Calitri: 1999 to 2009.

December 1999

It was my first trip to Italy. I was scarcely 19, a sophomore at Northern Arizona University and anxious to meet my newly-found relatives in Calitri. My friend from college, Megan, and I first explored Rome then Torino, Milano, Firenze, Siena and Napoli before spending the remainder of our three-week vacation in Calitri. My family in Calitri and I were overcome with emotion when we were reunited. Tears flowed again the day we had to leave.

Vito Michele, Cinzia, Me, Margherita & Meg Graves

Vito Michele, Cinzia, Me, Margherita & Meg Graves

Vito Michele Gervasi

Vito Michele

Michele Maffucci and Cinzia Gervasi

Michele and Cinzia

Tania Maffucci, Meg, me, Cinzia Gervasi, Michele Maffucci, Antonio Maffucci and Michela Russo at Gulliver Pub

Tania, Meg, me, Cinzia, Michele, Antonio and Michela at Gulliver Pub

Cinzia, Margherita, me and Meg

Cinzia, Margherita, me and Meg

Meg, me, Iolanda Gervasi and Cinzia Gervasi

Meg, me, Iolanda Gervasi and Cinzia Gervasi

Me, Michele Maffucci, Antonio Maffucci, Vito Michele Gervasi, Francesco Maffucci, Angela Gallucci, Margherita Zarrilli & Cinzia Gervasi

Me, Michele, Antonio, Vito Michele, Francesco, Angela, Michela, Margherita & Cinzia

My grandma and grandpa, holding a flask, a gift from Vito Michele Gervasi

My grandma and grandpa, holding a flask, a gift from Vito Michele Gervasi

January 2001

After seeing the pictures I took from my trip and hearing all about it, my mom and 16-year-old sister, Pamela, longed to visit Calitri and discover their roots. Also, Italy, particularly Calitri, left such an impression on me. I was dying to go back. So it was decided that the three of us would go together to Europe for three weeks. After landing in Roma, we went straight for Calitri where we spent a couple of days, then headed to San Lupo (where my great-grandma’s family came from), Roma, Firenze, Venezia, Geneva (Switzerland) and Nice (France).

Me, my sister Pamela, my mother, Antonio Maffucci, Cinzia Gervasi and Iolanda Gervasi

Me, my sister Pamela, my mother, Antonio, Cinzia and Iolanda outside Gulliver Pub

Enzo Gervasi

Enzo, son of Peppino, my grandfather's cousin

Mom, me, Iolanda Gervasi, Vito Michele Gervasi, Margherita Zarrilli, Cinzia Gervasi, my sister Pamela

Mom, me, Iolanda, Vito Michele, Margherita, Cinzia, my sister Pamela

Iolanda, Cinzia, Margherita and Vito Michele.

The Gervasi Family: Iolanda, Cinzia, Margherita and Vito Michele.

Mom, me, Michele Maffucci, Cinzia Gervasi, Iolanda Gervasi and Vito Michele Gervasi

Mom, me, Michele, Cinzia, Iolanda and Vito Michele

March 2005

Four years was much too long, I decided. Not a single day passed without me thinking of Calitri and the desire to go back became more intense by the day. One day, while I was bored at work, I browsed online for airfare tickets and dreaming….until I came across a good deal: $500 roundtrip from Phoenix to Rome!!! I told my friends, Kim, Ramin and Aimee, of this. They had never been to Europe and jumped at the chance.

We spent two weeks driving all over Italy, from Roma straight to Vicenza then Venezia, Volterra, San Gimignano, Siena, Firenze, Cortona, Montepulciano, Roma, Frosinone, Pompeii and Calitri. Today, when I ask them what their favorite part of the entire trip was, they would say without hesitation, “Calitri!” Of course.

Vito Michele holding up a glass of homemade (his) wine

Vito Michele holding up a glass of homemade (his) wine

Vito Michele, me, Aimee and Kim.  I was translating, or attempting to, from Italian to ASL for my friends -- not an easy feat!

Vito Michele, me, Aimee and Kim. I was translating, or attempting to, from Italian to ASL for my friends -- not an easy feat!

Kim, AImee, Angela Gallucci, Francesco Maffucci, Margherita Zarrilli, Ramin.

Kim, AImee, Angela, Francesco, Margherita and Ramin.

Antonietta and Giovanna Gallucci, owners of Bar Corso on Via Corso.  They're the sisters of Angela Gallucci, mother of the Maffucci's.

Antonietta and Giovanna, owners of Bar Corso on Via Corso.

March 2008

My sister had just married the year before and is starting a family soon. I was wrapping up my last year of college. We both wanted to go on a trip together, one last trip, before our lives got too busy.

It was a dizzying trip…four countries in mere nine days! We started in Munich, then Salzburg, Milano, Zürich and back to Munich. We so wanted to go to Calitri but time and money did not permit us. However, Vito Michele’s daughters, Cinzia and Iolanda, as well as Cinzia’s husband, Michele, live in Milano so we paid them a visit. We were touched when we learned that Vito Michele and his wife, Margherita, made the last minute decision to venture eight hours north by train to Milano to see Pamela and I.

My sister holding Francesco Maffucci

My sister holding Francesco

Me holding little Francesco

Me holding little Francesco

Le frutte e i dolci

Le frutte e i dolci

Vito Michele Gervasi, Margherita Zarrilli and their first grandchild, Francesco

Vito Michele, Margherita and their grandchild, Francesco

Iolanda and Cinzia Gervasi

Iolanda and Cinzia

Vito Michele Gervasi and Pamela

Vito Michele and Pamela

Vito Michele, Pamela, me and Margherita

Vito Michele, Pamela, me and Margherita

The entire family

The entire family

May 2009

To be continued…

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8 Comments

Filed under Calitri, Europe

8 responses to “Calitri: 1999 to 2009.

  1. again… you’re lucky to have family in another country to always be able to visit! wish i knew my extended family relatives in norway & sweden.

    you better blog while you’re there (if you can!) a daily blog about your trip would be so much fun to read…even if it’s 2 sentences!

  2. Gervase

    I’ll definitely blog from there—in fact, it’s one of the reasons why I started this blog! 🙂

  3. southernitaly

    I just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your blog and photos (and thanks for the link as well). We always seem to be missing Calitri when we’re not there! – Nicole

  4. Gervase

    Thank you for the comment, Nicole! I can say the same about your website – the pictures you put up on there are beautiful. I look forward to reading more posts from you on your blog.

  5. Jason-were you the first person in your family to contact the relatives in Calitri? How did you go about it?

  6. Gervase

    Yes, I was. About ten years ago, I was in touch with Pietro Cerreta, one of the well-known people in Calitri and among the first in that town to have Internet access, who helped me find my relatives. He asked a couple of Gervasi’s to see if they recognize the names I gave Pietro. Vito Michele (pictured above) told him that my great-grandfather was his father’s first cousin. I sent him a letter and the rest is history.

  7. Gervase

    By the way, I think I mentioned before that I met Migliorina, the wife of Vito Paolantonio (son of Teodora Capossela, sister of Lazzaro) back in ’99. She died in 2004. Her daughter, Teodolinda, is still alive. I can ask around for her contact info, if you’d like. There’s also Giusy Tornillo, granddaughter of Teodora.

    I’m in touch with Fabio Capossela, grandson of Lorenzo (brother of Lazzaro), via Facebook. He now lives in Perugia.

  8. That would be great! Wish I was going soon…

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