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My Love and I Celebrate Christmas in Italy…


Magical hiking on Christmas Eve…

During the hike through misty air and golden chestnut leaves, we take deep breaths, fuelling our bodies with heady earth scents. Every once in a while, we cross a burbling stream that must surely be the issue of our destination. The walk is long but not strenuous. The last bit is a steep climb over rocky terrain, but then the mouth of the cave is above us, welcoming us. The headwaters bubble out of a fissure in the back wall, surging over the cave’s lip to cascade down the rocks.


Springwater and champagne…

We climb inside; there is plenty of space for the six of us. After we drink from the spring, Signor Luca pulls a bottle of champagne from his pack. We solemnly toast the true spirit of Christmas, of angels and blessings. The bubbles of the champagne become one with the gurgle of the spring, and we are instantly giddy, anointing ourselves with this purest of waters. Infused with rapture, we emerge joyfully into the afternoon.

The spirit of the cave, the water, the chestnuts—this is my natural religion. I feel it quickening now within me. Gino feels it. The others feel it. It is the reason they make the pilgrimage every year to drink at this eternal fountain of nature.


Buon Natale; Merry Christmas to all…

The walk back is like floating on mist. Evening is setting in when we arrive effortlessly back in the village. Christmas lights welcome us to a scene from an Italian presepe. We bid buon natale to our companions and retire to our chalet. As night falls, so do large flakes of snow. They drift past the dark window, illuminated by our fire.

Snow at Christmas has always been magical, but this snow is special. It seems to be the risen springwater descending in another form to blanket the sacred earth. We watch, mesmerized by the constant whirl of flakes and the flickering warmth of the fire. Our eyes begin to droop; we make our way to the bedroom, where we snuggle together and sleep the blissful slumber of the truly serene.


Women’s words on Italy…

Who can ever be alone for a moment in Italy? Every stone has a voice,
every grain of dust seems instinct with spirit from the past, every step
recalls some line, some legend of long-neglected lore.
(Margaret Fuller, New York Daily Tribune, 1847)

I like every single part of Italy, unlike Italians, who
only like their part and hate all the rest. They say
things like, ‘You’re going to … Rome?’
(Fran Lebowitz, Travel&Leisure, 1994)

The sunshine had the density of gold-leaf: we
seemed to be driving through the landscape of a missal.
(Edith Wharton, Italian Backgrounds, 1905)

Just give the Italians a chance for drama and they
take it with both hands.
(Ingreid Bergman, 1980)

Not all Italian men are handsome, but the percentage
is alarmingly high, and their tailors cooperate with nature.
(Mary Chamberlin, Dear Friends and Darling Romance, 1959)

Nobody with a dream should come to Italy. No
matter how dead and buried the dream is thought to be,
in Italy it will rise and walk again.
(Elizabeth Spencer, The Light in the Piazza, 1960)

You might want to read one more travel article written by Sheila Wright called, She Teaches Italian Men.




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