Writer, presenter, actor, artist, difficult to contain in a single word the multifaceted personality of Fabio Volo. Some love it, some hate it, but deep down in front of a person with his charisma and his character so versatile it’s hard to take an objective position. Not only storyteller, but also narrator travel, those who conducted around the world, thanks to his work, especially in recent years, including Paris, Barcelona and the bustling New York. And it is in this city that he fell madly in love with it and in which he has chosen to live few months a year.
You’ve always traveled a lot. Tell me about your connection with the US and in particular with NY?
When I left Brescia for the first time, Milano seemed like I had arrived – where “things happen”. Then when I came here [New York] I had the feeling that it’s HERE that things happen and then spread all over the world. It’s the experience that matters. Here today is now, but it’s the future somewhere else. You have the feeling that you can compete, that if you fight at the end you can win. You feel that everything can happen, that you have chances. Even if it’s only a feeling – it matters. It’s a city that stimulates, where you walk a lot, and I love walking – it’s a place that gives you a lot of ideas. It’s a city that gives me material, which I screen and sometimes it goes into the things I do, like the radio or my books. New York is less American than other cities. Here I can see the dreams of lots of people, lots of Europeans, it’s a kind of “Europe of the rebels”.
Do you remember your first trip here?
When I first came here 18 years ago, an artist hosted me in her loft. I was sleeping on an air mattress in the living room on the Lower East Side, when this neighborhood wasn’t exactly “clean” like it is today. I fell in love immediately with the atmosphere. I was feeling comfortable even if I didn’t know the city so well and I didn’t know a lot of people. It’s a city that you can live both in solitude and with new people. I felt home since my first trip. In New York, you can see a man walking shirtless behind another one wearing a fur and everything is part of the same scene. I remember that I was walking and thinking that the city was mine. I never felt like a tourist. When you’re in New York, you’re not in America; you’re in New York!
The things surprise you or you see them different from us?
Well, for example, you do not realize how easy it is to spend money! The speed with which the money goes away is impressive, $ 20 there, beyond the tip etc. Politics is far from your life, or rather is not so much like us in everyday life as in Italy, that even if you don’t tell, you know what happens in parliament to Renzi.
You’re here for a few weeks. Do you have the time to miss Italy?
I’m more patriotic when I’m here than when I’m in my country! The thing that makes me feel sorry for Italy is that sometimes… it’s like when you were at school and your professors told you that you were smart, but you could have done so much more, if you only tried, if you only had studied more! Well, sometimes I have the same feeling that our country could do so much more… here people invent businesses from nothing. It’s like being with the woman you love and with whom you want to do lots of stuff, like love, hanging out… But she’s always sleeping and you wait, and you wait, for her to wake up to do all the things you want to do with her.
Fabio Volo writer and actor in America?
All my books have been translated in different languages: Spanish, French, German, Russian and many others, but before reaching this English market… it’s always tough. They have lots of stuff here. Very few Italian writers are being translated for this market. I have two books in English and I’m satisfied. Concerning the movies, “Matrimoni e altri disastri” was selected for the Sundance Festival and with “Casomai” I won the award for best Actor in FLIFF. Anyway, I come here because I feel good, it’s a stimulating city. Here I care for the “input” not my “output”.
Is there a place that you think can give you more “energy” than New York?
I think it doesn’t exist! The energy you feel in New York has no equal. I’m attracted by California for the climate. Maybe Santa Monica could be an alternative, but only to avoid the cold on the East Coast.
What is the worst thing about the US or New York city in your opinion?
Here it’s difficult to build friendships, deep and strong friendships I mean. Maybe it’s because of the way Americans live. They leave home at 18, go to college in another state and then they change again. Maybe they’re not used to settling down, or maybe it takes longer for them to. I come from Brescia and even this morning I was on the phone with my friend from high school! Moreover if you’re too kind they think you want something in return or if you’re too helpful they may think you’re a loser.
Do you have a dream that you would like to realize here?
Yes, open a bakery! It would be like closing a circle for me. I started like this in Brescia with my parents and opening a nice place here in a beautiful neighborhood would be cool. I always have the need to feel busy and this would give me a personal satisfaction!