Happy Birthday to Me!

22 May

Once upon a time, 69 years ago to be exact, this little girl came into the world. With that smile on her face, and a twinkle in her eyes, she was ready for adventure.

©blogginginitaly.com

20 years later, her parents gave her the opportunity of a lifetime – to spend her junior year abroad at Loyola Chicago John Felice Rome Center. As a Christmas gift, her Mother mailed her a scrapbook of her life, including the photo and words above.

That little girl became this young woman who experienced a year of unforgettable memories, experiences, and friendships.

Roma 1971-72 ©blogginginitaly.com

And during that year, her love for Italy was planted deep within her heart (though obviously not the fear of driving a motorized bike through Roma)!

Roma 1971-72  ©blogginginitaly.com

Before the school year ended, she even celebrated her 21st birthday in Rome, something that in the early 70’s would seem more like a dream than reality. How lucky I am that she is me.

5/22/1972 21st Birthday ©blogginginitaly.com

I never could have imagined then that celebrating my birthday in Italy would become a wonderful tradition. I have Len to thank for that. And although today we are dearly missing our Cortona life, our incredible friendships keep us strongly connected.

So my birthday gift to me is seeing the many familiar faces here. Till we return, thanks for the love, thanks for the friendship, and thanks for these memories.

Birthday 2011 ©blogginginitaly.com

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Ciambra Monreale 2016 ©blogginginitaly.com

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What were we laughing about???
(Clearly something off-color!)

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While all of these photos are not birthday or anniversary celebrations, on one birthday eve, these musicians delighted me with a spontaneous performance in Piazza Repubblica.

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Our 30th Anniversary 2017 ©blogginginitaly.com

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Taormina 2018 ©blogginginitaly.com

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Packing up for the season. 2019 ©blogginginitaly.com

Anniversary#32  2019 ©blogginginitaly.com

Anniversary#32 2019 ©blogginginitaly.com

Our last night Cortona, 2019. Who knew???  2019 ©blogginginitaly.com

We are living in the most unusual of circumstances, yet we are very fortunate. We are all well, and those in our extended family who have jobs are working harder than ever.

Personally, we have connected with many people we have not seen in years. Strange circumstances do offer some unique opportunities.

And that takes me back to my year in Roma. Just this week, many of us gathered for a zoom call. Familiar names and faces of Campers, as we had named ourselves, from our magical year in Rome. There were people on the call I hadn’t seen in 47 years, but the time we spent together in Italy binds us forever.

2020©blogginginitaly.com

I’m forever grateful for all that Italy has given to Len and me. We’ve had incredible opportunities to discover our ancestral roots, explore Italy and Italian life with family and friends, and make new and lasting friendships. That little girl has had many reasons to keep smiling throughout her life.

©blogginginitlay.com

There’s so many ways to celebrate, and as you can see, this year I spent many happy hours going through years of photos.  Each one represents a special memory – hence my birthday gift to me. (Apologies for the quantity and for anyone I am missing.)

So,
Happy Birthday to me,
Tanti Auguri a me, 

2020©blogginginitaly.com

and a grateful toast to each of you
for making me smile.

2020 ©blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day 2020! Buona Festa della Mamma!

10 May

This post is a repeat of my annual sentiments with a few added photos. In this time of Covid-19,  since most new photos consist of Zoom Squares, and hugs are virtual, it’s especially fun seeing these former gatherings! 

Mother’s Day is a special time to remember
how fortunate I am to be part of a long line of strong,
intelligent and loving Italian women, who are missed everyday.

Maude©Blogginginitaly.com

Paternal Grandmother Maude ©blogginginitaly.com

Serafina©Blogginginitaly.com

Maternal Grandmother Serafina ©blogginginitaly.com

 

Benita©Blogginginitaly.com

My Mother Benita (at my wedding) ©blogginginitaly.com

My parents wedding 1947 ©blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

(L-R visiting Paris) Aunt Marilyn, Mom, Aunt Florence ©blogginginitaly.com

Aunt Marion ©blogginginitlay.com

It is also a day to celebrate
my incredible sisters, nieces and cousins, (pictured and not),
who are not only amazing Mothers,

but also determined women who incorporate
the traditions learned from our ancestors as they create new ones.

Sisters ©blogginginitlay.com

Celebrating our parents 50th at Trevi Fountain, 1997 ©blogginginitlay.com

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To all of them, 
and to the dear friends/wonderful Mothers
I have met throughout my life’s journey,
I wish you all a beautiful day filled with love,
virtual family hugs
and relaxation.

And to my daughter, Benita, 

©blogginginitaly.com

and my mother, Benita, 

©blogginginitlay.com

my forever gratitude for making Mother’s Day so special for me. 

Happy Mother’s Day!
Buona Festa della Mamma!

Ciao,
Judy

Easter Processions in Italy

12 Apr

While Covid-19 has disrupted lives around the world, it is particularly difficult for many during this religious time of year, including Italians, who have had to forego centuries of Easter traditions. From small villages to large cities, processions featuring lifelike (and extremely heavy) “ floats” depicting scenes from the Passion are carried out by the locals.

Each year, the city of Cortona sponsors the Procession of Good Friday, beginning at 9 PM from the Church of Santo Spirito. It winds its way up, around and through the steep streets of the town and ends in Piazza Repubblica, with ceremonial prayers. These photos are from the 2017 procession.

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The Misteri di Trapani (Mysteries of Trapani) is a day-long Passion procession featuring twenty floats of lifelike sculptures of individual scenes of the events of the Passion. The Misteri are amongst the oldest continuously running religious events in Europe, having been played every Good Friday since before the Easter of 1612, and running for 16-24+ continuous hours. They are the longest religious festival in Italy.

The small balcony from our room at the Badia Nuova hotel offered a perfect view of the 2016 procession.

©blogginginitlay.com

In the days before the procession, people were busy attending to final touches of the platforms.

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If you study the configuration of the men’s arms, you can begin to imagine the weight of the platforms.

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Here are two short videos I took that represents the tone and mood of the procession. The swaying is part of the pageantry, and the clapper you hear is what is used to stop and start the movement of the platforms, which happens about every 30 to 50 feet.

Hoping that next year, these traditions resume as expected, along with so many others around the world. In the meantime,

Buona Pasqua, Happy Easter,

Stay Safe, and Be Well!

Ciao,
Judy

Original 2016 post with videos is linked below

https://blogginginitaly.com/2016/03/27/misteri-trapani/

 

Cortona: Familiar Faces and Places

6 Apr

Clearly, we love our time in Cortona. The ancient town is beautiful and historic, however, it is the wonderful local people and the incredible friendships we have made that keep us, and so many others, returning year after year.

Here are several photos, in no particular order, and taken over the years, of some of the locals or their establishments. My  apologies to those for whom I don’t have photos.


©blogginginitaly.com

As mentioned, these are just a few of the hard working people and places that keep Cortona functioning. There are countless others, so many more I now realize I need to photograph.

Like millions of people around the world today, their hopes, dreams and livelihoods are on hold. Hopefully in the not SO distant future, their doors, and ours, will be open once again.

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chalk Art! Arte del Gesso!

3 Apr

On my walk this morning, I was greeted with these chalk messages…

Durante la mia passeggiata questa mattina, sono stato accolto con questi messaggi di gesso …

PUOI FARLO

©blogginginitaly.com

Diffondere gentilezza, NON COVID

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Prendere l’ordine

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Controlla i tuoi vicini

©blogginginitaly.com

Le calorie COVID non contano

©blogginginitaly.com

Anche la gentilezza è contagiosa

©blogginginitaly.com

Tenere duro

©blogginginitaly.com

Grazie professionisti medici

©blogginginitaly.com

and, I would add, all essential workers, for what you risk, each and every day.

Thanks to whomever wrote these. They are great reminders as we start the weekend.

Ciao,
Judy

 

Blogging ABOUT Italy: Cortona

30 Mar

In 2011, blogginginitaly.com was born. Never could I have imagined then just how significant a two letter preposition in the middle of the title would become. The word, of course, is “in”, and denotes all of the posts and nearly 20,000 photos I have taken while documenting our adventures while in Italy.

Spring poppies ©Blogginginitaly.com

Today, March 30, 2020, we were to board our flight for our 14th extended Italian adventure. And although we are disconnected physically, we are in constant contact with our Italian friends. I’m actually texting some as I write! We also read Italian news and monitor the ups and downs as if we were there.

©Blogginginitaly.com

So, although I can’t write while in Italy, I can still write about Italy. Perhaps more importantly, I can share photos from our many adventures to remind us all, at such a difficult time throughout the world, to stay connected and hold on to our dreams, whatever they may be.

This first post (of what I plan to be many) is dedicated to our Italian home, the town of Cortona. Because we have been fortunate to experience Cortona in all seasons, I have many pictures of Cortona that are virtually people free. I hope you enjoy the views. You can also click on any photo to enlarge.

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Cortona – ©Blogginginitaly.com

Parterre Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

Via Santucci view ©Blogginginitaly.com

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Rooftops Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

Chiesa di San Francesco, Cortona, ©Blogginginitaly.com

War Memorial ©Blogginginitaly.com

Parterre Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

Santa Margherita ©Blogginginitaly.com

Santa Maria Novella ©Blogginginitaly.com

Municipio Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

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Le Celle ©Blogginginitaly.com

As the sun casts a warm welcome on this beautiful ancient town, it will once again, hopefully soon. At that time, we, like so many others, will return for our next adventure.

July, 2011, Trip #1 to Cortona ©blogginginitaly.com

Till then, more posts to follow.

Ciao,
Judy

 

Thinking Local and Afar

18 Mar

If you happen to be like us, people of a certain age, you have probably been getting calls from your “not of a certain age” adult children/relatives. The “How are you?” conversation quickly turns to your current activities, or the limits they are “suggesting”: Order online, cancel unnecessary appointments, call for whatever you need, avoid social interactions, hunker down, etc., etc. Hardly before you can answer, the suggestions become quasi mandates, followed by a plea for rationality. You’re hooked, but you also know you are loved.

One suggestion, however, from our daughter who is an editor in the food industry, is not a restriction but a great suggestion: Don’t forget to Order Out! She loves her neighborhood and worries about the restaurants that might not survive, so she’s making it a habit of ordering out a few times a week. And she reminds us to do the same.

So we started last night. Our two usual “go to dine-in” restaurants in the neighborhood are Casati’s and Riccardos, both Italian and both delicious. Last night we ordered from Casati’s. Stefano, the owner, personally thanked us when we called in our order. We learned that in Illinois (and some other states), restaurants can deliver alcohol via in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, and curbside pick-up. As Stefano said, “For many, ordering wine will be much cheaper than seeing a divorce lawyer!” Touché! And so we will continue to support them and others in the neighborhood during our social distancing.

As for Italy, we should have been landing in la bella Italia next week, reconnecting, hugging, eating, drinking, walking, enjoying our second home, and sharing our adventures. Instead, our hearts are with the people, the country, and especially our friends with whom we are in regular contact. And like the sunflowers, we will be back, we will be back.

©blogginginitaly.com

Let’s hope the Italians are right when they say, Andrà tutto bene! Everything will be ok

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

Red Skies Over Chicago

8 Jan

I’ve never seen a sky quite like this before in Chicago. These photos were taken from our snowless deck at 4:40 pm, January 8. And while today was pretty chilly, you can see that the next few days are hardly wintery. 

©blogginginitaly.com

I’m not sure what about the weather is causing the incredible sunsets, but here’s what Mother Nature had in store for our viewing pleasure tonight…

©blogginginitaly.com

©blogginginitaly.com

Hope you enjoy these incredible views!

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

A Very Merry Christmas – Buon Natale!

25 Dec

Wishing you and yours a very 

Merry Christmas/Buon Natale

                       🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

and our beautiful daughter

a most Happy Birthday! 

Ciao, Judy 

 

 

 

Halloween TRICK or TREAT?

31 Oct

The last few days, we have been admiring the beautiful fall colors in Chicago. Today, we awoke to this Halloween TRICK…

©blogginginitaly.com

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Even the remaining geraniums were confused…

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But by early evening, the TREAT was in sight. The snow had ceased, the skies were clear, and the costumed candy seekers were happily ringing doorbells.

Perhaps next year there will be a run on “snowperson” costumes!

☃️☃️❄️❄️☃☃❄️❄️❄️☃️❄️❄️☃☃❄️❄️☃❄️❄️☃☃❄️❄️☃❄️❄️☃❄️❄️

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

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