Italy's Matteo Piano enjoys a busy life on and off the court
Bydgoszcz, Poland, September 15, 2014 - Italy's middle blocker Matteo Piano, who also plays for Pallavolo Modena, is a man of many talents, combining a busy life as a professional athlete with his studies, blog writing, traveling and acting.
He began his career in sports playing basketball, before opting for volleyball. The beginnings were difficult, and his parents were not always too pleased. "It began when I was six or seven. I played volleyball everywhere, in the living room, the kitchen, in my room, in the garden, just everywhere. My mother was very angry at me because I broke all of the lamps in our home."
At his next school, there was only a basketball coach. He tried to encourage Matteo to get involved, but the Italian was not convinced. "When you do something special, your heart beats faster - and I feel that playing volleyball," he explained.
Matteo is able to reconcile his career in sports with his university studies, where he is following a course in physical education. His studies are very important to him, and especially important for his future. Playing volleyball and studying takes up a lot of Matteo's time, but he also makes time for some unusual hobbies.
"I'm not the best student, but I study. Reconciling studying with playing is very difficult, almost impossible. Especially when you don’t have a lot of free time. But I'm doing it somehow!"
Matteo Piano has a good hand for volleyball, but also for writing, which is why he contributes to his blog regularly. The Italian covers a variety of subjects, ranging from volleyball to more general subjects related to his life, and really enjoys writing.
"When I'm angry, I write. Writing helps to externalise my feelings. I love to write, but on my blog I'm a little shy. I named my blog 'Piano revolution' because I love the idea of a world revolution, based on little things. I think that revolution is a simple, normal thing in our lives."
He also loves the theatre, where he performed when he was younger. That is where he also learned French and German – plays were not only in Italian, and Piano also speaks English.
"I love the theatre. I once played a monkey in a German play, because I also acted in French and German," he recalled.
"My passion is even bigger for mask theatre. When you put a mask on your face, you turn into a different person. You have to play by your motions and voice. It's really amazing. My favorite play is Antigone, but I love comedies as well. When I was 18, my theatre teacher wanted me to join the Comic Theatre Academy in Milan. I didn't go. I gave up the theatre when I started to play volleyball seriously."
Knowledge of foreign languages is also useful for his other great passion - traveling. He combines travel with the life of a professional athlete – playing in the national team helps to pursue a passion for traveling, but sometimes leaves little time to explore a country's culture and traditions.
"I like to know how people live in countries where I travel. Curiosity about the world is important. I travel everywhere, but I avoid places where there are lots of people, very popular places like London or Paris. There are great things to see in Luxembourg for example, but you need to exercise your curiosity."
Matteo has a few favourite destinations. He likes Sweden and Stockholm, but not only.
"I love Istanbul. There are lots of amazing colours, smells, tastes and sounds - all combined in one place. When I was a child, I wanted to see only two places, Finland and Hungary. I still don't know why. Now I hope to travel around the world. I would like to go to Indonesia the most."
Written by Ewa Dabrowska, Young Writer Programme