Please sign in to post.

Zoe

I am sorry to be the bearer of this news. Zoe has passed away of natural causes, in her home in Ohio. One of her colleagues contacted me this evening.

Zoe was a valued member of this community and my friend. We visited every time she was in Roma and she even spent a week in Roma caring for our kitty one Christmas. Always positive, concise, helpful, and caring. We will all miss her good-natured and spot-on advice.

Posted by
1710 posts

I am very sorry to see this. I have relied on her advice for years and agree - if personality can be captured and conveyed by tenor of responses here on RS then Zoe's passing leaves both our community and her Ohio community much poorer.

Posted by
1271 posts

I am so sorry - such a kind and constructive person.

Posted by
1001 posts

I am so sad to read this. Everything she contributed was useful and kind.
She will be missed.

Posted by
2537 posts

I am very saddened by this news, as I'm sure we all are. She will be missed. My heartfelt condolences to her friends and family.

Posted by
112 posts

I'm sorry to hear this. She was a font of knowledge and I appreciated her insights. RIP

Posted by
1518 posts

So sorry to hear this. I always read her posts which was helpful in my plans of travel. Always helpful with her knowledge and good hearted. We here send our condolences to her family and this time. Your angel wings with be with us during our Europe adventures.
Thank you Zoe

Posted by
1043 posts

While I didn’t personally know Zoe, I felt I got to know her from her postings. She always offered sound advice and a lot of encouragement. She will be missed on this forum.

Posted by
2007 posts

She will be missed. She was always helpful, considerate and tactful. A real loss.

Posted by
617 posts

Such sad news... I always enjoyed reading Zoe's good advice on the forum. I especially liked her recent post, "You know you have a travel addiction when..." I think Rick mentioned this post created by Zoe in his Travel News, too.

Posted by
3503 posts

Thank you Laurel for sharing this sad news. I will miss Zoe’s wonderful contributions to the Forum. We had just recently shared some private messages, too, for my next trip.

Posted by
2597 posts

Oh no, I was so sorry to hear this news. I'll always remember how much she loved traveling and learning each summer as she explored more of Italy, her passion.

Posted by
31071 posts

Laurel,

I'm very saddened to hear this news. Zoe always posted great advice and I'll miss reading her informative answers. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and colleagues.

Posted by
4538 posts

I’m so sorry to read about Zoe passing away. I considered her my friend and I will miss her so... She was always so helpful and thoughtful.

Posted by
11983 posts

I’m really sorry to hear this. I felt like I knew her after all these years even though we never met in person. I’ll sure miss her.

Posted by
14035 posts

Laurel, thank you for letting us know. Like everyone else here, I will miss her terribly. She gave us all so much.

Posted by
996 posts

I've seen her posts on here. I am very sorry to hear of her passing. Thank you for sharing this sad news with us.

Posted by
11731 posts

OMG. I just PM'ed her yesterday wondering where she was and if she was OK.
I am just sick; she had had some health issues but thought she was out of the woods.
Will miss her so much.

Thanks for letting us know, Laurel; I know that you will miss your good friend terribly too.

Posted by
60 posts

I am so sorry to hear this. I will miss Zoe's wonderful advice. Thank you for letting us know.

Posted by
8293 posts

Oh, Laurel. Such sad news. Good of you to tell us. Thank you.

Posted by
1860 posts

Missing Zoe, too. She always brightened the forum with her good advice and wry sense of humor. Prayers for her family and friends in this sad time.

Posted by
752 posts

The most traveled of all of us on this Forum, Zoe was the beacon who had been there first. A true leader, I was just a follower, never to catch up with her.

We had planned to meet in Rome this coming Summer 2018 cause I had just missed her by a few days in 2017. A determined traveler, she knew all the outlying areas too, around the major cities! I just watched her with AWE.

Now what? Now who? I could always count on Zoe to know. My heart breaks for the loss of Zoe.

Posted by
408 posts

So very sorry to hear of this loss. My condolences to her family and friends. May her soul live forever in Italia, which she so loved. We will all miss her.

Posted by
2 posts

I am sorry to hear about Zoe's passing. I have been reading this forum for several years and have read through many of her past contributions because I connected with her approach to travel and her insightful observations. I will miss her voice.

Posted by
2504 posts

I'm sorry to hear of Zoe's passing on. She was always a pleasant and informed source of information...and fun.

Posted by
199 posts

I am so sorry to hear this sad news. I appreciated her knowledge and insights whenever she posted.

Posted by
2007 posts

Oh Kathy! Thank you so much for posting that link. It was wonderful to see and hear such a lovely lady. Her comments will defnitely be missed.

Posted by
3846 posts

So sad to hear - she had such a passion for travel - was just looking over her post about 'you know you are addicted to travel when...' She'll be missed.

Posted by
219 posts

Thank you, Laurel, for updating all of us. Like others, I always appreciated her voice and guidance on this forum.

Posted by
3351 posts

Such sad news. Thank you, Laurel, for letting us know. She had probably forgotten more about traveling than many of us will ever know. So sorry to hear this.

Posted by
1847 posts

Laurel,
I echo the thanks for letting us know.
May her spirit live on, as we all strive to mirror her kind, helpful manner.
She is and will continue to be missed ;(

.........and on her final journey, she was able to "pack light" and arrive at a destination of true peace!!

Posted by
7789 posts

Laurel, thank you so much for letting us know. Her spirit and advice will be deeply missed. If you are in touch with colleagues or family please pass the forum condolences on to them.

Posted by
16796 posts

I appreciate that Zoe was traveling right through this past summer and posting forum replies though Christmas. That makes it feel particularly sudden. I will miss her regular presence here.

Posted by
1731 posts

This online community in particular has been nothing but helpful without much snarkiness at all, and Zoe was one of those that set the tone for the rest of us. Help everyone out, even be nice to the suspected trolls.

Zoe did forge a path for many before us. She was a veteran of the offbeat places like Sicily, Basilicata and Puglia, putting a name and a person to those places, and making us think that, yes, we can travel there too.

I will miss her wit and her sage, egoless advice.

Jay

Posted by
1627 posts

Sad news, Laurel, thanks for letting us know. She helped me with a hotel recommendation for my visit to Naples last spring. I always enjoyed reading her posts.
I'm reminded of how important it is to live fully and, if travel is a passion for you, as it is for me, travel as much as I am able. And, while I am in good physical health!

Posted by
5623 posts

oh goodness. Laurel, thank you for letting us know. How sad (and for me, surprising). She certainly had a gift for conveying the magical moments of travel and her wonder at the things we are blessed to see and the people we are blessed to meet. What an inspiration her trip reports have always been!! Gosh, I'm really sorry for the loss of this person whom I knew only through these "pages." Thank you again Laurel for taking the time to let us know.

Posted by
635 posts

Thank you kindly, Laurel, for letting us know.

In case anyone would like to see her posts, they're here: https://community.ricksteves.com/users/32279/posts

In addition to the thousands of people she helped here, Zoe was very helpful behind the scenes to help make this community a positive place for everyone. Her presence will be missed.

Zoe, to use your sign-off...

Peace in your day,

Andrew

Posted by
4538 posts

Last night I couldn't fall asleep after reading this post. It's so sad to lose a friend.

Another forum friend wrote this back to me:

I hope that in your sorrow you find comfort and peace in your happy memories of Zoe.

So this morning I searched and re-read Zoe's delightful memories of her most recent trip to her beloved Italia

Here are the links of her 2017 trip in chronological order:

  1. Palermo

  2. Erice and Trapani

  3. Siracusa

  4. Lipari Where I left my Heart and my Passport

  5. Catania: Happy to Her Another Chance

  6. Driving in Sicilia with Friends

  7. On my Own Again: Acireale

  8. Napoli and the importance of location

  9. Benevento witches and a back door for Jay in Chicago

  10. Roma, again and again

  11. Orvieto, Tuscania, Tarquinia, Anghiari

  12. Modena

  13. Torino, Verbania, Milano- and Schengen Days are gone

Zoe, I will miss you so very much. You were not only a friend to me but a friend to everyone here on this forum.

And here is Zoe's favorite sign off...

May you find Peace in your day,

Edited to add two more of Zoe’s trip reports...

London-Last Leg 2017

Piazza Armerina, Villa Romana del Casale, Caltagirone

Posted by
230 posts

Laurel, Thanks for sharing this sad news. I met up with Zoe last fall when I visited Ohio and was planning to contact her this week to see if we could meet again at my next visit.

She was as delightful in person as she was on-line here in the Forum.

Peace be with you, Zoe.

Posted by
4456 posts

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend and our virtual friend. I teared up when I read this. Like many here, I feel like I knew her in a small way; her passion for Italy and down-to-earth advice will be missed. I traveled to Italy vicariously when I read her posts. She will be missed.

Posted by
6115 posts

I too am saddened by this news and thanks Laurel for posting. While I never met Zoe, like others here I felt like I knew her through her numerous postings, especially her wonderful trip reports. She was one of the more well traveled posters here and always had good advice for everyone but especially for those of us who travel solo. She will be missed here.

Posted by
1860 posts

And she was very kind and patient with neophyte travelers and posters new to the forum. She will be missed a lot😥.

Posted by
1508 posts

Ditto to the comments above and sincere condolences to her friends and family. Peace to you on your final journey, Zoe.

Posted by
206 posts

Our deepest sympathies. She was instrumental in helping us to decide where to stay in our upcoming trip. She will be deeply missed by all who rely on this forum for valued information. She was always helpful and insightful. so sad...... :(

Posted by
23959 posts

It seems like just yesterday that Zoe and my wife and I were wandering around London together and having such a great time. My enduring memories will be how at peace and happy she was in the garden in the war-destroyed church which is now a memorial - across the street from St Pauls Cathedral.

She had such comprehensive knowledge of world religions and what she didn't know about Italy didn't need to be known.

I will miss her terribly.

Thanks Laurel. Regards to Ric.

Posted by
1264 posts

This is sad news indeed. I enjoyed her informative posts and positive responses to forum questions. Thank you for letting us know, Laurel. Rest in peace, Zoe.

Posted by
11181 posts

I'm shocked and saddened to learn of Zoe's death. She just responded to me in a thread less than two weeks ago. And it really shows how much of a community this is, that I feel I "know" someone I've never met.

Posted by
276 posts

Very sad news. Such a helpful person and pleasant to every one. Prayers to her family and friends.

Posted by
1804 posts

I am so sad to hear this. I used Zoe's 2017 trip reports (and some helpful PMs from her) to plan a trip to her beloved Sicilia this spring. We will follow in her footsteps (even some of the same hotels) from Acrireale to Milazzo, Lipari, Palermo, Trapani and Erice. And I will bring notes from her wonderful reports on each of these places, so she will be in my thoughts daily.

Posted by
1625 posts

Zoe truly lived the Rick Steves philosophy- knowledgeable, generous and kind. I will miss her posts and advice very much.

Posted by
130 posts

So sad to hear this. Zoe's trip reports were so beautifully written and such a pleasure to read.

Posted by
6115 posts

As long as RS forum allows us to search prior posts, Zoe will live on here. The wonderful advice she gave to others and her trip reports that were great reads and so informative also, will be her legacy to all of us.

Posted by
2 posts

Dear Travel colleagues on This forum. My name is Sue and I was a good friend of Zoe from Mercy College. I am so thankful I found my way to Laurel so she could let you all know. I have read all the posts and they are comforting, enlightening, insightful, friendly and kind, just like Zoe. I can say many colleagues are grieved and sad this day. Zoe was a treasure and to be her friend was a blessing. I find comfort reading your notes. I will keep you posted as we move forward without Zoe as some memorials are in the works. Thankful that I can know Zoe through your eyes. As Zoe would say, Peace in your day.

Posted by
2123 posts

Deeply saddened to hear this. So grateful for Zoe's valuable heartfelt contributions to this Forum. She has truly touched many lives. May her emphasis on Peace encourage us to "Keep on Traveling."

Posted by
767 posts

Like everyone else, I will miss Zoe's posts immensely. Not only was she a wealth of knowledge, her posts were always kind, helpful, and frequently good for an unexpected laugh. One of my favorite things about her was that she often a voice of reason when things went off topic. I missed an opportunity to meet up with her in Rome when we were traveling at the same time (and of course am now kicking myself) but her approach to travel has really been an inspiration to me. I am appreciative to have "known" her through the forums.

Posted by
6247 posts

Zoe really seemed like a lovely person and incredibly gracious and infectious...I loved her travel style and zest for Italy. I will really miss her kindness and spirit. She gave a lot of herself to this forum and I'm very grateful to her.

Posted by
11731 posts

My name is Sue and I was a good friend of Zoe from Mercy College.

Sue, our hearts are with you as I know that you were a dear friend. Thanks for offering to keep us posted as it means a great deal to many of us to know that Dr. DeBlasio was as loved and respected at Mercy as she was here. Her students and her passion for enriching their lives meant so much to her, and she kindly and generously shared her incredible wealth of knowledge on the RS Italy forums with countless travelers, new and no-so.

Peace be to you at this difficult time, and I'm happy that you've found some comfort here among the tributes from "Our Gang".

Posted by
307 posts

I shall miss her travels and advice greatly. She was so helpful with our Sicily trip. Although I only found this forum recently, I can see how valued her advice and reports were, along with how many "forum" friends she had.

And thanks that her voice and face were posted.
Peace, and thank you Zoe. I will miss your unbiased, realistic, and lovingly given advice to all of us beginners.
Laurel, I'm sorry for your loss of your dear friend.

Posted by
2235 posts

So sorry to learn of Zoe’s passing. I also found her guidance thoughtful and valuable, and when we both shared about a particular place, we almost always agreed and reinforced each other’s comments. I suppose it is good to know why, when a voice on the forum disappears.

Posted by
23959 posts

I'm waking up this morning thinking first of Zoe. It seems an appropriate way to start a day. Hat's off.

Posted by
9454 posts

I'm waking up this morning thinking first of Zoe. It seems an appropriate way to start a day.

She has been constantly in my thoughts these few days. It is moving and wonderful to see the comments and know how much she meant to this community. I miss her spirit and just knowing she was there.

Thank you all for this fitting tribute. She will live on through the advice captured here and in our memories as a brilliant, kind, luminous, and loving person.

Posted by
5623 posts

I'm so glad for the connection that Laurel and Sue have that allowed us to learn here of Zoe's passing. And Sue what an honor that you've stopped by the Forum and seen a little bit of how much so many of us here think of Zoe.

Andrew, that's also a lovely thing that you let us know she worked behind the scenes too for the betterment of this community, as she did out front, too.

And Priscilla, thank you for packaging together the chronological list of reports from her last trip. I thought I had read all of them at the time, but had completely missed the London portion. It's so poignant to read her account of being anointed after a healing service at Westminster Abbey. She certainly had a very rich life, as one could easily see from the thoughtfulness displayed in her writing. Praying for peace for her, her family, loved ones, friends, colleagues.

Posted by
433 posts

Thanks for sharing this sad news, she will be missed. Her joy in traveling and sharing her experiences is obvious. The kind of attitude that makes this forum so pleasant.

Sincere condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.

Travel while you can!

I appreciate the links to her 2017 trip posts, she inspires me to stay the full 90 day schengen limit. The last post from London ends with “I still have about 5 pounds on my Oyster Card for next time.“ So sad to realize that next time won’t happen for her but glad to think she was planning her next trip, addicted to travel indeed.

Posted by
3475 posts

As we all travel in the coming years, take the time, to say a little prayer for Zoe.

Be it in a church, a little village we never would have known without her or her favorite gelato shop in Bolsena.

Thank you Zoe.

May your voice ring out in heaven as clearly and kindly as it has here.

Posted by
4133 posts

Thanks, Andrew:

Zoe, to use your sign-off...

Peace in your day,

Andrew

We'll miss her.

Posted by
2 posts

Dear friends of Zoe: when Zoe would leave at the end of the Spring semester for Italy, she posted a map of her trip plans so we could know her destinations. I am going to try and find those maps. I just finished reading all her blogs of the 2017 trip. If I cannot find her map I will create one myself. I am going to print (if possible) her blogs. She was so alive to me in her reports. I could hear her! I recall some of the stories - the driving and the dog; the pasta, the frescoe. First thing we did when she returned was to look at her pictures. All I can say is that reading is comforting as well as reminds me what I missed by not traveling with her. Each year we talked but I did not follow through. I miss her. I am grateful for this connection. Sue.

Posted by
64 posts

Very, very sorry to hear about this. Wish her a wonderful next innings whatever that may be.

Posted by
4538 posts

Sue,

Thanks to you and Laurel for connecting with us and for letting us know about Zoe...

Zoe was a treasure and to be her friend was a blessing. I find comfort reading your notes.

I too find comfort in reading all the posts on this thread as well as reading Zoe's past trip reports.

As we all know, Zoe had a passion for travel and she shared that passion with all of us here on this forum.

While reading one of her trip reports from 2016, I love her reply to Nigel's remarks.

Nigel wrote:

You find the coolest places to visit.

jealous.

Zoe's reply to Nigel:

Nigel, they're all on a map. Seriously, sometimes I choose places based on history or art, sometimes because I like the location in general, sometimes just by the sound of the name.

She gave me the same answer when I'd asked her about why she had chosen to visit Verbania prior to embarking on her most recent trip.

I decided to visit Verbania because I liked the sound of it.

Missing you Zoe...

Posted by
1352 posts

Laurel thanks for posting this. Zoe will truly be missed on this forum!

Reading all the replies I'm struck by what a true community this forum is and Zoe was an integral part of this community! Keep traveling in peace Zoe!

Posted by
1623 posts

I just wanted to add my condolences to Zoe's family and friends. Her posts were always so informative and she will be missed.

Posted by
7789 posts

Sue, so very happy you stopped by and can see and feel how much Zoe was a valued member of this community.

I just started going back thru her Trip Reports (thank you Priscilla for linking them!) from last summer and was so struck by this when she was in Benevento:

"For me, this was a very personal trip. I spent an inordinate and perhaps impolite amount of time looking at the faces of people who looked like me. Some of them looked back in the same way. I walked down the street, overhearing conversations in the local dialect, and understood every word. I remembered my father's voice, and unconsciously took on his posture while walking, hands folded behind my back. It's a good way to walk in a city where the wind blows almost constantly."

I remember reading that and at the time thought wow...what a wonderful connection. Now I re-read it thru different eyes and realize how poetically Zoe sketched a story for us and drew us in to share her vacation and experience.

Posted by
2347 posts

She was a reminder and an example to all of us to live our lives according to our own values. I am not religious, but I'm pretty sure she's soaring around ancient churches in Italy. Seeing them yet again, from a different angle. And loving every minute. We'll wait for the trip report.

Posted by
4302 posts

So very sorry to hear this about Zoe. I enjoyed her posts and learned a lot from her, not just about travel but about how to relate to people on a board. I'm sure she was a wonderful friend to those who knew her in person. Thanks, Laura and Sue and Andrew, for sharing this news and her posts, and thanks to Nigel for posting the link in "General Europe" where more of us will find it.

Posted by
4133 posts

Pam, your post brought tears to my eyes. I guess I need to go back and reread Zoe's posts. I've always enjoyed them, but usually just skimmed them.

Posted by
1151 posts

Well, that is very sad news indeed.
She had a lovely way of writing.
RIP Zoe: Keep on traveling.

Posted by
1514 posts

Another Italy addict saddened by Zoe's passing. She was so generous with her advice. Thanks to all who have posted about her.

Posted by
7696 posts

This is a sad day indeed for her family and all of her friends. She will be greatly missed, but may her memory be a blessing to all whose lived she touched.
It is very touching to read all of the posts on here. Like a window into her life.

Posted by
13 posts

Zoe-
Travel well. You were always a kind soul, and may your journeys carry on.
Margaret

Posted by
560 posts

I am very sorry to learn of Zoe's passing. As others have said, besides being a fountain of knowledge, she was a voice of calm during some animated discussions. Her advice on Italy, and her spirit of travel, helped us plan meaningful trips there. I too, will go back and re-read her trip reports with a heavy heart and an appreciation for all she offered us.
Virginia

Posted by
2088 posts

RIP Zoe. Congrats on a life well lived, and thanks for enriching this forum. Would love to read a trip report of your latest adventure...

Posted by
2123 posts

While looking back at Zoe's postings, I discovered that we stayed at the same B & B in Ortigia. It was our all time favorite place in Italy! It brought a smile to my face. Having her postings on the forum is a gift! Grazie.

Posted by
1106 posts

I am sorry to hear of her passing. I am glad that her posts have been saved. I really enjoyed reading them and learning from them.

Posted by
4538 posts

Zoe wrote this on her last trip report about Napoli:

But the real purpose of my visit to Napoli was the hunt for the perfect sfogliatelle

I believe Zoe has found the perfect sfogliatelle and the perfect pistachio gelato!

Missing you Zoe...

Posted by
752 posts

It's Sfogliatelle for me too, every time. Love the tasty textured outer crust and the yummy filling full of dried citrus and nuts, gives me something to taste and chew on. And it's so substantial I get filled up, it's like a meal! Lately I've been sneaking two pastries at my lodging, scraping the meager filling off of one onto the other! LOL! i don't recognize myself anymore. Then I have to hide my handiwork in the trash.

I've been missing spices so much that the kitchen made up a Cinnamon/Zucchero mix for me. I keep it in my room and cart it down to the Breakfast Room every morning. I'm strange indeed. It's all finished so I'm back to basics. This morning I chose what I thought for sure looked like Lemon filling. It probably was Lemon, but like its Vanilla Cream counterpart with No Vanilla in it, this had No Lemon in it. Not sure what I'm going to do about that yet, except continue sacrificing one unlucky pastry for another.

Zoe may not have approved of my tactics, but she would have liked my tastes. I forget she's gone now and then, when all of a sudden reality crashes down on me, and I have to live with the fact that she's really gone, hard as that is to believe. Zoe had way more manners, protocol and ethics than I'll ever have, much more particular than I, more tuned into the subtle things of the Italian culture, that's what made her such a good leader, she went before but carefully so that others could follow.

Posted by
9454 posts

I have not heard from Sue about the memorial. Hoping she will come bac and advise us.

Posted by
11731 posts

I hope so too, Laurel. Random googles haven't turned anything up as far as formal notices/services.

Wish I'd asked her more about her family but there were always too many other interesting things to chat about! I do remember this mention, though:

"When I was a child, my father imported handmade shoes from Italy and I would get a couple of pair custom-made when we visited the factory. He retired when I was a teen, just when that perk would have come in handy. But I remember my footprint being traced onto paper."

Gosh, I hope the treasures from her travels ended up in hands which will treasure them as well.

Posted by
1731 posts

I just started going back thru her Trip Reports (thank you Priscilla
for linking them!) from last summer and was so struck by this when she
was in Benevento:

"For me, this was a very personal trip. I spent an inordinate and
perhaps impolite amount of time looking at the faces of people who
looked like me. Some of them looked back in the same way. I walked
down the street, overhearing conversations in the local dialect, and
understood every word. I remembered my father's voice, and
unconsciously took on his posture while walking, hands folded behind
my back. It's a good way to walk in a city where the wind blows almost
constantly."

You know, the above words from Zoe, when I read them after Pam posted it a couple weeks ago, were personal for her but at the same time very personal for me as well. Some of you may know that a couple years ago I embarked on a short-lived and somewhat ill-fated heritage search in the little mountain village where my great-great grandparents were born, Sant' Arsenio, about 55 km southeast of Salerno.

It was, for a number of reasons, not a fruitful excursion at all from a knowledge-gaining standpoint. The B&B owner that set up the trip was a little (OK, a lot!) short on the truth re: his advance work, my translator spoke almost no English, and the town's gendarmes wanted money for information, which I had already paid to the B&B owner and was not about to pay twice for the same thing. So be it.

But reading Zoe's description of the windswept town, with residents walking with hands clasped behind their backs, was exactly what I saw while wandering the rabbit-warren paths of Sant' Arsenio trying to obtain information on my own while at the same time breathing in the cool mountain air on a cloudy, foggy, windswept day.

Thanks, Zo. Now I want to go back to Sant' Arsenio...

Posted by
9454 posts

My homage to Zoe was finally reading a book she recommended to me, Murder in Matera. Matera was one of her favorite spots. If you are doing genealogy research in Italy, it will be very interesting.

Posted by
6948 posts

I’m seeing this news about Zoe now for the first time because we were away with no internet at the time this post was active. Thank you to the person who brought it back to the top.

Laurel— thank you for letting everyone know. I’m very saddened and will miss her.

Pricilla did a wonderful thing, uniting Zoe’s 2017 trip reports into one post. That way we can all benefit from her gift to us of her insight, compassion, optimism, and poetic, poignant prose.
The Italy forum will lack one of its wisest voices and seem empty for a while.

Posted by
11731 posts

Jay, I remember that particular trip report of hers so well!

Remember this one?

"In Modena, during the Mass, at the greeting of peace just before the communion rite, as I exchanged the Peace of Christ with my neighbors in the pews, I was so touched by their joyous warmth and acceptance of me, a stranger known to them only in Christ, and I realized that they are my family. They, and all the other people in the world, regardless of bloodline or citizenship or politics."

Posted by
7326 posts

I’m so sad to hear this, I will miss her. What a great life she lived that she impacted so many people. Well done Zoe.

Posted by
4538 posts

Kathy,

Thanks for bringing this post up again and for sharing that story about her childhood memories of her father.

I've been busy searching for other posts by Zoe, and have been saving them for future reference. This forum has a treasure full of them!

Thanks Webmaster for keeping Zoe's posts!

Laurel, Thanks for giving us the title of one of Zoe's favorite books. I will check it out from my local library.

Jay, You know she dedicated that post to you, right?

I miss Zoe's sense of humor. This is what she wrote on one of my posts a few years ago:

Time to confess: I, too, microschedule on paper: opening/closing days and times, possible itinerary in morning, afternoon, evening segments. Sometimes I do none of the things I scheduled, but I know what I am giving up or rescheduling. There have been whole days when I looked at my schedule, laughed, and ordered another aperitivo.

Posted by
9454 posts

Time to confess: I, too, microschedule on paper: opening/closing days and times, possible itinerary in morning, afternoon, evening segments. Sometimes I do none of the things I scheduled, but I know what I am giving up or rescheduling. There have been whole days when I looked at my schedule, laughed, and ordered another aperitivo.

Oh Priscilla, I love that! Makes me feel better about how I plan and execute!

Posted by
1731 posts

Jay, You know she dedicated that post to you, right?

Priscilla...honest to Pete, I didn't see that the post had been dedicated to me! Almost eerie & maybe a little determinist that I was immediately drawn to Pam's post earlier this month. Wow.

Zoe celebrated the 'off-the-beaten path' places in Italy about as well as any I've ever read, better than most writers, per se. Maybe it has something to do with her being a child of immigrants, and having visited Benevento earlier in her life. But that desire to be there, to attempt to passively assimilate & be enveloped in areas that most tourists to Italy would not appreciate in the least, struck a chord with me as a fellow American of Italian heritage.

This is frankly why I cannot travel with friends to Italy--I have to do what I have to do. My lovely wife and companion of 37 years, who will not do what I say in virtually every other aspect of our existence, totally defers to my quirky travel plans and thoroughly enjoys it. Yes, we see some 'sights' as it were, but sometimes we find ourselves in a little town in the off-season and stop in a modest, nondescript cafe totally devoid of tourists for a caffe and cornetto to plan our next move. The locals will initially either totally ignore us or stare at us like we had third eyes, almost as if we have to prove our deserving to be in their space. Their expressions are like, '...why are you here? Nobody from the outside ever comes here unless they're lost!'

That's OK, and the absolute best is when they begin to warm up to us after I ask a few questions in my pidgin Italian, and in an instant...we're family. They can't do enough for you. Come to my house. You need to know anything for your travels? I almost choke up just thinking about those experiences, and I have to say that Zoe--a solitary traveler most of the time--emboldened me to venture out of my comfort zone in this regard.

Totally out of the realm of Perilla, Viator and the like. Traditional tourists see so much superficially. They'd see a tiny village like Sant' Arsenio as a dump. I see my past and what has made me.

Once again, thanks, Zoe. This forum and the folks in it are tops.

Posted by
7789 posts

Oh Jay! What a gift that the thread was dedicated to you! Makes me smile to think about her thinking about you thinking about her.... 🤔

I do think I remember your post about the genealogy adventure and think of it when I consider going to the city north of Milan where the GG grandparents came from!

Posted by
412 posts

Very sad to hear. I always enjoyed reading her posts.

Posted by
5623 posts

Loved reading about this tie between her and Jay, and gosh the reminder of what an evocative writer she was.

I also love the excerpt that Priscilla highlighted, for its humor-- the need for the restorative aperitivo!! ❤️🇮🇹🍷

Posted by
3696 posts

I have to thank Jo for reaching out and letting me know this sad news. I have met with her a number of times and we talked nonstop about travel... and caught up on all the gossip about the regulars:) I have not been on the site here for a number of months...just busy with some other stuff right now, but I am sure all of you will miss her passion and wealth of knowledge that she shared so willingly. I usually meet her in the spring shortly before her trips to Europe... I will miss that, but it was definitely a pleasure to make her acquaintance:)

Posted by
2597 posts

Terry kathryn, we've definitely missed YOUR presence on the forum too! Sorry it was under such sad circumstances but thank you for bringing your personal connection with Zoe to light. I wish you well in your endveors and hope you are able to return to the forum more regularly in the near future.

Posted by
1731 posts

The aperitivo comment made me laugh too, in part because I've discovered the aperitivi/digestivi ritual is big at least in southern Italy, and frankly took a little while to get used to--maybe I haven't yet! Our Chicago/Roman friends we had met in Salerno and reconnected with in Rome last March insisted on having a sparkling, non-alcoholic aperativo pre-meal, either at their apartment or at a cafe, never at the restaurant where we were to dine.

Post-dinner, our friends' digestivo of choice was Amaro Lucano, a bitter, dark, herbal drink from Pisticci, Basilicata that to my tastebuds was anything but soothing to the digestion of my (or anybody's) meal. Kind of like Fletcher's Castoria with a chocolate/root beer finish. Yes, do as the Romans do but this was akin to our experience of being served homemade grappa in Taormina, Sicily by the owner of a restaurant after a fine meal and the grappa resembled rocket fuel. Would've loved to have gotten Zoe's take on the Amaro...

Also, Zoe's practice of listing daily possibilities of activities and then not doing any of them---HA!---is a habit I continue in Italy to this day. Who knows--maybe the internally conscious decision to flaunt convention and truly value the contemplative part of travel was her point. Whatever, I love to do it.

Posted by
1731 posts

Some of these posts by our departed compatriot I had read, some were new. But all of them have that wistful, respectful meter that is exactly what I was trying to (unsuccessfully as it turned out!) convey in the other strange thread about cruisers and tourists in general.

Even if I wasn't of Italian descent, I'd still want to implore people visiting Italy: Have respect! Do your homework! This isn't a passive trip to Cabo--this is advanced tourism! Some don't want to prepare that way for a trip, and I get that. They consider research an onerous form of work. But oh my goodness, the benefits!

Thanks, Zo---forever the educator. Now I have to re-handicap my plans for next year. How 'bout a leisurely journey down the eastern coast along the Adriatic? Starting in Venice (never been), Rimini, Ascoli Piceno, Pescara, Bari, Polignano a Mare, daytrip to Matera, Lecce and Taranto, where my dad based while flying for the Allies in WWII.

I think I'd like that.

Posted by
23959 posts

My mind keeps flying back to this thread. In the last 24 hours I have lost 2, one the mother of a very dear friend and the other my cousin's wife with whom I am particularly close.

Knowing that Zoe will help welcome them cheers me, and rereading some of her special work delights me. Light in a dark time.

Posted by
9454 posts

Dear Nige,

So sorry for your losses.

I think of Zoe daily. She impacted my life even more than I realized, and from far away. She was an enormous presence for a tiny person. I am glad we have her trip reports and other contributions to look back on. She could have written a book!

Posted by
3351 posts

Nigel, So sorry to hear of your loss. As Zoe often said "May you find peace in your day". And carry on.

Posted by
4538 posts

Dear Nigel,

I’m so sorry to hear of your losses.
Sending you my sincere condolences.

Dear Laurel,

I once asked Zoe if she’d ever considered writing a book about all her travels, and her reply was; “no, not me!”
I loved her humble spirit...

Posted by
5623 posts

Oh Dear Nigel -- I'm so sorry for your losses and imagine your pain also for your cousin and your friend too. Thinking of you.

Posted by
4538 posts

It’s been two months since we received the sad news about Zoe’s passing away...

Whenever I check the Italy forum I read posts that I’m sure Zoe would have answered.

Oh, how I miss our dear Zoe...

Posted by
3351 posts

Thanks for posting Kathy. Still miss her insights.

Posted by
1625 posts

Thank you, Kathy. I still look for her posts everytime I check the Italy forum. The obituary seems so short in light of Zoe’s many wonderful writings.

Posted by
4538 posts

Kathy,
Thanks for posting Zoe’s obituary.
I also keep looking for Zoe’s posts :(

Posted by
23959 posts

Thanks for that.

I agree - such a full life - such a productive life - such a lovely soul - so few words about her.

Posted by
4538 posts

Dear Nigel,

I love what you wrote about Zoe!

I agree - such a full life - such a productive life - such a lovely soul - so few words about her.

Posted by
14035 posts

Thanks for posting, Kathy.

I miss her wisdom here and still think of her often.

Posted by
141 posts

Oh my goodness.....I just read this sad news. Zoe was sooooo sweet to me, and shared a lot of her vast knowledge in private messages with me 2 yrs ago as I planned our first trip to Italy. She was so willing to share, and never had anything but positive things to say.

Ciao, Zoe......

Posted by
441 posts

Oh this is very sad. She was always so helpful and kind. She will be greatly missed. Rest in peace Zoe.

Posted by
71 posts

I wanted to thank Zoe for her recommendation back in 2015 when I started planning my trip, she recommended we stay in the Amalfi Coast and guided me to a wonderful hotel. So sad to see that she is gone! I do hope that she sees how grateful I am for her recommendation. Our trip was magnificent and the most special place was where she recommended we stay.