Monday, February 24, 2020

Ortona dei Marsi | Abruzzo

Our first stop in central Italy's Abruzzo region is off the well traveled path to the tiny village of Ortona dei Marsi. Nestled in the lush mountainside, made of stone and steeped in time, this is the magical place where Bob's maternal grandparents are fromThey came to America when they were 18. 

Bob's grandfather Juliano DiCiccio came to America (Brockton, MA) first when he was 16. He traveled back to Italy to see his family and was drafted to the war. It was during this time he fell in love with Virgo Maria Albanese and when the war was over they moved to America together. They had 4 children - Angelina, Lucia, Rita (Bob's mom) and Valentino. Lina and Val died fairly young so I did not know them. I knew Lucy briefly before she passed last year at age 91. Rita is going strong at 88! [The Luiso's are from the Bari Region of Italy which is further southeast. Bari is on the bucket list for another trip!]

The locals we met did not speak English but we did our best to communicate. We took in the beautiful 14th century church of St. John the Baptist, sipped cappuccino in the towns single cafe and explored the steep and worn-in-time yet utterly charming streets. 
We were able to locate some "relatives" with his maternal grandmothers maiden name, Albanese! When we loosely put together the family tree this made sense - Albanese stuck around because his grandmother had brothers, but DiCiccio faded as his grandfather only had sisters. Is the younger woman in the photo a distant Albanese relative? Perhaps! 

My paternal grandmother Julia Infante was Italian. She passed at the age of 88 in 2006. I believe the Infantes are from the Abruzzo Region but I don't know any more than that.

His little 6 month old faces - I can't! 
Just sipping a Cappuccino with my Mom + Dad, taking in my Italian heritage!

Our impromptu stop after a long days journey from Praiano --> Sorrento (where we picked up our rental car) --> Pompeii --> L'Aquila (province in Abruzzo) was genuinely amazing. To explore a little bit of family history, to imagine Camden's great grandparents as kids playing in these stone streets and to embrace Bob's families true Italian roots. Ortona dei Marsi tucked into a lovely corner of Abruzzo shows us a different part of Italian life.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Camden in Tuscany

I am having a moment with the photos of 6 1/2 month old Camden in Tuscany. His bright eyes, tan little face and wide toothless grin as he plays under the farmhouse table in our Il Rosolaccio kitchen. Our daily vineyard strolls under the shining Tuscan sun. An evening Chianti tasting at Arcangelo. 

He is about to turn 1!! (And I am still behind on posts from the latter half of our Italy adventures.) But I want to remember this; how close and carefree our little family felt in San Gimignano. Camden was always smiling, finding his way, so content and happy!

These views are from Poderi Arcangelo - the organic vineyard and olive grove next door to the one we stayed on. They had an organized Chianti tasting and wine cellar tour that we walked over to one evening.

The views and vineyards below are from the property we stayed on at Il Rosolaccio. Our stay was exquisite and I hope to share more about it soon. There was so much to explore!

A couple different evenings before dinner....
Cutest face!
Dad's shirt tucked in, getting better....
Dad's head chopped off. Not a winner.
And there it is....the family Christmas card!