I last came to Italy 40 years ago when I was 8 years old. My dream to return to Santa Croce del Sannio, the village my mother and grandparents came from, finally came true this Sept when I returned with my husband, our 2 children and their partners.
I can’t thank Mirella enough for everything she did, all the preparation and research she put in to make this a most memorable day for me and my family. I would recommend anybody looking into tracing their family history and touring the area to use the services of Mirella as the will not be disappointed.
The whole experience was overwhelming and emotional. Everybody we met in the village made us very welcome and although I had no direct family left in the village there were people who remembered my family and we got to hear some wonderful stories.
We arranged to meet Mirella at the fountain monument in the centre of the village – it was a working well when I was there as a child and I have memories of drawing water and carrying (and spilling) the bucket back up the very steep hill to my grandparents house.
Little did we know then what a rollercoaster of emotions and truly wonderful experience we were going have through the rest of the day.
We went to the town hall to collect the birth and marriage certificates. The walking tour of the village was a history lesson in itself especially when we ended up locked in the family chapel of a local noble family home which we were kindly invited into and shown around.
Just for our visit they opened the beautiful church that my grandparents married in and my mother and her family were baptised in which was breath-taking.
A special moment was when a close neighbour of my grandparents showed us a tray she had kept as it was a gift given to her by my grandmother when they left Italy 40 years ago so there were lots of tears and hugs when she brought it out to show us all.
Lunch in a local agriturismo was exceptional and was topped by one of the elders of the village coming to let us know that he had located the key to my grandparents house which had been empty for over 40 years. I held my breath climbing the flagstone steps up to the first floor living area – although the house was in quite a dilapidated state inside you could still see the old fire and bread oven in the corner. I was speechless as I really didn’t expect that we would be able to see inside. We didn’t want the day to end and had been invited to stay overnight but our travel arrangements meant we couldn’t.
The feeling of belonging to this village and its wonderful people was very strong and I can’t wait to go back. Mirella you have given me and my family a memory I will treasure forever, thank you.