When we were children in Mantua, Christmas was celebrated on the 13th of December, for Santa Lucia. Only when we came to live in Milano did the 24th and 25th became so important. At the time we were grateful to those who filled our stockings no matter what day it was…it was Christmas. What is beautiful about Christmas is the joy of giving. In fact every time we love, every time we give or receive, we says “it’s Christmas”! It is a piece of warmth that we all carry in our hearts on every day we love.

Piero Fornasetti was Milanese – the great combination of discipline and industry married to imagination.  He produced over 11,000 designs in his long career and his son Barnaba now carries on this legacy of inspired design.  Fornasetti loved cats.  Here, a very rare and early magazine rack from the early 50’s.  It is called, “cane e gatto”, because on the back there is a picture of a dog.


I wondered whether the end of the world would mean the end for my cats! If they still would have had another life somewhere else.  And whether they had seven or nine lives.   Their exceptional balance adjusts so they land on all four paws and gives rise to the myth that a cat can survive dangerous situations or any fall.   Many believe that with their nine lives they return even after a fatal accident, or the end of the world?

Why nine lives?  In ancient times nine was a lucky number, the trinity of trinities.

But in Turkish, Arab and Italian proverbs, a cat only has seven lives.  I wonder where the other two have gone?  I think they hide them from us, tricky cats, to make sure they always have one left when they need one.

Not so long ago, at Christmas time when people passed each other on the street they would nod and say, “Merry Christmas”!

So to you a nod with love from the cats …what fun to join together, for loving and sharing and not just for this one day.

 During Christmas a visit to see the Last Supper is de riguer in Milano. Everytime a good time to recall the story of  this wonderful painting of “Madonna with the Cat” .

First shown in the late 30’s as a work of Leonardo, it is in fact a work of Cesare Tubino, an artist then known for his reproductions.  Leonardo had sketched this work, Tubino however painted it and, after the show, it disappeared until his death 50 years later.

He kept it in his house where he could look at it every day as he considered it to be his masterpiece and his family only told the world of its true origin when he died.


 This sketch of Leonardo’s of the Madonna and Child  with a Cat  is now at the British Museum. He made it in 1478  ,ink on paper. It was a sketch and a study , never painted. At least so far, there is no painting!

In August of 1981 the word MIR – Peace,  appeared in the sky above this small town.

Since then many people have come here to pray, seek guidance, and see the Madonna, the Queen of Peace.

Here a friend’s video she sent to me of the skies above Medjugorye when the image of the Madonna with her white mantle appeared in front of her.


As December 21st was approaching, everyone was asking whether it was to be the birth of a new age or the end of the world.  Just like everybody else in the world I was wondering what this would mean. The morning of the 21st  I was on my way to Linate airport for an early flight to Paris – the sunrise was amazingly beautiful.

This hardly ever happens in Milano and with all my travels lately, I have not seen this in years and years. An auspicious beginning for the first day or the last day?