Friday, January 09, 2009

Remembering IACP member Maria Teresa Berdondini

Maria Teresa Berdondini

IACP friends Maria, Lisa, Ruth, and Maria Teresa Berdondini (far right)

Maria Teresa Berdondini, who served as IACP Italy Country Co-Coordinator with me for the past two years, died in August after a long illness. Though she was unable to come to recent international conferences, something she loved to do, she did attend our Italian Section luncheon in Rome last year and had every intention of participating fully in the future; however, at certain point she wrote that she felt she was “fighting against windmills”. The following is taken from notes that she wrote about herself last year. I will always treasure the memory of this accomplished, energetic and beautiful woman who enriched my life, and the lives of others, by her friendship. --Elizabeth Wholey, Italy
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Maria Teresa Berdondini, originally from Emilia Romagna, spent 18 years as a manager of five-star hotels in Italy and Spain before settling in Montecatini Terme, Tuscany, with her husband, Giuseppe, who is also in the travel business. She served as IACP Italian section co-representative, was a licensed AIS Sommelier and culinary demonstrator, and a member of Slow Food. Her passion for research in the food and wine fields enabled her to lecture about the origin and evolution of Tuscan cuisine to many travelers, including groups from the Smithsonian. In 1997 she established Tuscany by Tuscans, an Italian travel consultancy, which coordinated programs for individual travellers as well as for food professionals. Tuscany by Tuscans was created with a desire for freedom in travel, and she designed personalized itineraries into undiscovered areas, visiting lesser known art treasures, artisans practicing traditional crafts, and small agricultural producers and wineries. Her company was recognized by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine as a Top Travel Specialist in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
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I would like to share this memory of Maria Teresa with my fellow IACP members. I first met Maria Teresa at the Montreal conference in 2003 when we sat together at lunch. A warm and engaging personality, she made sure that I met other international members during subsequent days. We kept in touch after the conference and started making plans to meet again at the next conference. In 2005 we shared a room together at the Dallas and had an incredible time. In 2007 my husband died of cancer and Maria Teresa was diagnosed. I never deleted any of the messages that Maria Teresa sent me that year. Even as she battled cancer, undergoing operations and chemotherapy, she kept sending me messages of hope and expectations, that I finally would visit her in Italy and that she would be able to visit me in Mexico. The last message that I received was her 2008 New Years greeting. She never gave up hope for herself and for others. She will be missed.
--Ruth Alegria, Mexico

1 comment:

Elisa64 said...

Maria-Teresa and I rented a house together in Firenze in the 90's and had a great time together. We both worked for a five-stars hotel in the city-centre and I still cannot believe what I've just read.
I will remember her as a strong and brave woman with a huge sense of humor. Ciao Maria-Teresa,

Elisa Chianale, Brussels