You know Andrea Bocelli as the world-class tenor with over 90 million albums sold. But did you know he’s a gifted horseback rider too?
Audiences learn many things about the star while watching Bocelli’s new three-part film, “The Journey,” in select theaters April 2-4 and April 6. In the film, Bocelli travels on horseback with family, friends and musicians along Italy’s Via Franciagena, an ancient road, from Rome to his hometown of Lajatico. Throughout the trip, the group performs at various venues along the Italian countryside and hear from locals.
‘Always pursue optimism’:Bocelli talks album ‘Believe,’ record-breaking Easter special
Bocelli, who became completely blind at 12, has been riding horses since he was 7.
“The horse was a sort of friend for me, but also a means of transportation. So it’s very familiar to me since I’ve been doing it forever,” Bocelli, 64, said to USA TODAY while promoting the film with his wife in New York City.
Bocelli, who spoke in Italian, recalled his first horse was purchased by his father Alessandro, at the urging of his grandfather.
“(My grandfather) was ill, and he said, ‘I’d like to give my grandson a horse,’ ” Bocelli remembered. “When he died, my father ran to buy me a horse.”
Bocelli’s wife, Veronica Berti Bocelli, wasn’t exactly racing to the idea of making this pilgrimage on horseback.
“It was not easy,” she admitted. “Andrea knows how to speak with (the horses). They can speak to each other in the same language.
“Sometimes my language (with the horses) is a little bit different.”
The couple’s two children, Matteo and Virginia, also join “The Journey” at different junctures. However, neither rode a horse as both are allergic.
Other guests who appear with the Bocelli in the film are Grammy winner Tori Kelly and Andrea’s childhood friend, Christiano Quaratessi. At one point, Bocelli’s lifelong friend recalls a story about the two taking Bocelli’s father’s car out for a spin. While Christiano drove, it was Bocelli who attempted to park it and ultimately scratched it.
“I taught Christiano to drive, and a bit to others,” the tenor revealed. “So, there were many episodes where my father’s car took a hit.”|
While Bocelli and his friend joke with each other about their childhood, the two also offer one of the film’s most poignant exchanges: Christiano believes that “music can unite all.” Bocelli quickly responds that he believes God is who unites.
“Every talent is a gift from the heavens, which serves to make the world a more beautiful place,” Bocelli noted. “And if it’s true what Dostoyevsky said once, that ‘Beauty will save the world,’ we artists who are the recipients of these gifts from the heavens, we have a responsibility to make this world more beautiful.”
Bocelli’s “The Journey” leans heavily on his faith; the trip begins with a blessing from Pope Francis. And it’s the tenor’s faith that got him through the COVID-19 lockdown and back on the road. Bocelli will perform for U.S. audiences again with a seven-date trek that kicks off May 9 in Los Angeles and wraps May 21 in Minneapolis.
“It was a wonderful experience which has given me so much joy,” Bocelli said of returning to the road. “During the lockdown we all lived a terrible sadness, unknown to us ever. We need to put this behind us, and I feel I’m at a good place with that effort.”