His soaring tenor has touched so many hearts that Romanza
, his collection of Italian love songs, has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, and "Time to Say Goodbye," his passionate duet with Sarah Brightman, was an international hit. Even his wife, Enrica, first fell in love with his voice, which she describes as "full-bodied, manly and warm."
But his singing isn't the only thing that's striking about the 6'1" Andrea Bocelli, who has been blind since a soccer accident at age 12. "He's really powerful," says Caterina Caselli, president of his record company. "When I saw him for the first time, I thought that he looked like Omar Shariff."
Bocelli, 39, who grew up in rural Tuscany and earned a law degree before taking up music, has conceded little to his sightlessness. He loves horseback riding and skis well enough to have accompanied Olympian Alberto Tomba on the slopes of the Italian Alps. "He's crazy. He just goes right down," reports Tomba, who guides his friend by holding one end of a ski pole while Bocelli holds the other. "If you don't stop him, he's dangerous!"
At home on the west coast of Italy with Enrica and their sons Amos, 3, and Matteo, 7 months, Bocelli takes a laissez-faire approach to grooming. He says that he gets his hair cut "when I go on a TV show and there's a barber on the set," trims his beard monthly because "I don't feel like doing it every day" and is indifferent to beauty products other than fragrance (current favorites: Opium and Azzaro Pour Homme), which he wears "for myself, not for other people."
He occasionally mixes up shampoo and bath gel in the shower, he says, and sometimes after he dresses, "Enrica laughs because I have the wrong colors mixed together." But Bocelli believes, "Neglected beauty is much more interesting than beauty that is too cared for." He feels most beautiful, he adds, "when I am singing alone, for my own pleasure."