The Storyteller

Simona, Annie and Cristina

Early in June I had the pleasure to meet Annie Farrell, an American student from James Madison University, Virginia. She happened to be in the nearby Urbino for the ‘Urbino Project’ developed by the Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia), attended by 40 students journalists and media students from around the world between May 26th and June 23rd.

The aim of the project: develop multimedia journalism stories to document the people and places of Urbino and the Marche Region of Italy.

Beatrice, Annie, Cristina and me

I had been contacted by one of their professors a few weeks ahead to organize an interview with my sister Cristina, costume designer, artist, expert in local history and stories, writer, storyteller, founder of the Dirce Project and ‘Un Paese e Cento Storie’. (One Village, A Hundred Stories). It was for the latter project, indeed, that Cristina was interviewed by Annie.

So, one June morning, I went to pick up Annie and Beatrice, her interpreter, at Pesaro Bus Station, and took them to my sister’s workshop.

Cristina had taken out a few of the best items from her collection of numberless old pictures, documents, hats, shoes, bottons, sketches, theatre costumes… (she collects the oddest items and could open up her own museum!).


As soon as Annie and Beatrice arrived, she welcomed them with our typical ciambellone cake (a must-eat in our family, according to nonna Pina‘s recipe!) and freshly picked fruit from our country garden. If it’s true what Rubem Alves says: ‘a meal is the cook’s soul turned into food’, then Cristina welcomed our guests with a ‘piece of her soul’.

The day after the interview, Annie got back to take some more pictures, so we took her to a few loveley villages in our hinterland (Ginestreto, Sant’Angelo in Lizzola, Belvedere Fogliense and Montefabbri).

I’ve often written about LaDirce and my sister. Now I will let the beautifully written article by Annie speak instead.

Before I do though, I’d like to thank Annie, Beatrice and Cristina for the lovely time spent together.

Many wishes to Annie and her future career 🙂

Please note that the picture where Cristina is showing a red bullfighter costume is by Annie.




  1. Grazie mille for this post, Simona! And for the generosity and kindness you and Cristina (and your entire family!) showed Annie this summer. You two turned Annie’s assignment into a magical adventure and a living example of Italian hospitality. We can’t thank you enough for all you have done for Annie and the other students we have sent your way. With much affection, Susan

    • Ciao Susan cara! We enjoyed showing Annie around so much. When we introduce people to the beauty and the culture of this territory, we fall in love with it again and again… We loved to have you and Micheal over for dinner. We enjoyed ‘moltissimo’ your company and cannot wait to have you here again next Summer (please write down in your agenda sometime between May and June next year: ‘cena da Simona con Walter, Cristina e Costanza’!). I hope you and Micheal are doing great. Have a nice September and good days ahead. Un caro (e caldo) saluto da Pesaro e… dalla Dirce!

  2. What an exciting and interesting day Simona– I didn’t know you sister was also so talented. You were so warm and welcoming opening your doors to Annie and showing her the villages around. I’m sure she’ll never forget the day… Another beautiful post– you life seems so fascinating!! xo

    • Ciao Rhonda! My sister Cristina started her career as a costume designer for the theatre and the opera a long time ago… then she became an expert in organizing exhibitions and writing books about local history (and stories). She works also as a copywriter and is the founder of La Dirce Project I’ve so often written about! She is also an artist but well, that’s a different story 🙂

      • So amazing Simona– what a wonderful and varied career. It seems like it would be so satisfying to have produced all that beauty for other people to enjoy! You do have such a talented family, beginning with you! Loving all your posts lately!! xox

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