I want to be in Italy when I’m 80

A caravan pulls up to our neighbor’s house and the music starts. Bells are ringing, people are singing and shouting joyous greetings. The house is lit up with all the outside lights (which is very special here since electricity is so expensive!) to welcome the local bandwagon of people, gifts, and good cheer.


This Christmas Eve mission? To visit each and every house in this tiny valley where someone (or more) is at least 80 years old. And there are a lot of them! At least 20 people out of a population of 100 or so.

I stand on the terrace and watch and listen. My heart fills with joy, I smile. And I think to myself, I want to still be here when I’m 80.

Merry Christmas to all.

18 responses to “I want to be in Italy when I’m 80

  1. Sorry Nina,I don’t want to be here when I’m 70.

  2. I want to be in Italy when I’m 80 too. I need to get on it!
    Thank you for sharing this. Wonderful!

  3. i want to be in italy too…now though:)
    merry xmas from NZ….

  4. How absolutely wonderful…and I only have 20 years and about 2 months to go.

  5. What a lovely tradition. I am sure they are all “waiting” for the visit as well.

    • It is remarkable. Every year they do something special (in addition to the visits). Last year they made a calendar with everyone’s picture in it. Not sure what they’ve done this year. I’ll find out soon when I go visit the neighbors!

  6. Ha, I’ve always said I’ll have my ashes flung off the edge of the gardens at the end of Corso Vannucci but it sounds like I’d be missing out on all the fun if I wait that long…. You have to love a society that respects, ne celebrates, its elders like that. I don’t see much of that round here and unfortunately the elders respond accordingly. This is a great reminder Nina and a gorgeous post. xx

    • This was just my thought, Janine, on being elderly in Italy. It is so different than the U.S. When we first arrived in Italy, we realized we were seeing elderly people everywhere–in the piazzas, in the parks, outside of schools with their grandchildren or great-grandchildren, in the markets. In so many places in America, there are NO elders out and about. Why? They seem to be hidden away in hospitals, institutions, or private houses/apts. What’s the deal? Are we ashamed of our elderly? We’re all going to be there one day. So, yes, I want to be here in Italy and have some recognition that I’m a person, maybe even still a beautiful person :-).

      • That last part is guaranteed Nina….I couldn’t agree more with everything else you say. I do judge a society on how it treats its elders. There are some beautiful older people just as there are beautiful younger people but that’s because they’re either beautiful on the inside or they’re not. Age has little to do with it….

  7. I hope I’ll be here with you Nina!

  8. Traditions are what make a place…and a people. I pray you will continue to enjoy your beautiful life. 🙂

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