Thursday, November 24, 2011


As I thoroughly enjoy our annual trip to the motherland (Laguna Beach, California), visiting family and friends, I cannot help but be grateful for all the blessings I’ve had in my life: health, beyond happiness, a beautiful family (on both continents!), a husband who brings me joy every single day, the unconditional love of the best dog on the planet, a job I love, fabulous friends, stability, and this year an even extra special gift, baby Pietro, arriving in March.  THANK YOU!!!!
My month here is always so precious, but when the time comes, I’ll be ready to head back to my adopted home, bell’Italia.

It is also a day to say prayers, send good karma and even help those less fortunate. Please continue to send support to the villages affected by the October 25 floods in Liguria and Tuscany:

Monday, November 14, 2011


This is a great blog/site (created by a group of expat women who live or have lived in Vernazza) for updates on its rebuilding progress, stories of its history and people, as well as a chance to donate specifically to its restoration: 

We hope her beauty will soon shine as bright as ever!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

It’s been a hell of a two weeks here in Italy, weather-wise, morale-wise, financially, etc.  I won’t go into the political or financial end of it too much, because 1) I am not an expert and 2) I don’t like to go there anyway.  My only remark will be to say how “pleasant” and reassuring it is to have politicians come to physical blows during a senate session the day after 9 people lost their lives in the floods of Liguria and NW Tuscany (and no, they were not related stories).
Two weeks ago today marks the death of one of Italy’s (deserving) “golden boys”,  Marco SImoncelli, a champion of motorcross (and wonderful role model) that took a bad turn during a race and lost his life in the process.  The country started to mourn that day.

RIP Marco...

Two days later, the nightmare began for Liguria & the Lunigiana area of Tuscany, as the land was pounded with a frightful amount of rain which unleashed a series of landslides turn tsunami.  Villages and lives were destroyed.  Some of Italy’s most picturesque coastline was churned into a stew of mud, cars,  and trash.  It was/is horrific.  

All that remains of one house in Vernazza, 
the top of the chimney...
We were fortunate here in Lerici taking a mild pounding, a few small mudslides but no major damage.  My in-laws place (and my husband’s warehouse) were a different story.  Both are located just a few 100 meters from the Vara River which bloated beyond its capacity sending nearly 2 meters of water onto the banks of the Val di Vara, again destroying homes and businesses.  Lui raced to the area (despite the torrential downpours in which no one should have been driving) to see what he could do to keep the water from entering into his warehouse and parent’s home.  When he got there, he realized very little, but God was on his side.  Two houses down was submerged in 4 feet of water, and brick and ceramic factory, just 200 meters from his place, lost over €1,000,000 euros in product.  A slight, unnoticeable slant in the road left Lui’s business and parents home in tact.  I cannot state enough the relief felt that evening, but also the overwhelming sense sadness and almost guilt that succumbed all of us knowing, we were the lucky ones when so many others were not.
A break of sunshine and good weather blessed the area for about 10 days so the villages could begin a very long and pain cleaning process.  It was a time of reflection and reinforcement of one’s beliefs and love for their hometowns.  Despite mother nature’s wrath, everyone seemed so determined to rebuild and overcome the aching sorrow felt inside.
Then came this past Friday.  Another awful storm that brought the city of Genova “to its knees” as stated in the headlines here in Italy.  If you read my blog in the past, you know I have a semi-love affair with Genova.  I find it to be a beautiful, raw, fascinating and very real city.  Watching the videos and pictures of a city submerged in water and out of control waves of water from what are usually small flowing streams, was like a horror film.  6 lives were lost and countless business gone.

Downtown Genova at Brignole Train Station...

Saturday, towns in Piemonte were evacuated and here on Sunday, everyone is still on pins and needles hoping the storm passes without further damage, especially to those areas who cannot afford or resist anymore.  We think the worst is over, but rain is still predicted over the next two days.  Lui can barely sleep thinking about the Vara River swelling over again.  My dear friend, Kate, who has done so much to help in her former hometown of Monterosso, now has to tend to her own home in Levanto, which was partially flooded, again by a little stream turn vicious wave of water and earth.  I am sure the people of Vernazza, Monterosso, Borghetto di Vara, Brugnato and Aulla are even more desperate.

Clean up begins...
I feel incredibly fortunate, but also exhausted by so much destruction and sadness here in Italy.  I also feel a bit of anger at the lack of coverage by the press outside of the country.  All they seem to report on is the “buffoon-ery” of Berlusconi and the financial woes (that yes, are also eating away at this country).  It would be nice to have the world know that Italy is not all about pasta, under-age escorts, tax evasion and good wine, but rather about the people who have worked their fingers to the bone to make ends meet or to even succeed fantastically (as many have in Le Cinque Terre), only to have their world shattered in less than 15 minutes of horrendous weather.  Real Italy is dealing with some serious problems and heartache, and could use a little empathy, prayers and understanding from beyond its borders.

Ok, off my soapbox now...

Friday, November 04, 2011


It’s been an exhausting 10 days for the people of Monterosso, Vernazza, Borghetto di Vara, Brugnato and Aulla.  These people have been working night and day to clean up as much of the damage as possible before a new storm arrives today.  
There are two blogs which I highly recommend for getting a first hand insight into what is going on in Le Cinque Terre:
Nichole in Vernazza at Cultural Comments
Kate at Little Paradiso in Levanto & Monterosso
I will continue to update what I learn as well and try to find someone in Lunigiana for information about that area (Sheila at Ciao Lunigiana is a good place to start).
Eventually I will start blogging again about life here in Italy and in particular my little corner of paradiso in Lerici on the Italian Riviera, but right now these villages and people take precedence.
Wish them all well as the storm clouds roll in once again.