Today we interview Italian singer, Al Bano, internationally acclaimed for his amazing voice. He has released several successful albums both as a tenor and as pop singer winning several awards. His best known solo album is Concerto Classico, which went double platinum in a short time, and included classics like "Una furtiva lagrima", "Va, pensiero", "La nostra serenata", "E lucevan le stelle", and "Ave Maria". He also performed in place of Luciano Pavarotti alongside two other renowned tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras.
In Italy, Al Bano is also known for his strong attachment to his place of origin, Puglia. Following is success as an artist, Al Bano decided to invest in his beloved Salento, buying a wonderful estate and transforming it into a welcoming hotel, with a great restaurant and winery. He did it at a time when this sort of investment was not as fashionable among artists as it has become in recent times.
We would like to know more about your love for your region, Puglia, and your work to build your estate in the Salento area.
But we cannot start this interview without talking about your artistic career and your amazing voice. May we ask you to choose one of your songs to dedicate to our readers?
It would be like having to choose among one of my children. An impossible choice for me. Let us say that I dedicate to each of your reader who are also fans of mine their favorite song.
We also know that you are passionate about opera. Is there a favorite of yours that we can share with our readers?
Nessun Dorma…. But there are so many others.
You were born in Cellino San Marco in Puglia and you were one of the first artists who had the idea of investing into a resort with hotel, restaurant and winery, something many artists, from hollywood stars to international music stars, have started doing in more recent times. But why did you pick Cellino San Marco as the right location for your business? You travel extensively all over the world, is it in Cellino that you really feel at home??
I was born in Cellino and spent my childhood there. I wanted to create something there because it is the one place where I manage to truly relax. Even now that I have my own estate to take care of, were there are always many things to do, I feel I am at home. I believe that everyone feels attached to their home land.
When was the first time you saw the location where you built Le Tenute Al Bano Carrisi? Was it love at first sight?
Well, lets say that one of the first things that really attracted me to the estate were the woods with their strong sense of history. That was it! The woods became the centre around which we built the “Tenute” and the winery.
Could you explain to us what the “Tenute” was like at the time?
There was very little at the time, it was just countryside with a few little country houses. Today the situation has changed and I invite everyone to visit this paradise in Salento.
How did you restore the “Masseria” and how long did it take?
The “Masseria La Mea” was restored respecting and maintaining it’s original structure. I must say that it is a challenging restoration and actually is still ongoing. Every year in August, in the Masseria we organise the Mea Puglia Festival, which host renowned Italian artists
We heard that you personally choose every stone, decide where they should be placed, decide what should be cooked in your restaurant. An Architect, a cook amongst other talents?
I believe that everyone has their passions: Mine is tied to choosing… stone or, anyway, to the desire of creating something that has to do with nature and the environment.
Can you talk to us about the winery founded in 1973.
The Winery started by chance, we could say for a bet with my father, who produced wine. I told him that one day I would return to Cellino and produce a wine named after him “Don Carmelo”. That is exactly what happened. From there on things have changed but the quality and genuinity of the wine has remained the same.
Which recipes would you prepare to serve your wines with?
All the traditional cuisine from my land: from the well known orecchiette, to fish and recipes that I myself sometimes suggest to our chef.
Which are the most interesting places and monuments to visit in the area?
A visit to Lecce is a must , Ostuni, Gallipoli, Otranto and....actually, everywhere you go in this are you will find interesting historical buildings or beautiful landscape to discover.
Al Bano Carrisi, we thank you very much for sharing this moment with us and Italy Magazine readers.
Thank you and I look forward to welcoming your readers to this beautiful "terra fra i due mari" (and between two seas). There are places you will simply never forget.