Ranieri doesn’t seem to want to stop. Instead, he still indulges his irrepressible passion for art, having done so now for sixty years.

“I’ve for so long yearned to return to this boundless continent that I have loved so much,” Ranieri says in a phone interview with us.

“When I first set foot in Australia fifty years ago, I felt just like my compatriots there – like an emigrant.

“[I remember] the long journey to this endless, wonderful land. I remember flying over Darwin in the plane and saying, ‘Ah, we’re finally here!’ 

“Instead, it was another eight more trips to Melbourne.

“There was no end to that endless expanse of trees, of greenery. I was shocked by its beauty and immensity.

“Besides, I could never figure out where I was, I always wondered what time it was in Italy. My problem was [figuring out] what time I could call my parents!

“In Melbourne it was morning and in Naples it was already night, it was very funny,” he continues, laughing.

“But it was a beautiful adventure. The Italians in Australia embraced me warmly, full of affection, I still remember it.”

The celebrated artist will be in Melbourne on April 18 for his first intimate show at The Palms At Crown, in the heart of Victoria’s capital, before performing at The Palais Theatre in St Kilda the next night.

His final concert on Australian soil will take place on April 21 in the prestigious surrounds of the Sydney Opera House.

“I have dreamed for almost 30 years of setting foot in this theatre,” he reveals excitedly.

“I used to look at it every time I came to Australia and always wondered if one day I would be able to perform on its stage.

“I dreamed of it for so long and today the dream is realised. I’m very happy about it - the Sydney Opera House is a jewel. I missed it in my pearl necklace of the many theatres I have performed in around the world.”

As time goes inexorably by, reflections on life continue to multiply for Ranieri, who, after more than half a century of enjoying an illustrious career, is still driven by the need to express himself through music.

Ranieri has always sought to describe “the bright moments and the sorrows of the soul” that emerged during his private and professional adventures.

The mistakes, victories, broken hearts and defeats, all in a changing world while his determination to keep performing does not fade.

“I started singing out of need, to bring money home. I never imagined doing it as a profession - it wasn’t in my thoughts, honestly,” shares Ranieri.

“In addition to being a bar boy - I used to deliver coffee - I would do some singing in the stores in my neighbourhood and people would tip me ten or twenty liras,” he says wistfully.

“That was another Naples, another story. Everything has changed, the world has changed, but you carry the memories all your life.

“It was a poor Italy, but full of feelings, of the will to work, to move forward. At that time there was a humanity that seems to have disappeared now. We were working and bringing money home, we ‘threw blood’ to earn a little.”

Ranieri says his trip to Australia is “to bring a little bit of Italy to all the countrymen who have left the Bel Paese, because being away from the homeland is hard”.

Massimo Ranieri during a recent performance

Meanwhile, he continues to engage in the creation of his new album which is another collaboration with Gino Vannelli.

“Beyond some songs written by Pino Donaggio and Ivano Fossati, I have been getting a lot of songs written by young writers who express themselves in a different language than in my time,” the artist explains.

“I like them a lot, they amuse me and they open in me an enthusiasm that I almost didn’t have anymore.

“These guys are very intelligent and sensitive; they still write with pen and paper. But in the end, despite their age, the feelings are always the same: love is always the same, it doesn’t change.”

A beloved artist who is among the few who know how to masterfully ride generational changes, Massimo Ranieri admits that he “doesn’t want to become mature”, wanting instead to continue to have fun because: “Napule è ‘nu teatro antico, sempre apierto (Naples is an ancient theatre, always open),” as Eduardo De Filippo used to say.

“The secret is to love what you do - that’s what I always repeat to young people. People sense your dedication; they feel that you do it with passion and they reward you,” he says.

“That’s all it is: passion and everyday commitment, on and off stage.

“And you must never stop dreaming. Another dream comes true [for me] at the Sydney Opera House, but [another dream is releasing] the next album with Gino Vannelli, hoping it will be as good as the previous ones.

“Never stop. Then if the dream doesn’t come true, that’s okay. But in the meantime it helps you to live, to move forward.”