I have written several posts about the way further studies result in further ‘diasporas”. I last met my good friend, Francis Jacobs, currently Head of the European Parliament’s Dublin office, in Dublin in May, as this post records. Francis is part of the Johns Hopkins diaspora, having studied at the Bologna Center seven years before me (our paths later crossed through our mutual enthusiasm for European studies). Francis is half Italian. His mother comes from the Valtelina and Francis and his wife have a summer house in the Valchiavenna, just above Chiavenna. And that’s where we had lunch today, halfway up a remote mountainside, surrounded by chestnut trees gone wild and amid deserted terraces. Francis is erudite and polyglot and I couldn’t even begin to tell you everything we learned today about the area about us. But I’ll try to draw a link with America, in light of our recent trip and the fact that Francis himself worked on Capitol Hill for a while. A lot of people left these valleys in the late 1800s to find work in Sicily, notably picking citrus fruit for the candied fruit industry (a major, if brief-lived, export to America). When California started producing its own candied fruit, it was a logical next step for these workers to leave for California. On the hills around us were many religious shrines paid for by donations from these workers, including a small but touching 1890s shrine just near Francis’s house inscribed as a gift from the ‘Mericani di Menarola’.