One aspect of Italy that is nearly impossible to get used to is the fact that it is so picturesque. No matter which way you turn your head, no matter where you look, you see a potential painting. The beauty is almost cliché, it's so prevalent. Storefronts, alleyways, and homes are all well-manicured and decorated with more flowers than you can count.
As we looked out at beautiful rolling hills from Mt. Belvedere and Punchboard Hill, I heard many people say they felt like they were in a scene from The Sound of Music. In a way, they were.
In 1939, following their refusal to perform at a birthday celebration for Hitler, the Von Trapp family (featured in the movie The Sound of Music) fled Austria. They traveled through Italy – rather than Switzerland, as the movie portrays – and made their way to London and then New York. After the family settled in Vermont, two of the 10 siblings, Rupert and Werner Von Trapp, enlisted in the U.S. Army. On April 6, 1943, Rupert being 32 and Werner being 28, both became soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division.
Rupert was a Technician 5th Grade in the Medical Detachment of Headquarters Company, 86th Infantry and was awarded a Bronze Star for his actions during battle. Werner was a Sergeant in Company B of the 85th Infantry. Following the war, both brothers returned to Vermont, where Rupert continued his medical training and Werner became a dairy farmer.
The hills are alive!
A few years ago - I read the Von Trapp book - The first few chapters were so reminiscent of my own now deceased mothers' story of Christmas it was like I was hearing her talk. It must be those family traditions that go way back for folks that were born before WWI. whether in the "old" country or the new one.