Seattle Festa Italia

View of Seattle from atop Hotel Mediterranean

I attended my first Festa Italia in Seattle last weekend and, as I expected, it was soooo much fun.  The weather was perfect for most of it.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Seattle’s Convention Center, so I’d forgotten how beautiful the area is.  With its boho flavor, lovely boulevards and the Space Needle dominating the landscape it’s a bit like America’s answer to Paris, except that the stunning views of the Sound and the San Juan Islands take it to another level.  San Francisco meets Vancouver?  Tolkein’s Avalone?  Narnia’s Archenland?  Oz?

I exaggerate, but truly, Seattle is more than worthy of its title “The Emerald City.”

The best part of Italian Festas — like the best part of Italy — is the people.  The atmosphere is always charged with joy, conversation and music.  I so enjoyed meeting everyone who stopped by to chat or buy Bianca’s Vineyard.  Time and again, I was reminded that everyone has a story to tell.  There were the native Italians, mezzo-Italians, IBM’ers (Italian by marriage), Italy lovers, and everything in-between.  One group of ladies I spoke with have been friends since high-school and now, decades later, they continue to do fun things together … like go to Italy.  How fun is that?

I must say, the most remarkable moment at the Festa for me was when a woman with an Italian accent told me she was from Carrara in Tuscany, which is in the Versilian region directly next to Ripa where my husband’s family, the Bertozzis, are from.  I asked her if she knew of our family, and she said she moved to the states when she was only nine years-old.  “But,” she said, “my name is very common there in Versilia.”

“What is (was) your name?”

“Tarabella,” she replied.

For those of you who have read Bianca’s Vineyard you know the import of that name and can imagine my reaction.  I was dumbfounded.  What a small world it is, that cousins of one family meet another family whose destinies were  intertwined, an ocean and a continent apart.

With Dennis Caldirola of Seattle Festa Italia

In closing, I want to give a BIG thanks to Dennis Caldirola and his wife for allowing me to be a part of the Seattle Festa.  What a lovely couple and what an adorable daughter they have!  Great job!




  1. Posted on October 23, 2011 at 11:38 pm by Mary Ann Hayes


    My daughter in law bought your book for me and I have enjoyed it so much. I have just had my fist novel published so I know what an accomplishment this is for you. Congratulations! What a fun story!

  2. Posted on November 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm by Teresa

    Thanks, Mary Ann, and congratulations on your novel! What is it about? I wish you the very best! –Teresa