Scheggino to MIT: a Long Reach (Mar 11, 2011)Che strano! What an odd sensation to connect with Ginny at MIT: we had first met in a bucolic setting in Italy, in Scheggino, a tiny mountainside village on the Nera River in Umbria’s breathtaking Val Nerina. Ginny, host of my mid-March talk at MIT, had participated in the Berkshire Choral Festival group musical week in Umbria last September. The BCF group toured with me in the mornings and sang in the afternoons with their choir director, preparing for their two concerts in Spoleto at the end of their stay. Their group was about a third of the size of the village – and merged right into village life, even singing at a funeral in the town. My days touring with this diverse, highly-musical group was a joy.
When Ginny received news of my U.S. tour, she wrote to ask if I would give a talk at MIT. Si! Ginny welcomed MIT faculty and students, former Umbria tour guests of mine, future tour guests of mine, Slow Travel fans, junior-year in Rome friends and my cousins to my Power-pointed talk “Italians, HANDS ON.” Using Italian gestures, this talk zeroes in on the multiple facets of the Italians including the importance of “la famiglia,” the Italian lack of faith in institutions (Church and state), their creative inventiveness, innate aesthetic sense and their optimism and resiliency.
With resiliency, the MIT audience will continue to perfect their use of Italian gestures… I hope!
Mille grazie, Ginny!
“A really fun lecture – you so captured the Italian spirit – great slides. I can’t wait to go back to Umbria.” Colleen
“What a super lecture, from start to finish. Your talk was informative, interesting and fun… and everyone was focussed on every word. You have a natural talent for what you do!” Brian
“I loved your MIT lecture… and now I don’t have to learn Italian: I can just gesture!” Jean
“What a great presentation! We thoroughly enjoyed learning about what makes Italians different. I’ve studied them for many years after falling in love with Italy in school at Loyola’s Rome Center. I thought I knew Italian gestures, but Anna revealed many gestures that I’d seen but had no idea what they meant. Anna is an American/Italian treasure. We can’t wait to go back to Umbria and learn more while eating, tasting wonderful wine and olive oil, walking through medieval towns and meeting her friends. Ciao!” Dave Thompson