I spent a week with Sira in Sarzana in May 2022. A visit that had, sadly, been delayed by two years because of Covid. After trying to learn Italian for several years, I had got stuck in a rut and was making no progress…. The week with Sira was a fantastic experience and really, really good for my Italian. She is a truly excellent teacher, a wonderful host and enthusiastic tour guide for this very special part of Italy called Lunigiana. We some formal lessons, but most of the time we spoke Italian. Not a word of any another language was spoken, which for me was what was needed. Sira is very knowledgeable, passionate and interested in a wide range of things so we had no shortage of topics for discussion, debate and sharing. The weather was really nice and I like the outdoors, so we spent a lot of time walking in the lovely countryside around Sarzana up into the Apuan Alps and by the dramatic coast (Golfo della Spezia). The footprints of past writers and poets were all around from Shelley and Byron to DH Lawrence. As it happened, the Giro D’Italia (a famous cycle race) was passing by during my stay. Sira gladly humoured me, so we spent a day out driving through the gorgeous Appennine mountains to see the Giro go over a mountain pass. Together we were real cycle fans (“tifosi di bici”) for the day. An added bonus was meeting several of Sira’s friends who came round for dinner. I was a bit nervous at the prospect of trying out my Italian on other people. However, they were all extremely friendly and it was interesting to get (and share) a wide range of views and perspectives on life, wine and Italy and other important things. By the end of the week I was really sad to say goodbye to Sira as she had become a good friend as well as my teacher (“Profe”). I will always remember with fond memories my week in Sarzana.
Ciao Sira and Ciao Sarzana