All the foundations were in place — an Italian father, and a mother half Dalmatian and half Austrian; the first travel trips before I turned six — first to London, where Papa had moved from Italy — then international boarding schools, and other countries, countless other countries, major diversity, and meeting all kinds of people. And the foundations were laid for me to end up loving this diversity and these infinite paths that whetted my appetite for knowledge and action, and ended up converging in the land of Siena like the strands of a single cloth in which I wove cultures, nature, music, and art. And these are the passions I want to tell you about.
It all started in an English boarding school in the countryside around Lake Geneva, amidst the laughter of schoolmates and chatter in many languages, the start of simple, generous, true friendships. There was Anna, the only Italian who joined me in making it over the hump of the English language; there was Penka from Thailand, Gunilla from Sweden, Tatiana from Germany, Joanna from California, Diana from Iran, of Jewish origins, and the unforgettable Saleha, an Indian Muslim who I saw bowing every morning next to the bed, concentrated on praying with a closet curtain over her head. This was a revelation in itself — I’d never suspected that were religions other than mine.
And this is precisely the point — the years at the boarding school brought me new perspectives on life and gave me the tools to learn to welcome them, often even take them as my own. It also had the side effect of making me very curious. It became a great springboard for making me a unrepresented optimist who thinks nothing is impossible to handle. It also gave me the ability to adapt to all kinds of circumstances and choose to change without too many regrets. All the foundations were there for me to dive headlong into what came after that boarding school — new trips and new experiences.
In Clarens, close to my boarding school, Tchaikovsky composed his famous Violin Concerto, that formed a backdrop to my memories of my time in Switzerland.