Friends In Italy

Friends In Italy

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

I’ve met several people in Italy. First of all there is Paola and his lovely “partner” Cinzia. I exchanged emails with Paolo starting about a year and a half ago. The objective was to exchange emails in both Italian and English to improve our respective language skills. He tired of that before long but when I emailed him that I was coming to Bologna he offered to pick me up at the airport and I accepted. He has been a great friend here. We’ve gone to dinner several times and I went to a barbecue (his word) at his very nice country house near Imola. I’ve met Cinzia twice, once for dinner with the two of them. She is a former champion in artistic roller skating – think Olympic style ice skating without the ice. Now she is a much sought after coach and trainer and travels far and wide (including Brazil) for that purpose. I’ll miss them both. You really MUST click on the photo due to the stupid cropping that the blog software imposes.

Gabriele left a comment on my blog months ago and we have corresponded occasionally. I took the train to Parma and spent a day with him. He works in architecture and is quite artistic. He has a blog – it is in Italian but if you explore you will find many of his excellent photographs. Click here to go to his blog. He is quite a history buff as so many Italians are since they are constantly surrounded with reminders of the long and illustrious history of Italy. Not only that be he came bearing gifts. One was a cookbook specific to the specialties of Salsomaggiore Terme, where he lives. The other was a CD with a collection of Italian music. Very thoughtful gifts and he bought me a great lunch as well. Many thanks Gabriele!

I met Vittorio and Barbara throught the Tandem Learning (click here) blog (as I did Paolo and Massimiliano). Vittorio is one of the founders of the blog. They have a get together every Tuesday at a pub in the center of Bologna where one can find others that want to exchange language skills. I only went once because (1) it starts at 9:30 (a little late if I have class the next morning at 9:00 and (2) almost everyone is half my age. Still it is a congenial group and a great idea. I’ve had lunch with Vittorio and sometimes Barbara several times. She is an attorney and Vittorio trained as one but now does techie stuff. On the holiday (All Saints Day) of November first they invited me with them to an agriturismo in the mountains for a lunch with their friends. I hope to see them again when I return from Sicily for a day before leaving Italy.

Massimiliano, of course, deserved special mention and I’ve already done a post about my weekend with him and his family in Torino. We plan to continue our Skype conversations when I return to California.

I would add to the friends list some of the teachers at the school although we’ve not gone out separately from school activities. Also I would include James who is Norwegian but has been schooled in England for so long that he seems more English than Norwegian. We’ve done several things together including one dinner when we both spoke English the whole evening. It was my first English conversation in 7 weeks and it was a pleasure to talk without sounding like a bambino. Again – please click on the photo. Alex is the minor figure in this photo.

4 Responses to “Friends In Italy”

  1. Jamie P. Says:

    Well done, Joe. I love seeing the pictures of your friends!

    Hard to believe you’ve been there for almost two months! It’ll be great to see you when you return. Hope you’re not too disappointed with the food here after wallowing in all that wonderful Italian cuisine. 🙂

  2. Joe Says:


    Re-entry will be a bit strange – what is with all of these people speaking english? The food here really is better in general but I haven’t always eaten great food. In fact I’ve lost a couple of kilos while here. I’ll explain more when I see you.


  3. James Says:


    Must say it is odd seeing my name when I least expected it. Hope all is going well in California and that you’re impressing your Italian class with your newfound skills. Perhaps we will see each other again sometime in the future.
    All the best,

  4. Joe Says:


    It’s a pleasant surprise hearing from you. My Italian has definitely improved but I think that I need another couple of months in the spring. Time will tell, no firm plans but it would be great to get together then.


Leave a Reply