My Advent Calendar: Christmas ITALIAN Style

Lulu has been practicing a string of Italian songs in preparation for her school’s Christmas Concert – set for later this afternoon.

Although I am still not fluent in Italian, the repertoire includes a ditty about Moses, Jericho, something with a lot of “Hallelujahs”  in it – and then, rather out of the blue, the rousing 1960’s Gospel songOh Happy Day!” Yes, she sings it in English, but slightly off-key and with the cutest Italian accent ever.

Aliotti Elementary kids have been hard at work at school and Lulu has been practicing a lot here at home too – singing while she sets the table, singing in the bathtub, before she goes to bed, you get the idea.

Last night, she grabbed a baton and began “conducting” a choir of her stuffed animals.  She sang pretty loudly. I didn’t hear much from them, however.


Lulu will be joining her fellow classmates to sing in an impressive 11th century stone church in the historic center of our adopted medieval town here in Arezzo.

The 11th century pieve where Lulu and her classmates will be singing
The 11th century pieve where Lulu and her classmates will be singing

It’s called the Santa Maria della Pieve and it is festooned in columns and carvings and stands guard overlooking the town’s main pedestrian shopping street, Corso Italia.

Pieve04There’s even a gold-cased relic inside that supposedly holds the head of Arezzo’s patron Saint – St. Donato (who apparently was beheaded up the hill near where the duomo now stands and his head rolled down here! – His body is enshrined up at the duomo.  I am not making this up!).

St. Donato's head.
St. Donato’s head.

Tour groups often stop in front of it and get lectures from their flag-holding guides.

When I was a kid, I sang in a few Christmas concerts. A couple in my tiny school’s auditorium or gymnasium. A few at the tiny little Methodist church we attended in Parker City, Indiana

But never in an eleventh century Italian church – complete with Saint’s head.

Oh my.

Merry Christmas, tutti!!


Naked as a Jaybird

“And here he come…Running thru the pole beans, thru the fruits and vegetables…Naked as a jay-bird…And I hollered over at Ethel.. I said,’Don’t look Ethel’…It was too late, she’d already been incensed…” Ray Stevens, The Streak

Lulu likes to be naked.  It’s like the old fortune cookie game in which you add the words, “in bed” to the end of the fortune, except here you just add the word “naked.”

Lulu likes to jump on her bed. Naked.

Lulu likes to color. Naked.

Lulu likes to watch TV. Naked.

Lulu likes to work on her computer. Naked.


You name it, she likes to do it better if she’s naked.

She’s alone in this pursuit.  Unlike some of our Italian friends who proudly parade along with their children tutti nuddi, Scotty and I are a little more modest when it comes to parental displays of privates.  I might be more comfortable typing this blog entry, for example, sitting in the buff, but I have to admit, I have simply never tried it.

But Lulu is footloose and clothing-free whenever possible.

Of course she came into the world this way so it’s probably very natural that her marching parades started just as soon as she was able to walk.  She’d wriggle away when I was dressing her and tear around our apartment squealing like a cheery little pink piglet.

We were living in Paris at the time, so we would laugh and call out that she was “nu comme un ver,” or “naked as a worm.”  Now, here in Italy, she just yells out, “sono tutta nudda!”  or “I’m totally naked!”

She doesn’t even know the English equivalent, “naked as a jaybird” – and it’s just as well. I’ve never been able to figure that out either.  After all, a jay bird is completely covered in bright blue feathers, n’est pas?

Till next time, when you’ll be wondering, “I wonder if she typed this blog clothed or not…??” Ciao, tutti!

Love, Gina

P.S.  Family-friendly nudists?  Or all covered up?  Which kind of family did you grow up in or are a part of now?  No photos, please! 😉