A Steel Magnolia: A Conversation with Rosetta Basso Perone

By Anna Foschi Ciampolini

She is an elegant, soft-spoken, strong-willed woman who greets you with the sweetest, most sincere smile you can imagine. A steel magnolia, we could say. Rosetta Basso Perone is a successful business-woman who worked in the family business and then carved a reputation for herself in the field of in interior design. At the same time, she raised a family and developed a series of other creative pursuits. Born in Corleto Monforte, in the Salerno District, Rosetta came to Canada when she was very young, only 18. Her immigrant journey enriched her even if she had to cope with several obstacles. In this interview for Il Marco Polo, she shares aspects of her life journey.

Anna Foschi: When did you come to Canada and what were your first impressions back then?

Rosetta Basso Perone: After the longest flight ever, I finally landed in Vancouver  on a cold and rainy evening in November 1975. My first impression honestly was not the best. I sensed a feeling of emptiness and silence in the air that was almost unreal. I also noticed that people in this part of the world didn’t seem to be very friendly and at first impact very cold…being the optimist that I’m, pulled myself up and decided to give it a chance looking at the glass half full. I started by taking in the beauty of the landscapes, the majestic mountains that surround the city, the ocean embracing the shores. WOW!!!! A beautiful place, for sure a land of opportunity?! Then, I knew that it was important and necessary to work hard, starting with an education through local institutions, mostly by learning a new language for all the requirement  necessary to do so. This could give me the opportunity to have the best of two amazing worlds to call home. By integrating my self gain with the trust of the Canadians and friendship.

A.F. – Over the years, you have built up a considerable professional experience. Could you speak about matching your passions with your choices?

R.B.P. – Over the years to this day I feel very humbled and blessed for all I was able to accomplish and for all the tasks and challenges I took on until now and most of all for establishing and maintaining the special relation between passion and choice two very important words in my vocabulary …in many ways I feel they are the outcome of symmetrical balance in my life. My motto is: IF YOU FOLLOW YOUR PASSION YOU MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE.

A.F. – As an interior designer, what are your guiding principles?

R.B.P. – Guiding principles as a designer and most important as a good worker: LOVE for what you do, CONSISTENCY, PROFESSIONALISM, KNOWLEDGE, and PATIENCE. Lots of it.

A.F. – You recently decided to scale back a bit as a career woman. What are now your priorities and your favorite hobbies?

R.B.P. – Now I’m entering a new chapter in my life. Adding a new brick to my wall is probably the best way to describe my new ventures. I have spent at least one month of the year in Italy since moving to Vancouver. I am planning to spend longer periods of time there now that I’m scaling back. My little village in the mountains of Irpinia Celentana, my home a heritage home I’ve restored in the 90s with the most beautiful view of valleys and hills and caching on a clear day the island of Capri far in the horizon. Because of my love for the outdoors and natures all together you can find me trekking or hiking somewhere in the world, or at home. I love horses and the way they make me feel when I’m close to them. I practice Yoga, Tai Chi  and Meditation. Above all the wonderful things that i enjoy and cherish the most important is the time spent with my grandchildren who are my greatest achievement.


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