Tuscany in Toronto
Anyone who has traveled on the Toronto subway system or visited New York’s Grand Central Station recently could not help but see a sophisticated ad campaign about Italy. With the slogan “Italy for life” the two dozen different posters go beyond the usual photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to portray everything from spas to locations for business meetings. The posters sing about “landscapes where emotions come alive,” “culture that inspires” and “artistic beauty that fascinates.”
You don’t need to convince me. Still, I wanted to find out more about the campaign so I called the Toronto office of the Italian Government Tourist Board, told them about my book, and was offered a meeting the very next day with media officer Salvatore Basile and Enzo Colombo, Director for Canada, who’d been in the job less than a week.
As someone who has spent a professional career as a journalist and author trying to arrange interviews, I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to be received so expeditiously and with such enthusiasm. One of the themes of Fantasy in Florence is how much we can learn about life and how to live it from Italians. Here’s another lesson: when someone asks to see you, say yes.
So, on twenty-four hours notice I had a delightful 45-minute encounter with my two new friends. Enzo Colombo has just arrived in Toronto, but he knows Canada well, having been posted to Montreal in a similar role in the past. They were happy to hear of my book. Indeed, Enzo had met author Frances Mayle when he was working for the Italian Tourist Board in San Francisco. That office arranged several events with her until her book, Under the Tuscan Sun, became so famous that she had no more time for such undertakings.
Enzo has kindly invited me to attend a Tuscan workshop December 6 at the Columbus Centre where people from Tuscany who work in hospitality services will meet with Toronto-based individuals in the same business.
I have been swept into this family as if I had been born into it. It’s a familiar feeling. Sandy and I were made equally welcome when we lived in Florence. Sal and Enzo, thank you for making me feel at home in my home, Toronto. Only an Italian could do it.