Welcome to Cesena! Home of my husband’s family, and home of Arturo Donnini, one of the main characters in my novel, House of Truth.
I visited Cesena, Italy (in Emilia-Romagna, which is in northern Italy, very near the Adriatic Sea) for the first time in 2010. I was there with my then-boyfriend Paul (now husband) and we were staying with his family; his aunt and uncles and cousins still live in the same city his father emigrated from in 1957.
I spent the first week of my trip in Florence with two friends for a creativity workshop; in the mornings, after eating breakfast in the high-ceilinged pink ballroom of our pensione, my friends and I walked along the Arno in golden Italian sunshine to our class. There, we would begin class by lying on the floor meditating before we set about whatever exercises the instructors had waiting for us. Sometimes we drew, sometimes we journaled, sometimes we worked in small groups. It is absolutely a cliche to say that my week in Florence was magical; the air there tasted different, as if the dust motes carried the remnants of those long-gone Renaissance artists and scholars. The trip changed me as a person.
At the end of our week in Florence, Paul drove down from Cesena with his cousin Matteo and picked the three of us up right on the Ponte Vecchio. We sped off to Cesena and then spent the week there, with various cousins hosting my friends while Paul and I stayed with his aunt. Paul and I took a little side trip to Venice, just the two of us.
It was bliss. Every minute of it, beginning to end.
And now, I’m returning. I’ve been accepted to a writing conference in Italy (more details to come). We will go to Cesena first, taking our boys to Italy for the first time, and then I will slip away for a week alone to work on my memoir manuscript in the company of other writers and fine instructors. It is no small exaggeration to say I can hardly wait.
I will share more about Cesena in future posts (among other things, I must share images of their mind-blowing ancient library). You will get a chance to learn about this wonderful little city that Arturo Donnini, my character, hails from, and maybe do a little time travel with me.