Tag Archives: Venice

Melpignano to Verona and Beyond!

This has been an amazing week. How often over the last year have we said we missed the guys. Well they sure made up for it this week. One spectacular event after another.
So let’s start in the beautiful region of Apulia, Italy.
La Notte della Taranta”, is one of the largest Festivals in Italy and one of the most significant manifestations of popular culture in Europe. The final concert of La Notte della Taranta, has had as many as one hundred and fifty thousand spectators in the past. It takes place in Salento, in the municipality of Melpignano, at the esplanade of the former Augustinian Convent specifically for the rediscovery and the enhancement of traditional Salento music. It is not limited to traditional music. It also allows for rock, jazz and symphonic music.  This year’s host was Albano.
Listen to the voices of our guys coming alive backstage! It’s a calling! “Who sells olives.”

IL VOLO with Albano on stage

Meanwhile Albano awaits their arrival on stage. He tells us about the song. It is from the region of Apulia, the region where  he was born. He says, “It reminds me of the autumn song. It is the November song.”
November is the time of the olive harvest and a man would always pass with a cart of olives to sell to the people. Albano and Ignazio sing a phrase in the Apulian dialect (“Who has olives, I have to buy them.”) Albano said when Modugno sang in the Apulian dialect he was very proud of him. Ignazio said, “So let’s hope, with this next song we will sing, to make you even more proud of your land.”
Albano tells the guys, “You know that I am proud to have you here beside me…”
Gianluca responded,  “and we are happy ….”
Albano (continues) “…simply because I baptized these two..”
Albano is referring to Ignazio and Piero who he performed with on Ti Lascio Una Canzone.  I remember those performances and that Albano was in awe of both of them. Then Albano continues about Gianluca who he didn’t perform with at Ti Lascio una Canzone.
Albano says, “And to you, (Gianluca) you I baptize this evening.”
Gianluca responds, “One day, sooner or later, we will sing together. But it is nice, I can say, that these events make it possible to spread a musical culture like this of the Taranta, and it is right that young people are attached to the roots of these great events. We must not lose this desire to carry on traditions, we too, as young people, are proud to be here tonight.
Ignazio elaborates on this thought in one of their interviews…
“It is certainly one of the most important cultural events in Italy, and welcome, because I always say that Italy is a nation full of different cultures and traditions and certainly these events give space to make known their own traditions and culture, and therefore we are honored to be part of it, alongside Albano, an Apulian DOC, who has never forgotten his origins and there is also Madame (she is a singer) who is a young woman, like us. Hence the importance of carrying the roots, ALWAYS, in any situation, in any place.”

When the music begins our guys sing the National Anthem of the region in Griko which is a mixture of Italian and Greek. Another language to add to their list!

Notte della Taranta stage from the audience

Performers on the Notte della Taranta stage

Griko is unique to this region but there are other regions, in Italy, that speak languages other than Italian. In many Arberesh villages where the people are Italian, Albanian and Greek they have their own languages. My grandfathers’ town Vaccarizzo Albanese is an Aberesh town and they have retained the archaic features of both Gheg and Tosk dialects. Many of the words they spoke at the festival, I understood. It was a beautiful experience for me.

IL VOLO performing on the Notte della Taranta stage

The guys performance was magnificent. From the first larilò larilò lallero to the last, the whole stage was alive with their voices and a rhythm and beat that I can’t get out of mind! You could see how much the guys were enjoying it. Their interpretation of this beautiful song was awesome! Festivals are at the heart of the Italian people. They love them! This song is so full of joy and happiness.

Dancers performing on the Notte della Taranta stage

The dancers were wonderful! Through the dance, they told the story of the people, of their labors and, their joys. The hardship of life and the happiness of home and family! Their singing and the dancing was very uplifting.  And the guys’ interaction with the dancers and musicians on stage brought the whole story together. They brought the audience into the song and together they presented the history and culture of the people. This was very unique and the guys helped us to see another culture within their Italian culture. A magnificent delivery of the beautiful Anthem of the Griko people! Truly an amazing event!
Next stop Venezia! Talk about an exciting event!
Where do I begin…

IL VOLO being given their Film Italy Movie Award by Tiziana Rocca

In the afternoon the guys attended the award presentations where they were presented as winners of the 78th Film Italy Movie Awards. Upon exiting the building, they were interviewed by an unknown man…
Man: This is not Sanremo, this is the cinema exhibition!
Piero: But it seems a little like Sanremo, we meet, all familiar faces.
Gianluca: We are preparing a very ambitious recording project which is a tribute to maestro Ennio Morricone. We had the opportunity to collaborate with Vittorio Storaro in a music video, so we are here in the company of a great master of cinema, Vittorio Storaro.
Ignazio: He chose our voices for a tribute of the video of “Your Love,” which is shot in the Frasassi Caves, and therefore it is beautiful, this is not the first time we come here. It is always a beautiful atmosphere. Venice is a place that is stupendous.

IL VOLO riding in their water taxi

Later in the day, the guys appeared in their transport to Lido. What do we see here? We see three elegant young men who are on the brink of a new direction in their lives. Not leaving all that they are and all they always will be, we know they will never leave the concert stage, but taking the next step on their road to greatness!
What we’ve been watching these last few months, every time we see the video of the Frasassi Caves, is the guys embarkation on a new and wonderful experience in their lives. They are the stars of this Short Film. They are what makes this film possible. Vittorio Storaro’s genius and the presence and voice of Il Volo have made this movie an award winning production.
To help you understand this better let me tell you what Storaro had to say about this…
The idea actually comes from what we have been through all this last year, the disgrace that has happened to us from the pandemic, which has closed all the arts a little.
But then there was an idea which came from Pirandello, who said: One, Nobody, One Hundred Thousand (the title of a Pirandello novel), and in this case becomes a Once Upon a Time, as the project of Il Volo and the music of Ennio Morricone, start from Once Upon a Time in the West, directed by a great director, Sergio Leone, with the music of Morricone, the subject of Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, so there is a whole series of characters that carry some new message.
A message that also becomes a hope, not only in the present, but also in the future, because if before, once upon a time there was Nobody, where art enters, in this case Music and Singing, which is represented by Il Volo, the song with the music of Ennio Morricone “Your Love,” brings a new energy, energy that practically becomes: Once upon a time there was no one, and now Il Volo ~ over and over!
So we will see that Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio multiply.
When they descend from that blessed rope where the first boys went down here in the caves many years ago (50 years ago), it is a little like entering a seed into mother earth and thus forming a new generation, which is the generation of the future.
Il Volo, in this case becomes a symbol, as, not only does it enter the womb of the earth, it first regenerates the energy of life, but it can do it in all the squares, in all the theaters, in all the places of the world, and that, certainly is what music is, nevertheless it carries a great message of love.
Storaro was so right that carrying their music around the world will revive the music industry through this project. Through it the music will be alive again.
So that also sums up where our guys are headed! A part of their new direction. Presenting this movie throughout the world. It is our guys bringing a message to the world. A message of hope and love for all people and all nations!

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in Dolce & Gabbana tuxedos Photo of IL VOLO posing with the Storaro family

So let’s rejoin the guys on the red carpet.
Along with the Storaro family we find Storaro’s newly adopted family Il Volo.
These guys certainly lit up the red carpet. Elegant in their Dolce & Gabbana tuxedos there was no lack of interest in their presence.
How did the guys feel in this moment? Perhaps the words of Ignazio in a Rappler interview sums it up. “It was amazing working with Maestro Vittorio Storaro, remembering all the most beautiful moments that he spent with the Maestro Morricone….It is our dream. The three of us will be on the red carpet with Vittorio Storaro.”
Of course Ignazio was referring to, Vittorio Storaro, their director, the veteran director who won three Oscars, including one for Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, Apocalypse Now, which he and the director shot in the Philippines.
The new short, dedicated by Storaro to the master composer, Morricone, who passed away in 2020. A clip of the movie was premiered at the fourth edition of Filming Italy Best Movie Award on the occasion of the 78th Venice Film Festival.  And as you know Storaro won a Best Italian Film award and so did our guys for their starring role and their song “Your Love.”
Next the cocktail party…
Did you notice where all the women flocked to? Our guys! Who could resist these gorgeous guys. They grace the room with their presence. When they enter a room it lights up.
Italy what have you to say about your guys now. You have got to be so proud of them. Look at how they shine in the world! But there was never a problem in recognition. We in America have always been proud of them and called them our own. I hope this project will allow them to spend more time in the US! Maybe at the Academy Awards. Although we will only see the film for the first time on September 25th at the premier at the Frasassi Caves we already know how important this project is and how beautiful this film is.
Let them lose on the red carpet again! Our red carpet in America!!!
From this project we can see so many more projects like this on the horizon.

IL VOLO with their Film Italy Movie Award

We are so proud of the award they won at the 78th Venice Film Festival, but that was only the beginning!
Next stop Verona…
Do you ever feel when they’re in Verona, they are home? I certainly do. To me they own the Verona Arena. Every performance there is phenomenal!
They returned to the Seat Music Awards to sing their beautiful song, “Your Love” and to pick up their second award for the week!
While writing this I remembered a year ago when they were at the SMA. It was to restart the music industry.
I’m going to go back to the story I wrote about the event last year. “Turn on the Lights”
I know we will never forget the night before the performance when the guys went to the Arena to check out the lights. It was beautiful and funny at the same time. Let’s pop in to listen to the guys conversation:

Ignazio to Piero: What are you doing?
Piero: What are you looking at?
Ignazio: The light that is there.
Gianluca: It’s Beautiful.
Ignazio: The gorgeous light. Gorgeous! Gorgeous!
Of course, Piero pulled out his phone and started to video.
But what was it about the lights that got Ignazio’s attention? Well they were as Ignazio said, “La Luce Stupenda! “The lights were gorgeous,” but I think he was thinking about the last lights that he saw on stage. When they turned off the lights at their last performance in the US and went home to a country in pain from a pandemic!
When the guys arrived on stage, they had a message for the world and all people in the industry:

Ignazio: 2020 will be remembered as the year where the world would be constrained to be turned off.
Gianluca: For the music employees the verb “turn off’ means the end of the show, when the curtains close and it is the waiting moment for the next show, but this time the waiting lasted more than expected, the silence was unavoidable.
Piero: Now, the world is getting ready to start again! Now the moment has arrived to raise the curtain! Now, we will turn on the music!”
This beautiful statement was followed by the performance of the evening. Their choice of “Nessun Dorma” sent an even stronger message. It’s says we may have to perform under these new world conditions, but we don’t have to change who we are or why we’re here. In this ancient Arena we look to the past while following the path to the future.
From their first note the whole arena lit up. Their voices were clean and crisp. Their presence was illuminating. Their notes rose above the Arena into the night sky to let the world know music is back! The final note of their song sent the final statement. All three voices rose in unison and their voices sent forth a note that took our breaths away! It said We Have Returned! ”Turn on the Lights.”
Isn’t it ironic that one year later they win an award for the short film Frasassi Caves for which they are represented as regenerating the energy of life? Music is their energy!
They so deserve this award.
So let’s get back to this weeks’ performance at the Arena.
Prior to the guys performance, the stage was set up with multi color lights but when the guys arrived on stage, I think they were even surprised. The stage was lit as it was for last years performance. Very simple, very plain but what was going on in the audience was a totally different story. All phones were lit up. It was magic.
They stepped on stage in their beautiful but informal all black attire. Elegant in its simplicity!
As they come face to face with the audience, I could see the emotion in their faces.
Look at how these people love them and how they love their fans!
And then it begins. …
This song is slowly becoming a signature song! A song that reminds us of sadness but brings us to a new and exciting time in the lives of our guys! It’s as if Vito left them a final gift, a new and exciting adventure in their lives.  It is the song that will lead the way in their new tour around the world. Always before them will be this song and the movie which has already and continues to make its mark in history!

Left to right: Gianluca, with Ignazio gesturing toward heaven Piero on stage after they sang Your Love

At the end of the song, Vanessa Incontrada and Carlo Conti spoke with the guys about the Tribute to Ennio Morricone at the Verona Arena.
Gianluca greets everyone, “Good evening!”
Carlo: “Il Volo, to start these SEAT Music Awards in the best way.”
Vanessa: “And what an atmosphere they created for you (the audience), with all the mobile phones on, great emotion I saw in your faces.”
Gianluca: “We are happy to see you again.”
Vanessa: “Us too.”
Carlo: Us too, us too.
Gianluca: Finally in the Arena.
Vanessa: Finally, but it has now become your home.
Carlo: In short, I mean, you did an extraordinary event on RAI1 just dedicated as a tribute to Maestro Morricone.
Piero: We had the honor of paying homage to Maestro Morricone here at the Arena of Verona, for us, the audience, for an artist, for a singer, it is oxygen. It was an evening full of guests, but for us, the biggest guest was the audience. After a year and a half, to see them again, sing for them!
Vanessa: We understand these words well, but will you take this event to the world? I guess so.
Ignazio: Yes, we start in March 2022, we finally start with the world tour and we finish in September – October, from America, we end up in Japan and then New Zealand, so beautiful.
Vanessa: You have many things to do, let’s say.
Ignazio: Yes, but it is wonderful, after almost two years, to start singing again. I remember that a year ago, in this same program, we said …. let’s hope it starts again, the music can’t stop and meet again after a year and see that the music has never stopped, it’s beautiful!
Vanessa: Seeing them (the audience), as you said, involved with you, is nice.
Carlo: A beautiful concert, a beautiful television event, but there is a tribute album to Ennio Morricone, when will this album be released?
Gianluca: Let’s say that it is a very ambitious project, that with great responsibility, right on tiptoe and a lot of humility, we decided to undertake this path which is a musical project that is a tribute to all the most beautiful soundtracks of the maestro Morricone.
Piero: And tonight we announce the date.
Gianluca: Yes, because this record will be released on November 5th, from Cinema Paradiso, to Once Upon a Time in the West, to the Good, the Ugly, the Bad.
Vanessa: His greatest songs, let’s say.
Gianluca: And we can’t wait to start the tour.
Carlo: Well a great album and therefore it will be released on November 5th.
Then Carlo presented the guys with their DIVA award…
IL VOLO with their DIVA award
Carlo: I seriously read the inscription: Arena di Verona Award for Il Volo, for the tribute project to Ennio Morricone, represented with great success right here at the Verona Arena, live on RAI1, and for the over 10 years of career, which led them to be known and appreciated representatives of Italian music in the world.
And so we come to the end of the events of the last week. But….
We’ve gone from Melpignano to Verona but what about Beyond. I said the end of the events, not the end of the story. So we follow the guys no matter where they go from Melpignano to Verona and Beyond but, where beyond?
Let’s listen to what Gianluca had to say about their future….
“Our dream is to see The Ecstasy of Gold performed at the Academy Awards.”
That works for me! Onward to the Academy Awards! Hope to see you there!
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.


Credit to owners of all photos and videos.


But today, Sunday 5th, is also the day of Venice, and therefore we travel vertically in Italy and arrive in Venice yesterday with the beautiful images of Gianluca and Piero.

Gianluca in a boat on the Venice grand canal

Piero in a boat on the Venice grand canal

Piero and Gianluca In St. Mark's square, with Storaro and Torpedine.

In St. Mark’s square, with Storaro and Torpedine.

 Storaro and Torpedine In St. Mark's square

And here they are Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca upon their arrival at the conference.
Our boys are dressed very casually.
Gianluca always stands out for elegance.



Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in Dolce & Gabbana

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in Dolce & Gabbana with Vittorio Storaro

eft to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in Dolce & Gabbana

eft to right: Tiziana Rocco, Gianluca, Piero, friend and Ignazio

eft to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in Dolce & Gabbana

eft to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in Dolce & Gabbana

eft to right:Ignazio, Gianluca, and Piero being interviewed

A short interview with the boys.
MAN = This is not Sanremo, this is the cinema exhibition !! 😁
PIERO = But it seems a little Sanremo, we meet, all familiar faces.
GIANLUCA = We are preparing a very ambitious recording project which is a tribute to maestro Ennio Morricone.
We had the opportunity to collaborate with Vittorio Storaro in a music video, so we are here in the company of a great master of cinema, Vittorio Storaro.
IGNAZIO = He chose our voices for a tribute of a video of YOUR LOVE, which is shot in the Frasassi Caves, and therefore it is beautiful, it is not the first time we come, and it is always a beautiful atmosphere, Venice is a place stupendous.

Left to right: Vittorio Storaro, his daughter, Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero

And here is the short video of the conference with Tiziana Rocca as the awards presenter.
TR = With us: IL VOLO ❤
Guys, this year you made this tribute, thanks to a teacher who we will then present, so you are lucky enough to bring Morricone’s music to the world.
GIANLUCA = We are undertaking a rather ambitious project, with great responsibility, we also have the support of the Morricone family, a musical project with all the most beautiful soundtracks, sung in English and Italian, we presented it at the Arena di Verona, this recording project will be released in November with: Cinema Paradiso, Once upon a time in America, L’estasi dell’oro, sung for the first time.
PIERO = We thank the master Vittorio Storaro for choosing us for this tribute to his great friend Ennio Morricone, for this short film in the Frasassi Caves.
TR = In fact, I also want to thank the mayor of Genga (where Frasassi is) Marco Filipponi and also the presence of the Marche region. Tonight we will see this special video of yours that you brought us, this gem, this gift from the master Storaro.
PIERO = Thank you master, thank you all.
IGNAZIO = Thank you.
GIANLUCA = It is a pleasure to be here with all of you, really.
TR = Our master: Vittorio Storaro.
Maestro, the two of us have known each other for many years, you are a legend.
Tiziana Rocco talks with IL VOLO on stage
The video with the words of the director Vittorio Storaro.
The idea actually comes from what we have been through all this last year, the disgrace that has happened to us from the pandemic, which has closed all the arts a little.
But then there is an idea and it comes from Pirandello, who said: One, Nobody, One Hundred Thousand (it is the title of a novel by Pirandello), in this case it becomes a Once upon a time, as the project of Il Volo , of the music of Ennio Morricone, starts from Once upon a Time in the West, directed by a great director, Sergio Leone, with the music of Morricone, the subject of Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, so there is a whole series of characters that carry some new message.
A message that also becomes a hope, not only in the present, but also in the future, because if before, once upon a time Nobody, an art enters, which is Music and Singing, which is represented by Il Volo, which in a song with the music of Ennio Morricone from Your Love, it brings a new energy, energy that practically becomes: Once upon a time there was no one, – Il Volo, – Centomila.
So we will see that Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio multiply.
When they descend from that blessed rope where the first boys went down here in the caves many years ago (50), it is a little like entering a seed into mother earth and thus forming a new generation, which is the generation of the future.
Il Volo, in this case, becomes a symbol, as, not only does it enter the womb of the earth, it regenerates the energy of life, but it can do it in all the squares, in all the theaters, in all the places of the world, in that, certainly what is music, nevertheless carries a great message of love.
Il Volo, – Ennio Morricone, – Once upon a time …….
And here they are ready for the evening, the moment in which the short film by Vittorio Storaro, interpreted by Il Volo, shot in the Frasassi caves, in memory of Ennio Morricone, for the event Premio Filming Italy Best Movie.

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio in a boat on the Venice grand canal

And here they are on the red carpet, with Storaro and his daughter.
Very elegant Piero Ignazio and Gianluca in their Dolce and Gabbana evening dress.
Ignazio has cut his beard, bravo !!


Left to right: Piero, Gianluca and Ignazio on the red carpet

But how beautiful and elegant are these three ??? ❤❤❤

Left to right: Lady friend, Vittorio Storaro, Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio on the red carpet

Left to right: Lady friend, Vittorio Storaro, Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio on the red carpet

Left to right: Lady friend, Vittorio Storaro, Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio on the red carpet

Left to right: Gianluca, Vittorio Storaro,, Ignazio and PIeroon the red carpet being interviewed

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio

And here is the moment of the award ceremony.
Premio Filming Italy Best Movie Awards

IL VOLO at awards ceremony

IL VOLO at awards ceremony

IL VOLO at awards ceremony

In this video all the winners and among them also Il Volo.


Left to right: Vittorio Storaro, Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio on the red carpet

Left to right: Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero with their award

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio on the red carpet

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio on the red carpet

Left to right: Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio on the red carpet

Lots of images, there was no doubt, for such a special evening.
All elegant for the evening of the screening and the award ceremony, but unfortunately we cannot have any advance for the short film.
Too bad, we would have closed a great day in style, but I think we will have to wait a little longer to see the images shot inside the Frasassi Caves.
Meanwhile, in an interview, Il Volo stated that their new CD will be released on November 5th.
We take note, we look forward to it.

Group shot of all participants

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

Il VOLO A VENEZIA ~ by Daniela

Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca have just returned from Miami.  We all thought that they would return to their homes for a well-deserved rest, and instead they headed to Bologna immediately, without going to their homes.

We all wondered what they were doing in Bologna?   Yesterday morning we saw pictures taken by Piero and Gianluca in Venice.

Another mystery, what will they do in beautiful Venice?


Here is the mystery revealed.

On the evening of October 16, 2017, a private event at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco took place, with cocktails, gala dinner and a concert that featured the trio “Il Volo” by Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble.









Piero gives us some dinner details.


Every year in Venice in February, there is the famous carnival  with many masked dances.   At the end of the carnival there is a particularly sumptuous dance, IL BALLO DEL  DOGE  (Doge was like a king of Venice). It is a very exclusive dance and the artists wear very sumptuous costumes.

These artists also participated in the event where IL VOLO took place.

 Il Volo and the Doge’s Dance Artists were hosts for the evening.


 The woman standing with Il Volo is the organizer of the February event and is also the creator of the beautiful costumes.


This is the exterior of the palace.


Venice is always a very charming city and this is one of countless buildings that you can visit and where you can also admire paintings of famous painters like Tintoretto.



The show is over, Piero Ignazio and Gianluca come into their hotel, naturally through Venetian calle, Gianluca offers us a glimpse of the return.

On to the next  ILVOLO-Adventure!


Credit to all owners of photos and videos.

Lorna & Jana: Sunday, July 3 – Our Day in Venice – trains, taxis, and trams!

Ah, so where did I leave off? Oh yes, we were about to get our train to Venice! After feeling a bit guilty having woken up our hosts at our B&B, they graciously called us a taxi to the train station. While waiting for our taxi, we briefly met this nice young man who had apparently been staying there for about a month on some kind of work study program – from Iowa or somewhere, can’t remember, but definitely from the US! So, where was he the last few days!? Anyway, we made it to the train station, and lucky for us, a McDonald’s was there and they served breakfast. I parked Lorna and our luggage at a table and got in line. It wasn’t too bad and we had time. I have to say, it took me a few minutes to figure out their combo meal. But I did and I ordered 2 capps, 2 OJs, and 2 breakfast sandwiches. Oddly, they didn’t have Canadian bacon for their egg McMuffin, it came with just regular bacon. After breakfast, we easily spotted our flight, posted on the marquis. Right on time,

italian countryside between florence and venice
Somewhere between Florence & Venice

Florence to Venice – piece of cake! We waited at our track, figured out which coach we were supposed to be in, and boarded the train. I have to say, it was a bit of a pain having to lug our luggage around in the narrow passages and then LIFT them over our heads to put them in the overheads, but we managed. It was about a 2-hour train ride to Venice from Florence. We had first class tickets. It was a very nice train, with nice, comfy chairs. About a half hour into the ride, the beverage cart came along. Ah, yes – Prosecco at 9am! Lol! Ok, they give you a really little

train prosecco

glass, maybe 4 ounces at best! But it was fun. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the scenery on the way. I took a bunch of pictures!



Venice Mestre train station! Ok, looked a lot different from Florence! Like, where were all these people going and why were they heading toward these little closets that were apparently elevators? Well, we just kind of followed the crowd. We got in and there was no choice but to go down, so, we hit the button. We went down a level; the street level, I guess you would say? We got out and looked around – hmm… ok, need a taxi. Again, we followed the signs toward the exit and found the outside. There was this long line to get a taxi. We got in line. Someone yelled at us, in Italian, that we weren’t at the end of the line, but someone else was blocking the way, so we couldn’t get to the end of the line. Natives? So much for everyone being so friendly. We did move, when we were able. You’d think they’d have LOTS of taxis just waiting there for the travelers. But no! There were like 2 or 3 at a time, if you were really lucky. One time I think we actually saw 4 arrive at the same time. I was seriously beginning to think it was the same 5 taxis just going in circles to the various hotels, etc. After at least a good 20-minute wait, our taxi arrived and we headed to Hotel Alexander. About a 10-minute taxi ride. I felt I did pretty well, booking close to the train station. We were able to check in pretty much right away. It was just about noon when we arrived. We told the concierge we were going to Venice, proper, for the Murano tour. He told us how to get there. We asked him when we should leave and he said “now.” “What?” we just got here!


Our tour was for 2:30p and we were to meet near San Marco square by the statue of the man with the horse. Sounded a little clandestine to me! We figured out how to get the tram, a few blocks walk from our hotel. The tram took you to the actual Venice island. It was about a 20 minute or so ride. The concierge said it was about a 45-minute walk to the meeting place from the train station area. Ok, we had plenty of time. The tram dropped us off and there we were, but where were we? We were looking around and I guess I expected to see a big sign that said “Venice – this way…” lol, but we didn’t. Again, we kind of followed the crowd and I looked up and saw the train station and this really big bridge! I said to Lorna – I think we are here! We go over this bridge! Like I said, it was a REALLY BIG bridge and lots of steps! I was really glad I changed my mind and booked our hotel on the mainland. I did not envy those persons having to lug one or two suitcases over that bridge, and later, onto the water taxis! (hint, hint, Marie and Jane). After we finally made it over the bridge, we looked around and realized we had no clue where we were going, so decided to get the water taxi to take us to the San Marco port. I am really not a big being “on the water” fan, but when in Rome, er, I mean Venice, you go with the flow – of the waves… We boarded the water taxi, unfortunately, there were no seats, so we had to stand, in the MIDDLE of this water taxi, with nothing to hang onto. I have a problem with my feet/legs swelling, so the standing was not doing them any good. We did get a nice tour of the Grand Canal that way and after at least a 30-minute ride, or so it seemed, I had to get off! We got off at the port actually before San Marco and walked the rest of the way, it was only about 5 minutes and we arrived at just about the same time as the water taxi. It was just about 2p by then, so we had a little time, as we were supposed to meet by 2:15p. Breakfast was a long time ago, so I grabbed a can of Coke and a bag of chips and called it lunch!


Our guide arrived right on time – the rest of our group was also from the US. She spoke very good English and gave us a little history of Venice, while we waited for our little speed boat to take us to Murano, about another 30-minute boat ride! Did I say I was not that fond of boats? Lol! Our boat arrived and wow, that was a really big step down! Had to duck so I wouldn’t hit my head, and down I plopped. The sky overhead was going back and forth from big heavy clouds to sunshine. We thought for sure it was going to rain any minute! We arrived at Murano and, sure enough, I bopped my head getting out of the seating area. I think I actually saw stars! Ok, cleared the head and got off the boat.behind boat venice We headed toward the Murano glass factory where they actually blow, form, and mold the glass. My feet/legs were screaming at that point, so I found a little platform area, where I climbed and was able to sit down. Ironically, in Dearborn, we have something called “The Glass Factory” and it is just about identical to the Murano factory! So, I watched the demo, which consisted of the artisan actually blowing some glass, then he made a horse. I’ve seen this done before, so I wasn’t really missing anything, except I was in the real, Murano factory, watching this being done. After the demo, we were led into their showroom where you could purchase their art. It was our lucky day, they said “just for our special group” you could purchase things at a discount and even make them an offer and they would ship it for free, etc. Of course, even at the discount, the normal person could not afford most of it! For a simple tumbler, glass, the cost was 65 Euros! And it went up from there into the thousands! You weren’t allowed to take pictures in there, but I have to say it fed my glass junkie habit for at least an hour. I looked, and drooled, and wanted one of everything! There were pictures made of glass, sconces, wall lights, your little animal figurines, paperweightdecanters with matching glasses, these huge pieces of art, sculptures, vases (and I mean “vahses!”), in all colors imaginable – the reds, the blues, the greens, the purples! They had coasters, and jewelry, and beads! I was not going to go there and not buy SOMEthing, so I ended up with this pretty little square paper weight with an angel fish on it. (see picture)


We then waited in this little outdoor gazebo area with this gorgeous Murano glass murano factchandelier hanging from the top! Ok, now we were headed to Burano – island of lace – another 20-minute boat ride on a different boat, and it was smaller than the first one!burano 2


It was getting pretty cloudy again as we headed toward Burano. The guide led us into town to this one lace shop and we got a little tour. We got a discount on anything we purchased. It was beautiful lace, but nothing really piqued my fancy until I saw this scarf.   Italian silk floral in shades of muted, soft greens, ivory, and turquoisescarf (see picture). It looked like the clouds were definitely going to stick around. I was pretty bummed, as it was a beautiful island with brightly colored houses. I gave up and took pictures with the clouds anyway. A few people told me that you wanted to take pictures when it was cloudy – really? Who says “look at the gorgeous cloud – how it shadows that house?” No, you say, “look at the gorgeous water, how the sun sparkles on it!” However, most of the pictures did turn out pretty awesome! Even with no sun! I bought a few more items and convinced Lorna to buy this beautiful lace tunic, which she wore to the Verona concert!

burano 3



By then it was close to 6:00p and I think we were leaving about 6:30p or so. It was another good 45-minute boat ride back to our meeting place. I was really tired and sat in the back of the boat, trying to get in a few winks. I think I may have actually dozed off a few times…? FINALLY, back on solid ground. We had purchased round-trip tickets, but I had had enough water for one day. I told Lorna we were walking back. This former Navy person was a bit disappointed, but this land lubber was ready to trade in her unfit sea legs! So, we started walking. The guide gave us some general directions, to head toward this or that sign, and we marched off. Oh, how good it felt to be walking on solid ground again! However, it was up and over one little bridge after another, down an alleyway, through a piazza, and all over again, basically heading in the right direction I knew we needed to go. We had a map, although I have to say it was not overly helpful for the most part. After we’d been walking for about an hour, I think Lorna thought for sure we were figuratively “lost in Venice.” Nah, never lost! I got out my savior, Google Maps and knew we needed to head toward the train station. So, in I punched Venice train station and up popped the directions – we were only about a 10-minute walk away! I did pretty good! We started walking and the distance said we were further away. We knew where we had to go, but couldn’t get there because of all the canals, so we had to find the right bridges. We did walk in circles a few times, but eventually, our “distance” was decreasing and we were heading in the right direction. By now, it was close to or after 8p. We were tired and hungry. We made it to just about where we needed to go and decided to stop for dinner. We did not make it to the restaurant suggested by Giada, as it was too far in the other direction.   We decided on this one little pizzeria and decided to sit inside. We got our usual naturale and frizzante waters and both ordered pizza. I have to say, out of the 3 pizzas I ate in Italy, I think this was the best one. I ordered sauce (yes, not always a requirement…), cheese, olives, and I think, prosciutto? It came quickly and it was good. Just a little fyi… be careful if you order pizza there with olives – apparently they don’t always take out the pits? Yes, that was a surprise, hot, cooked, big green olives, pits and all! We finished and got out of there. It was about 9p by them and dusk and dark, were quickly setting it. We figured out how to get back to our big bridge. Oh, those steps! I think we burned off our pizza in no time! It was darned near dark by the time we got to the tram. We were really lucky there was one there waiting for us and we quickly got on. Unfortunately, again, there was no place to sit. We managed to remember where our stop was and made it back to our hotel with just a little detour – saved again, by Google maps! By the time we got back to our hotel it was nearly 10:30p!   Again, we were exhausted. Funny, the toilet is sometimes called the water closet, but I was beginning to think all showers in hotels in Italy were more like a closet with running water!


However, we got up early and took our showers in the morning. I didn’t realize how your body reacted to standing on a boat for 30 minutes and being on a boat like I had been. When I took my shower the next morning, I still had the sensation of being on that water taxi, listing and swaying, and literally almost lost my balance in the shower. But no problem about falling – there was nowhere to go! That sensation actually lasted for a few days! Breakfast was served about 7a, and we got down there about 7:15a, thinking we had at least 15 minutes to grab something. We again asked the concierge to call us a cab. I guess we should have specified what TIME we wanted the cab, as we were only about 5 minutes away. They hung up and said the cab would be there in 5 minutes! Oh crap – missed breakfast again! I quickly ran in there and grabbed what I could in a few napkins and by the time I ran out, Lorna was packing the suitcases into the taxi!

So, did we make it to Verona on time??

Read on for our next adventure!

Italia – Let’s Go! Part 3


Roman Colosseum (Colosseo) at dusk

The Flavius amphitheatre is the biggest and most imposing in the Roman world, but is also the most famous monument in Rome and is known as the “Colosseum” or “Coliseum”. Started by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavia family, it was opened by his son Titus in 80 A.D. http://www.italyguides.it/us/roma/colosseum.htm 

Waiting to enter Capri’s Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra)


Inside the Roman Colosseum





A Canal in Venice


Looking down on a street in Assisi

Italia  – Let’s Go!  Part 3 concludes the Italia – Let’s go series.  All of the pictures in the post “Italia – an Il Volo Flight Crew Special Feature” have been identified.  As this series of Italia comes to a close, I am not exactly sure where we will travel next, there are unlimited possibilites. We may hop around Italia as if we are on a private jet and can go anywhere we want at a moments notice.  Won’t this be fun!

Soon though, we will travel to Assisi where Il Volo recently performed in Rai’s Concerto di Natale at the Basilica di San Francesco. Assisi, a medieval city built on a hill, is the birthplace of Saint Francis and according to Rick Steves’s “The Basilica di San Francesco is one of the artistic highlights of medieval Europe.” http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/italy/0400basilicatour.htm

Some photos originally from film.