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  • Greetings from Italy
    Consider this the first of my postcards to you while I work and vacation in the homeland
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    JUNE 11, 2006 - The rain is falling in Italy, but not in my heart. I arrived in Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples, a few days ago for a month-long stay that will combine business with pleasure. Even though the weather is hardly a dream, I am delighted to be among loved ones in a country that values food, soccer and a slower-paced life. In just a few days, I've already stayed at a farm that symbolizes Italy's burgeoning agri-tourism industry, snagged crisp natural water from a fountain, and picnicked outside a monastery where priests make grappa and chocolate to sell for the church. I want you to join me on my journey.

    Pack your bags because starting on Tuesday, June 13, I'm going to write a travel blog at www.francescadimeglio.com that will make you feel as though you're actually in Italy with me. I'll also continue to write the Our Paesani columns, which will cover everything from new trends in Italian travel to Italy's participation in World Cup 2006 and the ever-growing soccer scandal.

    As usual, I'm staying with my boyfriend Antonio and his family in the heart of Ischia. His house was actually the middle school that my father attended when he was a kid in Italy. Then, it was a hotel that Antonio's family ran and now it's their home. Antonio and each of his three sisters have their own apartments, all of which are lovely and spacious, a rarity on a small island.

    Both sides of my family come from Ischia, so I have lots of relatives to visit, including my cousin Fausto, who is Antonio's best friend and our personal Cupid. He introduced Antonio to me more than two years ago. Through Fausto and Antonio - and their friends and acquaintances - I get the scoop on what's really happening in Italy and how the country's young people are reacting to it all. And I'll be sharing that firsthand information with all of you over the course of the next few weeks.

    Although I will spend some of my time working for numerous publications and updating my Web site, I plan to have some fun, too. Days on the island's best beaches (if the weather ever improves) and some site seeing are on my to-do list. I can't wait to share my experiences with all of you here on ItaliansRus and on my Web site. See you soon!

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