One day Jim, my husband, said to me that we should go and live in another country. To learn another language, he explained in answer to the surprised and puzzled look I gave him. So we set ourselves the task of picking a country in which to settle for a while.
Italy was where we landed, specifically in Naples where we stayed for nine months. We explored ruins and dabbled in history so that we could understand what we were seeing. We wanted to know what had happened here, what peoples had been here before. We dabbled in language. We studied Italian and began to read a literature previously unavailable to us.
Italy was where I began to write. At first I wrote “newsletters” to friends, attempting to describe what it was like living in a different place. Then I began to write short fiction in a workshop I attended after our return. I often found myself writing about Italy, particularly Naples. I continued to study Italian. Our weekly homework assignment was to write a page in Italian, so I began to write in my adopted language. So, to me, writing and Italy are intertwined.
We go to Italy every other year. We pass some time in Naples, but also visit other areas. If we seem more focused on Naples, it is because we have spent the most time there. We return to see friends who reside there, and sometimes we are lucky enough to have friends from home visit. Then we play tourist guide and in return see old haunts through fresh eyes. So even though, we hope to discover what all of Italy has to offer, Naples is like a second home.
Our time in Naples resulted in a book — Ciao, Napoli: a Scrapbook of Wandering in Naples ( by Antoinette Carone with photographs by Jim Mauro) — which is now on Amazon.com.
So here is the Italy we are experiencing. We have tried to visit the Italy of the collective Italian-American memory. We have found the vestiges of our parents’ lives in small villages of Campagna and Calabria. Perhaps we have created an Italy of the imagination. But here it is in hopes that readers will share the enjoyment.