LifeStyle Spotlight Travels

Spotlight Travels: Italy with Gaetano

Gaetano – A rising R&B star born and raised in the Bronx, New York is a singer/songwriter/producer/musician, and has been making a very respectable name for himself on the New York music scene. A soulful tone, smooth falsetto, and captivating live show has allowed him to build a growing fan base with ease. He has opened for some of the biggest names in the business, sharing the stage with artists such as Musiq Soulchild, SWV, Carl Thomas, & more.
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Gaetano is a self taught musician, who plays electric/acoustic guitar, piano, bass, and drums. He recorded his first song in the studio when he was just 6 years old; “Torna A Surriento”, an Italian classic.
Throughout his teenage years, Gaetano developed a deep love for soul music by studying some of the greats: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Babyface, D’Angelo, R Kelly, Lauren Hill, Bob Marley, to name a few.
Besides an artist, Gaetano is also a songwriter-producer, and has been working with some very notable artists in the industry, and has also landed placements on movie soundtracks and commercial jingles.
Gaetano released his debut EP, “Fade Away” in fall 2013. The project features production from Grammy Award Winning producer/songwriter Kaleb “K Quick” Rollins, as well as self-produced/written tracks from Gaetano. He is currently working on his sophomore project, hoping to release it by end of 2015.

Holly Dayz: What took you to Italy?
Gaetano: Relax, eat amazing food, drink delicious wine, and visit my Uncle Mario and cousins (many of them!)

Gaetano and Zio Mario
Gaetano and Zio Mario

Holly Dayz: What part of Italy is your family from?

Gaetano:My family is from Salerno. A city in southern Italy, region of Campania.

Holly Dayz: I know you went to Milan, Torino, and Liguria. What makes each city different?

Gaetano: Milan is a central commercial city, with lots of clubs (discoteca), name brand shopping, markets, street vendors. There is also Malpensa Airport, a subway system, and a major train hub, Porta Garibaldi. Torino is famous for it’s beautiful Piazza’a (village squares), and proximity to the Italian Alps. Liguria is a region of Italy located on the north-western coast by the sea.

View from my flight of the alps.
View from my flight of the alps.

Holly Dayz:What are some of the top 3 things to see in those cities?

Gaetano: In Milan – The Duomo, in Torino – View from Monte Di Cappucini, and in Liguria – Beautiful view of the ocean and coast.

The Duomo
The Duomo

View from Monte Di Cappucini
View from Monte Di Cappucini
Ocean and Coast (this picture was taken in January!)
Liguria – Ocean and Coast (this picture was taken in January!)

Holly Dayz: What are some of the off the beaten path places to see in those cities?

Gaetano: Milan – Definitely the Teatro Alla Scala. It’s one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It’s a bit off from the shopping centers and the Duomo, but it’s worth checking out. Torino, Piazza San Carlo.

Torino Piazza San Carlo
Gaetano in Torino Piazza San Carlo

Holly Dayz:How did you get from one city to another?

Gaetano:Italy has a wonderfully advanced train system, which travels everywhere in Italy. It’s comparable to the Amtrak here in the States. It is called, ITALO. A super fast train that travels at 175 mph! I used this train to get from city to city.

The modern high speed Italo train, offering e-tickets and free WiFi. Photo Courtesy of
The modern high speed Italo train, offering e-tickets and free WiFi. Photo Courtesy of
Holly Dayz: Where was your favorite place to go that would bring out your creativity?

Gaetano:The mountains! I had a jam session with my cousin Emanuel, who loves music and is learning how to play guitar.

Gaetano with his cousin Emanuel
Gaetano with his cousin Emanuel
Holly Dayz: What is the music scene like in Milan?

Gaetano:Little to none unfortunately. However, There are a number of street musicians, one who I met actually was quite brilliant. He was like the Italian version of Ed Sheeran. A guitar player and singer, named SOLTANTO. He was dope! I’m actually hoping to work with him when he comes to the U.S.

Holly Dayz: Have you ever performed in Italy?

Gaetano:Sadly, no. There aren’t many platforms for musicians and singers there, if any at all. Makes you realize how lucky we are to be in New York, we have so much here that we take for granted :/

Holly Dayz:Are there any musicians or artists you would like to work with in the near future?

Gaetano: Yes, so many, too many to name. Carlos Santana, Timbaland, D’Angelo, Tank… to name a few. If I could work with any Italian artists, it would be Andrea Bocelli & Eros Ramazzoti.

Holly Dayz: You can’t go to Italy, and not expect to get some great food. Any suggestions on the best places to eat in Milan, Torino, and Liguria?

Gaetano: Oh my…. where to begin! Milan’s Piazza Del Duomo has some of the best Italian restaurants in the world. Torino’s Piazza Vittoria and Piazza San Carlo has dozens of great places too. In Liguria, you’ll find a lot of seafood joints because it’s right by the sea where fresh fish is caught daily!

Piazza Del Duomo - Photo courtesy of
Piazza Del Duomo – Photo courtesy of
Holly Dayz: What was your favorite meal to eat while there?

Gaetano:Believe it or not… it was a Cappuccino, with a Nutella filled croissant! At an amazing cafe and pastry shop in Torino called DeGusto’s. And of course I had pizza at a bunch of places while I was in Italy, every single time was ridiculous! And you have to eat it with a fork and knife!

Holly Dayz: How was the fashion there different from your hometown of the Bronx, NY?

Gaetano: Fashion in Milan is slick and trendy, comparable to 5th ave in New York or Paris. There’s a lot of wealthy Russian and German tourists, you can tell because they dress flashier than usual. But fashion in Italy is generally important. It is common to dress nicely even to make a trip to the local cafe, or even for a family dinner.

Holly Dayz: When is the best time of year to go to Milan?
Gaetano: I went during the holidays, for Christmas and New Years, which is nice because it’s not too touristy, and you can enjoy the beautiful churches if you’re religious. It’s also nice in the summer because it doesn’t get unbearably hot. I rented a lovely villa (you can see more properties here) and it was so nice to have my own space to sunbathe as well as being able to get into the city in a short amount of time. Summer is a great time to visit! Flights are generally more expensive in the summer though. So I guess it depends on your budget and time off from work.
Via Roma in Torino
Via Roma in Torino
Holly Dayz: How would you describe Milan to a person who has never been there?

Gaetano: Hmm good question. It has an international vibe, a lot of Swiss, French, German tourists. It has a downtown New York feel. The streets are cobblestone and rustic, with a lot of cool scenery and architecture. And it has it’s own subway system too. It is not a main tourist destination like Roma, but it is definitely worth checking out. You need to see it for yourself!

Holly Dayz: Do you have any tips for someone who has never been to Milan, Torino, or Liguria?

Gaetano: Main advice would be to learn some Italian before going, there aren’t as many English speakers as you would think. The Italians will appreciate when you attempt to “conversate” with them! Just make sure to work on your Italian Pronunciation too! Also beware of Gypsies, they are vagabonds wandering from city to city, and are notoriously known for petty thefts like robbery and pick pocketing. The gypsies will take advantage of easy targets like confused and lost tourists.

Learn more about Gaetano at
***Photos are by ┬ęGaetano unless otherwise noted.***