La letterina di Natale – The Little Christmas Letter

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To Mother and Father all my love for Christmas, Eugenio.

Once upon a time, when I was a child in primary school in Italy, on occasion of the Christmas festivities we used to write a special letter called ‘la letterina di Natale’, ‘the little Christmas letter’. This was not meant to be a wish list for presents, it was a simple Season Greetings short letter addressed to our parents to be opened on Christmas morning.

The letters from our class all read exactly the same, the content was dictated by our teacher who left no room for any attempt at creative writing, in it we simply wished the best to our parents for the festive season and the new year to come, we thanked them for looking after us and finished off by promising to be good and study hard.

What I loved about it was the letter itself, beautifully illustrated, printed on light paper, embossed with a golden frame and sometimes sprinkled with glitter. I would relish its feel and look; for me it was a real visual feast!

Since the messages were always the same year in year out I have always been left with the longing to write one of my own so, while the year is coming to a close, allow me to do it now.

Dear Reader,

2015 has been a terrific year for Art to Heart; we had a very busy and productive programme, at times challenging but also full of fun.

We are a very small organization made of people who love what they do, who have a passion for the arts and believe that art can play a transforming role in people’s life, be they children or adults.

We believe this not because we think that we are experts in the field but because our experience in working with people through the arts over the years has shown this to be the case, time and time again.

This passion for art is also what fuels our Magic Turtles Mentoring Programme which has now been running for over four years and whose “hands on” approach is hopefully helping emerging artists, who wish to become facilitators, to find their way in life.

Our clients are mainly organizations and individuals that operate in the arts, community, health and education; many have been with us for years but likewise every year new people join the list.

To these organizations we are thankful for working with us, for trusting us with great projects and sharing their ideas. To the individuals we are thankful for attending our classes in the East or the West, for joining us in our Italian artistic adventures by the tranquil shores of Alpine lakes or on the slopes of active volcanoes.

This year of 2015 also marks my living in Ireland for 30 years! Let me say it has been a hell of a ride and while I wish I could say that I am now ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’ I also know I am not quite there yet.

To all we wish a wonderful festive season and a peaceful and prosperous new year.


Jole Bortoli,

Art to Heart’s Director

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Dear Baby Jesus, bring pace to the world and remember me because this year I have been good. Ludovico.