Thursday, November 1, 2012

Italy 2012


Family and Friends in Montepaone
A view from my house in Montepaone

                                                                 Camania, Calabria
So here I am again back on my blog to talk about my new adventures while back in my home town of Montepaone. Before going back this year, I signed up my son, his girlfriend Christa, and I for a nature walking through the old water mills and along the streams of the town. Let me just say it was the most wonderful experience and amazing time not just for me but for my son who never really knew the town his mom was born in. All of my childhood memories came back to me as I was jumping on and hopping on one boulder to another. It was here in these places we would go for picnics or my mother and her family would bring us to play while they washed clothes.It was here that we would pick fruit, and nuts off the trees while playing and jumping on the rocks and play near  the olive trees that surround the land . At the end of our nature walk we climbed up a hillside and on to the street where an open back truck was waiting to take us into the country side for the best surprise ever. Women preparing the food while the men brought out the wine, bread, and muraneri (wine biscotts they only make in my town). We sat and ate and drank in the open air and of course we had a musically treat, what else but the mandolin and my son and Christa played and sang for the happy crowd.

Jordan and friends making music.

This is how my journey began . It was  wonderful. As you all know I am a tour facillitator for Italy, so it just so happens that I have a house there now and I no longer have to travel back and forth to the USA. to meet my groups.
 This year my tours started out in the beautiful Hotel San Domenico in Soverato Calabria, From here we traveled to Puglia, such towns as Ostuni, Alberobello, Cesternino, over to Baslicata to Matera, and to Rome . This was in July . (I will write about each town ) Once we arrived in Rome my daughter and her friend Anna meet us and spent the night in Ostia Antica. The next morning my group departed for the States and Anna, my daughter Gabriella and I departed for BELLA CALABRIA.
Gabriella and Anna in Calabria
We had a amazing time swimming in the crystal blue waters of the Ionian Sea. Relaxing was our plan and that is just what we did for the next 10 days. My daughter and Anna departed vowing they would return here every year. Now it just so happens my husband was to arrive in 4 days with my friends the Corazzini's. My job now was to tour Calabria with this couple then move on to Popolli Abruzzo. You see I also do genealogy tours. Upon arriving in Popoli we went over to  the townhall and gave the young lady at the desk our information. BINGO!!!!!just like that she found the family. Fred being happy with just that was ready to leave the next morning. Still not convinced I had done enough I made it a point to take Fred and Edna back to the piazza my husband and I went to the night before. Popoli is a very pretty town and worth a visit. I asked Fred and Edna ,No I told them that I was going to try and find family. It just so happens there was an elderly gentelman sitting on a bench so I went up to him and asked "do you know any Corazzini's?"He pointed up with his cane and told me to go to the bar. Thinking he had no idea what I asked we proceeded with our walk. Then Edna looked at me and said "Nancy the man you just asked about the Corazzini's is looking at you and pointing his cane. I walked over and he said. "That man over there he is a Corazzini." Progress. We found family after all. I was so happy for Fred,the next 2 hours we all spent in the bar were marvelous . You can not imagine the joy they felt finding family.Next we traveled to Cento in search of his mothers side of the family. This area was hit with earthquakes in May of this year. As we walked through the town we knew just by looking at town hall where the records were kept we would not be getting the information we needed. My friend Cinzia who lives in Cento brought us to the cemetery where we searched and searched but no luck. That night we went our for a wonderful meal. Everything we ordered was food that Fred's grandfather made. Fred became emotional and felt the connection inspite of not finding family.
In August I had an other genealogy tour and this was in Sicily. This family did make progress as far as finding out information about there parents and grandparents. No matter where you are from in Italy if you want to find your roots. I can take you there.

 Ionian Jewel Tours and her group toured beautiful Calabria, we visited the towns of Gerace, Stillo, Scilla, . When we are in Calabria we stay at the Hotel San Domenico in beautiful Soverato.
This hotel is located on the beach and has a beautiful walk way leading you into the pretty town.
After a few days we departed for the area of Puglia and Baslicata. Along the way we stopped in the town of Specchiolla where my friend Phyllis once lived with her husband and children while he was
Fred finding family in Popoli in the military. It changed a lot in 30 years. 

From there we settled into our Turlli in the province of Brindisi. Here we visited the towns of Cesternino, Oustuni, Alberobello, and in Baslicata we visited the town of Matera, We had a wonderful time each night dining  at Tonia's local trattoria . This region is know for it's wonderful cuisine of  legumes , oreccheto  pasta and good wine! From here we departed for one night in Rome before returning to the states. We had a wonderful dinner in Ostia Antica and of course some good wine. I said good bye to my friends and departed for Calabria. They left for the States.

Fred finding family in Popoli.
The friend that helped find Family
Fred - Home
 Ionian Jewel Tours committed herself to a genealogy tour. My friends Edan and Fred along with my husband came to Calabria in August. We stayed 7 days at the San Domenico Hotel. Every day we would make our way to the market for our lunch that we would prepare in Montepaone. It his here the Fred fell in love with Italy ,  we would walk down to my land and pick the fresh figs right off the tree and ate them as we walked. We had fun reminiscing about our childhood and how our families enjoyed the simple life. This is what Montepaone is to me. Simplicity is what Montepaone is to me.
When we would leave Montepaone we would go back to the hotel and just relax on the beautiful Ionian Coast. One of the days we went to a  wine tasting in Riace which is where you will only find organic wines.
After 7 days we depart for Abruzzo and you all ready know how that ended.
EDNA "Ciao"

Fred picking grapes

We made our way to the Cantina Chiorri where we were able to observe the harvest. It was a wonderful 4 days.
One of the most moving places was Nettuno (Anzio) the American Cemetery dedicated to our brave hero's . Visiting this beautiful memorial , one can not help but feel proud and humble. It is a must see when you are in the Rome area.

Geneaology tour  Sicily.
We drove to the Province of Agrigento in search of family in Aragona. We did not find living relatives but did manage to get some family records. We stayed in a lovely B&B  where  Carmelina prepared the best breakfast and dinners. From here we visited the towns of Sciacca, Agrigento, Piazza Amerina. There is so much history that  one can spend a life time and keep discovering new places.
From here we travel to Syracusa. Our hotel was a 15th century  villa .We visited towns such as Ortigia, Modica, Taormina, and fell in love with it all.

 I had a very busy summer . Going back to my  house in Montepaone is the most relaxing part of my summer. I do love all of Italy and will continue to take my clients where ever they may want to go .

Thursday, October 4, 2012

June to September

Once again my family and I will be off to Calabria this year. It is the most exciting time because my sister and I inherited our mom's home in Calabria. We will start the renovations for our home away from home. I know will be able to fell everyday what my clients feel every time they come to Calabria with me. The peaceful felling is so beautiful. The simplicity of the life in this town where this tiny little house is with the most overwhelmingly beautiful views lies! This is where after my tours I will return !

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Not just Calabria any more

I am so proud to be a Calabrese! It is from this part of Italy that I learned so much about the Italians and their way of life. I say this because traveling through out Italy I have meet so many people from this region. When I was in Cinque Terra and told people I was Calabrese they were so happy to hear that. They would say proudly " I am Calabrese" and we spend our summers in the beautiful coastal towns there." I say I have learned much from being from the south of Italy because it is from here that I was able to launch my travel career . I and along with my beloved best friend Antonio decided it would be great to show people this untouched part of Italy. It would be a untour for tourist seeking to find the true nature of what it means to live like our great grandparents did before some ,not all moved out of the region or country such as my grandparents did and my their way to Boston. My first tours were only Calabria , and excursions over to Lipari. I made so many friends along the way. From Nazereno who owns the best restaurant on the island of Lipari , La Cambusa to the best hotel in Soverato , Calabria Hotel San Domenico owner and friend Luciano.
Yes with Antonio we took our groups from Calabria, to Abruzzo, to the Amalfi Coast. and to Sicily! Calabria was so impressive to my clients that when they did return on the tours they wanted only Calabria and the San Domenico Hotel . Now if you are wondering why I do not only do Calabria anymore . It is not that I do not love it. However the area of Puglia, and Basilicata and Sicily are so close that it adds a little bit more to the tours and keeps with the traditions of old world charm. From the Trulli's to the Sassi in Matera, to the volcanic islands here you can live like the locals even if just for a 12 day stay.
Antonio passed away this year and I miss him terribly. The knowledge he gave me of southern Italy is something I will cherish for ever as I continue to tour around Sothern Italy.