We (my wife, mother-in-law and youngest son) had the opportunity to hire Southern Italy Travel – Stefano specifically – to help guide us during two days of visiting my Italian ancestral villages in July. Both days were amazing thanks to Stefano’s hard work and preparation.
First, we visited Agnone, the birthplace of a maternal great-grandmother. Stefano enabled us to see firsthand key documents in the local municipal office, where we had a wonderful visit with one of the archivists who shared some history of the town with us and it turns out my distant relatives sold a copper foundry to members of his family many years ago.
Stefano had taken the time to carefully research the local records and accordingly, he was able to show us family homes as well as gain access to the church that played a significant role in the lives of my ancestors. He was a wealth of knowledge and information and it was very evident that he had very diligently researched my family history – even though I had provided a good bit of information.
In addition, Agnone was well known for its copper foundries as well as the 700-year-old (2nd longest family company in the world) Marinelli Pontifical bell foundry. Stefano had us set up to tour the copper museum and to learn from a 7th generation coppersmith. We have also had a very informative and interesting tour of the bell foundry as well, whose staff had visited our hometown of Indianapolis two years earlier to install one of their bells in a local parish!
We took a break during the day to have a wonderful lunch at an agriturismo in the countryside. We could not have imagined a better, more informative and interesting day and visit.
For day 2, Stefano met us in Montelongo – the birthplace of my grandfather, who emigrated to the US when he was 5 years old. Again, we had another wonderful day. Here we also visited the municipal office and I was able to see the birth registration for my grandfather – which I had not seen previously. We were also able to find his childhood home. Stefano had also found a local resident of Montelongo who spent time sharing the history of the town with us as well as giving us a guided tour. We found the churches and residences of various branches of my ancestors from this village. We enjoyed lunch in the nearby town of Monterio since there were no restaurants in Montelongo. We toured the local cemetery and found the gravesites of descendants of my great-grandfather’s sister.
The big highlight of the day was finding a distant cousin who still lived in the village! What a wonderful surprise and experience. She was just as excited to see us and learn more as we were about her.
Again, we could not have imagined how the day could have been any better.
Both days fulfilled bucket list dreams of mine – to visit my ancestral villages and to walk in the shoes of my ancestors! Stefano ensured that both visits were memorable, informative and very interesting. We would most definitely recommend his services. Our visits could not have gone any better!
Thank you for all the help and for the wonderful visits!
Mark & Suzy Nagy