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My life in travel: Andrea Bocelli

‘Riding in Argentina was so beautiful’

First holiday memory?

Probably the first time I left Italy was to travel by train to Lourdes. I went with my mother and my grandmother – who was a very religious person – so it was a pilgrimage of sorts. I remember it as a very intense, but beautiful experience.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I mainly go to London to perform, but I fondly remember the New Forest and going to Bournemouth as a child, too. I hate the climate but I love British people and the warmth of the audiences.

Best holiday?

Since I love the sea and the sun, there’s an island called Ischia in the Gulf of Naples that’s very  special to me. It has natural thermal springs and beautiful scenery. There’s a small village called Sant’Angelo, where no cars are allowed, only pedestrians, so you can really relax.

Ideal travelling companion?

My partner and manager, Veronica Berti, and also my children. We normally combine our  holidays with work – so recently we’ve enjoyed trips to Argentina and Brazil together.

Greatest travel luxury?

A helicopter – because travelling at speed is the greatest luxury of them all.

Holiday reading?

I’m most impressed by the Russian writers, so I love reading the works of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Another author who has informed the way I think is the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal.

Where has seduced you?

Israel is a very special place. Quite apart from being interesting from a religious point of view, it’s also got a unique atmosphere. I’ve been several times now. Once, I was invited to perform there by maestro Zubin Mehta in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I also returned to record La Bohème, too.

Worst travel experience?

The night I spent with my whole family at Phoenix airport in Arizona. The plane we were booked to fly out on couldn’t land because the city was shrouded in fog. I was stuck with my children, no beds and no comfort at all.

Best hotel?

There’s not really a favourite because I always go to big chain hotels, which have the same layout and are easier for me to find my way around.[Bocelli has been blind since childhood.] I also like the Ritz-Carlton in New York and The Dorchester in London, for example, because I’m familiar with them.

Worst hotel?

A place I stayed at in Mexico. There were massive insects and spiders all over the room. I was there to perform at a concert in the Cacahuamilpa Caves, which are in the middle of nowhere.

Favourite ride?

A horse riding holiday in Argentina. I was staying at Julio Ricardo Cruz’s ranch – the Argentinian footballer who used to play for my favourite team, Inter Milan. It was beautiful. His estancia is enormous, with acres of prairies where I could ride.

Best meal abroad?

I love eating shabu-shabu in Japan – a kind  of beef hotpot. But if you’re talking about  authentic, traditional food, then Italian  cooking is one of the best in the world.

Best city?

Rome. Wherever you turn, you breathe in history. It’s a beautiful and sunny place. For those who have never been before, of course you have to start with St Peter’s Basilica and the square, and then afterwards, walk around and explore the centre. I love the Teatro dell’Opera, and also the new Auditorium, designed by Renzo Piano, which opened recently.

Where next?

Everywhere! I’m on tour in Europe first,  then the US and Brazil, and Europe again  before Christmas.

The Italian tenor releases his latest album, Opera, on 5 November. Tickets for his new tour, which also starts in the UK early next month, are available from  kililive.com/artists/andrea-bocelli