Dancing on Sunday Afternoons


Dancing on Sunday AfternoonsThe discovery of long hidden love letters rekindles the memories of Giulia Fiorillo. Born in a mountain village in southern Italy, she arrives in a rough New York immigrant neighborhood and faces not only an inhospitable culture but also violence in the family and in the streets, shattering loss and a love that shapes her whole life.

The original print edition of Dancing on Sunday Afternoons was sold out, but it has now been reissued by Bellastoria Press.

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Praise for Dancing on Sunday Afternoons

“And so, based on decades of daily reading, I wanted to tell you of my appreciation of your extraordinary storytelling ability… I am an art historian by education… Dancing on Sunday Afternoons captured, for me, the essence of the Italian soul – love of family, of learning and, yes of commerce! And so much more – but it is late for me and frankly I am experiencing the euphoria brought about by an exhilarating read.”

“Just wanted to write and say thank you for a wonderful gift you gave me by writing about your family. Everything you wrote is close to my heart. My family came from Avellino also. Everything in your book reminded us of my grandma. All the food you wrote about I still cook to keep the tradition going… You explained the family like it was ours… I gave your book to many of my family….We cried; we laughed. It was one of the best books we have ever read… Again thank you for writing a special book that reflects my family so much. We look forward to your next book that I hope will keep us remembering where we came from and the special traditions that our families have passed on to us. Thank you again.”

“I am reading, and am almost finished, with Dancing…. It is so beautiful, a love story so full of heart that I cry with every reading. It opens my heart to all that is in me. You have written a beautiful story that touches my soul. Thank you and best to you in all that life holds.”

“First of all, thank you for having the wisdom to publish this inspiring and vividly romantic story …The details you chose are so significant and you pour deep emotion onto every page. What a very unexpected delight it was for me to be sent your book.”

“I loved your book and still cannot stop thinking about it! You so incredibly brought to life the characters of Giulia and Paolo that for the few days it took me to finish the book, they became a part of my life.”

Read an excerpt:

I had two husbands–Paolo and Salvatore.

Salvatore and I were married for thirty-two years.  I still live in the house he bought for us; I still sleep in our bed.  All around me are the signs of our life together.  My bedroom window looks out over the garden he planted.  In the middle of the city, he coaxed tomatoes, peppers, zucchini–even grapes for his wine–out of the ground.  On the weekends, he used to drive up to his cousin’s farm in Waterbury and bring back manure.  In the winter, he wrapped the peach tree and the fig tree with rags and black rubber hoses against the cold, his massive, coarse hands gentling those trees as if they were his fragile-skinned babies.  My neighbor, Dominic Grazza, does that for me now.  My boys have no time for the garden.

In the front of the house, Salvatore planted roses.  The roses I take care of myself.  They are giant, cream-colored, fragrant.  In the afternoons, I like to sit out on the couch on the porch with my coffee, protected from the din and eyes of the neighborhood by that curtain of flowers.

I am surrounded by the things Salvatore gave me, or did for me.  But, God forgive me, as I lie alone now in my bed, it is Paolo I remember.
Paolo left me nothing.  Nothing, that is, that my family, especially my sisters, thought had any value.   No house.  No diamonds.  Not even a photograph.

But after he was gone, and I could catch my breath from the pain, I knew that I still had something.  In the middle of the night, I sat alone and held them in my hands, reading the words over and over until I heard his voice in my head. I had Paolo’s letters.


Stories of the search for connection and belonging