I grew up in an Italian family. My best memories growing up revolved around big Italian meals, loud colorful conversation spoken in Ita-glish (half Italian & half English), and all of the beautiful Italian accents of my Noni’s little house. So when I finally visited the old country for the first time, I fell in love with it. All of it… the beautiful Umbrian & Tuscan countryside, the wonderful people, the culture that celebrates life each and every day, the food (oh, Mama Mia the FOOD!!) and the beautiful things that surrounded me everywhere and reminded me of those wonderful times growing up. I began to research my ancestors and tried to re-trace their steps from the old country to the new more than 100 years ago. With just a limited amount of time, I saw so many wonderful things that I wanted to bring home and share, but of course, that was impossible. I came back to my hectic life in the U.S. and of course my memories of Italy lingered with hopes to make it back someday, see more and complete my family research.
Then on October 4, 2012 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. With all of the fears and thoughts you can probably imagine, I began to do some soul searching about what I would do with my life if I were to receive “a second chance”. Of course my family came first, and I reaffirmed my appreciation for all that I have. But as I lay there in the hospital, my thoughts and emotions kept being drawn to the culture and lifestyle I experienced in Italy. The celebration of life. The healthy mediterranean diet that emphasizes local fruits and vegetables. My heritage. If I got a second chance, I had to go back to Italy.
I got my second chance. So I decided to create this site and showcase some of my favorite Italian things here in one place. I plan to go back to Italy this year and I want to write a book chronicling my journey from the time I found out I had cancer to my journey back to Italy and my discoveries of my ancestors migration. Please check out the “Living Out My Second Chance” page for more details. I plan to share all of my experiences from this journey through this blog and my book.
Enjoy the stories, pictures and jokes too. If you love everything Italian as much as I do, you’ll love Gifts-From-Italy.com and I hope you’ll tell me what you think.