Andrea Bocelli. A voice, a soul
The passions linked to his homeland, the deep love for Tuscany of the world's most loved voice
Andrea Bocelli needs no introduction. Undoubtedly today she is the most universally known and loved voice in the world. He was born in Lajatico, among the postcard hills of the Pisan countryside, he lives in Versilia with his wife Veronica and their children Amos, Matteo - who has successfully embarked on a musical career - and Virginia. A year ago, in April 2019, he inaugurated the new headquarters of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation in Florence in the complex that also houses the Franco Zeffirelli Centre. The link between the city and the Foundation, established in 2011 for charity by the Tuscan tenor, has matured over the years through major events including the Celebrity Fight Night in Italy, which, thanks to Bocelli, has brought guests of excellence to Florence (from Queen Rania of Jordan to George Clooney).
What potential do you recognize in Florence?
We are talking about the cradle of the Renaissance, mother of the Italian language, home of opera: the potential is unlimited as boundless is the amazement that punctually captures the visitor from all over the world.
What are the great passions that Tuscany has given you?
Riding a horse and wandering along quiet paths, on the edge of woods, skirting fields, crossing meadows. My father loved the land, like my grandfather who always said: "of the land we are the poets!", and without guilt he did not hesitate to leave the shop to go to the fields.
Forte dei Marmi, where he lives, and Lajatico, where he was born. What does he love more than both?
For me they are now like two rooms in the same house, mine.
Lajatico is also home to the Teatro del Silenzio (Theatre of Silence), of which you are a great supporter...
The idea of the Theater of Silence, not mine, is as crazy as it is extraordinary, for which many people have already done as much foolishness, coming to my small country from all over the world. Isn't all this magic?
Your advice for those who come to Lajatico for the first time?
To get lost with calm and curiosity, in those hills, full of a simple and true beauty... The Valdera countryside offers the traveller a genuine, authentic and vital enchantment. Here, even today, the echo of the tractors mixes with the rustling of the trees and even the visitor can, in my opinion, introduce that rural culture, those values that have innervated the children of this land. Me included.
Perhaps Tuscany has a hand in your musical vocation as well?
That of our land is an important tradition. Here authors like Boccherini, Piccini, Mascagni and Catalani were born, and singers like Mario del Monaco, Ettore Bastianini and Galliano Masini. I've breathed this atmosphere since I was very young and I feel I'm part of it.
Is it true that it was Renato Zero who discovered it many years ago?
The truth is that many people discovered me, including Renato.
How do you consider the history of your artistic life?
A bit like a fairy tale. In a few years I have lived the most exciting and incredible experiences that an artist can imagine and hope for: I cannot forget that I sang for two Popes. I sang in the most beautiful places in the world and, above all, I had the privilege of listening closely to the most important voices of the international scene. For a voice lover like me, it was one of life's most beautiful gifts.
An anecdote about your beginnings?
Many years ago, together with a group of friends, we were supposed to give our first concert at the Peccioli theatre, but when we arrived at the door they asked me for a ticket. I always tell the boys I meet to do, without fear of making mistakes, because where there is a will, there is a way.
You dedicate a lot of energy to charity, starting with the Foundation that bears your name...
With the Andrea Bocelli Foundation since 2011 we have been promoting and supporting national and international projects with which we aim to enable people in difficulty due to illness, disability, poverty and social exclusion to express themselves.
What do you usually say to encourage young people?
To do without fear of making mistakes, because where there is will, there is a way.
Is there an affection that binds you in a particular way in Florence?
My nanny Oriana. The first time she set foot in my family's house she was only thirteen and stayed there until I was thirteen. She got married and went to live in Florence. Oriana raised me; she was for me and my brother Alberto a kind of second mother. Many of the most beautiful memories of my early childhood are linked to her.
What commitments await you for the next few months?
A famous Italian director once said: "We have many projects for the future; it's a pity that he has very different projects for us. I think so too, I never make plans that go beyond twenty-four hours.