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Italy 2004 Trip Report
Sally and I just returned from a trip to Italy to visit San Pietro Avellana and Sant'Eufemia a Maiella, the hometowns of Mark's parents. We were in Italy from August 5th to August 28th. The trip also included stops in Roma, Firenze and Venezia. The trip occurred just after we got married but was not officially a honeymoon.

San Pietro Avellana Panorama, my mother Benilda Frazzini's hometown.

Mt. Maiella Panorama (Taken from Roccacaramanico, near Sant'Eufemia, my father Pasquale DiVecchio's hometown)

What follows is based on five journal letters that Sally wrote to her sister, Mary. We used this as the basis of our trip report by adding new commentary and photos after our return to San Diego. The new parts are enclosed in brackets [].

Part 1 Roma and San Pietro Avellana
Part 2 San Pietro Avellana
Part 3 Sant'Eufemia and Roma
Part 4 Firenze
Part 5 Venezia

Some other information that we accumulated on the trip:

  Here are a set of postcards that we got on our 2004 trip to San Pietro.
  Here are photos of San Pietro during and after its destructions by retreating German forces in 1943.
  Here are some other photos that I scanned at the Museum in San Pietro.
  Additional photos of  my great granduncle Teridano diTella.
Map of area around San Pietro Avellana.
Map of area around Sant'Eufemia a Mailella.

In San Pietro, we met a local artist. His name is Pino d'Antonio. His family is not from SPA originally but he has adopted it as his home town. He lives and works in Torino. An example of his work:

For reports on other trips that Sally and I have taken, Click here.

Tips for travelers:
Now that I am a seasoned (!!) traveler, I can make a few suggestions:
  1. ATM machines are great for getting Euros. Look for machines called BancoMAT. They operate in many languages, including English. They seem to have a better exchange rate than using a Credit Card. The bank in Italy charged my account $3.50 service fee for each withdrawal. If you want, change $50 or so at the airport but use the BancoMAT (and pay cash) otherwise.
  2. Pack light. Get a suitcase with solid, substantial wheels. Don’t plan for every emergency. Drug Stores (Farmacia) in the big cities take turns being open on weekends and nights.
  3. People in Italy dress a little more formally than we do in the US. Almost everyone wears sandals. Almost no one wears sneakers with socks (except me). Few women wear shorts, instead they wear dresses or capri pants. Women almost always need to have their shoulders and knees covered to get into churches. Men seem to be able to get away with shorts (except for S. Peter’s in Roma).
  4. Many tourist places sell advance tickets. Although we didn't do it, if you are pressed for time and really want to see everything, get advance tickets if they are available.
  5. We got an MCI phone card at Costco before we left. It worked out real well. You get a toll-free number in Italy and a 20 cents per minute rate to the US. We called home from the hotels (with no charge by the hotel) and from payphones.
  6. Internet Cafes are great. Cost about €1 for a half-hour. We found them in all of the larger cities (but not San Pietro Avellana or Sant'Eufemia a Maiella). Most ISP give you a way to send and get email over the web - find out how to do it before you leave the U.S..
  7. Electricity - Italy uses 220VAC 50Hz. You will at least need an adapter for the US plugs. Many devices, like digital cameras, now come with a charger that runs off both US voltage (115VAC 60Hz) and 220 VAC 50Hz. Just get a plug adapter and you can use it in Italy. I would especially look for such a capability if you are buying a digital camera or a notebook computer. Here is where I bought a plug adapter :, specifically this one:  . 

Driving in Roma:
You can seem like a Roma native by following a few basic rules:
  1. Give no quarter and expect none - drivers cut off each other all the time and don’t get upset about it. The next time, it will be you cutting someone off. People treat it like a game.
  2. If you can’t find a parking space, no problem, park with one set of wheels up on the sidewalk and the other in the roadway. If its really a problem, park entirely on the sidewalk or entirely in the roadway.
  3. Ignore any lane lines that might be painted on the roadway. If four cars fit across the road, then it’s a four lane road.
  4. Drive in the opposite lane whenever you need to.
  5. Expect motor scooters to come at you from all directions and expect them to be going 100 kmph.
  6. Ignore speed limit signs.
  7. Observe traffic lights and what few stop signs there are (yes, that's right - drivers in Roma do not run red lights!).
  8. Pedestrians are the lowest form of life and are to be treated as such.
  9. If you are lost, just stop in the middle of the road to check a map or ask someone for directions.
  10. Even if you are not lost, stop in the middle of the road to chat with a friend coming in the other direction.


Mark and Sally

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