We haven’t been able to make a trip back to the UK for some time now, and I must admit that sometimes I do feel homesick, with regard to seeing our family, especially our grandchildren.  So we were delighted to hear that Emma, Michael and youngest grandson Aneurin had booked flights for a little Italian holiday. 

They spent the first few days in Firenze where they stayed in a lovely BnB called Casa Palmira which they would highly recommend.  They also greatly enjoyed taking in many of the beautiful sights of Florence.

They all then drove down to Itri.  My goodness how Aneurin has grown.  He is now 4½ years old, and quite tall for his age.

 We celebrated their arrival with a meal at the Bellavista Restaurant.

Aneurin just loves pizza !!!


And Italian chocolate ice-cream !!!


He loves having his photo taken while he is pulling funny faces !!! He has such a charming character. I could see him perhaps becoming an actor or some sort of performer in years to come.




Aneurin loved his frolicks in the pool even though it was a little on the chilly side for some !!! The weather has been quite cool so far this summer.







Chiara came to play, however her Mamma thought it was too cool for swimming in the pool. It seems that we Brits are of sturdier stock !!!



As you can see Aneurin seems to have no fear !!!




Also 5 year old Isabel and her family paid us a visit.




Alas, Aneurin’s  five days in Itri passed so quickly,

and too soon we had to say our good-byes.

We miss you and our other two fine young grandsons,

Jamie and Tommy, so much !!!

We hope we can manage to organise a trip back to the UK

perhaps in the Autumn.

Sending love and hugs to you all

Nonna and Nampi


All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#holiday #itri #italy #TreCancelle


TCTitleTre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments

Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

Each June to celebrate the Sunday of Corpus Domini, held on the 9th Sunday after Easter, Itri stages a wonderful festival of flowers, known as The “Infiorata”. This was to be the 29th edition of this community event and people young and old gather to work on the various designs.  

Our American friends Pat and Melinda were keen to take part, so a day or so before the actual event we turned up in Itri, in a side alley off Via Della Repubblica,  each armed with a pair of scissors.

We were warmly greeted and allocated some chairs and we set to work. There were bucketfuls and bucketfuls of carnations of various colours. 


The first task was to snap off the flower heads from their stems and collect them into crates. All the remainder of the greenery was set aside to later be put through a shredder machine.


Pat and Melinda



These lovely French ladies travel to Itri every year just to take part in the Infiorata.






When all the flower heads were detached, the next job was to snip off the petals just above the green base of the flower. The fresh confetti of petals were collected into crates, the bases were thrown into another basket for later use.  Nothing of the flowers is put to waste.

There were people of all ages and walks of life helping with the preparation of the flower petals. There were children with their mothers, grandmothers with their grandchildren, pensioners, school children, teenagers, all were happy to lend a helping hand.









PM10440722_10207085063068434_8798950205324739827_nOn the Sunday morning we travelled down to Itri to see people working on the creations.  Each design measures 4 x 7 metres.  This  is at truly amazing type of street art, a Floral carpet flower petals that only lasts for one single day.  Some of the designs are very elaborate. This year they followed a modern theme.


K11427188_10152958666998963_5690021273640806369_nIn the afternoon, after Sunday lunch,

people flock to admire the completed designs.













The ceremonial altar and a design of La Madonna della Civitá –

the Patron of Itri.


K11407153_10152958667023963_6732031142755339241_nAfter the religious procession has wound its way through all of the districts of the town, the Priest, carrying the holy sacraments walks over the tapestry of flowers.


It was very satisfying to know that we had played a small part in this wonderful community event.

Photos by me – Louise, Kay McRobbie, and Patrick and Melinda Abbott

#itri #infiorata #SouthLazio #italy #flower #festival #CorpusDomini


You might also like to take a look at some of my past posts relating to the Itri Infiorata:

162 – Preparations For Itri’s June 2013 Infiorata

163 – The Completed Designs of Itri’s June 2013 Infiorata


TCTitleTre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments

Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

From time to time we pay a morning call to our favourite bar in Itri for an espresso or a cappuccino. It is known as Bix Café or Bix Bar and has become very popular since it opened a couple of years ago. Bix Café


On this occasion Paul and Kay had organised to meet up there with our friends Pauline and Filippo.

Whilst they were all chatting away in English a man seated at a nearby table said “Hello” in an American accent and introduced himself as Frank Agresti from California, USA.

Frank said that he had only been in Italy for a few weeks and went on to explain the reason why he was in Itri. It seems that his grandparents had originated from this town, but had emigrated to New York, where Frank was also born in the Bronx.


Frank had always been interested in finding his Italian roots and had found a Facebook group dedicated to the Agresti surname: Agresti Facebook Group.

Here he came across an Agresti couple who currently live in Florida. They were lamenting the fact that with heavy hearts they were considering putting the old family olive grove in Itri up for sale. It had been left more or less abandoned for several years.

Just off the cuff Frank sent a message asking if by chance they needed a caretaker to look after their land. “Yes !!!” was their reply.

Incredibly, Frank was an excellent candidate for this job as he had worked many years as an arborist in the States. Frank realised that this could be a unique opportunity for him to see the town of his grandfather’s birth and perhaps start a new adventure of living in Italy. No time was wasted as within six weeks all was organised and Frank found himself in Bella Itri. He spoke no Italian but had some knowledge of Spanish which helped a little. He had managed to find somewhere temporary to stay.

Through contacts Frank was able to make friends with a couple of members of the Agresti family (there are just one or two Agresti’s in Itri !!!). They took him for a drive up to look around the old olive farm. Frank loved the place from day one and dreamed of reviving the olive trees which he was told were between 100 and 200 years old.

On the Sunday before Kay’s departure back to Wales, Frank invited us to take a look at the orchard, as he called it. The plot of land, measuring about 5 acres is situated a few kilometres out of the centre of Itri in the Campetelle district.



Set high on a hill, the grove consisted of 400 olive trees, together with numerous fruit trees.







There was a rustic little house or “casetta” that looked as if it had seen better days.



We had a peep inside, there was just one main room with an old fireplace. The walls were covered in mould and there was an abundance of dust and cobwebs. There was a simple kitchen and a basic bathroom. Frank thought that it had potential and with a little bit of elbow grease that it could be made habitable.



We established that the property had a water supply, however the electricity appeared to have been disconnected.


After a tour around the grove we offered to take Frank for a ride down to the coast to Sperlonga. We had a pleasant afternoon wandering through the old town.





We then drove along the coast road to Sant’Agostino beach where we called in at one of our favourite beachside bars “Il Miramare” for refreshments.

Then we suggested that we should all round off the day with a pizza at the Bellavista restaurant.

Frank explained that as an American he only had been able to obtain a tourist visa with a 90 day duration. Frank had done his homework and had discovered that if he could prove that his family originated from Itri that he was entitled to apply for Italian citizenship. “Jure Sanguinis” translates as the right of blood – the right to reclaim citizenship by proving that your ancestors were of Italian blood.

Frank had a little information to make a start with. He had his grandfather’s passport which gave his date of birth, 1891 and it stated he was born in Itri, Gaeta. Frank also knew his grandmother’s name was Romilda Maggiacomo.

We agreed to accompany him to the Anagrafe office in the Comune to help with translating and to try to investigate his family heritage. Meanwhile I did a bit of research on the internet and I found the following Ellis Island point of entry information:

Arrived Ellis Island 1914

  • First Name : Alfredo
    • Last Name : Agresti
    • Nationality : Italy, Italian South
    • Last Place of Residence : Itri, Italy
    • Date of Arrival : May 7th, 1914
    • Age at Arrival : 28y
    • Gender : Male
    • Marital Status : Married
    • Ship of Travel : Patria
    • Port of Departure : Naples

Arrived Ellis Island 1914
• First Name : Emilda
• Last Name : Agresti
• Nationality : Italy, Italian South
• Last Place of Residence : Itri, Italy
• Date of Arrival : May 7th, 1914
• Age at Arrival : 28y
• Gender : Female
• Marital Status : Married
• Ship of Travel : Patria
• Port of Departure : Naples

It seems that the officials at Ellis Island had made a mistake with Romilda’s name.

However this was not Alfredo’s first time arriving at Ellis Island. I discovered another record:

Arrived Ellis Island 1908
• First Name : Alfredo
• Last Name : Agresti
• Nationality : Italy, Italian South
• Last Place of Residence : Caserta, Itri, Italy
• Date of Arrival : Oct 22th, 1914
• Age at Arrival : 17y
• Gender : Male
• Marital Status : Single

• Occupation : Shoemaker

• Nearest Relative or Friend in Country Whence Alien Came  : Uncle Pasquale Di Pinto, of Itri.

• Ship of Travel : Duca di Genova

• Port of Departure : Naples

A few days later we all arrived at the Anagrafe office. We spoke to Anna Lucia who is the Registrar there, and we found her to be very kind and helpful. She explained that she was happy to help Frank, but she did not have time to go through the registrars with us as they were short staffed and somewhat overworked. However she said we were welcome to go down to the archives and have a look ourselves. We accompanied her down to the basement to a set of two rooms with shelves that were stacked from floor to ceiling with bulging folders and folios.

Anna Lucia suggested that we looked through a set of indices which were in alphabetic order and were stored in some curious wooden bound folders.


Also there was a huge stack of papers tied together with ribbons labelled as surnames beginning with A. There was little space in the archive room to go through this paperwork so Anna Lucia suggested that we took the folders back upstairs.


Paul and Frank began patiently searching through the records and folios one by one to see if they could find any information relating to Frank’s grandparents. There were lots of Agresti’s but nothing relating directly to Frank’s grandfather.


However soon it was time for the Register Office to close for lunch. Anna Lucia said we were welcome to return that afternoon.

In the afternoon I decided to try a different approach. I asked Anna Lucia if I could take a look at some Registers, as we knew Alfredo’s date of birth and approximate date of marriage. Anna Lucia accompanied me down to the basement where in the second room the registers were stored.

Before very long we had found Alfredo’s birth and marriage records.

Alfredo Agresti was born 23 February 1891.


These also gave us some information of the next generation back, about his great-grandparents who were Francesco Agresti and Maria Giuseppa di Pinto.

He married Olimpia Romilda Maggiacomo on 15th April 1914 in Itri.

The pieces of the jigsaw were beginning to fit together. Alfredo, as a young man had travelled to America. However he had returned to Itri to marry his sweet-heart Romilda when they were aged 23, before whisking her off to New York to start a new life there.


Grazie Anna Lucia x

Frank was ecstatic. We and Anna Lucia were so very pleased for him.

Frank could now start the process of obtaining his Italian Citizenship and fortunately kind hearted Anna Lucia was able to help him with this. He required this Citizenship because as an American he would not be entitled to access free health care in Italy and that generally it would make things easier for him.

Frank had found a temporary place to live, renting a little studio flat in an alleyway just off the old Via Appia, in Lo Stratcio district, which by curious coincidence was were his great-grandparents had lived many years ago.

Frank was keen to start work on cleaning up the rustic abandoned little house in the Agresti olive grove, but it was difficult as it was out of town and he had no transport.

In Italy nothing is easy !!! Frank was presented with a series of bureaucratic hurdles to overcome, which came with a generous helping of Culture Shock, especially as Frank speaks very little Italian.

Firstly he needed to get a Codice Fiscale, a tax code from the Agenzia dell’Entrate in Formia. Then he had to apply for Residency in Itri, which was not so simple as he had no permanent address. Once again thankfully Anna Lucia was available to assist and get the application underway.

Paul helped Frank through the tricky task of opening an Italian bank account. Then we directed him to our friends who own a garage in Itri, to help with the process of buying, insuring and registering a car. For this however he first needed to have his Residency.

Most recently he has managed to file his request for a Permesso di Soggiorno, with our help and the kind help of our American friends Pat and Mindy. His 90 day tourist visa was about to expire.

Everything in Italy takes time, nothing is straight forward, nothing can be rushed !!! To get anything done takes a great deal of patience as several visits to the relevant office are required before you can take a step forward in the direction of what you need to achieve.

At times it seemed so difficult and Frank has had his patience tested to the full, however slowly he has begun to battle his way through.

Frank is a very friendly and gregarious chappie with a “larger than life” character, and has already made many friends during his short time in Itri. With the help of some of these he has managed to clean and fix up the rustic little house and start to make it habitable and homely. He has managed to find a few sticks of furniture, the refrigerator doesn’t work and only 2 rings on the cooker are in working order. However he still has not managed to get the electricity reconnected !!! This is Italy !!! Therefore, we are currently lending him a petrol generator to tide him over. So he doesn’t have a TV but has managed to sort out some sort of connection to the internet. He says he spends much of his evenings by candlelight. Frank has also had some work carried out on the olive trees and is thoroughly enjoying taming the abandoned olive grove.



We hope that Frank will have several happy years tending the Agresti olive grove and that the owners, Francesco and Helga, will feel content in the knowledge that he is taking care of their beloved family property.



Bravo !!! Well done Frank !!! We wish you well !!!

photos by me Louise and Frank Agresti

You can read more about Franks adventures in Itri at his Blog –

The Italian Chronicles

#ItalianCitizenship #JureSanguinis #agresti #itri #italy


You can read about some of the battles with Italian Bureaucracy that Paul and I had to work our way through when we first came to Italy at my

Avanti Sempre Avanti Blog:

14 – First Dose of Culture Shock

15 – Codice Fiscale Blunder

16 – La Cancelleria

19 – Getting To Grips With The Bank

25 – Acquiring a Permesso di Soggiorno

26 – Next Bureaucratic Challenge – The Italian Health System

TCTitleTre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments

Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

I (Louie) have been beavering away once again on the old computer.

Using  my own photos I have  put together a

new 2015 Video Slideshow of our Tre Cancelle Farmhouse.

Please do take a look – We hope you will enjoy it ………..

2015 “Tre Cancelle” Farmhouse Holiday Apartments


We also have a video about this beautiful and interesting region of

South Lazio in Italy:

“Beautiful South Lazio”

This beautiful mountainous / coastal region of South Lazio (within the provinces of Latina and Frosinone) is rich in history, architecture, culture and natural beauty.  Indeed it is blessed in many ways :

The beautiful coastline of the Riviera Di Ulisse / Ulysses Riviera (sometimes also know as the Costa Pontina or Pontine Coast) is considered to be one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Italy.  


Sperlonga Coastline

It takes its name from Greek mythology.  According to Homer’s ancient work the “Odessey” and Virgil’s later work the “Aeneid”, the legendary Greek hero Odysseus / Ulysses, having fled from the Aegean following the fall of Troy, for 10 years navigated the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea and eventually set foot on these golden Italian shores.  


Odysseus / Ulysses

This picturesque Riviera Di Ulisse, with its numerous golden sandy beaches, rocky coves, hidden caves and sheltered harbours, and the pretty seaside resorts of Sperlonga, Gaeta, Formia, Terracina, San Felice and the Pontine Islands, is noted for its temperate climate, and rainless summers.





The rocky cliffs are a haven for Free Climbers.

Yet close by are the dramatic Aurunci, and Ausoni, mountains which border the Southern Appenines and the Abruzzo National Park.  This is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with a diversity of landscapes:  Pretty medieval hill towns; verdant tranquil hillsides; olive groves; rivers, lakes; craggy peaks and protected nature reserves.


Itri Nestling In The Aurunci Mountains


View of Bella Itri

South Lazio is ideally positioned midway between Rome  and Naples making it an ideal base for taking day trips to these noble historical cities and also to  Pompei, Herculaneum and Vesuvius, to Montecassino,  to the Royal Palace of Caserta and Anzio.


The South Lazio area is popular with Italian visitors during the month of August, however out of season it reverts to a peaceful setting that is still largely undiscovered by international tourists.

So …

Come And Discover Beautiful South Lazio !!!


For more details about our

2 Comfy Farmhouse Holiday Apartments

and other local Holiday Villas  

please go to our Website at :



All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#holiday #apartments #sperlonga  #itri #italy #vacation #homes #rentals #villas #SouthLazio


Our friends  Pauline and Filippo, who have a house in the Migliorano district of Itri, kindly invited us to their home on Easter Monday. You may remember that we were invited there for the family feast of Ferragosto last August.

As usual Filippo’s family were also coming from the nearby coastal town of Formia, where Filippo was born and bred.  I explained that we had our special friends the White family staying with us over the Easter period. Pauline just said “the more the merrier!”  Also a new acquaintance was invited to also come along – Frank from California in the USA. (I will add more about Frank on a future blog post.)

We arrived at around Noon and we were warmly greeted by all of Pauline and Filippo’s family.


Frank, Andrew and Bethan


Andrew, Bethan and Jenny White


Bethan, Jenny and Pauline

The weather had turned unseasonably chilly this Easter in Italy.



We were told that we would be eating inside where there was a welcoming fire in the grate.


Typically the Italian women folk were already busy in the kitchen which was full of tantalising delicious aromas.


A rich sugo with clams and tomato was simmering on the hob and the pasta was almost ready to serve. There would be 17 of us sitting around the table !!!


The clam sauce was absolutely delicious.  Next some typical tiella pies were served with various fillings.  There were also omelettes and some special savory Easter breads with eggs baked in them and flavoured with cheese and pancetta. In addition there was grilled chicken, some greens – namely scarola and broccoletti tossed in garlic and olive oil,  and of course, Filippo’s wonderful roasted peppers.




Wild Asparagus Frittata


Roasted Peppers


This was followed by grilled fish.




For dessert there were several homemade Pastiera Napoletana cakes, made with ricotta cheese. Just wonderful.


Photo *






Salute – Cin Cin !!!

Here is Filippo’s mother who has recently celebrated her 90th birthday.

P1300687aThis is her close friend who is also in her nineties.  Don’t they look well on it !!!



Sincere thanks  to all of Pauline and Filippo’s family for inviting us and our friends to share their Easter celebration with us.

* photo by Mattia Luigi Nappi   cc By-Sa 3.0

All other photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#pasquetta #easter #food #itri #italy #italian #SouthLazio


TCTitleTre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments

Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

We have some very close friends that run a Restaurant and Pizzeria in Itri.   The Bellavista is situated up on a hillside overlooking Itri with a splendid view of the Castle and old town  nestling in the beautiful Aurunci mountains.



The Bellavista is a family business run by two brothers, Giancarlo and Massimo, and their Mamma Anna.  The restaurant has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and the tasty food is quite reasonably priced.


We are always made so welcome there and it is one of Kay and Elsie’s favourite places when they visit us in Itri, and we recommend it to many of our friends and guests.





Giancarlo and Monica have a sweet little girl named Chiara.




They already have Chiara helping in the kitchen to make pizzas from time to time !!!





Occasionally Massimo kindly gives our friends a lesson in the art of pizza making.  It is not as easy as you may think.  Here is Massimo teaching Bethan some of the special techniques.  

The prepared dough had been been made the day before.  It was shaped into small balls and had been covered with a damp cloth and left to prove overnight.

By the next evening the risen balls of dough were ready.  A floured work surface was prepared and each one of the little rounds of dough had to be gently flattened by pressing out with the fingertips, whilst at the same time the dough had to be rotated to maintain a circular shape. Here Bethan is preparing some Focaccia.


Then Massimo demonstrated how he lifts up the dough and gently stretches it over his knuckles and over the backs of his hands, and as the pizza stretches more and more then over his lower arms.  The dough has to be finely stretched and manipulated to become thin, almost transparent, without creating any holes.



Bethan was really getting the hang of it. Well done Bethan !!!


Bethan made her Focaccia into a heart shape and drizzled it with some olive oil which she spread over the surface with her finger-tips. Finally a sprinkling of sea salt and some finely chopped rosemary can be added if required.  The next tricky stage is to get the dough onto the pizza paddle and to transport it to the wood fired oven, where it only needs a few minutes to cook.





Eccoci qua – Bethan’s Focaccia.


All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#pizza #focaccia #bellavista #LaBellavista #pizzeria #restaurant #ristorante #itri #italy #southlazio


TCTitleTre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments

Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

The Spring is always a busy time for us at Tre Cancelle.  There’s always the Spring cleaning of the apartments to do and generally tidying and sprucing up around the place. 

This Spring was extra busy as we had had a fair bit of pruning carried out on the olive trees over the winter months, and there was a large amount of wood from the severed branches to be sorted and cut to size ready for the wood-shed.




Some of the dogs didn’t waste time in making themselves cosy little nests amongst the leafy branches or frasche.




Our builder friends very kindly lent us a hand by helping to transport some of the wood from the lower sections of the olive grove to the car park area in front of the house.




We purchased a new chop-saw to help with the task of cutting the wood into manageable lengths.


This may seem like an awful lot of wood but our wood-burning stoves are hungry beasts and consume huge amounts of firewood over the winter months to keep us cosy.  There are still several piles of firewood to be gathered and chopped, so hopefully we will be well stocked up for next winter.


Italian winters can be cold and damp, however we rarely get a frost.  This year however was an exception, as we were hit by an icy cold snap, which killed off most of my geraniums and also burst an underground pipe.  At first we didn’t understand what had happened. It wasn’t until we received a phone call from our local water supplier asking us to pay our bill.  When Paul asked how much it was, his jaw dropped !!! – It was far higher than normal.  It was only then that we realised that there must have been a leak !!! Not good news !!! Not good news at all !!!

During March our friend Kay came to stay and she is always willing to help with many different tasks around the place.  Some of our other friends, Pauline and Filippo who also live in Itri, also came to lend us a hand in the groves. Heartfelt thanks to them all !!!


Filippo, Pauline, Paul and Kay at Bix Bar in Itri


By then the olive groves were gaily decorated by delicate wild flowers and blossoms.




The astounding beauty of nature !!!

At this time of year the people from Itri also roam the countryside to collect the local delicacy of wild asparagus.  It grows freely on our land.



Unfortunately the horses also love to eat it !!!

Photos by me – Louise, Paul, Kay and F. Agresti

#spring #itri #italy #SouthLazio #olive #grove #WildAsparugus


TCTitleTre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments

Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

Most of our family and friends know that we are big fans of family history. It should be warned, however, that it’s a very addictive pastime and once you get started you can so easily get hooked !!!

I started by researching my father’s side of the family, the Richards family – Tin Miners from Cornwall, the Davies family – Coal Miners from Ammanford in South Wales and the Houghagan’s  from County Mayo / County Galway in Ireland and in Swansea.

Next we began researching Paul’s Shapcott family from Whitestone / Exeter in Devon. This got us well and truly hooked and we went on to liaise with several other Shapcott researchers, and we have put together a large database of information. Consequently, we registered our Shapcott interests with “The Guild of One-Name Studies”. We were interested to discover just how far and wide Shapcott’s are dispersed from their native homeland of Knowstone in North Devon, and to learn more about their individual stories and varied ways of life.

Shapcott Barton in Knowstone Devon

Shapcott Barton in Knowstone, Devon – The ancestral home of the Shapcotes

Here is our Shapcott Family Website: http://www.shapcott-family.com

Shapcott Coat of Arms

And then of course there was my Italian side of the family. My maternal grandparents originated from the beautiful mountain community of  Atina, Frosinone, Italy, overlooking the River Melfa and the Meta and Mainarde mountains, on the edge the Abruzzi.

Atina Val di Comino Frosinone Italy

Atina Val di Comino Frosinone Italy

My Atina website: http://atina.shapcott-family.com/

However my grandparents chose to leave behind their beloved Atina to make a new life in London. In the Summer of 1911 they first set foot on English soil, and made their way to “Il Quariere Italiano” of Clerkenwell, the district known as “Little Italy” by the English and “The Hill” by the Italian residents.

They rented a dilapidated Victorian house at the lower end of Little Saffron Hill which was to be their home for many years to come.


Herbal Hill or Little Saffron Hill Clerkenwell London

Herbal Hill or Little Saffron Hill Clerkenwell London

Leonardi Family clerkenwell London

My mother, Tina (Concetta), was baptised in St Peter’s Italian Church in 1920 and made her First Communion there.

Little Italian Girl Clerkenwell London

Tiny Tina

First Communion in Clerkenwell London

Tina’s First Communion in Clerkenwell, London

She married my father there in 1955.

Wedding at St Peters Italian Church Clerkenwell, London

Tina and Hugh’s wedding

Then I was born and was also baptised at St Peter’s and I lived in Clerkenwell until, in 1957, we moved away to the countryside of Hertfordshire, away from the smogs of old London town.  

My mother would, however, return every so often on a Sunday to attend Mass at St Peter’s. We also came at special times of the year, such as for the Italian Procession in July, which I walked in on two occasions, just as my mother had done before me.  We also enjoyed attending the Christmas Bazaar in St Peter’s School hall, Herbal Hill, where my mother had attended school.

Sadly I did not have the good fortune to get to know my maternal grandparents, as they had both died well before I came along. However, as I grew up I developed a true passion for Italy and all things Italian.  My mother (Tina) would fondly recount stories of her childhood in Clerkenwell and I decided to write them down and record them for future generations to learn from and to enjoy,  to preserve them for posterity.  I am so happy to be able to share my mother’s memories with you at my new website entitled “Clerkenwell Our Little Italy”.  

Tina’s story is about a child growing up in Little Italy

during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Little Italian girl in Little Italy Clerkenwell London

In addition it includes descriptions of living in London through the Blitz during WWII, the internment of “enemy aliens” and the terrible tragedy of the Arandora Star.

The website also has a section dedicated to the history of Clerkenwell over the last few centuries and the influx of Italian immigrants to this area. There is information regarding the padrones, the organ-grinders, the street musicians, the artists’ models, the immigrants’ various crafts and trades, the terrible living conditions in the slums and, of course, the manufacture of ice cream.

Another section is devoted to St Peter’s Italian Church and the annual procession in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

During this project, I have met through the wonders of the internet, a number of interesting people who share my passion for Clerkenwell’s Little Italy and its social history, and also the history of London.  I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that has helped me.

A special thank you to those photographers who kindly gave me permission to use their wonderful images to illustrate the website.

So, here it is: Clerkenwell Our Little Italy


I have also created a Facebook Group by the name of   

Clerkenwell Our Little Italy    

Please do feel welcome to join !!!

#clerkenwelllondon, #clerkenwell #familyhistory #atinaitaly #italianprocession #littleitaly


TCTitleTre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments

Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

Recently we were invited to yet another birthday celebration, by our friends Anna and Santo.  Santo is originally from Sicily and misses his birthplace greatly.  How I would like to visit Sicily one day.

These festivities were for their daughter little Isabel who was 5 years old.

(Just 55 years younger than poor old Kay and Elsie !!! but my time will come when I am 60 in a couple of years time – where does the time go !!!)

Isabel is a little “sweet heart” and very comical !!!

Here I think I will let the photos do the talking ….

Birthday Itri Italy

Birthday Itri Italy

Birthday Itri Italy

Birthday Itri Italy

Birthday Itri Italy

Riccotta Pie Dessert

Birthday Cake Italy

Birthday Cake Itri Italy

Happy Birthday Isabel and may you have many, many more happy ones !!!

Birthday Itri Italy

Isabel's Birthday Itri Italy

Isabel's Birthday Itri Italy

Family Itri Italy

Family Itri Italy

Thank you for inviting us to share this special day with you and your lovely family. Dear friends, my dream is that one day you will be able to meet my family too.

 Auguri !!!

I hope you like the photos.

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#birthday #compleanno #itri #italy #southlazio


TCTitleTre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments

Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse


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