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Other Photos from San Pietro Avellana

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Here are some photos of SPA that I have found over the years.

1943 and World War II

For photos of the destruction of SPA by the Germans in 1943, click here.

Photos from the SPA Museum

On my visit to the town museum,  Museo delle Civiltà e del Costume d'epoca in Aug 2004, I was able to view and scan a series of photos taken around SPA before WWII.

The museum in SPA is very nice for its size. They have many artifacts from before and after WWII. In their photo collection, they have many original prints of photos taken before the war. They also have some copies of prints and a very few original negatives. They were very helpful and accomodating when I asked if I could scan the photos.

I present the photos here and I urge you to visit the museum if you can. They can also use monetary support. Most of all they need historical photos from before the war. Because of the destruction of the town in 1943, many paper items (like photos) were destroyed in the resulting fires. Among my Frazzini contacts here in the US, I have seen photographs that are in much better condition than the ones in the museum.

Prospero Frazzini & Bros.  Banchieri e Commercianti

Here is Prospero Frazzini in Denver. This is the best (and only) version of this photo that the museum had. It still appears to be a multiple generation copy of some original. I had a poorer copy of this photo - this scan of the actual photo (above) from the museum is much better (but still not so good). It does clearly show Prospero standing outside front and center. An interesting note: as I was being introduced to townspeople by my cousin Giuliano, I noticed in one house, this photo on display on her fireplace mantle. I didn't get a chance to ask why it was there (my Italian was just not good enough to do serious questioning).

For a much better version of this photo (found in the US), click on the Italian-American Bank web page.
Frazzini Rinaldo

Reported to me by Frank Musilli: "Rinaldo Frazzini was Maria
Frazzini and Francesco (Frank) Frazzini’s son, not Maria’s brother. He was
my uncle and my mother’s (Ida Frazzini’s) brother."

died in Libya
No information about this photo. It appears to be a photo of a photo.
Giovanni Alessandro Luigi Perilli

Dottor Perilli, fratello del Giudice.
Faceva il Medico di bordo sulle navi.
Foto spedita da lui al Barone D'Alena.

Doctor Perilli, brother of the judge.
He was a ship's Doctor.
Photo sent by him to the Baron D'Alena.

A comment on the d'Alena family - they were a very wealthy family in San Pietro. Before the destruction of 1943, they had a very big house near the church. His brother was a Judge. For more about Giovanni, click here.

SPA Militia

The above photo is not from the museum. It is from Franklin Smith and is ©Copyright by him. I present it here because the museum has a much worse version. You can click on the image for a larger version.
SPA Militia

Here is the version of the photo that the musem has. Notice that it is a different photo and not in very good condition. The photo was labeled "Foto Scattata Verso Il 1932-33" or "Photo taken around 1932-33".

I have to question that date. Take a look at all three photos that I have all showing the school teacher Giacomo Scocchera (in the dark sunglasses) - click here. I think all three of these photos were taken on the same day. My mother, born in 1912, is in one of them and she appears to be 8-12 years old. This would date the photos to around 1920-1924. Luigi Lembo is in the militia photo. On my trip to the SPA cemetery, I found his burial crypt, it shows he was born 16 June 1902 and died 20 Oct 1975. He is #6 in this photo. He appears to be in his early twenties which would date the photo to around 1922-23 as well. I also note that Scocchera looks exactly the same in all three photos. It does not appear to me that there is 10 years separating the photos.

Scocchera also sent a telegram on the death of Ferdinando Frazzini and that telegram appears in Ferdinando's funeral booklet.

May 2007
I found a new record on It is the 1921 arrival of Armando diSanza (person #21 in the photo) on 3 Feb 1921. He was 17y and going to his uncle Luigi diSanza in Koppel, PA. I believe this is the earliest that we have him in the US. He travelled with Ostilio Rossi. He arrived in the US via St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. It had not occured to me when I first found this arrival record, but Dave Desanzo pointed out that Armando had to be in Italy when this photo was taken. This confirms the earlier date of the SPA Militia photo and possibly even dates it in 1920.
The museum attempted to identify each of the men in the photo.
1. Palumbo Antimo     2. diFlorio Pietro    3. Flesca Loreto     4. diSano Giovanni     5. Troilo Antonio
6. Lembo Luigi     7. diMatteo Vencenzo     8. Iannone Eugenio     9. Scocchera Giacomo  10. Capone Domenico
11. Colaianni Giuseppe  12. diLorenzo Severino  13. diSanza Manfredo 14. Ciccotelli Giuseppe  15. Morelli Augusto Adelco
16. diFlorio Vincenzo     17. Gatti Antonio     18. ??     19. Petrilli Nunzio     20. Galante Epolo Giovanni
21. (see note below)     22. Iannone     23. Frazzini Giulio     24. diSanza Alberto     25. diCapita Ernesto
26. Quaranta Lorenzo     27. ??     28. Mariani Adamo

Mark's Notes:
I believe the surname for #4 is diSanzo.
#21 was identified by Della DeSanzo as Armando diSanza. See the email below from Dave DeSanzo.
From my cousin, Giuliano Colajanni's mother, Licia diTella:
 a1) The person with black suit and hat is the school teacher with last name "Scocchera" (#9).
 a2) first person at left of Scocchera is "Eugenio Iannone(#8).
 a3) third person at left of Scocchera is " Luigi  Lembo" (#6).
Jan 2004, from Amico Mariani ( in Youngstown, OH.:

My father Adamo Mariani is in your militia photo.

Adamo Mariani #28

Mark, My grandfather's name was the same as mine, he came to the USA around 1912. settled somewhere in the vicinity of Ellwood City, PA, one of the ways he earned his living was by playing the banjo or mandollino. He had three kids in Italy and wife (Bernalda Capone). the kids, Esterina (married Sperandino Rossi and moved to Youngstown, Ohio),Veturia (married Domenic DiLaurentis and moved to Youngstown, Ohio). Adamo, my father, Elvira, my mother (maiden name Carlini, father Giuseppe Carlini, mother Bellina Salvatore) and I came to Youngstown, Ohio in 1956.
Hope this info is useful to you. Amico

From Tina Rossi, May 2005,

I also noticed on one of your pictures (I believe it was a group of militia), you had my great uncle Adamo Mariano and mentioned an email from Amico Mariani. That's my 2nd cousin.  I have to say again, I just love your website. It's been very informative for me!! Ines Elvira Carlini married Adamo Mariani.

From a guestbook entry by Mary DeLaurentis Stabile ( ), Sep 2005:

My Mother was Irma Veturia Mariani and she was from San Pietro Avellana. She came to the USA in 1935. Her Mother was Bernarda Capone and Father was Amico Mariani. My Great Grandfather (Amico's father) was Adamo Mariani and he was married to Sabina Frazzini. Thanks for the wonderful website and pictures of San Pietro.
From Cathy Youngblood, Apr 2005:

I was looking at the photo you have on your website of the SPA Militia and looking at your list of the men. I believe that #15, Augusto Adelco Morelli, is the son of Angela Mariani (sister to my great grandmother, Lucia) and her husband, Ruggerio Morelli. Augusto was "lost" in the (Second World) war.
On 26 Jul 2005 at 12:02, A. Vernucci wrote:

Date:           Tue, 26 Jul 2005 12:02:55 +0200
From:           "A. Vernucci" <>
Subject:        People from San Pietro Avellana

Hello Mark,

While browsing the Internet I randomly came into a message of  yours dated 1 Dec. 2003, in which you wrote having identified Luigi Lembo of San Pietro Avellana in an old photo. Luigi Lembo, who passed away in 1975, actually was my uncle. More specifically, I am the son of Alfredo Vernucci, the brother of Aida Vernucci who was the wife of Luigi Lembo. I was very surprised to see that photo, in which I can clearly recognize Luigi.

I work for a company in Rome where also the son of Luigi Lembo works. His name is Davide Lembo. He has one brother and two sisters.

Antonio Vernucci, Rome Italy

(Mark's note:  Antonio and I corresponded a few times but neither he or Davide could add any more information about the photo)
For a new Lembo web site, look here:
I wrote an email to the operator of that site and he replied:

Date:            Tue, 27 Sep 2005 14:00:54 -0700
From:            Charles Lembo <>
Subject:         Re: Lembo Family Web Page Inquiry

Hello Mark,
Thanks for the interesting email.
I had an uncle whom my father referred to as Gigi but the photo of Luigi looks like family and maybe Gigi was a nickname.
I think the correspondence from Antonio Verncucci identified my cousin Davide Lembo.
I have sent them an email and  hope to get a reply. I was born in Denver but the family moved to the San Francisco bay area in 1940.
My uncle Randolfo married Elizabeth Franzini in Denver and they moved to California about the same time.
You have a great family web site and I enjoyed reviewing it. Again thanks and My best regards.
Charles Lembo

Mark DiVecchio wrote:

> Charles,
> Cathy Madonna Youngblood just sent me an email about your Lembo web site. I've added a link from my links page to your site.
> I know of a Luigi Lembo (1902-1975) but I can't tell if he is related to you.
> I have a photo taken in San Pietro Avellana about 1920-1930 which has Luigi Lembo in it.
> There is also a correspondence from Antonio Vernucci who was a nephew of Luigi and from Davide Lembo who is
> Luigi's son. I have a photo of his tombstone from the SPA cemetery. I'd be happy to email it to you.
> Ciao.
> Mark
Since that email, Charles has found out the Luigi "Gigi" Lembo, whose photo I have, is his uncle. He has been in contact with Davide Lembo who is a first cousin to Charles. Luigi is the son of Domenico Lembo and Ambrosina Mariani. He had two brothers, Randolfo and Filandro and two sisters, Italia and Clelia (Clelia married Pasquale Carlini, son of Francesco Carlini and Cleonice Rossi).
Date:            Thu, 26 Jan 2006 08:55:10 -0500
From:            Dave DeSanzo <>
Subject:         RE: Old Photos and Homewood

Hi Mark,
I did see that same picture on your Internet site.  I believe the Giovanni (#4) in this picture is my Uncle John as is my Uncle Manfredo (#13).  There is also an Alberto diSanza (#24) in the picture if I am remembering correctly.  I do not know who he is.  My cousin Della, Giovanni's daughter, told me that her father returned to Italy to get married and while he was there he was drafted into WWI for Italy.  I haven't tried to correlate the dates with this picture yet but it sure looks like Uncle John. 

> Mark wrote:
> If we could figure out if that really is Giovanni, it might help me date the photo. I think its from 1920-24 but
> the museo thought it was 1932-33. If we can figure out exactly when Giovanni was back in SPA and drafted,
> we might date the photo. Does Della know specific dates that Giovanni was in Italy?

I agree with your dates.  If the man in the picture is Giovanni, the 1930 Census lists the year of immigration to the USA as 1925.  It also lists the year he was married as 1914.  Oddly enough the 1930 Census shows that his wife Maria immigrated to the USA in 1922 three years prior to Giovanni. This is opposite from all of my other ancestors.  Typically the husband came over to the USA first and the wife and children followed.  Perhaps the reason for the delay was his military duty.  I did search the 1900, 1910, and 1920 Census records one by one and there is no mention of Giovanni in any of them so I am positive that the Census is correct stating the year of immigration as 1925. 


Mark's Note: look at the diSanza page for more about this family.
In Feb 2006, Dave wrote:

I had Della DeSanzo look at the SPA militia picture over the weekend. Unfortunately, Della was not able to positively identify person #4 listed as "diSano Giovanni" as her father.  However, Della did identify person #21 in the picture as Armando (Herman) diSanza.  Armando's father was Bernardo diSanza who was the oldest child of Giuseppe diSanza and Santa LaBate. Armando lived with Giovanni De Sanzo and his family in Koppel, PA.  The 1930 census for Koppel, PA states that Armando immigrated to the USA in 1927. Armando worked at the Koppel Industrial Car & Equipment Company as a laborer.  Armando was hit in the shoulder while working at the Koppel Car Works and died from complications from his injuries in 1932.  Armando is buried at an old, abandoned, Catholic cemetery in nearby Hoytdale, PA

I have attached the 1930 census record for Koppel, PA for your review. Armando is incorrectly listed as Giovanni's brother.  Armando was really Giovanni's nephew.  I have also attached a picture of Armando taken in front of the home of Luigi De Sanzo in Koppel, PA.  Armando is posing with my father Louis who was born in 1922 (Mark's note: you can see that photo on the diSanza page). There is no date on the picture but judging by the size of my father, I would estimate that it was taken around 1927 the same year that Armando arrived in Koppel.  Take care.

From:    ian mchenry <>
Subject:    SPA
Date:    Mon, 13 Apr 2009 13:14:58 +0000
Cc:    Duncan McHenry <>


What a brilliant web page.

My mother comes from san pietro. she went to England in  the 50's her sister went to america. I have various aunts, uncles and cousins still in the village but their names don't come up on the page. The family name is Ciccotelli.

In fact in the [SPA Militia] photo, from your site, my grandfather, Giuseppe Ciccotelli is #14.

My mother is Fillapina Ciccotelli. She has a sister Dina and a brother, Michele. both still in San Pietro.

It would be great to find out about my mum's other sister, Rosa who was the first to go to England (my mum joined her there later) and then she went on to America, where she died of influenza. I know mum would love to know more about her and her family there.

On one of my mum's trips to San Pietro, she picked up a colour postcard of the main square and an old man standing in it. It turned out to be her dad, Giuseppe.

I'm copying my dad in on this e-mail becuase he knows a lot more than me.

thanks, Ian
Date:    Sun, 17 May 2009 20:45:48 +0000 (GMT)
From:    JOHN BAYNHAM <>

Dear Mark DiVecchio,

I was looking through Google at my mothers birth place San Pietro Avellana , and came across some old musuem photographs and spotted by Grandfather on one of the photographs, Troilo Antonio (#5). I would very much like to know if you have any more information on these photographs as I spent the first 6 years of my childhood living in this village and would very much like to know more. My name is Antonella Baynham and hope to hear from you soon.

Yours Sincerely

Antonella Baynham
From:    "Marco Milazzo" <>
Subject:    Dawson/SPA connection
Date:    Sun, 26 Jul 2009 01:37:13 -0600


What a pleasant surprise your web page is. My husband, Marco Milazzo (he's sleeping right now, so I'm writing for him), has a connection to both SPA and Dawson through his mother, Annina (Anita) Capone Milazzo, who was born in SPA and came with her parents, Urbino and Angelina Capone, to Dawson around 1913. My mother-in-law and your mother were born the same year (1912).

Your excellent, well organized website has a picture of the gravestone of Marco's great uncle, Pasquale Capone, as well as a picture of his great uncle Domenico Capone in the 1932-33 militia picture from the SPA museum. We've been in contact with Emily Palumbo McIntyre about her side of the family, but have often wondered how many other families moved from SPA to Dawson. Your information has answered that question for me.

So many Italian men died in the Dawson mine explosions. My mother-in-law remembers that when the Number One mine exploded on February 8, 1923, she and the other children in her class thought they were hearing dynamite. Her father, Urbino, was one of the lucky few miners who went into Number One that morning but, due to injuries, left before the explosion. Had he died that day, Anita and her three sisters would have been orphans, as their mother had died tragically around 1916 when a coal car struck her. She was holding the youngest girl, a baby, but managed to throw her to safety. 

We went to the Dawson reunion in 2002 and hope to travel to Rome sometime in the next year. If we do, a side trip to SPA would be very interesting. Thanks for sharing your information. If we find anything you don't already have on the website, we'll let you know. You mention that you found some information on your great uncle in the St. John the Baptist Church records from Dawson. If you wouldn't mind telling me where you found those records, I'd appreciate it. We're still trying to find information on Marco's grandmother and thought those records would be a good place to start.

Best wishes,

Cindy and Marco Milazzo
Date:            Sat, 10 Oct 2015 16:25:45 -0800
From:            renzo frate <>
Subject:         St Pietro Avellana italy

Hi Mark,

My wife has just come across your site and I have had a quick look at it, especially the photo of the SPA Militia.

My granddad was 3rd from the left, Flesca Loreto who lived to the rip old age of 96 when he died. I saw this picture for the first in my uncle's house (who was Loreto son and my mom who is nearly 93 was Loreto’s oldest daughter.)

I will show her the site although she does not talk about the war very much, I think because of what she and others like her went through.

Thanks for the site I will read it thoroughly.

Renzo Frate

Photos from the Morelli family

Karen Morelli, wife of  Anthony Morelli sent me scans of two photos that she found. (For more of Karen's emails, look on the Other SPA Families web page.)

Karen wrote:

Date:    Sun, 28 Feb 2010 12:28:53 -0800 (PST)
From:    Karen J Morelli <>
Subject:    Re: San Pietro Avellana Photos

Here are 2 pictures of San Pietro Avellana (one you have) along with the back captions.  These are photos pasted on cardboard and are very brittle and the one photo is blemishing.  I thought you may add them to your "collection".

Click on the postcard fronts to see the larger, higher resolution scan.

Capella di S. Amico
nel bosco omonimo
S. Pietro Avellana

In the book Il Mio Racconta by Mario Colaianni, he dates this photo to "Primi del 1900".

Processione di S. Amico
S. Pietro Avellana

Reviewing this photo many years after I received it, I noticed the young women in the "flapper" style cloche hats of the 1920's.



That is all I can say. These photos are 1000 times better than the scans of the postcards that I have. I can look at these and see facial expressions that might make it possible to someday identify these people. ( I actually have old postcards with both of these photos on them.)

I think these photos are some of the best that I've seen from pre-war SPA.

Can I ask you where you found these photos? Is there anything you have that might help date them?  In the procession photo, the people appear to be wearing more modern clothes than in the Capella photo.

The printed words on back say: "Edited by the Committee".

The handwritten words are (as best as I can tell):

"Saluti distinti dalla tuo commare
alla commare
"Regards from your countryman
to our countryman,

(Commare/Commara are italian words with no direct english translation - they mean a man/woman from the same town or region.)

The second name is really hard to read but would probably be the name of person that the photos were sent to. It might be a nickname.

Would you be open to rescanning the photos in a slightly different way which might make the scans better?

I really thank you for finding these.

Aunt Dorinda Morelli gave me these photos.  She is slowly "giving up" some of the Italian stash that she has.  I think she likes me spending as much time as she can possibly muster from my digs by giving things to me slowly.  Everytime I go there, she adds 1 or 2 more pieces of information.  She has a box of old photos and several trunks in the attic, but she says "we'll go through them another time".  Drives me nuts. I can scan these photos any way you want them.  Let me know what format, dpi, etc. My daughter took some digital photo classes at college: I can ask her to try some of her expertise.  Just let me know what you need.


Thanks. I can't tell you how amazed I am at the quality of these photos.

When I was at the museum in SPA, they had nothing like these. I think when the town was destroyed during WWII, anything that was paper was lost to flames. In many cases, like in this case, I'm finding that the best preserved photographs are those that were sent to the US before the war. Of these photos, all they had was the old (poor quality) postcards.

Franklin Smith who is descendant from the Frazzini family has several old photos of very high quality.

If you can, I'd like you to try scanning at a higher resolution (maybe 400 or 600 dpi) and saving the image as a .tif or .bmp file. You don't need to do the backs of the photos. If it helps, you can skip the scan of the frame and just scan the photo itself. With a .tif or .bmp, an attempt can be made to restore the photos. This is going to create VERY big files. They may be too big to email. You might have to put them on a CD and mail them.

I'd like your permission to use the photos on my web page and send the image to our cousins in Italy. People are going to be amazed by these photos.

Tell your Aunt Dorinda that she is going to make a lot of people very happy to see these.

I will inquire on the date of the photographs.  I assume that it was after 1920 when Domenico Morelli finally settled into Latrobe, PA., but he ran between USA and Italy since 1902 so I can not be sure.  Aunt Dorinda probably knows. I am thinking of taking the photos to a photographer and have copies made.

I'll do bmp and tiff at 600 dpi first and see how that goes.
Yes, you can use the photos any way you want.   I'll get back to you soon with the scans.


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