This is the third installment on my journal of
our trip to Italy. We left Betty’s hometown of San Pietro to drive to
Patsy’s hometown of Sant’Eufemia.
It was about an hour and a half away
going through the mountains, but we took our time, savoring our couple
of hours of freedom, and arrived about five hours later. [We drove via
Castel di Sangro, Pescocostanzo, S. Antonio, Passo Leonardo, Campo di Giove
Roccacarmanico. Giuliano and Rosalba drove as far as Castel di Sangro
with us. They helped us find a bank and an internet café where
we sent our first email to our families.]
View north as we went over Passo Leonardo on the way to Sant'Eufemia
When Pasquale lived in
Sant’Eufemia, it was all farming. Now it is a tourist town in the
middle of the Maiella National Park. We stayed in a large house with
cousin, Maria Pantalone and her husband, Domenico diGiovine. They are
ages 74 and
respectively. They live in Boston most of the time, but come for two or
three months to Sant’Eufemia each year. [We had some trouble finding
the house as Mark wrote down the wrong house number on Via Roma. We
eventually figured it out.]
Here is Domenico diGiovine in front of his house at Via Roma 159.
Domenico spoke English pretty well; Maria
not as well. I do not know why the focus of Italian life is eating, but
gathering around a large meal socially seems to be what is done. Maria
would cook way more than we could eat and then wonder why we weren’t
eating more. They took us to two restaurants while we were there. All
the food was very good, just too much!
Mark with Maria and Domenico
Maria cooking homemade spaghetti.
[After dinner, we walked around town. Saw the
church and the municipio. Sant’Eufemia is on the slopes of Mt Maiella.
On the other side of the valley is Mt Morrone.]
Mt. Maiella (taken from Roccacarmanico) Sant'Eufemia is on the left
across the valley.
Mt. Morrone (taken from outside of Sant'Eufemia)
Church of Saint Bartolomeo, built in 1653
Inside the Church
[On Saturday, Domenico joined us for a drive
via Pacentro to
is the nearest large town. They had a
big market in the town square. We bought a USA Today there - our first
English news in a week.]
Pacentro - Built
on a ridge line high over a valley.
[We drove back via Popoli where there
was a fish
restaurant that Domenico wanted to take us to on Sunday. We we
returned, we learned that Leonia Pantalone had stopped by to visit.
Leonia is the daughter of Frank
"The Strongman" Pantalone who is honored in a web site developed by
Kristi (Petro) Niedzwiecki. Kristi had been in Italy in 2003 to visit
Leonia. We were lucky, she was still in town (she lives in Chieti) and
stopped by later that day.]
Leonia Pantalone and Mark
afternoon, Domenico took us to see Mark’s father’s old house. The house
has been completely renovated is being rented out as a summer
Mark at the door to his father's old house.
Back of the house
Front of the house
Basement of the house
[We visited the church, S. Bartolomeo. That evening, we met
Tony Crivelli and his wife Joann who now live in Australia. He was
going to Aliquippa later to visit a cousin, Teddy diCosmo. Later, we
Angela Crivelli DiNardo and her daughters, Carla and Linda. They also
Australia. Angela is descendant from the sister of my grandfather.]
Mark and Maria with the DiNardo's from Australia.
Linda on left, Angela Crivelli DiNardo and Carla DiNardo
Sunday, August 15th, was Italy’s biggest
holiday, “The Feast of the Assumption.” We went to Catholic Church
service with Maria and Domenico; the church was crowded like church at
home on Easter Sunday. The normally quiet mountain town of Sant’Eufemia
was packed with visitors. [Most of whom just parked on the sidewalk or
at least half on the sidewalk and half on the road.] There are many
picnic areas around and Italian people came up from the hot cities to
the cooler mountainous area for a holiday family picnic.
After church on Sunday : Domenico, Mark, Sally, Maria, Angela diNardo,
Libby and John DiVecchio
[For dinner, we drove to Popoli to that
restaurant that we visited the day before. Through some mixup, it was
closed when we got there. We ended up eating at a very nice restaurant
in S. Antonio. Sally had fish.]
Maria, Sally, Mark and Domenico
[On Monday, we drove to Pescara. Pescara is a
seaside town (like San Diego) on the eastern coast of Italy on the
Adriatic Sea. It was a pretty easy drive, about an hour, half of that
on the autostrada. Parking was hard to find but eventually we did. We
walked along the beach and had lunch.]
Sally wading in the Adriatic Sea
Sally on the beach - we really looked like tourists!
Mark spent time at both San Pietro and
Sant’Eufemia at the church and the “municipio” (city hall) researching
his family tree. The church in San Pietro had records back to the
1600's. We also visited both cemeteries.
[On Tuesday, we talked with John (Giovanni)
(Liberata) DiVecchio. They are from Illinois. John was born in the USA
but moved with his parents to Sant’Eufemia when he was three. John and
Libby are the parents of Gene DiVecchio, an Internet correspondent of
Mark. Mark also met the children of Maria Felicia DiVecchio, a cousin.
She was the sister of two DiVecchio’s who lived in Aliquippa. I met two
men, Raffaele Timperio and Nicola Timperio who both remembered my
Raffaele is one year younger than my dad, born in 1918. He remembered
playing with dad the day before he left for the US.
Nicola lived across the street from dad's house. He was born in 1914
and spent 6 years in Canada. He went to the US in 1963 and saw my Uncle
Tony. He said he saw my dad at the house when he was there in 1976 but
did not recognize him. He remebered later.
[Also on Tuesday, Mark and Domenico spent time in
the Municipio looking at old civil records and in the Cemetery looking
for ancestors. Mark has many fewer relatives here than he has in San
The signs say:
"Quello che siamo, sarete, preghiamo per voi"
"What we are, you will be, we pray for you""
This is the foundation of the old chapel of the cemetery. There is a
new chapel now in a newer area of the cemetery. The locked metal lid in
the center of what was the floor is where bones are placed. In the
past, in ground burial was the custom. Since the cemetery was small, it
was constantly recycled. Every few years, an older section would
be dug up to be reused. All bones found were put into the basement of
the chapel. (The tombstones were discarded, apparently.) Today only a
few in ground burial sites remain. They are all being replaced with
above ground crypts. Now, I've been told, the town officials keep track
of which in ground graves are dug up. This was not done in the past so
there is very little historical information to be found here. The
oldest in ground grave that I found is from the 1940's.
The only cousins I could find in the cemetery.
These are Maria's grandparents.
On Wednesday, we headed back to Rome (a day
earlier than we had originally planned.).
[We left about 10:00 A.M. and drove to Scafa to get
on the autostrada. Then west to Rome where we got on the GRA again and
drove around to exit 1 (Via Aurelia). We took Via Aurelia into Rome,
drove past the Vatican and up Viale Giulio Cesare to our hotel.
Giuliano had set us up with this hotel because it was near the Vatican
Museum. We registered and brought our suitcases in. So far the driving
in Rome was not too bad. We had planned to get to Rome in the early
afternoon during the rest time. Rest time along with the fact that in
August, many residents flee the HOT city for the country, made the
streets pretty empty. We got directions to the train station from the
hotel clerk and headed out to return the rental car. It was exciting
but with the directions, Sally’s navigating and Mark’s excellent
driving, we found the train station and found the Hertz rental car
return. (Total driven 1059 km.) After returning the car, we walked to
station (under the Termini train station) and took the subway
to the Lepanto station, near the hotel. That evening, we had dinner at
a pizza restaurant - only our second time out for dinner alone! We
found an Internet Café and sent a few more emails. We walked to
the Vatican Museum to be sure we knew where to go the next morning.]
We got up early Thursday morning to be one of
the first in line for the Sistine Chapel [in the Vatican Museum]. The
Sistine Chapel is actually only a small part of a huge museum of
sculptures and painting from the Roman times. We spent four hours
seeing as much as we could.
The line for the Vatican Museum at 7:45 A.M. Later on in the day it
gets much longer.
Unfortunately, it was not air conditioned, so
we were baking in the Rome heat. (Made it harder to enjoy the very
interesting history we were seeing.)
[We visited almost everything in the Musei
Vaticani - the Sistine Chapel, the Raffaele Rooms, the Egyptian Museum
and the Pio-Clemente Museum.]
We bought some fruit on the way back to the hotel
and collapsed until 5:00 in the evening when we started again. We
walked for four hours and saw so much of Rome - the Colosseum, the
many Roman ruins [Foro
Romano], old churches, the Trevi
Fountain, etc, etc. [We also walked to the Piazza Novana.
This is a
real night spot. It’s an outdoor market combined with street
entertainment. Rosalba had taken us here on our first night in Rome but
we got a chance to spend more time now.]
One end of Piazza Novana
Roman Forum (Foro Romano)
Here is a real common site in Rome and Florence. This photo was taken
in Piazza Novana.
People dress up in costumes of all sorts and stand like statues for
hours. Donations in coin are appreciated.
We ate dinner about 9:00
(Italy’s time for dinner) and had one course only of pasta (instead of
their normal three courses). It was wonderful and, the best part, not
too much food!
It is now Friday morning and we are sitting at
the train station waiting for our train to Florence. [We checked out of
the hotel and dragged our suitcases down into the Metro.
subway to the Termini train station and bought two tickets for Firenze.
Mark got lunch at McDonalds in the train station.]
I’m missing everyone and looking
Love, Sal & Mark