Category Archives: Calitri

More information

I got more information from Emma, my soon-to-be boss, as to what I’ll be doing exactly during my internship. She said she focuses mostly on property sales and vacation rentals leaving little time for her to focus on another important aspect: tourism. That will be my main responsibility. I will basically organize trips, create itineraries and connect with resources from other areas for foreigners. She also added that she owns a wine bar which has live music and serves local wine. She wants to take it a step further and use her bar to host weddings and possibly create another kind of tourism (perhaps wine?). That’s where my help and expertise will come in.

I can’t ask for a more ideal internship! This is a perfect fit with what I have learned at ASU in the past two years and what I aspire to do professionally. Organizing trips and planning weddings are among the things I enjoy doing. And wine! I am a wine aficionado. Let me tell you — my taste buds have never tasted wine more tantalizing than that from Calitri!

Also, I have mentioned several times how everyone in Calitri is related, right? Well, my grandfather’s cousin, Maria, is married to Orazio, who turns out to be Emma’s grandfather’s brother! How about that?!

By the way, I learned that I will be without internet access at my flat in Calitri but I will have my own desk (oooh!) at the agency with free Internet access…. so I will definitely be in touch while I’m there!



Filed under Calitri, Europe, Italy 2009


I knew about this for a while but I did not want to say anything just yet, in fears that I’d jinx it. But as of today, it is set in stone. I’m going to do what I’ve dreamed to do for a long time — complete my internship abroad.

Not just abroad, but in the very town that my family came from: CALITRI!

I will be working for a tourism agency as well as help out at a wine bar. I will probably leave for Italy right after my final exams on May 12th and then return by August 7th, just in time to be home for the birth of my nephew or niece who is due on the 9th. The woman who I will be working for owns several flats in town and is willing to accommodate me in a small, cozy one for only €200 a month (around $260).

Now, I just need to purchase a flight ticket (I’ll have to figure out how to pay for it!) as well as decide what I should do with my place. My lease is up on March 31st. Should I renew it or keep it and pay rent even if I won’t be there for 12 weeks? And I am going to need to find someone to take care of Siena while I’m gone (god, I’m going to miss her so much). Decisions, decisions.

I never thought in 100 years that this would happen. I have to pinch myself to make sure all this isn’t just a dream.


Filed under Calitri, Europe

Calitrani on Facebook

Sometime in early 2008, I believe, I started a group on Facebook called “Viva Calitri” for people who have roots in, or are fans of, Calitri. To my surprise, people started joining the group within days of its creation.

picture-3Little did I know that a year later, the number of members would explode and reach 1,000. They come from every corner of the world – United States, Canada, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, France, England, Iceland, Slovakia, Sweden, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Australia and even Japan!

Remarkable. Yesterday, one calitrano predicted, “1,000 today, 5,000 next year!”

I have personal ties with many of the members in the group and the story behind my ties with two of them is particularly interesting. One is Justin Cerreta, who I went to middle school with. His aunt grew up with my ex-step-mother and his cousins went to school with my sister. Another is Jennifer Zarrilli, who I worked with at a grocery store when I was 16. Back then, we weren’t aware that we were closely related, much less had roots in Calitri! I swear us Calitrani somehow gravitate towards each other.

Siamo ovvunque!

Here is the link to the Calitri group on Facebook if have Facebook and you’d like to join. But chances are you’re already a member!


Filed under Calitri

Registrazioni di matrimonio

A few days before Christmas, a gentleman in Calitri gave me a wonderful Christmas gift. He sent me a spreadsheet document listing matrimoni (marriages) that occurred in Calitri from 1765 to 1801. He spent every Saturday morning the past year in the Canonica of Chiesa di San Canio (Church of St. Canio) pouring over the ancient church registers, deciphering old Italian script and transcribing each marriage.

In the span of 36 years, 1,548 marriages took place. I’ve spent the last two weeks entering information from this spreadsheet into my family tree program, which in itself is a painstaking task. Thanks to this information, I was able to break down a couple of brick walls in my family tree. For example, my great-great-great-great grandmother, Caterina Grasso, was born sometime in 1774 in Bisaccia, a neighboring town of Calitri. She married Canio Vincenzo Maria Gervasi around 1793, presumably in Bisaccia, and lived the rest of her life in Calitri. I knew her parents were Nicola Grasso and Rosa Ricciardi from Caterina’s death record, which I discovered about a decade ago. I wanted to go back further on that line but my letters to Bisaccia went unanswered. While scanning the spreadsheet, I was thrilled to discover that Caterina’s parents married in Calitri in 1772 and that her mother, Rosa, was from Calitri. I also learned that Nicola’s father was Angelo and that Rosa was the daughter of Giuseppe Ricciardi and Giovanna Di Muro. It appears that Nicola took his wife back to his hometown of Bisaccia after they married and raised their family there. When their daughters, Caterina and Camilla, were old enough, Rosa made arrangements to marry them off to Calitrani men – Caterina to Canio Gervasi and Camilla to Giuseppe Cicoira.

This is what the spreadsheet looks like. Spreadsheet The ones that are highlighted have already been entered in my database, so as you can see, I’m not done yet. I’m hoping to finish by this weekend!

If any of you who have ancestors from Calitri would like information on your ancestors, let me know. Out of respect for the person who sent this, I cannot share the spreadsheet document with anyone as he asked me not to, but I can send you your family tree. He has to get permission from the local Bishop first to publish this information and so far, the Bishop has blatantly ignored his request.


Filed under Calitri, Genealogy

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…


Filed under Calitri, Europe