I am beyond thrilled to have found Stefano and Southern Italy Travel for my 50th birthday trip to Italy to explore my ancestry. He is a gem and was an absolute delight to deal with during the entire process.
First, we will start with the preparation for the trip and ancestry tour. If you are lucky enough to be able to book Stefano and his company for your trip, you will have the experience of a lifetime!
Stefano is so dedicated and professional that he only takes about two clients per month as his research is so involved and detailed. At first, of course, everyone can be skeptical about sending a deposit to someone you don’t know in another country, but all the reviews were so positive that we decided to go for it and we were not disappointed!
I feel it is very important to understand the amount of time and research that Stefano puts into each client before they arrive. For my genealogy tour, he visited the town of my family’s origin THREE times prior to our arrival to investigate, talk to local authorities, and confirm all data. This location was quite far from where he lived, and he had to spend the night. I was quite shocked…I had no idea how much went into the preparation. In Italy, things run very differently than in the US and it’s not always so easy to acquire information. Stefano has such a wonderful personality and is so professional that people in the small villages are happy to help him and go out of their way to assist him in finding all the details!
What to expect…the UNEXPECTED! Stefano sent a loosely based itinerary before our arrival just giving us some generalities on the agenda for the day but also leaving room for some surprises.
I highly recommend letting Stefano surprise you with some special activities. For instance, he set up private tours for us of certain monuments in our family’s villages, a special stop at a photography studio that had been in the town since the late 1800’s where we were able to see photos of the village taken around the time of my great grandmother’s time there before she emigrated. We were even able to purchase some of these rare photos and the woman’s family who ran the shop knew some of my family members! It was such a special treat!
In the town hall, he had a helpful staff member pull these very old books from a special cabinet. These books were the official registration for the village’s births, deaths, marriages, etc. I was able to touch and hold in my hand the original handwritten registration of when my great-great-great-grandparents, took my great-grandmother after she was born to register her birth and it had their original signatures from the 1800’s. INCREDIBLE!!!
Next, he surprised me with a third cousin who I never met and we were able to have lunch with her and her husband. This brought tears to my eyes and to hers! I couldn’t believe it! Our last stop was the beautiful cemetery where he showed me my family’s tomb, where I was able to pay respects to my Great, Great, Great Grandparents, and Great Great Grandparents. I can’t even describe in words how incredible and special this was.
Lastly, Stefano sent us a massive digital file with ALL of his findings and copies of everything that we are able to print and share with other family members which is so amazing because you will be a bit overwhelmed with all the information when you are there and it’s so nice to have all of the documents and data in one place after you return home and are able to digest everything and revisit all of this precious information.
Honestly, I cannot put a price on the experience Stefano was able to give me.
It is something that will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. And to top it off, I feel like we have a new family member in Stefano!!!
Tony and Gina Duffy