Happiness Project, Photography, Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday

Cesarina…the Woman behind the name III

While working at the Ferrari Villa, Cesarina meets her soon to be mother in law. One day while shopping at the village market in Carrara, Emillia approaches Cesarina. As she was smelling the fresh zucchini flowers Emillia asked Cesarina if she was related to Sophia Loren. She immediately had a grasp on the heart strings of Cesarina. 

Emilia told Cesarina she had a son that lived in America, and she was looking for the perfect italian girl for her son. Giuseppe and Cesarina started writing to each other, or actually….Cesarina wrote to Giuseppe. He kept every letter she wrote to him. He would call home, and they would be able to talk on the tele to each other.

He sent care packages to her, and his mother. Soon their long distance relationship was blooming. Cesarina became a part of his family,while he lived in San Francisco. She grew to love her new family, visiting them on her day off from the Villa. 


Guiseppe drove a delivery truck for an Italian florist. He knew all the shortcuts to reach destinations in a hurry. Even the banks liked it when he brought in fresh flowers for the day. Cesarin was excited and anxious about living in United States. She got to know the family and felt at ease with them, but it was a big step to travel at “the end of the earth” as California was called by so many of the people she knew.

Now, she had to tell the Ferrari family that she would no longer be with them. Maria was like the intellectual mom she yearned for all her life. It was heartbreaking for her to allow herself some happiness too. She had spent nearly 20 years with the Fearri family. She listened to the valuable advice Maria gave her, and saved her money. She had enough for a ticket to fly to California. 

All she had were photographs of him, and this was one of her favorites. Saying hello to her new life, meant she would have to say good bye to her beloved Italy, and her loved ones.

First she said good bye to her father. Her stern father that had her taking cows out to the field by the time she was seven. The man she sent most of her money to every time she was paid by the Ferarri family. The man that set her on this path.

Saying good bye to Maria. A woman that taught her about so much…how to clean house, keep house, cook, take care of clothes, distinguish good fabrics from the best fabrics. Living at the Ferrari Villa was like a college education, and finishing school all in one. Maria gave Cesarina a new world. When Cesarina told the Ferrari family she was leaving someone (I believe it was Stephanie) said “your going to America on a plane, but you will be back on a boat”. 

Next time…Cesarina takes on America 

Design, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Genaolgy, Happiness Project, Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday

Cesarina…the Woman Behind the Name II

The next 18 years Cesarina would spend her time at the Villa of the Ferrari Family. She once told me the time she spent there was better than going to any college. It was a finishing school of sorts for her. By the time she was a teenager, she was sent to the Ferrari Family Villa. She started off as a maid, the one scrubbing the floors, and waxing the floors. After she would wax the floor, and sigh in relief of being finished for the day…Sergio would slide down the entire corridor, and ruin the fresh wax. She would then run after him, and catch him by the ear. Taking him to Maria, (his mother), where he would have to explain what he had done.

The villa was a big place, after coming from a one room stone house. Cesarina had her own quarters at the Villa. Soon, after all her hard work, Maria promoted her to the head Housekepper. She was very close to Maria, and even after Cesarina came to the United States the two of them regularly wrote long letters to each other.

Ferrari Villa

Maria was quoted often, even though the family had money, once a week Cesarina had to plan a meal that was not decadent. Sometimes, they even had a salad, with a boiled egg. Maria reminded Cesarina that being humble and never forgetting where one comes from is an education in itself.

Utilize what you have on hand. There is no need to go to the store constantly, if there is proper planning…everything has a substitute, so learn how to substitute one item for another.

Cabinets that are open should be as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. Keep all the linens with colored bows for each member of the family.

Clean the house by starting with the ceiling, and then the tops of the furniture, and work your way down to the floor.

Always keep fresh flowers in the house.

Warm lemon water with a teaspoon of honey is a cure all for everything.

Always put things back where they were found.

The place should look better, upon leaving.

Grade of the Villa

When attending a crowded venue, know an escape route or don’t stop.

Save your money, save your money, save your money.

Buy one fine thing for yourself every now, and again, this makes the item more precious, and more worthwhile.

Bella figura…leave the house presentable, always look your best, and present yourself with dignity, grace and beauty.

When going to visit, go with something in your hands. My grandmother used to tell us…”if you are not knocking with your feet, you are doing something wrong.” Which means…Your hands should be full, your hostess worked hard to put something together for a visit. Pay some respect by showing her how much it is appreciated.

In the Garden

Cesarina in the garden.


A more personal photo of Cesarina.


Here she is having some fun in a Fiat 500.

The dogIn front of the Villa with the dog she loved. I know she loved the dog, someone wrote on the back that she loved the dog and the dog loved her. Once she lived in the United States, she did not want another animal. StephanieThis is Stephanie and Maria. Cesarina never called her “Maria” to me. She always called her “Senora Ferrari”, and I am guessing, that the flowers are pre wedding flowers. Is Maria trying to console Stephanie?

In the VillaInside the villa, in the foyer.

readingStephanie reading a book. Even though it looks rather staged, I love it!

Wedding Stephanie, is getting married. With all the stories that Cesarina told me, I never heard about Stephanie. These photos were taken in the early 60’s, and Ceasrina did not stay at the Ferrari Villa much longer.

StephanieHere is a photo of the two of them after Stephanie was married. Even though there are several years of letters from Maria, there are no letters from Stephanie. I will have to read the letters to find out what happened to her. Since they were close in age, maybe it was a little jealously between the two of them. Maria acted as a mother that taught her so much, it was her advice that stayed with Cesarina all those years. She was a constant in her life.

I will add more next week…

Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday

Ceasarina; The Woman Behind the Name

My mother in law was Cesarina. With a name like Cesarina, her father must have known in some, she was destin for bigger things in her life. 

  She came from a life of poverty.  She made a new life for herself in America. She was the oldest of seven children. She was born in 1935 in Drusco, Italy. It is a small town in the district of Parma, Italy.

Since she was the oldest, she was responsible for moving the cows. At an early age, about 7 years old, she had to hike out on the mountains by herself with the cows. She would always tell me how much she hated the smell of animals, and it was all due to moving the cows everyday of her young life.

She would get up early and milk the cows, bring the milk into the one room, stone house for her mother. Her mother would utilize the milk to make cheese. Her father spent time hunting, and Ceasarina had to set off with the cows. Making sure they stayed off the property of other people. Making sure that all of them were accounted for each day. She told me about one time when she lost a cow. She was sitting under a tree, daydreaming about a different life. A life far from the country life that she had known all her life. As she sat under the tree one of the cows gave birth to a calf, and disappeared. She frantically looked and looked for the cow. She stayed out past the time when her parents were expecting her, and did not look forward to going home to her her fathers anger.

Once she got home, she got a beating by her father. Life was much more harsh in those days, and the loss of a cow was a big deal. We can try to bring our 21st century judgement into the equation, but that is not going to change what has already transpired.

While she was young her view of Americans was an unpleasant one. She grew up in a small town where many of the plans of World War II unloaded their bombs. The children thought the Americans hated them. They would hide as the bombs were exploding around them. It was a tumultuous time for the world. The children of her village wondered what was it they had done to America to get them to hate this little town in Italy.

One good memory that she shared with me was when she predicted that a calf was going to be born to a cow that was very old. The men of the town thought it was impossible, but she knew in her heart that the cow was going to give birth. Once the calf was born, her father was proud of her, and this always brought a smile to her face. Knowing that there was a moment in her life that her dad appreciated having a smart girl.

Around the age of 13, she was old enough to help her family. She worked as a maid for the Ferrari family. This move to a Villa would turn out to be a turing point in her life. (more next week)