.” Perhaps, it’s time you turned off your career because you need to learn something about respect. The ink from your pen can tell a truth or a lie but it can’t talk about the integrity of the person who’s using the pen!  But, of course, integrity is something you know nothing about!
Having said that, let me say, over the last few years, so many Italian journalists have changed their opinion of Il Volo. I think this is because they finally stopped and listened to them and they recognize the value of what they do.  Not to mention all the good work the guys do in and for Italy! And we know they bring Italy around the world! They are good Ambassadors for Italy and the press is finally recognizing it! So happy you got on board!
That’s all I have to say on the matter!

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Let’s move on to the great things that happened!
When I read Un’avventura Straordinaria, the story that I loved the most was the story of Sanremo. The decision by the guys to take on the Sanremo Festival. This story brought out their personalities, their differences and how they are so bound to one another that they could make the decision of a lifetime together even if it meant they could lose what was so important to them, their country and their people!

Left to rightLeft to right: Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca in front of the Ariston doors

The Decision

So where do you begin to make the decision. Well, you have to start with the decision itself.

Who’s in and who’s out!

Who’s in? From day one, Gianluca wanted to go. He was so convinced that they would win that he never backed down from it. He had no doubt in his mind that they would win.
Who’s out? Always the pessimist, Ignazio. He said “No, we can’t win. It’s too hard.”
So that leaves Piero! Piero at first was not on board but Gianluca persuaded him. Gianluca said, “No one trusted, no one believed it. It was I who persuaded Piero to persuade Ignazio to go to Sanremo. Because I told them: ‘Guys, if we go, we’ll win it, I’m sure, I’m sure’”.
Piero said, “We said to ourselves: ‘Guys, make it or break it, in the end, we were not anyone here in Italy, at most we would not be anyone even afterwards.’”

Decision made! It’s official the guys go to Sanremo!

Then there’s the second problem, the song!
At Sanremo you must perform an unpublished song. How do you begin to find such a song?
Now this is the part of the story that’s really interesting and sometimes funny! Oddly enough, the one who wanted this the most was the one who did not agree to the song. I so enjoyed listening to this dialogue between the guys. This is where we begin to hear the guys make important decisions together. They’re really good. When they begin, they’re not agreeing but as time goes by…. Well, why don’t I let them tell you how they finally got to Sanremo?
IL VOLO outside the Ariston Theater with confetti flying

The Song

Gianluca: I did not agree to go with that piece. If I think about it now, I’ll say that the next time I have to reflect better before judging, try to sing a song and then judge because our voices change the songs. We arrange them by cutting them on our voice, and I did not take this fact into consideration. The song when we first listened to it was not very ugly!
Ignazio: It’s not that we’ve heard only that, no. Do you think it is easy to choose a piece for Sanremo? We started to do a search and a selection of unpublished tracks. Our policy was: either we go with something strong, or we do not go, right?
One day this song comes to us through Michele: Grande Amore by Francesco Boccia and Ciro Esposito, two Neapolitan authors. As usual, I am pessimistic. I listen to it and it does not make me crazy. Not even Gianluca was convinced. The only enthusiast was Pie …

Il Volo with Francesco Boccia and Grande Amore song writersCiro Esposito

Piero interrupts: I loved “Grande Amore”! I did not believe that we would have won, but I was the one who pushed, I and Michele pushed for “Grande Amore” because the audition that we heard was not beautiful, but we imagined it if it was made by Celso Valli and I must say that we had guessed right.
Ignazio interrupts: And I said it too if you let me talk.  I was saying, in fact, that “Grande Amore” was not as we hear it today. It was always called “Grande Amore”, but it was totally different. So, we start to think: who can produce the piece? And Michele calls the great Celso Valli. After several weeks of work in the studio, we manage to churn out a song that could leave its mark at the Sanremo Festival.
Gianluca interrupts: That’s why when we left for Sanremo I was very convinced: we had the piece, the right project.
Piero: He wanted to influence us, but we are superstitious ….
Gianluca: Every day at lunch and dinner with Michele and the president of Sony, I said: ‘Guys, we will win Sanremo.’
Piero interrupts: Do you know what a week like this means?
Ignazio: Piero and I were all day touching iron and the low parts. Gianluca was convinced that the little lion (the Sanremo award is represented by a lion) would be ours? And the two of us tried to keep the situation under control.
Gianluca interrupts: What should I tell you? I am an optimist. They took it something like ‘he makes fun of us,’ but I felt it inside. I do not know why.
So many interruptions! Ignazio, before he was interrupted, was about to tell us about the first night they sang.
Ignazio: The 65th edition of the Festival begins on Tuesday, February 10th. We sing the second night, Wednesday the 11th. The strange thing is that normally my legs tremble before the performance, but mine trembled even after the performance! Perhaps too much adrenaline, it never happened before.

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero singing on stage

Piero interrupts: Or maybe it was because we came back to the Ariston stage after going around the world. It was like coming home, because we experienced the beginning of our career here with Ti Lascio una Canzone. One thing that cannot be described: in Sanremo, in Italy, to sing and receive the applause of the Italian public. It cannot be explained.

The Wardrobe!

Gianluca: Can you imagine for me this was also my birthday: I turned twenty on Ariston’s stage? Of course, I was moved in the end, and it was too much emotion to my sensibility to play bad jokes at times.
And then, we felt the pressure in the air. Even though I was optimistic, the tension was there.
Although we had taken care of the smallest details of the song, we had tried and tried again, and we had taken care of even the smallest details of the clothing. First evening look more rock: total black with leather jacket.
Because when we do our work the image matters, too.
Piero interrupts: Count, of course that counts. But do you remember how we were dressed before? I remember that time at Una Notte per Caruso, in July 2009, it was the second time we saw Torpedine. Michele arrives with another white Range Rover, not that of Jesolo, and as soon as he arrives, we do not even say hello and we go to see the car. Let’s run, let’s open the car. Ignazio immediately goes up to the car. We went crazy for cars, one like that, we did not see every day. The day after we go for a ride in downtown Sorrento, a shopping trip, and we enter into Gucci. Michele spent almost two thousand euros and we with that written number at the counter, we exclaimed: “Mizziga! (Damn!) Two thousand euro!” with wide eyes. And we still have those clothes, at least I personally still have them.
He had bought us a jacket, but above all the need for us to dress all in white and blue. I had the blue jacket and the white shirt, Gianluca had blue trousers and white shirt, Ignazio the blue shoes and everything else white, Michele the blue jacket. And we took a picture in front of the hotel.

Left to right: Ignazio, Gianluca, Michele Torpedine and Piero dressed in blue and white

Gianluca interrupts: We were just dressed badly to be singers by trade, we were children, we came from families of workers. What could I buy? There was not even the need.
Piero interrupts: And then you remember the restaurant? Afterwards we went to a restaurant near the sea. When we finished eating, the three of us took off our shoes and ran to the beach. Michele ran behind us telling us: ‘Guys, calm down. Guys, slow down.’
At this point Ignazio loses his patience. “YES, but, what does that have to do with it, Pie? We were talking about Sanremo. What has Sorrento got to do with it?

The Performance

Ignazio gets the conversation back on track!
Sanremo 2015, from the 10th to 14th of February, we sang on the second evening, legs shaking, Gianluca’s birthday.
Among the many interviews, the diary that we kept every day for TV Sorrisi e Canzoni … We had fun with the diary!
It was a sort of ‘pill.’ A very few minutes, in which we recorded from the 9th to 14th of February. We talked about some of the emotions we felt. For example, the time that Gianluca almost stumbles on stage or the happiness of seeing the audience get up and applaud the first night we sang “Grande Amore”. The recording, then, went online on the site of the magazine.
What was I saying? Ah, yes, among the many interviews, the diary that we kept every day for TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, meetings and press conferences …
Piero interrupts: And the criticisms we felt in those days? People at home voted for us, appreciated us, and journalists gave us votes that we thought were postponed until September, I also said this at the press conference after the victory. Five that flew (Bad votes given by critics). But we see that the criticisms have done us good.
Ignazio: Can I do a criticism of you?
Piero: Ah, tell me…
Ignazio: You interrupted me. I was about to tell the final. I can continue?

The Win

Ignazio: In short, the final evening arrives, February 14th. I realize from my shirt that in a week we have eaten more than we sang. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m a boy who does not say cat if I do not have it in the bag, then until Carlo Conti said….
Piero interrupts: And indeed, whoever wins does not know it until the end! Sorry, Igna’. Speak you!!!
Ignazio: Until Carlo Conti said: ‘The winner of the Sanremo Festival 2015 is … Il Volo!’ I said to the boys: ‘No, guys, we do not win, it’s difficult.’ And on the one hand I had Piero with shining eyes and on the other Gianluca with a smug smile as if to say: ‘Do not worry.’

The guys of IL VOLO holding up the Sanremo trophy

Gianluca: The truth is that I was right from the beginning and no one had ever listened to me, ever. I believed it so much that, if you notice, maybe I’m the one with the least surprised look on my face when Carlo Conti announces the winner. Then, of those moments, one remembers little, there is great confusion, emotion. It was a dream to be able to shout, ‘Thank you, Italy!’ from that stage. I look at Sanremo as a child, when there was Pippo Baudo, and I was there and have won because people were on our side and it was a dream, I repeat even if I have already said.
The emotion was only when my grandfather told me almost in tears: “Who would have told me that in life I saw Modugno win at the Festival and then I saw you win?”
Taking the conversation back, I have to say, to me this was the best conversation we could listen to. They disagree, they find middle ground, and they agree but, most importantly they listen to one another and that’s what makes the bond so great!
In the end Gianluca said: “In short, Sanremo was just a dream that brought us many different emotions. Too bad it was not repeated also in Vienna!”

Many of you know the winner of Sanremo goes to Eurovision to represent Italy. After winning Sanremo and the popularity of “Grande Amore”, the guys were pretty confident they could win Eurovision. And to some degree, Ignazio believed it too!

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero on the stage singing at Eurovision

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

So, they gambled and, they won. They were happy and they finally felt accepted in their own country. It seems that everything worked out well but there’s a little piece of the puzzle missing.
To really finish this story, we need to pass back Through the Fields of My Mind down the corridor that led us here and enter the day-by-day reality of Sanremo!
If you would like to share a story with me, please email susan.flightcrew@yahoo.com

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.