La Dolce Vita
An exciting phase of my life began in May 1982 when I went to a conference on “Love and Philosophy in the Italian Renaissance” which took place in Naples. There I met the woman who was to be the great love of my life–Giuliana Mariniello. She was a gorgeous dark-eyed Italian beauty, a Prof of English Literature specialized in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. Among other things, were both passionate about photography.
Giuliana was having some marital difficulties at that time, when we first met, and when I told her that I was a psychologist, she thought that perhaps I could help her revive her failing marriage. However, there was a strong physical and intellectual attraction between us and within a few days we had begun dating. Before long Giuliana decided to leave her architect husband in Naples and to move to Rome to begin a new life there.
In the meantime I was enjoying my bachelor life in Florence where I was studying intermediate Italian and running a psychotherapy group for women. I was scheduled to do a few workshops at the Institute of Psychosynthesis in the summer. However, I got restless staying home too much and after a few months I applied for a job as a tour guide with Globus Gateway Tours. I was hired immediately, but this meant giving up my Italian course and my plans for my workshops at the Institute of Psychosynthesis.
So now I launched myself on a new career—as a professional tour director. This job only lasted for several months, but I enjoyed it. Every few weeks I flew to London and was assigned the job of leading a new tour group bound for France, Switzerland, and Italy. The usual tour consisted in a few days of sightseeing in Paris, then a one night stand in Lucerne where the tourists shopped for watches, chocolates and other Swiss products, and then on to Italy, usually with a couple of nights in Venice, and two or three nights in Florence.
The tours culminated in Rome. There Giuliana was waiting for me. After staying for a few days in Rome to be with my lover and to recuperate from the tour job, which could be quite demanding and tiring, I would fly back to London to pick up a new group and start another tour. It was often exasperating and very exhausting, and I soon grew disenchanted with this job, so one day I quit.
I then took a much needed month-long holiday and went (with Giuliana) to England to spend a week in Oxford and a week in London and then to Paris and Marseilles. I was her hide-away lover, her clandestino, as she had been mine in Paris, Rome, and other places during my tours. We had a wonderful time at a little hotel in Woodstock, a short distance from Oxford, where we had marvelous time making love in a gigantic antique four poster bed. From Oxford we traveled to London, where we stayed in Chelsea and went to the theatre every night. Particularly memorable was a matinee production of “Twelfth Night” performed outdoors in Regent’s Park.
After our adventures in London we returned via train to Paris and from there took an overnight train to Marseilles and the French Riviera. I recall one time, when I lost track of time while making passionate love in the public park in Antibes, we missed our train. Another time, in Marseilles, I left Giuliana sitting in the train while I went looking for a mailbox. Suddenly the train started to move. Giuliana was terrified. There she was, surrounded with piles of baggage. She didn’t dare leave the train and abandon our luggage, but she was worried about leaving Marseilles without me— especially because I had the train tickets!
When we arrived in Florence Giuliana told me that she had had a good time, but she was tired of me and wanted to end our relationship. I was dumbfounded, and begged her to reconsider and to think about it. She left for Naples that night, but after a few days she phoned me and invited me to join her there.
Shortly after Giuliana left Florence, I was shown a beautiful apartment with a view of the Duomo (cathedral) and all of Florence below and offered not only this but a car as well. Despite the beauty of the apartment, I was undecided whether I would stay on in Florence. I felt it was more important to go after Giuliana, my dear love and win her; so I decided to forget all about the beautiful apartment and pursue the beautiful Giuliana.
I made a complete fool of myself discarding my self-respect completely and throwing myself at her desperately, rushing to Naples on an overnight train and begging her to go off with me to the Sorrento Peninsula and explore the Amalfi Coast.I really didn’t care where went as long as she agreed to travel with me. Finally she consented.
We stayed at a lovely small hotel in Ravello with a panoramic view of the Amalfi. coast below. It was delightful. However, when we drove back to Naples, unexpectedly Giuliana drove me to the train station and told me that she wanted me to leave. She was tired of me again, she said. She wanted to be rid of me once and for all, to be free to do as she pleased.
Was she nuts? I was stunned, and I just couldn’t believe it. It was like Florence all over again. What was it with this woman anyway? Was she a psycho? A femme fatale? She reminded me of Henry Miller’s Mona. I begged and pleaded with her and eventually talked her into sailing to Capri with me, where we eventually spent a very peaceful and loving honeymoon like month together.
We rented a small house in the country, high up on the island near the Villa Tiberius. Each day in the mornings I did research and wrote while she read and lay in the sun. In the afternoons when the temperature cooled down we went to the beach for a swim usually at the Bagni di Luigi. In the evenings we often went for walks in the town stopping at the Piazetta for a drink.
Then we went home and made love.