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January 27, 2012     Post-Gazette
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January 27, 2012

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POST,GAZETTE, JANUARY 27, 2012 Page13 00/'anna @ 00Babb00onno Last week, I left off talk- ing about our getting ready to leave Rome. Sal, Jose, Franny and I had been there for three weeks and there was a lot more of Italy to see. On the day we were to leave, our driver brought me to the train station where the car rental agencies were located. When I had returned the FIAT, I had re-booked it for a point in time three weeks down the road and it was now three weeks later. By the time I brought the new rental to the hotel, Sal and Jose had brought our things to the sidewalk and we filled the trunk with suitcases and things we had bought along the way. Our chauffeur with the full sized Chevy followed me back just in case. We thanked him with a hefty tip for all he had done for us and then headed to the restau- rant where they had treated us like family. On the day before, we men- tioned to the restaurant owner and his wife that we were leaving the next day. We sat for an hour over a glass or two of wine while they told us the sites to see as we headed north. The next day, I drove down the hill of Via Nazionale toward the center of Rome and brought the car onto the small narrow side street where the restaurant was lo- cated. I had to park on the sidewalk, as the street was that narrow. When we en- tered to say goodbye, the owner, his wife, and the staff were preparing the offerings that their customers could expect that day. It took a half hour of hugs and kisses for all of us to say goodbye, and as we left, we were handed bags of things that they had packed for us so we wouldn't starve on the trip north. Once we found our way out of Rome, the traveling was easy as Italy has some of Europe's best highways. We first headed north hoping to see Pisa. Once we got there, we stopped on the side of the road and explored the bags of food that were given to us. A couple of hours later, we headed for the main church in Pisa to see the bell tower that stood aside of it called, The Leaning Tower of Pisa. We visited the church, the baptistery and then climbed to the top of the tower. Later, I stopped at a tourist shop and picked up a couple of post cards to send home. I knew that Babbononno would love the one with the leaning tower. I wrote his in Italian, bought the right stamps and by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance i i i I imt i i ml mailed the card right there in the store. They were ready for anything. As the afternoon wore on, we stopped at an outside card for afternoon coffee and some people watching, as .the tour- ists in Pisa seemed to be from all over the world. When it was time to leave the caf4, we decided to stay in Pisa for the night as we were all tired. The only problem was that every hotel we stopped at was sold out. We asked a traffic cop where we could find a hotel that might have rooms avail- able. He recommended one and once inside, we discov- ered that it was the type of place where you rent the rooms by the hour ... pillows extra. You could even rent a companion for an hour, if you get my drift. Franny was shocked, Actually, she was born in Italy, but in a rural area and this type of an establishment was against everything she knew. Need- less .to say, we left. I finally found a hotel with a couple of rooms and left my car in front Of the building. We walked the city late that afternoon, found a restaurant for dinner and then headed to bed, hoping to get an early start the next day. Our plan was to head to Siena, Assisi, Perugia, Bologna, Florence and Venice, in that order. When we got to the car, there was a parking ticket under the driver's side wiper. I had parked in a no parking zone. I looked at the ticket and it looked like Italian money, only bigger. It was a beautiful piece of engraving, and if you held the paper up to the light, you could see images of famous Ital- ians from the past. I found a traffic cop, as a matter of fact; it was the one who recom- mended the questionable ho- tel the day before. I showed him the parking ticket and asked where I could pay the fifty lire. He told me that, see- ing that we were tourists, he would cancel out the ticket, and asked for it back. I told him that t wanted to keep it, it was so beautiful. He replied that if I kept it, I would have to pay for it. I did, and we were on our way. For the next part of the trip, we spent a day in each of the cities I mentioned, Siena, Assisi, Bologna and Perugia. When we got to Florence, we decided to stay for a few days. Rome was the center of the Roman world and Florence, the center of the Renais- sance. We wanted to see especially the Uffizi Gallery, -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 llm i Hu it i tmt,tmt one of the world's greatest museums. It, at one time, had been someone's palace. It was now one of the most famous museums for Renais- sance art and we spent almost two days visiting the rooms dedicated to the great artists, of the past. One thing impressed me to no end. We were in one of the rooms with paintings from the brush Of Leonardo Da Vinci. An old man happened to come in, an old man that reminded me of Babbononno. They were about the same size and age. This old man was dressed in a suit and tie, not something you would do in the summer heat of Florence. He carried a cane that opened into a one legged stool. He took off his hat opened his stool and sat in front of one of the Leonardo's Madonna's. As he stared at the painting, a tear came down his cheek. He was so emotional at seeing the creativity and quality of the painting, he could only express himself with a tear. I said to myself, "Now that's Italian." A tourist office outside the city had booked the rooms for us at a hotel in the middle of the city, and it was a Thursday, which meant mar- ket day. We walked the streets of the open market buying the things we had in mind for dinner, fresh bread, chunks of prosciutto, a wedge of aged provolone, fixings for a salad, olive oil, lemons, grapes and a bottle of wine from a vintner's barrel. Late that afternoon, as we sat on the balcony of one of our rooms and faced the street, we ate what I think was one of the best meals I had on that trip. It was too hot for pasta and we were actually too tired to go out again. The food we bought saved the day. For the remaining days in Florence, we visited the buildings that were syn- onymous with the Renais- sance, and of course, we had to see Michelangelo's statue of David. On the last night in town, we found a club that had a jazz group playing. Of course Sal had to say something about me being a bass player from America, and before I knew it, I was sitting in with the band. The musicians seemed well schooled and could play their instruments, but there was a feeling miss- ing that only an American has when it comes to jazz. Jazz is America's only contribution to the arts. We borrowed everything from the cultures of the world, but jazz, that's ours and only we Americans can play it and make it sound right. As the weekend ap- proached, it was time to hit the road again, but before we left Florence, I called home, spoke to both my parents and then told Babbononno what Florence was like in the 20 th century Our next major stop would be Venice. TO BE CONTINUED and may GOD BLESS AMERICA. O'Flaherty Asks MBTA to (Continued from Page 4) working constituents the only affordable means of transportation to their places of employment. An elimination of this route would leave these constitu- encies with no feasible transportation alternatives. Residents of Charlestown and surrounding urban mu- nicipalities as well as sub- urban commuters have come to rely greatly on the ferry service. The ferry brings commuters to and from downtown Boston and also services tourists visit- ing the Bunker Hill Monu- ment, the USS Constitution and many restaurants and shops along its historic streets. Additionally, the ferry is crucial to the newly- constructed Spaulding Re- habilitation Hospital that is being opened in the spring of 2013 in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Public transpor- tation was pivotal to the hospital's LEED Green certi- fication and service will be important to many employ- Reconsider ees and visitors to this world renowned facility. Currently, many residents of the Navy Yard and commuters from surrounding area that park in the Yard's public garages depend on the ferry service for access to their employ- ment and its usage allevi- ates the congestion associ- ated with downtown rush hour traffic. Thank you for your time and attention to this impor- tant matter. I reiterate my intent and offer to work on developing a solution that addresses the revenue shortfall faced by the MBTA while still allowing for a quality public transportation system. In working towards that goal, I respectfully ask that you hold in abeyance any decisions already made and in so doing rely on the arguments I proffer on be- half of my constituents. Very truly yours, EUGENE L. O,FLAHERTY State Representative, 2 "d Suffolk District La Befana (Continued from pany the Wise Men to bring gifts to the Baby Jesus. She decided not to join them bet cause she had housework to do. She later decided to fol- low them but could not catch up with them. ' Thinking of the 0pportunity she had missed, La Befana stopped every child to give them a small gift in hopes that one of them was the Baby Jesus. As legend has it, each year on the Eve of the Epiphany La Befana sets out to look for the Baby Jesus. She stops at each child's house to leave treats to the children who have been good and a lump of coal to those who have been bad. F Page 3) This story teaches our chil- dren customs and traditions from our o/d paese. It is up to us to pass them along to our future generations so they will not be forgotten. Donne 2000 is a non-profi t organization formed prima- rily to educate and benefit women and celebrate and preserve our Italian tradi- tions and customs from gen- eration to generation. Donne 2000 will celebrate their Festa Delle Donne Scholarship Fundraiser on March 11, 2012 at Venezia's Restaurant. For further in- formation, email Rita at or Doreen at doreeng869@aol, com. Boston Harborside Home Joseph A. Langone 580 Commercial St. - Boston, MA 02109 617-536-4110 Augustave M. SabiG Jr. Trevor Slauenwhite Frederick J. Wobrock Dino C. Manca Courtney A. Fitzgibbons A Service Family Affiliate of AFFS/Service Corporation International 206 Winter St., Falt River, MA 02720 Telephone 508-676-2454 On Sale Now.* THE NORTH END Where It All Began The Way It Was by Fred Langone SALE PRICE $19.95 Plus Shipping & Handling On Site at The Post-Gazette 5 Prince Street, North End, Boston, MA I ' " 7 " T-- !, -r- "=  - " - ' : :=:r  = .... IIIIIIII1N gNNlliII II,I[t]Ilg,[T]IIIlINIIllIIEIllliIIIN II[i I,,  g I q tTlIll, 1 T] I ' [ [  1IT i] :ii ,I'1 ::r"illlrl