Many years ago I met and married a nice Italian man. He was from a place I had been to but didn’t know very well, a lovely little lake town called Cernobbio, in the Northern part of Italy, very close to the Italian border. Cernobbio is a village in the province of Como, which – as almost anybody who reads Vanity Fair can tell you – is where the fantabulous George Clooney has one of his homes.
While I am no longer married to my nice Italian, I remain on very good terms with his mother – the woman I still call my mother-in-law. She is an Italian signora of the very best kind: a woman who can cook a gourmet dinner with no fuss/no muss in a kitchen the size of a broom closet; a refined octagenarian who is never seen without a signature strand of pearls; a woman who’s eyes are as blue as the lake near which she makes her home.
She’s a force of nature (literally: she created, on her own and by herself, a magnificent community garden which is almost a kilometer long and which is now one of the most visited tourist attractions in Cernobbio. If you can read Italian, there is an article about her here. She never fails to impress any and all of the people she meets. She is the main reason I go to Italy as often as I do, George Clooney notwithstanding.
Last year was the first time I timed my March trip to coincide with the Parma Antiques Fair, or what the Italians call the Parma Fiera. It’s huge, it’s full of all of the best (and some of the most head-scratchingly odd) kinds of vintage furniture, art, ephemera and last year, when I was there, I was assisted by my helpful (and beautifully vivacious) niece Amanda. That was a good thing, as I ended up (or rather she ended up) carrying much more than we had anticipated! This year my son Giulian will be the second in command (or, knowing Giulian, perhaps the captain of the ship), and I will be wearing comfortable shoes and bringing a rolling suitcase to carry out our finds. There is a great article about the Fiera here.
I’m also hoping to do some work on my book. I find that I write best when I am a way that I just can’tduplicate when home. My goal is get the book published this year, but unless I continue to re-edit, that, as my friend Sam would have said ‘is not going to happen’.
Lots to do, not that much time in which to do it, and then of course there’s George…the reason so many women, like me, head to Lake Como. There’s even a book, popular in Italian bookshops on or near the Lake, which translates roughly into “I’m going to find him, and then, I’m going to marry George Clooney.” If a book like that can be published, there’s gotta be a home for my tome on Klinger, don’t you think??