I contacted Southern Italy Travel in the spring of 2020, amid the pandemic. No one at the firm, nor myself living in the United States, realized the extent of the pandemic at that time. But Mirella Ammirati took on my request to round out my family tree for which I had a few names, a birthdate, and a marriage certificate. From there, she conducted research to learn more about my maternal grandparents’ Abruzzese families from Spoltore.
I used this information to apply for Italian citizenship. It was Mirella’s discovery of a baptismal record that further cemented the viability of my application.
Two years later, I contracted her services to devise a tour of Spoltore for when I visited. She had worked with a local professor who accompanied us on the tour of the town, San Panfilo church, and the historic center. This trip has been more than I could have imagined.
While all of this was special, what made Mirella different was her willingness to coordinate a meeting with my cousins, who I never would have encountered without the names Mirella uncovered for me.
The meeting included pranzo, caffè, e bicchieri di ratafià e genziana, while she acted as interpreter when necessary. She was a thorough, understanding, and fun-loving companion. I could not have embarked on this journey without her work.
Following our lunch, she, my husband, and I visited the cemetery in Spoltore. There again, Mirella demonstrated her commitment by walking each aisle until we found the gravesite of a great aunt, along with photos, demonstrating a fair likeness to my grandmother and mother.
Annette Januzzi Wick, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.