Even abroad, you can’t hide your sweet home Alabama

January 5, 2017


Ciao everyone!


We’re still enjoying beautiful Italy, and are now in Florence just in time for their huge Epiphany celebration on January 6th. There’s going to be a car show and parade in addition to many concerts. Here, Christmas is still being celebrated in big ways with all the decorations still shining bright. La Befana will be visiting the good children tonight to deliver presents. Click HERE to read more about L’Epifania.


Children pin their letters to La’Befana on trees found all over town centers and train stations. Adults write their hopes for the new year.


Did you think I quit working just because I’m away? Oh no! Here’s my article for AL.com this week. Hope you enjoy it, and Buona Epifania to you!

Leslie Anne Tarabella - blog. La Befana dolls
La Befana dolls and stockings in the marketplace.



I don’t know if it’s allowed or not, but I somehow managed to pass through airport customs with a little Ziploc bag of dried black eyed peas. You see, you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl, and I knew if I were in Italy on New Year’s Day, the chance of them having black-eyed peas for Hoppin’ John would be slim-to-none.

And by the way, I was right. 50 million kinds of beans, but no black-eyed peas that I could find.


Not only did we eat the traditional Southern good-luck meal on New Year’s Day, but I also woke up in the middle of the night — Rome time, to check the score of my college alma mater’s bowl game. Heavens to Betsy, Chief Osceola and Renegade fell down, and adding to that drama, my friends who attended the University of Alabama and Auburn University were playing games within the next few days. The drama of college football was suddenly mingled with thoughts of ancient chariot races.

I can’t seem to leave home far behind, and according to others who travel, it’s the same for them. No matter how spectacular or breathtaking the scenery may be, part of us is always longing for . . .  click HERE to finish reading the story on AL.com.

  • I live in Tennessee, so I SO relate to this! Looks like you’re having fun! We had a big get-together on New Year’s Day and my mom baked her lasagna. Sure enough, my husband went to the grocery store that night just to get Black-Eyed Peas. He had to track down a clerk who showed them where they’d hidden a secret stash. (Not sure why they’d hidden them…didn’t they want to SELL them?) So while we’re eating lasagna, he’s plopping Black-Eyed Peas on everyone’s plate. I did eat a few…just for superstition’s sake!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      What a charming and smart husband you have! You’re sure to have a wonderful 2017!

  • Oh you lucky girl…I have been out of the loop..what a great trip you are on. I had black eye peas for the first time about 26 years ago from a friend’s wife who just happened to be from Alabama…I forgot about it until I read your post. Bye the way, the friend’s wife’s name is Natalie, not sure where in Alabama she was from, but those black eye peas were great.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh, sure, everyone here knows Natalie and we love her! Glad you were introduced to black eyed peas. I’m sure your life changed on that day for the better!

  • Happy New Year, Little Bitty Pretty One! Oh, you’re in Italy! I love Italy and have been there quite a few times! How nice though to be there at this time of year! How funny you took your black eyed peas! You are a true southern girl! Thank you for popping in to see me and here is to another year of blogging with you.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I’d love to hear about your travels to Italy. I know you have the camper and take-off throughout the US now and then, but isn’t traveling overseas interesting!

  • You can take the girl out of Fairhope but… Today I found myself counting how many days till you’ll be home.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Awww! Miss you too!

  • I have certainly enjoyed your travelogue from the comfort of my sofa. You look very glamorous in all the photos — I am surprised they don’t ask if you are a film star!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Ha. In this family, it’s like traveling with the paparazzi.All three of my men take so many photos, there’s bound to be a decent one if you sift through them all! We’re having a blast, thanks for reading along!

  • I can’t believe you took black eyed peas with you Leslie Anne, now that is serious superstition! Ha, don’t you realize you already are blessed with luck being on this fabulous trip! I am certainly enjoying my virtual travels with you, and yes, you can spot a snowbird from a mile away 🙂 It’s wonderful to hear that Italians love Southerners, yay! Safe travels-

    • Leslie Anne says:

      It wasn’t so much superstition as it was tradition! You know, if your Grandma does it, and your Mama does it, then you have to do it too!

  • You never cease to amaze me. What wonderful memories you are making for your family.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks so much Carrie. Considering we’re traveling in fairly tight quarters, it’s been fairly peaceful and loving so far. (Fairly).

  • Leslie Anne, I do love Italy and have traveled there on three different occasions and find the Italians to be so welcoming. I am always mistaken as coming from Texas…born, raised, and lived in Alabama my entire life and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. However, Italy is a beautidul country and I do like to visit, I think Venice is still my favorite city! Have fun!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh, how we wish we could visit Venice! We tried every way we could to work it into our schedule, but it’s not going to fit in . . . this time! Great excuse to return, don’t you think? That’s funny about people thinking you were from Texas. Maybe it was the cowgirl hat? Ha!

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