Dino Island, Crawford Tower, Francis Marion Crawford

Francis Marion Crawford and the Italian Novel

What 19th-century American writer set 20 novels, a short story, 5 non-fiction works and a play in Italy? Prolific, imaginative, romantic, entertaining and fantastical, the born storyteller possessed a firm grasp of Italian culture, a sensitivity to character and a penchant for the bizarre. But alas, he is nearly forgotten. Francis Marion Crawford, who traveled the world over and made …

Bernalda, Murder in Matera

Murder in Matera: Southern Italian Skeletons in the Family Wardrobe

How would you feel if you were the descendent of a murderer? Helene Stapinski grew up hearing stories about her great-great grandmother, the strong-willed matriarch and murderess who fled to America and gave life to the Vena family of Jersey City, New Jersey. The legend gnawed at Stapinski, so she decided to play history detective and embark on a journey …

Karen Haid with students in Villa San Giovanni

Meeting Students in Villa San Giovanni

AN OLD CUSTOM It was a little later than I had wanted to arrive, but there were still a good ten minutes before the presentation was to begin. Rounding the hallway, I could see the aula magna or assembly hall, full of students, waiting rather patiently, I thought, for a school event. I entered through the doors in front with …