In last week's mail, I received a special package. At first glance, it was a book. Now, for me, receiving books in the mail is a regular occurrence, because I review books and am always receiving them in the mail from publishers.
But this book was special. It was from my cousin, Antonio Tosi, who lives outside of Milan, Italy. So with great excitement, I ripped open the envelope.
Inside was this beautiful old volume of Beatrice d'Este written by Julia Cartwright. It is a 1945 second edition.
I must have spent an hour flipping through its yellowed pages, eager to read the biography of this fabulous woman. But more importantly than that, the book brought back many memories of my paternal cousin, and the young boy I met when I was 12 on my first visit to Italy. And there is the picture of us in 1972 tearing up and down the neighborhood, my first time on a motorcycle, let alone driving one! My cousin had great courage, even then.
I returned to Italy 6 years later, when I was eighteen. During that visit, we exchanged gold medallions. At the time, I was wearing a gold cross on a necklace and he was wearing a modern version of the Madonna. Coveting each other's adornments, we traded. To this day, I wear this around my neck, rarely removing it. Here it is:
I have many more fond memories of my favourite cousin - eating at a Il Vecchio Canetto di Milano years ago and then wandering and sightseeing the streets of Milano afterwards.
Thank you Antonio (we call him Fabrizio!). The gift of the book is stupendous and it will be added to my special shelf of collector books. There'll be something in the mail coming to you very soon.
My next post will be the bio of Beatrice D'Este!