By Jean Nayar | February 23, 2017 | People
Superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and his wife, Veronica Berti, open up about music, life, and love in their gracious retreat in Keystone Point.
The Colonial-inspired contemporary home in North Miami’s Keystone Point has seven bedrooms and a large pool looking out over Biscayne Bay. “When we first went to visit it [in 2013], I fell in love. We bought it 12 hours later,” says Veronica Berti.
Born in Tuscany, Andrea Bocelli’s musical talent emerged at the age of 6, when he started studying the piano in his family home near Pisa. But it wasn’t until Christmas Day in 1994—when he was invited to sing “Adeste Fideles” in St. Peter’s Basilica before the pope—that his meteoric rise on the world stage began. Since then, the modern tenor has been performing nonstop on popular, theatrical, and operatic stages around the globe, recording almost 40 albums and selling 85 million of them. Beloved by his fans and cherished by his peers, he has shared the stage with fellow stellar vocalists like Luciano Pavarotti, Celine Dion, Sarah Brightman, Josh Groban, and Cecilia Bartoli. This month, Bocelli performed a pre-Valentine’s Day concert presented by the Adrienne Arsht Center at the AmericanAirlines Arena in downtown Miami.
What drew you to Miami as a place to live for part of the year?
Andrea Bocelli: It is a special [city] kissed by the sun and the sea—a hospitable place, a meeting point of different cultures and traditions that have melted [together], giving it a sparkling atmosphere, which it is not so easy to find elsewhere. It is one of the places I love most in the world—here I can rest and enjoy its natural beauties and its privileged climate.
The spaces were conceived as elegant, while also emphasizing a sense of practicality, like the airy, family-friendly sitting room.”
Tell us about your home here.
Veronica Berti: We arrived in Miami from New York in 2013 after being locked in during a snowstorm. As soon as we stepped out into the warm Miami air, Andrea said, “I’m buying a house here,” and he asked me to explore the options. I found a house in Keystone Point that was listed that day by the owner, and when we went to visit it, I fell in love at first sight. We bought it 12 hours later. It’s a Colonial-inspired contemporary house with seven bedrooms and a big living room by the pool. It faces the bay and sea.
How does your Miami home represent your lifestyle and family?
AB: I have always conceived my residences as cozy, intimate places. My wife and I wanted the one in Miami to respond to certain priorities, such as livability and practicality. Elegant, I hope and believe, but not pretentious.
VB: We like warmth and humidity and live most of the time with the A/C off and the doors open. The house also has nice outdoor areas, including a dock on the bay, where I spend a lot of time with our daughter, Virginia, looking at birds and animals, like manatees, dolphins, squirrels, raccoons, and lizards—it’s like living at a zoo—and we sit there for hours.
What does your Miami home mean to you in light of your busy travel schedule?
AB: Certainly I come here, but I “live” in it less than I would like to. But considering that I get back to the United States at least three times a year, I can enjoy a few days of peace under the Florida sun. I have spent a couple of Christmases here, too.
VB: We’re always running around the world, working 18 hours a day, so when we’re here, we can enjoy time with family and really rest.
Bocelli playing the piano in the living room.
Do you engage in hobbies or work/practice from home?
AB: At home, I practice singing every day. The day I stop doing it, I will not be a singer anymore! And then I play the piano in my living room in Miami, as I do in my house in Tuscany.
What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon?
AB: One that I spend with my children, and whenever it is possible, going horseback riding. And in Miami we eat very well, for the same reason we also live very well—it is a [city] that brings together many traditions, many culinary experiences, many influences, from Cuba to South America. Here you can also find many restaurants offering refined Italian cuisine.
VB: We often have 16 people at lunch at home, including the children and the people who work in our house with us, enjoying a home-cooked meal.
How was your pre-Valentine’s Day concert?
AB: For me, Valentine’s Day is a special day; it is an occasion to celebrate love, to express even more strongly the love we feel for the people who are dear to us. I love to celebrate it, especially [by] singing onstage. On the other hand, I have spent the whole of my life honoring love through my singing, and my goal is to live as if every day were Valentine’s Day.
Do you have any other upcoming albums or collaborations?
AB: We are working on several projects, but it is too early to talk about them... The special edition of Romanza [was just] released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its first publication. Inside the new edition of this album, which is a sort of compendium of my personal and artistic story, the songs have been reproduced totally renewed in sound quality. It also includes many surprises, such as special versions of “Con Te Partirò.”
VB: We are also very engaged in the activities of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, an organization that carries on projects aimed at overcoming barriers created by poverty, disability, and social exclusion, and that, this year, has celebrated five years. In particular, ABF is engaged in two programs. The first one, in the field of scientific and technological research as well as social innovation, is working to find innovative solutions to help people face and overcome the limitations of their disabilities. The second is aimed at overcoming barriers created by poverty, disability, and social exclusion.
We are very active in Haiti, where we have created and supported hospitals, orphanages, schools, and generally a capillary action of empowerment of people. Every day we supply education, food, and medical support to more than 2,500 children. One of our projects, Voices of Haiti, a children’s choir group, recently made its debut at Lincoln Center in New York.
What do you like best about early spring in Miami?
AB: Spring, wherever I am, is the time of the year I love the most. Not by chance the first day of spring is also the date when my daughter, Virginia, was born, and when my partner and I got married. Even in Miami, I think it is the best time of the year, not too humid and with a perfect temperature.
The Bocelli family: Matteo, Andrea, Virginia, Veronica, and Amos at their Florida residence.
Do you have an absolute favorite song?
AB: “My Way” is a perfect song from all points of view, whose melody remains impressed in your soul, but also “Time to Say Goodbye”—it is undeniable that, in its own way, this song has become a classic in every corner of the world, giving strong emotions and entering people’s hearts. I, for one, am never tired of singing it.
photography by JUSTIN NAMON