Photo By Francesco Ercolani

Erika Bizzarri

Is 91 years old too late to start a blog? Don’t particularly like the word blog but it makes more sense if one knows it is an abbreviation of weblog. The web. The world we live in now. I much prefer calling it a journal.

So, if this now 93-year-old mother/grandmother can figure out “how”, you’ll be getting thoughts, essays, poems and what have you from me. Perhaps I feel the need to communicate more strongly now since most of those “others” are now living elsewhere, up among the stars.

Orvieto in Italy has been my home for over 60 years and what I have written about my town perched up high on a plateau is in itself a book rather than a blog. As a young art history student, I traveled over most of Italy, studying art history, which comes through in whatever I write. Before that I was at university in NYC, after having left the farm in Haverhill, Mass. where I grew up. Sure, there’s more to my life than just that, but let my daily musings tell you that.

Life is often strange, unexpected. When I first visited this city perched on a rock my impression was that it was so very isolated, that it was poor and that it was not a place I would want to live in. Yet this is where I am living, over 60 years later and I feel I have only begun to discover the soul of the city where every street, every building, has a story to tell. What we find here speaks to us, of the past and of the present, and points to the future. Particularly in this uneasy time of pandemic. I am not the only person whose heart has been captured by this city for there are many who came here by chance and never left. Perhaps by sharing my discoveries, they too will understand Orvieto/Urbsvetus/Velzna better.

I now have two sons in Orvieto, one involved with the creation of websites and other computer stuff, the other an Etruscan archaeologist like his father. My one and only granddaughter is in Japan. But of course, I have other “godchildren” from among my students when I taught in Florence. Then there are friends, mostly expats, who come to Orvieto every spring or summer like swallows, and a marvelous grand-niece who lives in Texas.

Many of these years I have been living in the country, as the house was gradually emptied, of husband, mother, children. With no other company than my dog, a sort of border collie, daily walks began to be rather dangerous and my sons insisted that I move into the city where they lived and could easily pop over if anything happened. Reluctantly I agreed but it was not only a matter of moving from a house, but moving from one part of my life to another. There were objects I could take along, many of which were books, and much that had to be left.

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