The angel ?: Lessons Learned in Italy #1

You’ve heard of the angel, Gabriel, who was the messenger to Mary about her being chosen to bear Jesus. Or maybe you’ve heard of Michael, the Arch angel in charge of God’s army. Many angels remain nameless to us but, nevertheless are there. We met one. In Italy. At least he became as one to us and we never did know his real name. So for the sake of this blog, we’ll call him Giacomo.

We met him the first day we arrived in the medieval town of Serra di Rapolano. We were early for our check in so we found the only place open during the sleepy siesta time of the afternoon; the local bar where all the men hang out.  We bought some water and ice cream and took ourselves outside to a table so as not to disturb this sacred locals hangout.  He followed us out.

He began talking to us as if he knew us and we tried to explain that we couldn’t speak Italian. Then Drew, our son, made eye contact with him and the real fun started.


We invited Giacomo to sit down. He was animated, as only the Italians can be, explaining something to us. Two men from inside the bar brought their card game outside to another table to observe the show. It was hard to tell if Giacomo was just being friendly or if he really thought he knew us. Either way we had to try to make him understand that we had to move on in order to meet our next landlady.

Our daughter-in-love, Megan, had brought a cheat sheet for Italian and was trying to help Drew tell him of our appointmant.


It didn’t matter. Giacomo rose with us and followed us to our car, all the while talking and gesturing. We thanked him for the invitation to his home for dinner (we think) but had to decline. We shook his hand and got in the car and said goodbye over and over again. Then we drove away while he was still there talking. It kind of broke my heart.

We made up stories about Giacomo for the rest of the week. What if he was really the lord of an estate and just roamed around town greeting people? What would his family have said if we had followed him home that night? We’ll never know. We didn’t see him again until it was our last day there.

You see, we were staying in a small apartment off a small piazza, in a small town. Our Fiat 500L was a nice size for 4 adults but not for these little villages. We would park the car down below the walled town and walk in and out every day. But the last day I asked Mark to drive into the piazza so we could load all of our luggage.

Our Fiat 500L

When we came out to load the car we were surprised to see Giacomo! He was in our piazza with another man, just sitting and talking. When he saw us he jumped up and ran over to greet us just like an old friend. Once again we tried to make conversation with him and explain we couldn’t speak much Italian. He went on and on. After much shaking of hands and gesturing we got into the car and started to drive. But Mark couldn’t remember how he managed to get out of the piazza the first time he drove in. He started down the narrow lane and couldn’t quite make the turn. But never fear,there was Giacomo, waving us forward and cheering us on as the car came closer and closer to scratching the ancient walls.

Finally we were through the harrowing turn and we were thanking Giacomo profusely and high-fiving this wonderful angel in disguise. Thank you Giacomo, or whatever your earthly name is, for being there when we needed you and being every bit the neighbor that you are!


This is just one example of how God puts people in our lives for instruction and blessing!

We’re relieved we never had to drive through this one!

One response to “The angel ?: Lessons Learned in Italy #1

  1. Lovely story. So frustrating not to be able to understand or speak the language. Your vacation trip of a lifetime will never be forgotten!

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