Archive | January, 2013

Losing a Faithful Companion

25 Jan

About a week ago, the Sud Italia News shared a wonderful story about man’s, or woman’s as is this case, best friend. An article posted by Simona Giacobbi told the story of a kind woman, Maria Lochi, who had cared for stray dogs and cats for many years. At the young age of 57, Maria passed away. Maria was a regular at the church of Santa Maria Assunta in San Donaci, located in the province of Brindisi.

Ciccio, a 12 year-old German Shepherd, was Maria’s faithful companion. He accompanied her everywhere, including “attending” mass with her at the Church of Santa Maria. Two months ago, Maria was buried at the same church, and Ciccio “with his sad eyes” was among the mourners.


Incredibly, since that day, Ciccio continues to go to Mass every day, hoping to see his beloved caretaker, Maria.

As reported in the Huff Post, UK, Father Donato Panna told the Daily Mail: ”He’s there every time I celebrate Mass and is very well behaved – he doesn’t make a sound, I’ve not heard one bark from him in all the time he has been coming in.

‘He used to come to Mass with Maria and he was obviously devoted to her – I let him stay inside as he was always so well behaved and none of the other parishoners ever complained to me.”


According to the parish priest, Ciccio’s presence has deeply affected the parishioners, and no one would think of chasing him away. In fact, the residents of the town have decided to adopt him, ensuring he is fed and cared for.


The story reminds me of Paco, my faithful companion of nearly 17 years. He was wherever I was, under foot or at my side, always with unconditional love, and of course, always hoping I’d drop something for him to eat.  So glad that the town’s people are taking care of  Ciccio.

Man’s best friend? You bet.



More About those Lanterns

11 Jan

Some updates from yesterday’s post:

After Patricia sent me the originals details, including that the lanterns were made of tissue paper, I did some research on them. The ones I found were fire resistant, but apparently not so true for the ones launched in Cortona. Per Patricia, the following updates:

The lanterns weren’t fire resistant at all! In fact if you weren’t careful they caught fire before taking off, and some did just that.  

Also, it is the second time Cortona has had these lanterns but the first time wasn’t last Christmas.  It was meant to be for Valentine’s Day, 2012, and held  on the nearest Saturday to 14th February, but Cortona was under snow so it was postponed and done in March to welcome Spring instead.


Chinese lanterns Cortona 29 12 12 4


So, who knows which season the next lantern launch will celebrate? Only the weather can tell for sure!



Lanterns above Cortona

11 Jan

We often think of traditions as steeped in history, handed down from generation to generation. Yet every day, every year, and in any place, a new tradition can be born. Such is the case in Cortona, where a new tradition has begun. This event was scheduled for December 26, but a rainy night forced a three-day postponement.

On December 29, a lovely Saturday evening, many gathered in Piazza della Repubblica for the second annual lighting of the lanterns.

Chinese lanterns Cortona 29 12 12 8

People from neighboring Arezzo, dressed as Father Christmas, organized the event and provided music and entertainment for the delighted children and all who joined in the celebration.

The details and accompanying photos are from Patricia, my local friend, who continues to enlighten me with winter happenings in Cortona.

Each lantern is about 32” tall by 22” wide and made of fire resistant paper. A fuel cell (looks like a piece of coated cardboard) is included and attached to a wire frame at the bottom of the lantern.

Chinese lanterns Cortona 29 12 12 6

At 6 PM, there was a countdown. Together, people lit the fuel cells, released the lanterns, and, of course, made a wish. I so prefer wishes to resolutions!

Chinese lanterns Cortona 29 12 12 7

Quite a number of people, some local and many from regions throughout Italy, filled the normally quiet- in- winter piazza that special evening and watched wide-eyed as the sky above the piazza glowed with floating lights.

Chinese lanterns Cortona 29 12 12 2

No matter from which region they hailed, those gathered enjoyed a spectacular evening and helped carry on a young tradition.

Weather permitting, the lanterns can fly about 1/3 mile – an amazing sight for sure. Once their flames die, the lanterns float slowly to the ground. And while the flames may die, the young tradition continues and Patricia’s lovely photos provide an incredible image that will linger for a long time.



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