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Hoping you can help...Panzanno, Italy

Fellow Forum Members,

This past Fall we toured the Chianti region and stopped in a small town late in the day, we think was Panzano. We parked in a small free parking lot below the town. When we got out of the car we had to walk up a long set of wide steps to access the town above. With this information we are hoping one who is familiar with this lovely town can confirm that this is Panzano.

We are heart broken to see what the residents of Italy are having to go through due to the Corona virus. They are such wonderful people.

When we arrived and began our walk up the long stairs, we saw a lovely older lady sitting on the bench at the first landing. She was 89 years old and taking a break from carrying her heavy grocery bags up the stairs.

We stopped and helped her up the stairs while carrying her bags for her. I never saw anyone more grateful. We did not speak Italian nor did she speak a word of English but our mutual admiration certainly got our messages across.

When we got to the top of the stairs she insisted we visit with her at her apartment and make us coffee, there was no talking her our of this. And, we were very glad that we accepted her gracious hospitality. Ended up to be the best coffee we had in Italy, and that says a lot. She showed us the entire photo gallery of her lovely family along with many stories. Needless to say, we fell in love with her.

Now, with what is happening there, we are heart broken to think that she or her family may have been affected by the spreading infection.

So we would be most grateful if someone could help us find out if she is okay. We are hoping that maybe someone who has family or a friend and lives in Panzano could see if she is well.

Her name is Franca, her last name we cannot recall. But she would be very easy to find.

When we reached the top of the stairs there was an apartment building at the very top, on the right side: only a few step from the stairs. Fanca's apartment is the very first door on the right, ground level: step off the top step, turn to the right and go right up to her door.

We would love to let her know that we are thinking of her. During these times , words from a distant friend can be very uplifting. Your assistance can help make this happen, thanks.

Posted by
506 posts

What a lovely story! I’m hoping that someone will be able to help!

Posted by
5308 posts

I agree with Kristen - wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone had a way to find out? If not, I would be happy to go when this all clears up.

Yes it is heartbreaking to think of how the elderly are suffering. Seeing the images from Bergamo — which of course only hint at the suffering — is devastating.

Posted by
415 posts

Download Google Earth- street view. You can walk the streets and confirm your location.

Posted by
1869 posts

What a heartfelt story. Sometimes it's those unexpected connections that will last for a lifetime. I too hope there is reconnection with Franca. Best wishes.

Posted by
5545 posts

We have spent time in Panzano and you described it well. Yes Chef Dario Cecchini or Chef Mimmo Baldi (Enoteca Baldi) could probably help you out.
Or better yet, Karin Dietz at real estate agency “Chianti and More” in Panzano. Email:info@chianti-and-more.com I think Karin might be the fastest to reply. She is German but speaks/writes perfect English and returned emails promptly. We loved our family’s stay in a villa in this wonderful town. All of the people I listed here, make Panzano a wonderful town to visit.
Your concern for Franca is lovely.

Posted by
269 posts

Thanks to all. And I did just message Dario. Hoping he or someone can assist.

Posted by
269 posts

Thanks to all of you for your warm comments.
And, to my delight, we have a happy ending...Franca and her family are all doing well!!
Dario and his wife Kim stepped up immediately and helped out. They were amazing.
If anyone is interested, I would be glad to add our communications to this thread.
Thanks again for all of your support.

Posted by
1869 posts

What a happy outcome! In times of uncertainty this is what we need. You made my day. All the best to Franca and her family. in buona salute! ❤️

Posted by
3456 posts

Deborah, thanks so much for posting back and giving us a wonderful ending.
Please do add the rest of the story.

Posted by
269 posts

PAGE 1 OF 2

Gerri, with your suggestion I wrote this to Dario...

" Rick Steve's Italy Forum said if anyone can help, it will be Dario. So I am attaching my forum comment here to explain my situation.

I am of Italian decent, and have recently visited Italy 2 times and fell in love with the country, the food, and especially the people. My heart goes out to you and your fellow citizens during this time. Our best to you.

We are heart broken to see what the residents of Italy are having to go through due to the Corona virus. They are such wonderful people.

When we arrived and began our walk up the long stairs, we saw a lovely older lady sitting on the bench at the first landing. She was 89 years old and taking a break from carrying her heavy grocery bags up the stairs.

We stopped and helped her up the stairs while carrying her bags for her. I never saw anyone more grateful. We did not speak Italian nor did she speak a word of English but our mutual admiration certainly got our messages across.

When we got to the top of the stairs she insisted we visit with her at her apartment and make us coffee, there was no talking her our of this. And we were very glad that we accepted her gracious hospitality. Ended up to be the best coffee we had in Italy, and that says a lot. She showed us the entire photo gallery of her lovely family along with many stories. Needless to say, we fell in love with her.

Now, with what is happening there, we are heart broken to think that she or her family may have been affected by the spreading infection.

So we would be most grateful if someone could help us find out if she is okay. We are hoping that maybe someone who has family or a friend and lives in Panzano could see if she is well."

Dario and Kim responded within a few hours...

"Dear John,
Signora Franca is doing very well, thank you so much for your lovely note.
We’ve spoken with her son Walter, and passed your message to him. He read our translation of your letter to his mother.

They were both happy, and moved by your thoughtfulness.
Thank you very much for your kind words, we hope to have you again soon in our village of Panzano.
Dario and Kim Cecchini"

Posted by
269 posts

PAGE 2 OF 2

Our thank you to Dario and Kim....

"Dario and Kim,

Thank you so much for your kindness. It is greatly appreciated.

The folks at Rick Steve’s were right, you are very special people, indeed.

We are so happy to hear that Franca and her Family are doing well. We hope that all of Italy will be so very soon.

We are at a loss with no way to stay in contact with Franca in the future. Wondering if Walter would consider sharing his cell phone number with us so that we might be able to send Franca an occasional note or holiday greeting via email, text or WhatsApp?

If it is okay we are attaching some photos that we thought Franca would like to see.

Hoping this would not be too much trouble for you to ask of you.

We are hoping that you and your business are not being negatively impacted by all that is going on. And, we will add you to our prayers.

Please keep in mind that you now have a new friend here in the US, one that you can certainly count on if you ever need anything.

And yes, we do hope to see you in Panzano soon. Or maybe here in the US?

Maybe someone could give Franca a big hug in our absence?😀

John and Deborah"

Kim and Dario respond...

"Thank you John and Deborah,
Your story brightened our day considerably.
We have passed along your message and wonderful photos.
Walter would like you to have his number, WhatsApp is a perfect way to communicate.
All our very very very best,
Kim and Dario"

**These are people who live in a country that is in full lock down; no jobs, no business, no income, filled with fear and anxiety, and they still have the heart to help a stranger from across the globe-and with great pride and enthusiasm. Good people!

We all need to stop into Panzano and give both Kim and Dario a big hug and a very well done. And buy a very big steak too!*

Posted by
863 posts

This makes me so happy! We LOVE Panzano and have met Franca also as we walked up the town. We live in Portland Oregon and Dario was actually supposed to be here right now. He was to be hosting a series of dinners with a local Italian restaurant and this Sunday the Maialata (celebration of the pig). In fact, we had reservations to be at that dinner tonight! We are so sad not to see him, but we are looking forward to when he is able to reschedule and come visit.

This is such a great story. Thank you for sharing!

Posted by
64 posts

Dear dgrieco,
thank you so much for that beautiful story and update. You have truly made my week. I plan on sharing it with all my friends who are housebound.
Take care

Posted by
36 posts

Oh what joy this story brought to me and I'm sure so many others today!! Adding Panzano to my list next time I return to Italy!

Posted by
1833 posts

I, too, am adding my thank you for your heartfelt post. Who doesn't love a beautiful story with such a happy ending! Thank you for this warmth on a gloomy and very cold and snowy day in CO.

Posted by
810 posts

I so enjoyed reading this! Thank you for sharing.

Posted by
159 posts

I have shared this with some friends who don't understand my love affair (obsession?) with Italy. It's not just the food or the wine or the history,art and culture which are unique in the world.
It's the people, their kindness, their love of live and the joy they take in their families. We are seeing all this reflected in the spirit they show during this virus , singing from the balconies to keep the neighborhood going in spirit, cannot imagine this happening in the US.
Going back to Italy as as possible.

Posted by
32 posts

dgriesco , congratulations with your behaviour, it's a very nice story. Off course in Italy, normally the people are very friendly and it's nice to hear that froma foreigner.

Posted by
274 posts

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Gave me a bit of the sniffles :-)

Glad to know that Franca and her family are doing well. I am sure
your communication brightened their day.

Posted by
1648 posts

What a lovely story with a happy ending! It has motivated me to contact my friends in Italy. We've already checked with our friends Dominique and Erik who live in Paris.

The beauty of travel is all the friends we make. We are all family.

Posted by
506 posts

This makes my heart so happy and brings tears to my eyes! What a beautiful story! ❤️❤️

Posted by
269 posts

To all who have taken the time to read this thread and to leave a heart-felt message, I say thank you. It has been a most gratifying experience in so many ways, thanks to all of you.

I can only imagine what our Italian friends are going through. My wife and I were speaking today about what it would be like to have a loved one hospitalized, and not be able to be by their side to support and comfort them.

Little did I know how many US citizens were already anxious and afraid, here in the early stages of our own experience. How wonderful it is to know that this thread and all of your participation has been able to bring comfort and a moment of peace to so many.

With your inspiration, I too have been forwarding this thread to many friends who have been delighted to read it. So thanks for the great idea to do so.

I drafted a list today of the many folks who were exceptionally gracious to my wife and I during our last stay in Itlay. They include all 5 of our AirBNB hosts, our Agriturismo hosts and wonderful staff, the owners and staff at our favorite place to eat in Monterosso, Assisi, Castalina, Colle di Elsa, Venice, Voltera, Volpaia, and the several places that we dined while in Rome.

I plan to get in touch with each one of them and thank them for their wonderful service and send them our full love and support. It is difficult to imagine what it is actually like to have to suddenly shutter your business without any advance warning, and then not know when you will be able to reopen. My heart goes out to each and every one of them.

We all have our favorites in Italy, and other places around the world, and now is a good time to let them know that we are thinking of them and that we care.

As I hear back from them I will be sharing their responses.

So again, thank you for making this what it has become. It is your kind words and warm hearts that will attract more folks to click onto this thread and share in the good feelings this has to offer.

Thanks to our friend Franca who's friendship has inspired all of this. And yes, Franca's coffee was really that good!

Posted by
11676 posts

You have inspired me to send a message of support and affection to a small family-run hotel in the Dolomites where we stayed for 3 nights in early September 2001. It was off the main tourist path, and as their website was only in Italian, Ladin, and German, they probably did not see many Americans. I spoke German with them; the one English-speaking family member was not around as he was off leading bike tours.

We left there on Sept 4, and you all know what happened a week later. Within hours of the event, I received a kind message of solidarity and condolence from this small hotel.

I need to return the kindness and contact them.

Posted by
373 posts

A much needed uplifting, heart-warming story during this time of crisis. It brought tears to my eyes. God bless you for reaching out.

Posted by
269 posts

I'm currently working on contacting all of the more than gracious Italian folks who took such good care of my wife and I during our time in Italy. One of the concerns I've had is that I may find that some are no longer in business and not able to be contacted.

My first experience with this was this morning when I attempted to email Salvatore at Amalfi Car Service. My 2 emails have been returned.

Hoping that someone may know how to get in contact with Salvatore. He is an exceptional gentleman and his car service was second to none. I would very much like to pass along some good tidings to Salvatore at this time.

Posted by
269 posts

Thanks Patty.

So far I have been able to reach out to 3 of those on my contact list in Italy. And I am very glad that I did.

To my pleasant surprise, my email to Salvatore (that failed twice this morning) did finally go through.

All 3 have been more than grateful, but I sensed underlying sadness, fear and doubt, anxiety, and uncertainty in all of the replies.

They spoke of chaotic conditions, used the words awful disease, and were hoping and praying for life to return to normal.

All have thanked us heartily for thinking of them and spoke of the immense pleasure and closeness they received from our words.

In summary, our dear friends in Italy need our thoughtfullness now, more than ever.

Posted by
2 posts

Salve a tutti. Sono Valter figlio di Franca e abito in Italia a Panzano.
Vorrei ringraziare tutti quanti per l'affetto e la simpatia che avete dimostrato per mia madre. Le vostre parole sono state per noi molto commoventi. Ho parlato con la mamma di questo, ho detto che tante persone negli Stati Uniti si stanno preoccupando per lei. Ed è felicissima e molto commossa di tutto questo.
Noi stiamo vivendo un brutto momento in Italia, ma siamo forti e ce la faremo e la vostra vicinanza e solidarietà ci dà ancora più coraggio per andare avanti.
Ringrazio in modo particolare Dario Cecchini che mi ha messo in contatto con Deborah e John a cui va tutto il nostro affetto, mio di Franca e mio fratello Daniele, per avere dimostrato tanta gentilezza verso nostra madre.
Vi terremo aggiornati sulla situazione sanitaria di Franca e del nostro paese Panzano.
Grazie di nuovo a tutti per l'affetto.

Posted by
2 posts

Franca would be very happy to receive postcards from the united states.
his address is:
Franca Calosi
Bucciarelli square 40
50022 Panzano (FI)
Italy.

Posted by
50 posts

I don't know anyone in Panzano bu I hope she does well.

Awesome to see how people in this forum help each other out.
GREAT!!

Posted by
269 posts

Thank you to Franca's son Valter for updating us. Here is the English translation of his reply:

Hello everyone. I am Valter son of Franca and I live in Italy in Panzano.
I would like to thank everyone for the affection and sympathy you have shown for my mother. Your words have been very moving for us. I talked to Mom about this, I said that many people in the United States are worried about her. And she is very happy and very moved by all this.
We are having a bad time in Italy, but we are strong and we will make it and your closeness and solidarity gives us even more courage to move forward.
I thank in particular Dario Cecchini who put me in contact with Deborah and John to whom all our affection goes, my Franca and my brother Daniele for having shown such kindness towards our mother.
We will keep you updated on the health situation of Franca and our country Panzano.
Thanks again to everyone for the affection.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi there,

my father Daniele (Valter's brother, Franca's son) made me read your story.

Reading these beautiful words about my small town and my grandmother touched me. Franca is a wonderful grandmother and a special person.

I have been living abroad for years, but when I return home we are inseparable. I wish distance didn't exist.

I hope that this bad period will pass soon to return to Panzano to spend some time with her.

Fanni

Posted by
269 posts

Fanni,

So happy to hear from you. And yes, your Grandmother is a very special person. We too miss her so.

We just finished listened to her conversation with your uncle about how we met grandma on the stairs. Didn't understand a word but
just listening to her voice is what we needed.

Need to find a way to translate this audio conversation. We are low tech and may take a while.

Where are you living and how are the current conditions for you?

We cannot believe how many new friends we are making throughout this process. Brings tears to our eyes every day.

Thank you again for posting and Be Well!

Posted by
5308 posts

Oh my gosh I hadn't re-read the thread in a while, I had no idea you had succeeded in finding her, and now Valter is writing here!! Incredible and so heart-warming.

Posted by
269 posts

This is an example of the responses we are receiving from from our emails to those we met in Italy during our time there. They are Airbnb hosts, folks we met like Franca, and those who own eateries that we got to know.

This is from William, owner of Ristorante Meioevo, in Assisi. If you are looking for a great food in a beautiful Ristorante, and great service from Massimo, this is an excellent choice. Our friend's Bob and Judy advised us to eat here, their favorite place in Assisi.

Here's is William's response:
"Dear John and Deborah, I cannot explain how much your words fill me with joy and emotion, especially in this sad period of our life.
Thank you for your kind thought for me, for dear Massimo and for all the wonderful Italian people.
Fortunately we are fine and we hope that all this, which seems like a bad dream will end soon, for us in Italy and for the whole world that unfortunately is involved in it.
You are well too, so that we can hug each other soon, when all this is over.
Best wishes to you and Bob and Judy.

Posted by
506 posts

This is such a lovely thread! I am lucky to be both an American and Italian citizen and my heart aches for our dear Italian friends who are enduring so much right now. Thank you for reaching out and showing that love and kindness is not bound by oceans or borders! ❤️❤️