Vernon goes back in time for romantic Valentines

Museum and Archives new pop-up exhibit celebrates historic love

A look back in time at some of the most romantic moments in history is on display in Vernon.

The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives has a new Valentine’s Day pop-up exhibit by Registrar and Assistant Curator Jesslyn Jarvis.

“Bring the special man or woman in your life and come read up on some of Vernon’s most romantic love stories,” the Museum urges.

Just one special moment, captured in black and white, is an image of Leone Caetani and Ofelia Fabiani in an affectionate embrace, taken on a back road in Vernon in 1921.

Check out another interesting picture in Vernon’s Winter Carnival history here

Caetani was the Duke of Sermoneta and Prince of Teano, Italy. He relocated his family, including Fabiani and their daughter Sveva Caetani to the North Okanagan in 1921, partly in response to the rise of fascism in early 20th century Italy. Caetani had previously been to the area for bear hunting in the 1890s as part of a trip across North America.

Caetani died in 1924, devastating Sveva and Fabiani.

“Fabiani, always fragile both physically and emotionally, removed the young 17 year old Sveva from her private school, Crofton House, in Vancouver and she was made to live at home in seclusion with her mother,” states the Caetani Centre heritage website. “Ofelia contrived to keep her daughter as close to her side as possible and managed to curtail almost completely any social contact and would limit Sveva’s access to the outside world for the next 25 years.

Looking for something to do on Valentine’s Day? Check this out

“No longer allowed to engage fully in her artwork, limited mainly to reading via her father’s extensive library, Sveva Caetani essentially became a prisoner of her own home from 1934 until her mother’s death in 1960, only seen occasionally in the town when conducting her mother’s banking or business, accompanied by the diminutive Miss Juul, her mother’s companion. Following her mother’s eventual death in 1960, she was employed as a French teacher at St. James school. She was eventually able to obtain her teaching certificate from the University of Victoria and returned to the area to teach at Charles Bloom Secondary School.”


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