Buonasera, Cortona. Buonasera, Toscana.
So began my remarks on July 3rd at the Etruscan Museum in the village of Cortona, Italy. Author Larry Snyder and I were there to launch his new book, Miracles in Montanare: Ten Years in Tuscany in Italy by presenting it to Cortona for inclusion in their official town archives (which dates back to the year 525). I had arrived one day before, had never been to Italy before, and speak no Italian. It was my role to introduce Larry to the assembled audience. Maybe it was the jet lag clouding my judgment–I prefer to think it was a heartfelt desire to connect, even marginally, with the locals who had turned out to support Larry’s book–but I was moved to say a few sentences in Italian.
Buonasera, Cortona. Buonasera, Toscana. Questo libro e su di te. This book is about you.
In this book you will find mention of Cortona, Montanare, Camucia, Montepulciano and many other places in Tuscany. But the book is not about those places. It is about the people Larry has met in those places. The people who have opened their hearts and their lives to him and his family, allowed him to become part of this place and this place to become a part of him.
This book is a love story. Questo libro e una storia d’amore. It is about the love he feels for this place and the people in it. Tonight he wants to give you this book as a gift. Questo libro e su di te. Questo libro e per te.
That evening at the Etruscan Museum is one I will never forget. The Italians in the audience forgave me my bumbling Italiano. But more importantly and more memorably, they warmly and enthusiastically embraced Larry’s book. Larry wrote the book to honor the ways in which the people of Tuscany have enriched his life; what they have contributed to his life is a gift, he will be the first to tell you. He traveled there to present the book as a humble offering of appreciation to the people who inspired it.