I came to Assisi for a number of very good reasons. Not least of all these is my need to have my "stories". I needed to meet the challenges of traveling alone and spending lots of time on my own. I knew in my heart that, in reality, I would never be alone for very long. I knew that as soon as I became re-grounded after my journey, the stories would begin. And, oh yeah, right on target......they have started.
Today, I have two stories to tell. One is of a chance meeting and the other, a meeting that has been in the making for a few years. Three women, two stories.
Allow me to begin where all good stories begin, as I stepped out the front door of my rented apartment and started off for a morning cappuccino, a stone's throw away.
Since my arrival five days ago, I have been walking past a small shop that has in its windows, the most exquisite silk scarves. Today, approaching the shop, I slowed down to get a better look and decided that I would make inquiry. The shop owner explained that her scarves were works of art, and within minutes, we were exchanging stories and crying together. She told me that she NEVER opens the shop this early.....that there was a reason why she was compelled to do so and that she knew instantly why.
Her name is Josephine Comodi. She was born in Cannara and moved with her family to France from ages three to fourteen. She has a degree in Political Science and worked in the business world before she discovered her creative side and has been making the most exquisite pieces of hand painted silk ever since. Her scarves have "life", filled with color and emotion. Most of them have little stories written on them in thin, thin streams of silver glitter. We shared our stories of loss and our love of life. Over and over she repeated her belief that destiny moved her to an early opening of her shop. Hugs, kisses and more hugs. Her philosophy about her creations is simple....she starts out with a white piece of silk, stretched out on a rack and she allows whatever happens with color to happen. On her website she sums it up this way: "the exit is quite astonishing and I am filled with emotions".
I will see Josephine again on Saturday when she once again comes from her home in Perugia to open her shop. Hugs, kisses and more hugs I'm sure.
After lunch, I made my way down to the Porta San Pietro, a convenient meeting place not far from the Basilica de San Francesco. It was there that I waited for Letizia Mattiacci, a friend of so many of my Umbrian friends, one who I have been wanting to meet but have missed on previous visits. Letti is a true "Umbra". She was born and raised here and has a love for all things Ubrian. From our meeting place, we traveled to the school bus stop to collect her lovely eleven year old daughter, Thea and then, a long drive up to the home of Letti and her Dutch born husband, Ruurd. Letti is a busy woman, she runs an agriturismo where in addition to providing the most beautiful of accommodations to her guests, she operates a cooking school known as "Alla Madonna Del Piatto"". She is a very busy woman. She is also kind, sweet, and sincere. A most genuine person. I felt as if she and I had been classmates since kindergarten. We talked about so many things and shared one very lovely afternoon. The sun was shining and the views from her windows were spectacular. The Umbrian country side, so aptly named "the Green Heart of Italy", stretched before us as Letti shared her love of her home and her country. She knows she is fortunate. She and her husband work hard but they have produced a lovely life.
Two different women, one spectacular day.
Yes, the exit was quite astonishing and I am filled with emotions
Thank you Letizia and Josephine. A presto. Again and again and again, I hope!