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Attenti Parenti Serpenti

June 8, 2021

There is a saying here in the Val di Non: “attenti parenti serpenti” which means beware of your slithery relatives. It’s a cute saying that has some merit, however I have found this adage not to be true in my own case. 

My relatives here in Italy are genuinely interested in me, my wife and our life in the USA. While I have seen situations both here and in the USA where relatives are in fact more like vultures than snakes, I must say my family are all gems for the most part.

This old proverb comes from the fact that families here in Italy often feel they have an absolute right to everything that belongs to their extended families. The mentality is “what is mine is mine and what is yours is also mine.” This is dominant thinking here. However, my personal experience has been the opposite. My 98 year old great-aunt wanted nothing of me aside from my love and respect. She got both in huge amounts. Sadly, she passed away a couple of years ago. This is how it ought to be; treating those around us with love and respect. Unfortunately this is seen as thinking from “una volta” (the past). Maybe the old days were in fact better. I’ll be wary of the snakes but always look better qualities from my family.

I have learned but one thing of family: Treat them well and they will do the same. Tell them you love them today; don’t wait for funerals. A little John Lennon goes a long way!

Photo: Zita on her 96th birthday.

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at

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  1. No slithery relatives in my family. Some I don’t agree with on some things, but we either stay quiet about those subjects in each others’ presence, or avoid each other. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m also fortunate not to have any parenti serpenti that Im aware of. It’s the slimeball phone scammers we have to watch out for!

    Liked by 1 person

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