Spring Blogfest: Judith Works

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Spring in Rome is the most beautiful time of year.

In my mind the season begins on March 8, International Women’s Day, when all the women wear springs of bright yellow mimosa flowers. The trees lining the streets are laden with the small fluffy blossoms, and florists display small branches mixed with colorful tulips and fragrant freesia.

photo (18)-001The pre-Lent celebrations of Carnival are usually over by this time. The event is much-changed from the bawdy and often cruel entertainments of the past. Now there are parades of costumed children all dolled up to look like not-very-fierce pirates and sweet princesses. The children toss confetti until the cobblestones are covered with the bits of colored paper. Carnival has its own favorite food – a fried pastry called frappe.

Not long after this celebration workers bring out large terracotta pots filled with blooming azaleas. They are placed on the Spanish Steps making a sea of pink to delight the eye. The steps are a favorite for film settings like Roman Holiday and The Talented Mr. Ripley. The steps connect the Piazza di Spagna to the beautiful church called Trinita dei Monti where I once attended a spectacular wedding conducted by a Cardinal who conveyed the Pope’s blessing. At the reception in an old villa on the Appica Antica the groom opened the champagne bottles by popping out the cork with a sword.

In anticipation of Easter, shops are filled with football-sized chocolate eggs covered in bright foil that dazzle the eye and cause children to beg their mammas, or better yet nonnas, for a treat. Grandmother never says no. Shelves are lined with boxes of the dove-shaped cake with almonds called Colombe Pasquale.

On Good Friday the Pope leads a torch-lit procession from the Colosseum to the Palatine Hill with prayers at each of the Stations of the Cross that have been set up for the occasion. Easter Sunday is notable for the huge crowds gathering in front of St. Peters to hear the Pope give his message of hope and peace in many languages. After church, families gather to dine on the traditional lamb often accompanied by the tiny and tender spring artichokes.

Easter in Italian is Pasqua. The day after Easter is called Pasquetta or little Easter. That is the traditional day for the first picnic of the year. Traffic is a nightmare as cars laden with family and food head for nearby parks or the hills to find a patch of grass to put down a blanket and enjoy the spring flowers that bloom profusely under the umbrella pines and next to old chunks of marble left over from some ancient temple.

When the Rose Garden is opened in May I know that spring will soon turn into summer. The beautiful garden has 11,000 varieties in bloom. The setting on one of the Seven Hills, the Aventine, overlooks the Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill. Roses and ruins – an early summer treat.

CityofIllusionsSMcover smallA job in Rome! With her life going nowhere in gray Seattle, Laura’s dream of adventure has finally come true. Husband Jack is on board so he can use the year to take a break and begin painting again. But they soon learn la dolce vita is far more complicated than expected as they are catapulted into a world full of intrigue, deceit and infidelity lurking behind the seductive fool and win, sunny piazzas and crumbling ruins. When Jake dabbles dangerously in Rome’s underground corruption, Laura feels free to search for the key to happiness she desires. Sometimes change can solidify a marriage, and sometimes it can rip it apart. Which will it be?

About the Author: Life was routine until mid-life when a chance meeting led her to run away to the Circus (Maximus) – actually to the United Nations office nearby – where she worked as an attorney in the Human Resources department and entered the world of expat life in Rome. After four years she and her husband returned to the U.S. But they missed life in Italy with its great food and wine, endless history, and their many friends. The gods smiled and another opportunity came along. Six more years in Rome, again working for the UN, followed. The many happy and sometimes fraught experiences are the subject of her memoir, Coins in the Fountain, published as an e-book on Amazon. Booktrope has recently published her novel about expats in Rome, City of Illusions, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and i-Tunes. She continues to travel in her spare time, having fitted in over 100 countries. And, when she is in Rome, she always tosses a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure another visit.

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  1. I love Rome and would love to read your book!

  2. Rome in spring sounds wonderful. Your book sounds like a fantastic read, looking forward to reading it.

  3. sounds like a lot of flowers

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  4. Your post is so full of life, color and food about Rome, which makes me want to travel there right now.

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