Signora’s Stories


Signora’s Story

Many People ask me whether or not I was born In Italy. The answer to this question is NO. Normally what follows next is another question like, How come you can speak Italian so well and write it too? Well, I have two very special people to thank for the gift of language- my mum and nonna. I was born in Preston, Melbourne and for the first 10 years of my life I lived in Thornbury with my family and my beautiful nonna, Alessandra.

My Nonna lived with us for nine years. My Nonna only spoke Italian and knew very limited English like Hello and Bye.Whilst many of my friends shared a bedroom with their siblings or had their own personal bedroom, I shared a bedroom with my Nonna. Nonna always spoke Italian and I responded in Italian or English depending on the mood I was in. Before going to bed each night, Nonna would ask me to kneel down beside my bed and together we would say the Ave Maria in Italian. There were some nights that I could not fall asleep and my Nonna would tell me the the story of Cenerentola- Cinderella. I loved the story so much that most nights I would ask my Nonna to retell the story again and again.

I have so many wonderful and fond memories of my Nonna. In many ways I thank her everyday for the gift of patience and understanding but more importantly the gift of the Italian language. I happily grew up in a bilingual home where my Dad spoke English most of the time and my mum and nonna spoke Italian all the time. At an early age I was immersed in two languages and using both languages quite competently everyday. At school, I learned how to read and write in the Italian language. The Italian language is so much apart of my life and my life story. Now, I am so happy to be teaching primary school students the Italian language as it was taught to me so many decades ago.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my Nonna, Alessandra. I thank her most days for giving me such a wonderful and precious gift. She will always live forever in my heart and thoughts.

My Nonna, Alessandra and my mum, Adelina in their younger days

My gorgeous Nonna, Alessandra several weeks before she departed for Italy


My Nonna, Alessandra and I at my first birthday party. Signora is the baby with the pink party hat. The baby next to me is my cousin.


My Nonna Returns to Italy

The day had arrived that my Nonna was to return to her birthplace, Italy. My first thought was how could she leave me behind. I begged her constantly to take me with her. My Nonna expressed that she missed her other children who were living in Italy.

I spent the entire car trip to the airport crying. I was very, very, very sad. I begged her not to leave. My Nonna promised to return to Melbourne soon.

I held her hand so tightly and I didn’t want to let go. My Nonna was my best friend. She taught me how to speak Italian, cook delicious gnocchi, dance the tarantella, sew and respect and care for others.

The moment arrived that she had to board the plane. I took one big breath and whispered gently in her ear, “I love you Nonna. You are the best Nonna in the whole wide world”. She gave me the biggest hug, kissed my forehead and whispered back in my ear, “Ti amo per sempre”. Tears fell gently down my face. She was then gone. I watched the aeroplane depart. As the plane took off, my heart was hurting so badly. I wondered when would be the next time I’d see her. I was missing her already.



Share your special memories of your Nonna or Nonno by posting a story about them. Why are they so important in your life?

32 thoughts on “Signora’s Stories

  1. Your story is very inspirational. I loved my grandpa and he died the very day of my 3rd birthday.

  2. Thank you, Signora, for sharing your story with us. HT loves having you as an Italian teacher!

    My Grandma is special to me because she is always there for me when I need someone to talk to and she is loads of fun to spend time with. Just like you, Signora, I love cooking with my Grandma.

    Thanks again.

  3. I can`t imagine losing my grandma. You must of been so sad seeing her return to Italy.My grandma is special because she is never really angry at me and since she was born in Ireland, she makes the best soda bread!

  4. Your story is very interesting Signora. I love learning Italian! You must have been very close to your Nonna.
    My grandma and grandpa live in China. I go to see them once a year. When I was born and when I was 3, they came down to Melbourne. What other dishes did you cook with you Nonna? Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  5. Wow! I found your story very heart felt and inspirational. I would have cried and cried if my Grandma left to live in a different country.

  6. That is an amazing story Signora. It almost made me cry when your Nonna left to go to Italy. I love the fact that you kept learning Italian when your Nonna left.You must have really loved her. I love my grandparents too.

  7. My Nonna and I are very, very close. She now lives with my family and I. She joined us a little after she was diagnosed with cancer in her leg. She is very strong and tough and never gives up. She prays whenever she can and now the cancer is gone. She actually got it twice! She loves my sister and I very much. She has a very intense story that started, being the middle child of three girls.This meant that she was the one that had to do all the work on the farm that a boy or male would usually do. When she grew up, she got married. On the very day she was going to surprise her husband with the special news that she was having a baby, her husband died in a bike accident. After that because of the shock her baby died too. She then moved to Australia where her tragic life continued. I love my Nonna so much, she is a very inspirational person.

  8. Cara Julia, your Nonna is so lucky to have a grandaughter like you who knows about her hardship and life journey. I am sure you will continue to comfort her in times of need.Our prayers and thoughts go out to your beautiful Nonna.

  9. My Dad was born in England. His family moved to Australia when they were trying to make Australia a place to live. It was a big change for him seeing that he was only 3 years old.I am happy they came to Australia because otherwise he would not of been my Dad.

  10. I don’t know much about my grandpa because he unfortunately passed away before I was born. My sister was very lucky to meet him although she doesn’t remember much about him because she was only young.

  11. I love my Nan and Grandpa so much and this is why I would like to share this great story with everyone! Before my Grandparents were married, a day before, my Grandpa’s brother died. He was a policeman. When the day came for my grandparents to get married they were so upset. When the word got to everyone they had a raffle and they thought that they should win the raffle and so they did!

  12. Grazie Renee for your comment maybe you could ask your parents to tell you about your Grandpa. I am sure he would have been very proud of you and Lauren.

  13. Questa e’ una bellissima storia- What a wonderful story,thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us.

  14. Ciao Candice, I really enjoyed making Italian biscotti and homemade gnocchi. My Nonna was an awesome cook!

  15. Wow, your story is so inspiring Signora! I love my grandparents. When my cousins lived in Dubai, my grandparents, would go and see them a couple of times a year. It felt like they were gone forever when they were there. I missed them so much.

  16. Signora your story is lovely! I love you being our italian teacher.(it is very sad when someone passes away.)!!!!!

  17. Hi Signora! Your story about your Nonna was amazing and sad. My Nonna died nearly 2 years ago and whenever we were coming for dinner, she was either making pasta or chicken in sauce (or something else) and whenever she was making something with sauce, you could ALWAYS smell the sauce from the pan, when she had finished and the smell of sauce always filled the WHOLE house where ever you went!! Ciao!
    Da Alessia F

  18. My Nonno and I are very close. We are so close, we see each other everyday! My Nonno lived on a huge farm in Italy with his parents and brothers and sisters. He moved to Australia when he was still in primary school. A few years later, he met my Nonna, Rosa. They got married around 1963. Ever since then they have been happily married and have had 4 children. I love my grandparents very much!

  19. Hi Signora, it is Chloe from 3SW. I read your story about your nonna and it is very interesting. It is also a bit sad. I cannot beleive that your nonna lived with you for nine years. You must have had lots of fun times with her.

  20. Cara Chloe, my Nonna was a strong, brave and remarkable lady. Her smile and bubbly personality use to light up the room, she was a beautiful person to live with. I think about her everyday.

  21. My story is about my grandfather living without my grandmother. My grandmother died when I was one years old. I don’t really remember her but I have her in my heart always. My granfather is fine and I love him dearly. He really doesn’t talk about my grandmother and that’s okay but I really would like him to share their story with me..I know some of their life story because my mum and dad told me. I thought it was a dream at first but when they explained to me how my grandmother died I felt very sad. I love my Grandmother and Grandather very much even though one is here on this Earth and one is in Heaven. This is my Grandmother and Grandfathers story.

  22. Grazie Pierra for sharing this beautiful story about your grandparents. I am sure one day when your grandfather is ready he will tell you about your loving grandmother. You are so lucky to have your grandfather in your life. May you continue to enjoy many good memories and times with him.

  23. Wow Signora, it seems like you and your Nonna were very close. Your story was very moving and you two must have had so much fun together. Unfortunately I never got to meet my Nonno and Nonna, but if I did I hope that they would be as loving and caring as yours.

  24. Wow, what a fascinating story.Those stories are really inspiring. Signora, you have a really interesting life and I would love to hear more. Arrivederci da Emily C

  25. When my uncle was born, my grandparents from my mum’s side moved from Dublin to here, Melbourne. A couple of years later, my mother was born. Since then, my grandparents have called Australia home, but hopefully when my great grandad turns ninety, we’ll go back to visit all my second cousins and everyone else. That’s my story of how I got here!

  26. Hi Signora, this blog is amazing! You worked very hard on it to make all the stories and events at Holy Trinity,

    From Monique C G 4mb

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