A fruit market in Florence.

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Memories are powerful. Many are rooted in experiences that bind families, establish friendships, determine relationships and link communities. We cherish and share memories associated with people we love but keep hidden those, which hold truths we do not want revealed.


The Alps from the window of our DC8 Jet on our way to Italy!

Can you match the event with its date?

  1. Death of the Princess of Wales, Princess Diana, in Paris, France
  2. Terrorist Attacks in New York City & Washington, D.C.; USA
  3. Assassination of former Beatle, John Lennon, in New York City
  4. Haiti Earthquake
  5. Chilean Mine Rescue, South America
  6. Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunami
  7. U.S. Astronaut, Neil Armstrong, first person to set upon the moon

a). December 8, 1980

b). December 26, 2004

c). July 20, 1969

d). September 11, 2001

e). August 31, 1997

f). October 13, 2010

g). January 12, 2010

Did you remember where you were for any of these events?

On July 20, 1969, I was at my Uncle Louis Perri’s camp on Lake Superior watching television with my family when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. (There is an answer key is at the end of this blog.)

Like those listed in this chart, sometimes an event occurs that transcends our boundaries and, regardless of age, gender, family, culture, class, country, religious beliefs and political affiliation, connects us to each other. Our individual and collective memories of these events endure over time and serve as a reminder that those who live on this planet are more alike than different.

Professor Vincent Maninelli, Piazza San Marco

Trip Director, the late Professor Vincent Mancinelli, feeding pigeons in Piazza San Marco, Venice.

Do you remember your first?

a). love

b). job

c). graduation

d). award/achievement

e). loss

f). apartment

g). car

h). friend

i). trip

j). disappointment

First memories are visceral. They resonate with special significance as they help shape our future beliefs and influence the goals we set for our lives.


The forum in Rome. One of the historical ruins we explored.

My first trip to Italy

Family has always been central to my life. My interest in family dynamics and intrigue about my Calabrian-Sicilian ancestry spurred genealogical research to solve family mysteries. My genealogical research has also influenced my travels and inspired my writing and my first trip to Italy helped me begin imagining my novels.

I first went to Italy in 1974 and, twenty-five years later when I began outlining The Inheritance; I referred to the photo album and notes I compiled from that trip. Authenticity is important to me and my travels throughout Italy helped me create a realistic setting for my novel. I have visited Italy several times since 1974 but it was my first time that set me on the path of becoming a writer.

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What first time event helped you achieve your dream? I’d welcome your comments.

(Answer Key: 1-e; 2-d; 3-a; 4-g; 5-f; 6-b; 7-c)

Here are some photographs from this trip. I hope you enjoy them.


Travel Itinerary: March 13 – 27, 1974

Marco Polo Airport

Landing at Venice’s Marco Polo Airport.

Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri

Visiting the Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri.