Going on hiatus – for a great reason!

May 7, 2009 at 2:33 am (Italy, Music, Travel)

Books to the Ceiling will be on hiatus while I am in Italy. I leave tomorrow and return on Saturday the 16th.

It is exactly forty years since I have been to this beautiful country, so I am thrilled at the opportunity to return. I’ll be in Naples and on the Amalfi Coast. Reading about the history of Naples has been fascinating, and I am looking forward to my first visit to that storied city.  And I hope, in honor of my brother David’s fervent devotion to the music of Richard Wagner, to glimpse the Villa Rufolo in Ravello, where the composer stayed in 1880 while working on my favorite of all his operas, Parsifal.

Here is the sublime Good Friday music from Parsifal. Performers are Kurt Moll, Siegfried Jerusalem, and Waltraud Meier, with James Levine conducting.






Yes, many wonders await me…But first, in my effort to be a modern traveler, I decided that I needed to acquire and master certain new devices which were scarcely dreamed of when I was wandering the continent those many years ago. Here they are, starting with the most challenging:




Heartfelt thanks to the woman at the Verizon help desk for her endless, cheerful patience. She probably thinks I was born around 1890, or have been living in a cave. Thanks also to my equally patient husband – and he needed to be, trust me.

Actually, I’m really grateful for the clock: it is relatively simple to operate and made feel as though I were not a complete incompetent.


  1. Martin Edwards said,

    Have a great time!

  2. Mibsy said,

    Oh, I can just imagine all the wonderful stories you will have to tell when you get back! I admire your new devices which all look alien and inscrutable to me! 🙂 Have fun!

  3. Elaine Simpson-Long said,

    I went to Amalfi and all along that part of the coast some years back and visited the Villa Ruffelo. Glorious sunny day, dazzling sea and oh the view, the view! Loved it. Have a simply wonderful time

  4. Seeking – and finding? – Wagner’s ghost at Villa Rufolo in Ravello « Books to the Ceiling said,

    […] I left for Italy, I wrote about my sense of mission with regard to the Villa Rufolo. So, when I found myself actually there, I was already primed for an extraordinary experience. I […]

  5. Rose Blauvelt said,

    Well, This pretty much put the icing on the cake for me! lol I’m going to Rome for a week and wanted to rent a car, go off to another fantastic city and love every minute of it. Where to go has been the clincher for me until I looked at these pictures of Naples. This is it, Naples is beautiful and I can’t wait to get in the car and venture. Thank you very much. Nowthen, Zwe want to go to a real and wonderful Opera while in Rome, trouble is there are so many different performances in several locations, any suggestions would be so appreciated. Love, Love

    • Roberta Rood said,

      Rose, I almost feel as though I should issue a warning re Naples: when I first got there, I thought I’d been dropped into a cauldron of chaos! The place doesn’t necessarily make a good first impression: graffiti scrawled everywhere, noisy, exhaust-spewing motor scooters, choking traffic…Ah but don’t be deceived: Naples is a treasure house! I packed so much into two days, but I’m still frustrated at what I missed: the Duomo, the two Caravaggio’s resident in the city, the Teatro di San Carlo – and much more. I love the place; I’d go back in an NY minute!

      I’ve written about Tosca on this blog; it is my favorite opera, & Puccini is my favorite opera composer. So – anything by him. My next favorite is Mozart – especially Don Giovannie, Marriage of Figaro, & of course, The Magic Flute. This is my very subjective opinion.

      Have a fabulous time in Italy, a country that I adore. Several people have told me that my photos are gorgeous. My reply: Italy is gorgeous; just point the camera & click the shutter!

  6. Rose Blauvelt said,

    Many thanks Roberta for your advice and ventures. Of course my plans changed once I arrived in Rome. I pretty much lived in the moment, went where I wound up and had a wondeful time not craming too much in. I will return again but avoid Rome as it keeps me. Just a beautiful time there, but much more awaits outside Rome to dream of. Happy travels and rolls of film? Nahh, digital times take care of that problem. Haha

    • Roberta Rood said,


      I’m so glad you had a great trip. As for me, I’d go back to Italy in a heartbeat.


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