European vacation: Fressola talks trip to Italy | News

RUSSELL Vincenzo Fressola addressed the Russell Rotary on Thursday and shared highlights from his latest trip, this time a return to Italy after 30 years.

Fressola said that his first trip, taken shortly after graduating from college with an engineering degree, was a solo trip with only his (now) well-worn backpack as a traveling companion.

His ancestors had landed on Ellis Island, and Fressola traced them back to a small Italian town. His first trip was something of discovering his roots; the second trip was a way to share that with his family.

“One of my passions is travel,” Fressola said. “And I brought my backpack from 30 years ago. It was 30 years ago next week that I returned from Italy from my backpacking tour.

“It started out as a 40-day adventure after college, and five months later I came home,” he said, and stressed the value of sometimes getting lost to find yourself. The backpack, he said, started it all and has sort of become a part of him after being his companion on such memorable trips.

“All you need is a backpack and a day pack, and you’re off to the races,” Fressola said.

Fressola, who is Assistant District Governor of Rotary, also touched on the president elect training for Rotary in March.

“It was wonderful to see all the banners of my 15 years in Rotary,” Fressola said. He also touched on how good he thought it was to get together with Rotary leaders from different areas and states, including the Rotary International Director, but thought that the post-COVID world might change the way the organization meets.

Two upcoming leadership meetings in Lexington, he said, will be mostly virtual.

As Fressola spoke, he focused on his Italy trip, but also made Rotary connections during his travels. Being an international organization, members can be found almost anywhere a person would choose to travel.

The trip, however, was not necessarily inspired by meeting fellow Rotarians around the globe, but rather by … a jigsaw puzzle.

“We had an exchange student from Italy three years ago who stayed with us,” Fressola said. “He was from Bologna, Italy.”

Fressola said they had bought a jigsaw puzzle showing the young man’s home town to put together over the winter months. He said that he had never been there, and so the puzzle was one of the impetuses for the trip.

“It was also my daughter’s senior year,” Fressola said. “Education first is in most of the schools around here from exchange students and trips abroad. She went with six of her classmates and their teacher. and my wife said, ‘If you’re going to Europe on a senior trip, we’re going too.’ So it was a win-win situation for me.”

Fressola said he enjoyed the trip immensely, and that they were able to connect with their daughter along the way as well — although he did tell the Rotary that this trip required more than a backpack and a day pack.

As for races, Fressola and his family were able to enjoy the Palio di Seina Race together. and with regards to the win-win, Fressola said he was able to introduce his family to the extended family he had connected with 30 years previously, visit Rotaries along the way, and share his love of travel with those who mean the most to him . Memories are priceless, he said.

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