My paternal grandparents were born in Abruzzo, Italy. It has been my dream to visit the towns (Bussi sul Tirino and Carapelle Calvisio) where they were born, to walk the streets they walked. That dream came true this fall when I traveled to Italy my husband, my brother, his wife, and two of my cousins. Thank goodness I found Mirella and Southern Italy Travel!
Mirella arranged for a tour of both towns and coordinated the tour with several family members in Italy and France. She served as our tour guide and interpreted for us.
Our first stop was the shop of a ceramics producer, something for which Bussi was famous in the past. We then walked the streets of Bussi with Luciano, a cousin who has a home there that he is renovating and Enzo, a cousin who owns a gift shop in Popoli. This was followed by an amazing lunch in Ofena at Sapori di Campagna. Mirella even arranged for a little birthday surprise for my brother. He was thrilled to be celebrating this special day walking the home towns of our grandparents.
In the afternoon, we visited Carapelle. We were delighted to have Francesca, another cousin of ours, join us for the tour. We took a picture of our group on the steps to the house where we believe our grandmother lived.
Although we were saddened that earthquake damage prevented us from visiting the church where she was baptized, it was still an unforgettable visit.
I also wanted to do genealogy research while I was in Italy. I prepared a list of people to research and sent it to Mirella. She researched where the documents would be kept. So several days after our wonderful tour, Mirella and I went to the Archives in Bazzano to conduct genealogy research. The day with her was amazing. We looked at land records for Bussi that were written in 1662 and 1748. To hold such precious documents in my hands was unbelievable. Mirella helped me translate several documents that I had difficulty reading. And she identified a priest I could contact to get additional information. Her advice on how to proceed with my research was invaluable.
I hope this is just the first of many visits to see my family in Italy.
And I have much more genealogy research to do. I will definitely be contacting Mirella to help me in the future.
Mary Alyce Grube