Ciao a tutti! Bo re da!
For those who haven't met me, yet, let me tell you something about myself. I was born in Italy, in a small town called Guastalla, near Reggio Emilia. My family is well known in the area because my 'nonno' Remo Chezzi, my grandfather, and his 3 brothers were highly skilled carpenters who built boats used for commerce and transportation on the river Po. I grew up watching my nonno making boats...I remember I used to enjoy messing up all his nails and tools unitl he had enough of me and told me to go and help my nonna Giulia in the kitchen...that's where I have I got my passion for cooking and for Italian food!
My childhood memories were enriched by stories of many famous actors and personalities who visited Boretto, my hometown, and the nearby villages along the river. I used to enjoy watching the films about Don Camillo and Peppone, the 'local heroes', and hearing Pavarotti, Mirealla Freni and many more opera singers born on Emiliano soil. My favourite aria is definitely Nessun Dorma sung by Pavarotti....
I always had a passion for languages and foreign cultures! I owe my mum and dad my passion for travelling and my natural attraction to languages and people. I speak fluend English, French and I also studied Spanish and German. I went to Parma University, and that's where my passion for Wales started!
While studying in Parma, I obtained a scholarship to study at Cardiff University. I had been several times to the UK prior to that, but I had never been to Wales. When I crossed the border I fell literally in love with this country and its people.
One day I visited the Rhondda Heritage Park with my parents. I was absolutely fascinated by the history of the coal mining in South Wales, and to learn that at the time the British Empire was expanding thanks to Welsh coal, the Welsh were discovering the ice-cream brought in by the Italians. When I returned to Parma, I decided to write my dissertation on the South Wales coalfield societies and Anglo-Welsh working class literature. Something was 'driving me' to Wales, and in my heart I knew I would come back to stay for a long time!
Two years later, I returned to teach Italian as a Foreign Language Assistant at the Cardiff University School of European Studies, Translation and Politics. It was mid September 2001 and I have been in Cardiff ever since! I think after so many years I am proud of feeling a bit Welsh somehow... to the point I even married a Welsh and I now have a Welsh Italian boy myself: Oscar Luigi Tudor. It was all written in the stars!
In 2008 I was a founder member of the Arandora Star Memorial Fund in Wales, and in conjunction with the Italian Honorary Vice Consulate in Cardiff and other associations, I helped to raise awareness of this war tragedy, and set up the first memorial in Wales for the victims of the Arandora Star. That was one of the most beautiful things I have ever done!
I have given a few talks about Italians in Wales and my PhD on cultural Represenations of Italians in Wales has now been published as a book. In the mean time, I still enjoy teaching Italian at Cardiff University.
I dedicate this website to all those Welsh Italians I have met in many occasions and who have helped in so many ways! I have to thank Tim, one of my most promising students of Italian, for his technical help and support!
I hope you enjoy reading the pages of this website...and please get in touch!