Friday, December 30, 2011

Hail and Farewell

    Now as the old year is coming to a close and a New Year about to begin, Beautiful Florence would like to give some updates on several 2011 blog posts and the people and places involved.

 Remember the "Pino's Stamp" (June 30) post under Desperation?  Above is Tara Baron (now back at Syracuse Newhouse) patiently waiting for me to return to the Vista office after my two hour odyssey to find a two euro stamp to mail some legal documents to Taranto.

After over two weeks, the envelope still hadn't arrived, so I re-sent the documents via the expensive return receipt requested express, unfortunately writing Pino's street address correctly but putting the street number where his brother Gennaro lives.  Nineteen (19) days after mailing the original envelope, the second envelope returned as there is no number 6 on viale Trentino in Taranto, and on the same day Pino received the package bearing the 2 euro stamp.

My cousin/lawyer Pino (pictured above in a beer hall in Munich, a long way from home) is presently recovering from pneumonia.  The illness, however, was certainly not caused by worry over the arrival of the envelope.  Pino kept telling me "I'll tell you when it gets here,"  and in true (southern) Italian style, did not bat an eye that the envelope took nearly three weeks to travel 900 kilometers despite the proper postage.

In "Art, Sea & a Train Strike" (July 26), Elke and I were members of the press visiting a show of Tuscan Impressionistic art (macchaiolo) in Castiglioncello (see below).

No, I never wrote the promised blog post on the show;  however every summer Castiglioncello hosts an exhibition of macchaioli artists, so I have a second chance.

After Elke and I went to the sea, missing the press bus, we managed to get to Livorno (see post under Adventures), and made the discovery of the rare train has "guaranteed" service despite a strike.
What I discovered long afterwards is that particular train which we got on in Livorno, starts its route in Piombino and
stops in the minor station of Castiglioncello.
There was no need to use all our wits to get to  Livorno.

My October 14 post "The Last Day of Summer" in the Cinque Terre had a harrowing epilogue.
The villages of Monterosso and (pictured below) Vernazza

were heavily damaged and isolated for weeks due to a tremendous storm (which the clouds foreshadow)
just 11 days later! (on October 25).

The last day of summer, indeed!  There were victims due to flooding, and destruction that the spunky descendants of the original fisherman settlers are still dealing with by clearing mud and rebuilding the elementary school.

Some loss can't be repaired.  On December 4, one of the lights of my life, my cat Luce,
died at home after a bout with intestinal cancer.  Luce was born in a field in 1999 in Le Bagnese.  The parents of my photographer/soulmate Andrea Pistolesi camp out in a camper in the cool green of Le Bagnese every summer, and a mother cat had kittens nearby.  Andrea was looking for takers, but I adopted the very cat (sight unseen, half wild, having been told he was white) that he himself had chosen.  Before Christmas, I informed Andrea, who happened to be in Thailand,  of Luce's death, before he traveled to Burma, a dream fulfilled.

As friend Bernadette told me after his passing, "he was a beauty."

As for me, on the nearly last day of the year, I would like to send the world a kiss... the manner of my greeting Wanny De Filippo with the Italian customary smack on both cheeks while reporting for the "Christmas 2011 in Florence" post (December 19).  I was taking notes, as you can see by the pen in my hand.  Although you can't see my face, the only resemblance I might have to my cousin Pino are the family's trademark large eyes (in a rainbow of colors).

After reporting for the "Christmas 2011 in Florence" post, Carly and I walked back to the office via Piazza del Duomo.  There we saw the terracotta Nativity scene outside the Cathedral.  The Baby Jesus was placed in the crib on Christmas day.  On New Year's a huge headline in the local paper La Nazione trumpeted "Baby Jesus Stolen from the Manger!"

Inside, the article gave the reassuring news that Baby Jesus was reported found, unharmed, in via del Sole (close to the train station) and returned to his open air home (pictured above).

The original blog photographer, Elke, who took the photos of Tara and Castigioncello, returned to Germany in August.  There are no photos of her, as she was always behind the lens.

Her position was filled by Carly Vickers and Michelle Hilt (see below).  Michelle is scheduled to be the Beautiful Florence's first guest blogger within a couple of weeks with an article and photos on the Picasso show in Pisa.   Here she is overlooking Florence.

As for Carly, after a semester at the Florida State program in Florence, she is now back in Tallahassee, leaving a treasury of photos behind, including this one that she took in Florence's Boboli Gardens at the end of October.  Especially striking is the bright red foliage (unusual for Tuscany, common to the U.S. Northeast) and the striking vantage point for the cupola of the Duomo.

The sky was overcast,  one of the very few days it happened to be this past fall..

This is Carly saying goodby to Florence,
just as all of us here are saying farewell to the old year
and hail to the new -

Buon Anno!

Happy New Year from Beautiful Florence!

1 comment:

  1. So sorry about your dear cat, Rosanna. I hope 2012 will be a better year for you! Big hug! Elaine