Last year a delightful article appeared in the BBC Magazine recounting the experience of a group of grandmothers from Daone, a hamlet in the Val del Chiese, which in turn is part of the Valle Giudicarie. Several of our club members have origins in Daone with last names such as Bugna, Nicolini, Ghezzi, Corradi and Leonardi. In 2015 Daone merged with Bersone and Praso to form a larger municipality called Valdaone with a population of nearly 2,000.

These grandmothers, average age 80, belonged to the Rododendro (Rhododendron) Club of retirees. Their dream was to go to the seashore for a vacation. Most had never even seen the sea. They married soon after the war. They raised children and toiled in the fields while their husbands worked building the valley’s dams. Vacations were considered frivolous, a waste of hard earned savings. Some had never even ventured to the city of Trento,f only 35 miles away.

The word for women in the local dialect is “funne”. Well, these “funne” created a calendar, and each month one of them was featured in a photomontage based on some dreamlike wish. The idea was to sell the calendars and make enough money to go on vacation to the seaside. The calendars did not sell that well, and their hopes were dashed. Then one of their grandsons suggested crowdfunding on the Internet. The results were phenomenal. Donations flowed in from all over the world. They had more than enough money to go on their dream vacation last year. They chose the Croatian island of Ugljan, with the same patron saint as Daone, La Madonna della Neve (the Madonna of the Snow). They arrived just in time for the August 5th feast day celebration. Of course, none of them knew how to swim, but that made no difference. Their dream had come true.

Katia Bernardi chronicles this captivating story in a book and documentary film both entitled Funne, le ragazze che sognavano il mare.

These women have been featured in the media and were honored guests of the Pope.