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Veronica e Andrea March 21st 2014

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Veronica e Andrea

Oh sun! Life ! Eternity! “The light of the world is love�! (from Turandot by Giacomo Puccini) Montenero

A hill overlooking the ideal city looking at its port and sea. At the top a sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie, the patron of Tuscany. You can find it just at three hundred meters above the Tyrrhenian Coast, and it is a balcony over the most beautiful region in the world from where, not by chance, leaned out poets named George Byron, Ugo Foscolo, and Giovanni Pascoli. An oasis of peace and prayer, where to reveal worries whishes and secret concerns, trusting during the journey towards faith, in the strong support of the Vallombrosan monks, whose order has thousand years of history behind it.

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To go up two are the possibilities: either a path of a handful of bends, that while going up becomes narrower and more twisted, or by means of the ancient innovation of the cable car, that for more than a hundred years has been travelling back and forth carrying pilgrims and hikers From the top the city looks like a huge crop circle, or a gigantic invention that someone has first drawn on a paper and then on the world. This because Leghorn was born before its inhabitants: towards the end of the sixteenth century, the Medici family – those who ruled the destinies of Florence for more than three centuries– sent Bernardo Buontalenti to design around the port an ideal urban space. Thus was born this fortified town conceived in a geometric orthogonal grid pattern. As a backdrop there is the sea. While, behind the city stands the Shrine, one of the most cherished, and popular in Tuscany. A sanctuary where it is easy whatever your creed is, to feel that hidden sense that we all have: not hearing, smell, taste, or touch, but that sense that speaks inside us, thus weaving an invisible thread towards heaven that soars and binds us in remembrance and expectation of the afterlife. The profile of Livorno, the one that invades your eyes looking from Montenero, contains stories of emancipation and a happy jumble of ethnicities: Greeks, Jews, Englishmen Dutchmen, Armenians, Turks, and Moors took advantage of that city in which freedom of religion and hospitality were guaranteed. If five hundred years is the age of the port, seven hundred the ones you must travel back to the legend that tells of a crippled shepherd, who found at the foot of the hill a painting of Our Lady and the Holy Child. And following the inspiration as if it were a superior heavenly suggestion, he took the painting to the top, where from that very moment spread spiritual light in a land

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previously considered “black” because it was a place full of hideouts and robbers. At the foot of that sacred image, under the intense gaze of Our Lady of Montenero, the portrait dominating the altar of the Baroque church of the Sanctuary, Veronica and Andrea have confirmed their promise of love. In

the

marble

tabernacle

framed

by

a

golden

halo,

the

fourteenth-century painting (attributed to Iacopo di Michele) shows the Virgin having a sweet and thoughtful attitude while her face is inclined towards her son. On her womb, the holy child: a hand on his mother’s red robe edged in gold, the other hand holding a thin wire that leads to a multi-colored bird standing on the right arm of The Virgin…In the balance between a childhood innocent game and a metaphor for Doctrine, the image produces a particular alchemy of colors, because of that deep blue of the Virgin’s mantle, combined with the red cushion where the two figures are sitting, but also because of the golden background and of the dazzling light on their faces. The painting is small but it lights up the entire basilica. Artistic and popular, tangible impression of the intangible, the image of Mary and Jesus has been for centuries source of devotion and countless instances. In the halls surrounding the church there is the amazing testimony of those who have implored intercession, and have received a grace.

The queue of cars that have more or less fancifully found a parking space stretches for more than one kilometer beyond the main entrance. Once freed from our mechanical burden and past the kiosk of sacred objects, finally we can see the wide stairs and the airy rectangular square, the church porch, the bell tower and the big clock.

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Photographers and cinema-operators are already on site, despite having to wait for one more hour before the ceremony starts. It all had to be kept secret, not for snobbery but rather for the opposite reason. Then, somehow a chatty voice reached the local news paper: a few hours later the main Press Agency announced it too, and then on the web all the newspapers had it on their homepage.

Primo Vere

Spring is awakening, a flourished debut of all glory, it is the sun that keeps its hot promises. The etymology as it often happens for many of our words, brings a breath of poetry and includes the inner meaning of the lemma. The Sanskrit root “vas” means “to burn”, “to shine”: spring is rebirth, everywhere and always honored, it is an intercultural ceremony because it is a global synonym of renewal, rebirth and purification. The days are getting longer, feelings breathe more powerfully, and the palingenesis of the heart is in blossom, so carnal and profane and yet at the same times sacred, spiritual. On the day of the equinox when day time and night time are in perfect balance, in the life experience of Andrea and Veronica many reasons combine to elect the twenty first of March as the ideal day for a promise, one of those promises that dare imply the whole life. A promise pronounced at a low voice, but that asks to be heard in the recesses of the cosmos. Two years ago their beautiful child Virginia was born. Blond hair, eyes as big as walnuts, today she will be their maid of honor, she will have to bring the wedding rings to her father and mother. Patient, despite her appetite (and the unanswered questions, at a low voice, and over and over, to her Grandfather Ivano, bread where is bread?) the girl will attend the eighty minute ceremony in her cream 5

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dress quilted in silver with two small chignons in her hair, two flowers of white tulle. March twenty-first, Virginia’s birthday but also the World day of Poetry, a young anniversary established by UNESCO which has been celebrated since the new millennium. On the day of his wedding just a few hours before, Andrea wanted to participate to a poetry event, which is taking place at the “Theater Guglielmi” in Massa. «I believe in Poetry» he will say “I think it is a medicine for all of us and it makes the world more beautiful. Amos and Matteo had been asked to go and play to accompany the reading of the verses. When I heard of that and when I heard that there would have been many other students I decided to join them to propose a poem of mine, considering that I delight myself in this art". The author defines his poems as “old fashioned”, as he loves to write according to the laws of rhyme and meter which he thinks are always valid and helpful. The one chosen for the occasion goes back to 2010 and it is titled “A voice”. The voice is the one of Sandro, his father an absence that on a day like this is obviously, hurting even more, despite the passing of time. Here is, dissolved in prose, the meditation that the verses suggest: a man walking on a countryside path is thinking about the meaning of life. But reason continues to address unanswered questions and gathers nothing but despair and the perception of its finitude. It is the soul, the voice of conscience to offer a ransom: it is the apparent lack of logics of a suggestion (the presence of his father‘s memory and his admonitions) to expose the vanity of dialectics: the revelation of the wonder of creation does not admit questions. It is simply sufficient to recognize the divine project in the breathing of everything, in every detail of our earthly adventure. 6

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Laughing He: “If I asked you to marry me, what would you answer?” She: “If you want an answer, first you must put me a question”. Veronica and Andrea have been evaluating this option for twelve years: they periodically speak of it, seriously or jokingly, and yet they have never been able to find the right moment … always with their luggage ready, always browsing the agenda, without ever finding a possibility in it. Despite the atypical nature of a life à bout de souffle, the fateful yes is however a ritual to be preserved, it is an intimate ceremony a woman would never give up. And Veronica (as she is explaining to her companion) does not request white horses and prince charming. But nevertheless “As long as nobody asks me, I will not answer”. And Andrea, in the end did not only put his question but even struggled to get the white horse! Forty eight hours before the wedding, a long telephone call with the future bride and groom. After all, explains Veronica, we confirm our love every day, from that very evening when we first met, from that morning when I woke up in a house that was not the one of my parents. Between us, the unspoken pact, that we choose every day to be one next to the other. A pact that says: being companions, we both must earn respect and love everyday…to the point that I, jokingly, told Andrea: “Pay attention, if you call me wife I will leave you” Certainly to say: “Yes” in front of God has a different value. For a Christian it marks a powerful difference, and Veronica and Andrea are two souls walking in harmony on the path to faith. «And yet I feel I have been blessed by Heaven since the very beginning of my love story…at Church it will be simply a consecration, but I think I received a blessing right the day I met the man of my life».

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Veronica’s parents have grown their daughter without ever imposing her any pre-determined religious path, allowing her and leaving her free, once an adult, to give depth to her choices. And that is what she has done, being first baptized (and then receiving Holy Communion and Confirmation), during the last decade. Wedding is a celebration. The wedding day is the most beautiful day. (For a woman perhaps even more). So much effort nevertheless rewarded by so much joy. But if the bride usually spends her days organizing events, even her own marriage is likely to become a job… There was no time for a traditional wedding in a big way «It had to be a surprise, even to relatives. Even I, personally concerned, have come to know it unofficially! It was Father Luke, our spiritual father, who unintentionally broke the secret: he phoned me to ask confirmation of the date and other logistics information about the flowers to decorate the church…. And I was taken aback! However family members and close friends (many coming from Lajatico) even if informed in these hours – and with a generic invitation to meet in Montenero, to celebrate the birthday of our daughter – have confirmed their presence. We are overjoyed! When Virginia was born, the sun was shining. When she turned a year, it was the first clear day after rainy weeks. And on the day of her second birthday, and of my wedding? The weather forecasts say clouds and water… But as we say in Italy: “Wet bride lucky bride”. And then the sun, on an occasion like this, will shine within us. Manager and emotion such a combination might arouse some problems. Veronica describes herself as a very rational person, perhaps also because on the contrary she is very emotional, and she has signed an armistice with her sensitivity lest her feelings might show even when it is more appropriate not to show them. «Usually my response before a great tension, is either crying, – and fortunately, in this case, there is no reason for that– or is laughing 8

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….And my fear is that at the time of the fateful “Yes “I might start to laugh. This happens when I am so tired that I feel as if I were drunk: I laugh! But at church this must not absolutely happen! Not in front of the altar. I have mentioned my concern to Andrea and he has answered: “if you laugh when you are taking your wedding vows, I will turn and leave the church”».

Meeting of souls The definition comes from Plato. In his “Symposium” the Greek philosopher tells how the soul is split in two halves, male and female, in order to incarnate in the world. Every soul divided before birth, addresses the earthly experience in search of her missing half, tending to a golden completeness. Meeting of souls is the definition that Andrea uses to describe the presence of Veronica in his life. « When we meet and we fall in love it means that two souls have recognized each other. Beyond any practical difficulty, a woman and a man who are in love have an underlying project to build something, together, since the very beginning. Otherwise there is something wrong in the couple, something that is not working». From the first moment: « The same evening we met» recalls Andrea, «we started living together and this has gone on for twelve years by now, at the rate of twenty four hours a day: when two people after so long are still willing to stay together at three hundred and sixty degrees, it means that one soul complements the other, that we have been lucky, that we have recognized each other. We have reached the Sacrament of marriage, after a long journey together: we have fought together; we have faced the wind in open hands. Because a strong wind has blown in our lives as it happens in everybody’s life and in my case at times, it has been an even

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stronger wind, considering the atypical professional and personal situation. Veronica has proven courageous, since the very first day she plunged into my life and she faced that wind, with strength, with positive and constructive spirit. Although we have shared the same roof for years, Veronica is a companion, a friend a lover she is prime source of inspiration for my poems that I write at night for her. And in the morning opening the mail she finds these small gifts of mine. For the non believer, to say: “Yes“at Church is perfectly useless. Even worse, it is a joke. But for a believer it is a small word of immense significance: it is the time when you call God to witness, to unite your destiny with that of another person. As for the loyalty that you promise on that occasion, to be honest I do not think there is a man on earth who has the moral strength to pronounce those words in a totally responsible way….It is no use denying it, it is a strong bet, it is even an adventurous gesture, almost an act of presumption, to declare irrevocably to maintain such a commitment in front of the sky…But the will, the resolution, for my part is not missing.”. Two days to the first day of spring: it is March 19 th; we are celebrating another anniversary, Father’s Day. «Pope Francis just today was stressing the need to stay close to family...We must accept this invitation, each of us must do something concrete and even Institutions must understand this emergency». What will take place in Montenero within a few hours is closely linked to Andrea’s beliefs… Family – he has always said – is the main brick of society.

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VIP! On top of Montenero hill there is a bit of Lajatico, of Ancona and of Forte dei Marmi. There is mum Edi Aringhieri, shining in a dress that shows a game of chiaroscuro, with a black dress and a white shawl like her hair, framing a décolleté of geometrical design (still in the colors of black and white). She is accompanying her son to the foot of the Altar as is tradition. Some friends slow down her way, and tell her something to which she replies saying: «it is the happiest day of my life»! Already the oval atrium to the eighteenth-century church is a triumph of marble and baroque frescoes: The entrance is threefold, and it reveals a carved wooden ceiling that leaves you breathless. The shining temple has in the image of the Virgin and Child the ideal vanishing point in prospect of the entire building, joyfully enlightened by the colors of gold, by the shades of marble, by the milky white triumph of floral arrangements which ideally accompany the visitor from the entrance to the apse. Andrea’s family is on the right, on the left the one of Veronica. Alberto Bocelli the brother, an architect, is wearing a scarf showing a casual and alternative elegance: « Even when it was my turn to do the same I did not wear a suit and a necktie, and the priest asked me where the groom was? He is next to Cynthia, his wife, the deus ex machina of the family farm and therefore of the Bocelli wines. The Church Madonna delle Grazie, on this first day of spring has a high number of young people: there are Amos and Matteo, inseparable and inseparably close to their father. Amos and Matteo who, twelve years ago, when they were still wearing shorts, had fallen a bit in love, with this unexpected second mother, who at that time was in her early twenties. Today they will read the Holy Scriptures,

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and Amos will be, exceptionally, the driver of the car at the exit from church. Among the very young, Alberto’s four children, Andrea’s beloved

nephews

and

nieces:

a

small

army

ranging

from

preadolescence to full youth. On the altar are set side benches reserved for family and close friends. At the center just in front of the tabernacle, the prie-dieu in a sky blue velvet and two cushions of a deep blue. The same color of the two stools where the bride and groom will sit. While in an antique gold damasque, the ones for the witnesses: for Veronica her sister and “best friend” Barbara, who two years ago went through the same experience, and next to her, her cousin Alice a doctor and pianist. For the groom Mariella and Piero the two tutelary deities of the house, he the care-taker of the house, she the one who cares for the supplies, two certainties of Bocelli’s home that well represent that mix of simplicity and elegance that reigns around Andrea. Two relatives, of a relationship acquired over years, through dedication and affection. It is a VIP marriage in the most genuine sense of the acronym, there are no representatives of the star system, and on the other hand the church is full of important people, beautiful people. Of course the heart of ABF could not be missing, the Tuscan army always in the pursuit of good, Laura Biancalani next to her husband Massimo Lucioli, but also Olimpia Angeletti (who in a few days will wear a white dress too). Veronica has the joy to have close to her the pillars of her big family: her father Ivano, who will take her to the altar, together with his companion Patrizia; her mother Elena (who does not look like a mother but like an elderly sister) with Paolo her husband. And then the close friends of both bride and groom, and still relatives, like Andrea’s cousin, Laura Giarré, electrical engineer university professor,

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a

precious

reference

for

the

project

concerning

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technological challenges in collaboration with MIT of Boston…a brilliant career, one of the many “brains” born in the Bocelli Family ….. We meet her before the ceremony, while she is parking a rickety utilitarian, one of those you would more easily find on a path in the countryside among vegetable gardens. And in our opinion this makes her even more extraordinary.

The blessing of Pope Francesco Veronica walks down the aisle with her father. At the foot of the altar there is Andrea waiting for her. She has chosen a special piece of music, the bright warm sound clarity of the “Canon” by Pachelbel: a music that looks like her, a piece that remarks the strength of simplicity. (There is no soul disposition more difficult, there is no spiritual aim so difficult to which aspire). For the holy readings in the course of the service, Matteo and Amos, Andrea’s “elder sons” take turns. But there is another voice that starts the readings offering excerpts from the Biblical Book of the Sirach: “The husband of a good wife is a fortunate man; he will live twice as long because of her. A fine wife is a joy to her husband, and he can live out his years in peace. A good wife is among the precious blessings given to those who fear the Lord. Whether such men are rich or poor, they will be happy and always look cheerful…” The reader is Chiara Amirante, one of the most charismatic figures of contemporary Christianity, visionary promoter of the road missions, writer and founder of the Comunità Nuovi Orizzonti. When late in the evening we bid farewell, we will find Chiara and Andrea, standing in the doorway talking and smiling, and he will say «it is difficult to imagine, believe me, what great things this woman is capable of! »

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The sacrament of marriage, according to the Catholic Christian rite claims in a sense that the ministers of the sacrament are the spouses themselves…In the booklet in pearlescent paper, after turning the first page, here is the message of Veronica and Andrea: “After twelve long years that have passed like a flash in the joy of love, it is time to unite our lives at the foot of the altar of the Shrine of Montenero, where we are happy you are here with us, to share a moment that will remain engraved in our hearts forever”. Then the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of Marriage, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Father Luca is the celebrant of a Mass full of vocal parts, of Gregorian monodies which steal time to the ceremony making smell its scent of eternal. Handel’s music resonates after the homily; the violin offers the melodic line of the famous “Largo”, while, in a whisper, Andrea follows it singing. For the Eucharist, the “Panis Angelicus” by César Franck. The newlyweds receive a special blessing: Pope Francesco, informed of the happy event, has sent a message with the following words: “To Andrea Bocelli and Veronica Berti on the occasion of their wedding I willingly Impart my Apostolic Blessing. And I invoke the abundant heavenly graces on the nascent family and the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary so that it may constantly grow in the faith of love, always being a testimony of Christian life.

After such a gift, the church service closes on the tune of the “Ave Maria” by Schubert. And this time it is the groom to offer, to the altar and all those present, his voice, in the service of the sung prayer.

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It is the most famous invocation of Christianity, that Hail Mary that raises its own sweet melody just saluting the Virgin after the first two lines of arpeggios in sextuplets. Music is a mysterious gift that often transcends even the intentions of those who produce it: there are pieces conceived first with a message (and in a context) that is soon overcome by the implicit expressive personality of the score, regardless of the original composition: it is just the case of this overwhelming melody, initially conceived by Franz Schubert in 1825, as the sixth issue of a cycle of seven Lieder drawn from the verses of the epic poem “The Lady of the Lake” by Walter Scott. But it is the composer himself to understand how, on that page is expressed such a sense of religiosity able to “take hold” of every soul leading it towards devotion. Andrea sings the Salutation Angelica and the audience gathers, note after note the transcendent intensity of that melody, of that interpretation. Andrea sings, and listening we discover every time that we have, or better we are ourselves “musical instrument”, whose emotional chords – all too often silenced – start to vibrate as if for magic when tuned with this voice that does not look like any of them. Thus also among the participants to the wedding function at the Sanctuary of Montenero rises the silent answer of tears. Tears, that with their deep roots, (always deeper than smiles) bless the couple with emotion. Many will comment to have perceived how the intention of Andrea was to sing dedicating every note to his sweet Veronica. And we hope no to betray the confidence of our protagonist, reporting a secret of his: «On waking up this morning I have thought: this time Veronica I will sing only for you; maybe you will never know it, you will not perceive it, or perhaps you will not care much for it, but in my heart this will be the intention. Then I was really pleasantly surprised

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that people are so incredibly capable to perceive the real state of mind of an artist, far more than he could ever imagine! »

The ceremony is almost over. Father Luca has kind words for the bride and groom and friends, he remembers little Virginia who is two today, but also Andrea’s father Alessandro, who is no more with us but that certainly is giving him a big hug from up there. Then the signatures and the usual photos. And then on their leaving the church they are welcomed by a throwing of rice and by the flashes of the photographers who are pushing because they do not want to miss the kiss, the salute, the departure on the car driven by Andrea’s son The photos will travel all around the world with colorful captions saying “armored wedding” “secret wedding”…but also “soon a boy? …” On the Internet in real time there are also detailed descriptions of the clothes…the groom wearing a fine blue suit (Corneliani) the bride a cream colored double silk longuette dress (by Ermanno Scervino), with some lace inserts…

At Bocelli’s home Fifty kilometers, from the Sanctuary to Forte dei Marmi. From the ceremony to the party. Along the way, from the sunset glow we slowly slip into the darkness of an evening that will spare the newlyweds, not a single drop of rain to wet the bride, but a cloudy dusk that goes into a warm night, to store away the first day that welcomes springtime. The whole ground floor has been prepared for the party, tables have been arranged everywhere, even where before there were sofas and consoles.

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The seating arrangement has been carefully planned by the hostess, a bit for professional deformation, and also for the pleasure to ensure a pleasant conversation for each of the guests, through a clever recipe that combines people who more or less know each other and people who more or less share the same work ambience. Here are the closest friends: there is Adriano the Bank director, “the second brother” who Andrea had personally informed of his marriage. But he had done it his own way, telling him in advance he had to tell him “something”…thus arousing his deepest concern. There is Verano the Pastry entrepreneur, the third boy of the trio that played music, made jokes, and spent sleepless nights in the 70s, between Pontedera e La Sterza. There is Sergio, the tennis teacher, there is the other Sergio the one from Lajatico, a world champion , not of rackets but of tractors, then Marco, the dentist, Fausto, the fireman, Pierpaolo the sound engineer, Carlo, the pianist, Max the web magician, and then the engine of the management office in Forte dei Marmi (Charlie and Alessia) and Luca a cooperator himself and a music lover too, who is unexpectedly asked between the second course and the sweets to sing( no less than the “Nessun dorma”). A refined and healthy menu, accompanied by a wide selection of Bocelli wines, is set up and served by a selected catering company (because even the collaborators of the Bocellis tonight are among the guests) Veronica e Andrea, we think have had just the possibility to taste it, because they have been going around the tables most part of the time, speaking to each of the guests, a word, a joke for everybody. Many among Andrea’s childhood friends had been invited, around forty eight hours in advance, to take part to a strange event to celebrate the two years of little Virginia (without any mention of the wedding ceremony). But most of them had found quite strange this invitation to the monastery (and then on the Riviera, in the evening)… There were therefore, those who had guessed the real reason, but

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nobody wanted to spoil Andrea’s game so, among them, the friends from Lajatico had agreed to meet in Montenero, each keeping to himself Andrea’s secret, even if many of them had understood. Then for the cutting of the cake, the participants are asked to leave the tables and earn the garden. Here is the classical five layer wedding cake that seems to belong to the final scene of a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The bride and the groom are about to cut the cake. The sky is a dark, thick shade of blue while to the right of the audience in the doorway shines the light blue of the swimming pool opposing the dazzling white of the table and the cake, and of the path leading to the gate, whose perspective is underlined on the sides by small flames. Andrea e Veronica cut the first slice hand in hand …Here the bride is wearing another light – colored dress designed by the stylist– and dear friend of hers attending the party– Oscar Scirè. From the lawn come the first four cascades of light and fire….and that is only the beginning. In the meantime, in the air, a voice: the voice of the late friend Big Luciano who is singing. Had he been still with us, he would have really done it, with his enormous tuxedo and open arms to ideally embrace the couple. Returning with joy the same favor that Andrea had done to him, the same honor Andrea had had when, years ago, he had been invited by Pavarotti to sing at his wedding with Nicoletta. A token of esteem that is priceless. Tonight, one night many years later, the sweet voice of the great colleague has mingled to the smiles and joy of the party at the Bocelli’s home in Forte dei Marmi: Andrea and Veronica have found the way (gentle and affectionate) to host his memory and extend a grateful thought to that friend who has gone. Remembering how, on the contrary, through his singing he goes on being here in everybody’s heart, every day!

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Fairy eyes “Oh beautiful fairy eyes, so deep and strange, you have stolen the peace of my youth ….It is the secret code, it is the password of their love, that love that started twelve years ago. This is the song that Andrea dedicated to Veronica a few minutes after they met, it was a first gesture of surrender to destiny, to chemistry that was knocking and that must not be feared. And yet neither Veronica nor Andrea were willing to go to that party on May 8th 2002. - It was a rainy day, a social event, and the prediction was an evening of noisy solitude…. To that fateful day Andrea has dedicated a poem beginning with these lines: “Mistero dolce, meta che non muta, / luce d'anima lieta, che s'accende, / nel riconoscer ciò, verso cui tende, / onde evitar la noia e la caduta”.And that goes on: “Tu te ne stavi docile, garbata, / quasi dimessa, quasi disarmata, / frutto indeiscente, all'occhio dei presenti”. It was a day, a meeting, recognition. The spark of a moment that can change life, in marked contrast to the context of a frivolous occasion swarming vanity…In the verses of Andrea a hymn to the mystery of life, to its sensitive essence to recognition that heals life because love heals. Today, twelve years later, their love sealed by that blonde fruit that must be chased everywhere, and whose voice is already full of words, the Romanza by Denza that is filling the first spring evening has a strange taste. It should make us smile and on the contrary it is moving. Perhaps it is life that flows to soften hearts, even more when two people decide to serve it becoming divine instrument, in replicating the joyful secret of an infinite future.

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When Pavarotti’s voice fades, you can hear the duet sung by Veronica and Andrea “colleagues for a day” sharing the same microphone in the mild pleasant melody “Somethin’ Stupid”... But there is a “coup de theatre” The sky lights up, on the beach and on the sea of Forte dei Marmi: a magnificent show of fireworks greets the couple; a wonderful gift from some dear friends consumed in a few minutes, which will remain in the astonishment and in the memory of the invited. There will be other surprises, on the part of the sweets which have invaded the garden tables…. Then, the "bonbonnières": a soft white silk taffetas pouch containing an assortment of confetti, almonds and white chocolate produced by the volunteers of The Andrea Bocelli Foundation. To close the silk pouch a silver rosary bracelet. The small ticket attached had a sentence on it written by Andrea: “Protect our life, oh Lord, so that we may have the time to become the small flowers of your garden.

Every day after The honey moon is the one that rises every night and is reflected in the sea of Forte dei Marmi. It is honey moon from that evening of so many years ago when Andrea offered to host Veronica halfway, between where the party was, (near Ferrara) and Ancona. It was the moon, that Andrea had taken his recent friend to admire right on the sea front and pier telling her: “this is the most beautiful place in the world” The wedding guests begin to leave; many people, on the other hand, have miles to go before getting home. For the honey moon there is time. They will certainly have a rest at their home in Miami, but there will also be professional commitments on the agenda..On the other hand for someone doing Andrea’s job the concept of

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vacation is something different from what is commonly understood. For Veronica and Andrea it is “holiday” every time they succeed in enjoying the peace of a sunset (or of an isolated place), may be for a walk, alone, and may be on the sand along the sea. Twenty four hours after that yes pronounced before the altar, Andrea is studying the new title he is going to record: “Turandot”, the only Opera by Puccini where love triumphs in the end. The day after the ceremony, Veronica is already at work: a supporting document is a mail we receive early in the morning, (and certainly it will have not been the first of her first day as a married woman). Bocelli’s home will shine again and the table will be laid just after a handful of hours, for a further dinner together with a big name among entrepreneurs: someone who will be among the sponsors of the charity program that Veronica is patiently weaving even in these days for ABF. The result will be, at the beginning of autumn, the richest and most ambitious fund raising ever conceived in Italy. Little opportunity to give oxygen to boredom, for the newlyweds: three children from two to twenty, singing (which is discipline, and daily practice), the foundation with its galvanizing and complex engagements (because doing good is much more complicated than doing evil and often even more opposed) And then there is the world that asks the singing star, news and disparate opinions and smiles everywhere and attendance at every imaginable event, each asking for attention and favors and giving good reasons. For those watching from the outside there is sufficient possibility to be prey of discouragement of total exhaustion. But Veronica and Andrea know well “how to face the wind in open hands” they have known it for many years, and when fatigue peeps in, they know where to join their hands, every day, to regain their strength. Together.

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Because, as it is said and sung, in the last verse of “Turandot”: “The light of the world is love”!

Giorgio De Martino (translation Daniela Borgogno)

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Andrea and Veronica EN