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Karen Ullo reviews Andrea Bocelli's musical pilgrimage, available for streaming on Paramount+.

The Journey follows Andrea Bocelli and his wife Veronica as they ride on horseback along the Via Francigena, an ancient Italian road followed by pilgrims for centuries. Along the way, they meet and perform with several other world-class musicians including Tori Kelly, Michael W. Smith, Tauren Wells, and others. Between songs, the artists talk about the role faith has played in their lives and their careers. Inspired by the isolation of COVID, The Journey is meant to help Bocelli as well as the audience reconnect through song.  

The journey begins with a blessing from Pope Francis—not a bad way to start a pilgrimage. It then continues from Rome through 200 miles of gorgeous Italian countryside, with stops at a number of beautiful churches and monasteries, both ruins and those still in use. The majority of the film is music, primarily but not exclusively Christian hymns ranging from Gregorian chant and Baroque to contemporary and Gospel, performed at the sites along the Via Francigena. Most of the performances take place outside, especially those involving full orchestra, which leads me to believe that many COVID precautions were still in place at the time of filming.  




Though filmed in Italy with an Italian star, The Journey is clearly intended for English-speaking audiences, especially Americans—no European would willingly calculate the length of a journey in miles. The film’s dialogue is mostly English with occasional interludes of subtitled Italian, while the music is performed in English, Italian, and Latin. 

It is a beautiful film that relies heavily upon gorgeous scenery and gorgeous music. It is less a story than a concert set on many stages. The conversations between Bocelli and the guest artists feel strained at times, a little too rehearsed, though I do not doubt the sincerity of the artists’ faith. But the cast speaks eloquently through the music, which never disappoints. The music delivers on every note. 

Perhaps the unsung hero of the film is the Faziloli grand piano that survives being transported from one set to another, indoors and outdoors, yet remains in condition to accompany these great singers. Hats off to the crew and the piano tuner; that is no mean feat. 




On the whole, the movie is an hour and a half in which to relax and revel in beauty that reflects the love of the Creator. It is suitable for any audience, perhaps especially children, who will find enough modern music that the performances will not seem foreign or outdated, yet they will still receive a taste of the riches of Western classical music and the testimony of great musicians that their gifts come from God and should be used in His service. That is a message I’m sure we all want our children to hear, and The Journey proclaims it in a way anyone can enjoy. 

The Journey is available for streaming on Paramount+.



Copyright 2023 Karen Ullo
Images: courtesy of Trinity Broadcasting Network, all rights reserved.