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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Our final week in Italy saw us traveling from the Aeolian Islands via ship to Naples, then on to Rome for another stay with ‘i cugini’.  The Siremar ship from Lipari was an overnight trip that departed at 9.30pm and arrived in Naples the next morning.

We called into the port at the active Volcanic island of Stromboli at about 10.30 and were delighted by a light show when we were pulling away from the island. The volcano was grumbling and throwing a beautiful orange glow into the sky above.  This continued every few minutes until we were too far away to see it any more.

The voyage was smooth enough, but I felt a bit green whenever I lifted my head from the bunk.  But in the morning we could see Capri and the Amalfi Coast and, as we were then in the gulf of Naples, the rocking slowed a bit.  On arrival in Naples we stored our bags for the day and headed for the city to see the sights of Spaccanapoli, Santa Lucia & Chiara and Toledo, eat sfogliatelli, indulge in Pizza and beer, and generally enjoy the crazy chaos that is Napoli!

Sfogliatelli

Futbol rules

Maybe pizza rules? The classic Margherita.

The ubiquitous Padre Pio - revered throughout Southern Italy

At the end of our big day in Naples we headed for Rome. Laundry, repacking and a little sightseeing were on the agenda. We did Rome once by night, accompanied by Manu, Giulia and Pasquale.

'I cugini' - Manu and Giulia - on the Rome Metro

Pas - on the Rome Metro looking at us like we are just a little bit crazy!

And we did Rome another time by day with Giulia who probably enjoyed the English cemetery more than is healthy for a 20-something woman! But we each found something  quite surprising that captured us. For me it was the grave on Gregory Corso, Beat poet.

Gregory Corso - buried in Rome near Shelley and Keates

La Boca de la Verita - cugina Giulia

More Religiose

I have been so fortunate to have ten weeks travelling in Italy with my big sister Annie then with my husband Andrew. We have been constantly amazed at the wonderful people we have met. Italy will continue to be a passion for me and I vow to continue my study of the language.

Thanks  go Giulia, Manu, Pasquale, Marina, Alice, Cinzia, Ilaria, Giovanni and Maria-Luisa in Rome.  And thanks to Walter, Adriana, Stefano, Sabrina and Anna-Maria in Roseto degli Abruzzi.

It was hard to leave Rome and say “arreviderci” to our cousins, so we just said “ci vediamo” – see you later.

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Return to Rome

All good things must come to and end, and Annie’s time in Italy was over on Monday.  We left Sorrento on the Thursday before she flew out and returned to our lovely family in Rome. Here are a few snaps of our last few days together.

Piazza di Spagna, Annie and I laughing at something!

Market off Via Cola di Rienzo

Nothing says Roma like a Cinquecento

Giulia, Giovanni, Lou & Annie at Gianicolo blocking great view of Rome!

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Almost a whole generation of my grandfather’s family left Italy for life in America between 1909 and 1930.  Three brothers and one sister from the same family made the voyage by boat. Some went alone, like my grandfather Giovanni (Johnny), with zero English and a mere 14 years old.  One of our grandfather’s nieces, Argia, stayed behind when her mother and father went to Philadelphia.  Argia’s son Walter lives here in Roseto.  He is in his early 70s now and together with his wonderful wife Adriana, manage a business that has been in the family a long time. A Cartolibreria, a shop that sells cards, books (particularly children’s picture books), toys, stationery and small gifts.

Also in Roseto is the niece of our beloved late Zio Vittorio, Anna Maria.  A fabulous large-hearted woman with a most infectious laugh.

We have had such a wonderful time with all of them. And some great meals.  These women can cook! Just to prove it, here are some pics of the food.

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

Triglia - red snapper

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

Torta, fruit and coffee

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

The sauce and the meat

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

The pasta afterwards...got too excited to photograph before

Olive Ascolana and grilled peppers (capsicum)

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We have arrived in the Tuscan town of San Giovanni Valdarno for two weeks of Italian language study at ‘Il Sillabo‘. But not before first stating out with family in Rome.

What can I say about Roma? It is crazy and hot and crowded and charming and noisy and beautiful and well, you get the picture. It’s an enigma. There are four million people inside the big ring road that surrounds Rome but the suburbs are spread way outside that ring. Finding parking is an art form at which our 20-something cousin Giulia is already an expert.

Thanks to our lovely cugini (cousins), we have been taken to some of the main sites and, more importantly, to some of the local joints.

You would think that Rome’s water supply would have been sucked dry by now, but not so. There are fountains on the streets of the old city and ancient quarter where you can drink freely. Locals and tourists alike stop to drink or to refill water bottles.

Maybe there’s something in the water that makes the coffee so good. I don’t know…it’s just different. So, ‘when in Rome’ and all that…

It’s just different, the coffee.

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Note: I have made corrections to this 2010 blog post and republished it in 2018.

My sister and I will be in Italy soon and will be researching our grandmother’s family in the Abruzzo province.

If anyone out there knows the whereabouts and names of relatives of our great-grandfather Nicola Mezzacappa, we would love to hear from you. Nicola emigrated to the USA in 1909 on the ship Madonna sailing from Napoli. He and his wife had 5 daughters, Anna, Alice, Agnes, Philomena, Ethel.

Anna was our grandmother and was born in Italy in 1904 in Morro D’oro. Anna married Giovanni (John) Pergolini who was originally from Rosburgo (now Roseto degli Abruzzi) and was born in Montepagano in 1895. Anna and John lived in Philadelphia and bore two children, Louise Pergolini Tucker (deceased) and Robert Pergolini.

Would love to hear from anyone with information on the Mezzacappa families  in Italy, USA, Australia, Argentina or any of  the other countries that are home to the Italian diaspora!  Ciao for now…

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This is where I will be posting my upcoming Italy adventures.  If you want you can subscribe to this blog and you’ll get an email each time I post.  Or just check it out on Facebook or Twitter if we are connected in that way.

Speedy and Jose

And here's a nice picture of my cats!

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