57 – May / June Visitors

In May we were soon to welcome new guests, in both upstairs and downstairs apartments.  Thus we have had to totally decamp from the farmhouse into our trusty old caravan.  Having the extra covered outside space is going to be a real bonus this year, far less cramped now that we have the ability to cook and wash up outside.  The outside shower is sometimes a little “bracing”, but in the heat of the summer it will work just fine.

We have welcomed a succession of visitors over the last few weeks which has kept us fully occupied. 

An lovely American couple from Oklahoma flew out to stay in a nearby villa.  Although this was to be their first visit to Italy, they were considering coming to live here when they both retire in a year or so.  Sam, whose grandparents had been Italian was also keen to trace his Italian family roots.  At first he thought that there was some family connection within the Itri area. Sam told me that on his grandfather’s death certificate the town of Rigliano was stated as his place of birth.  On the internet Sam had “Googled” this and picked up a place near Itri called Monte Rigliano, which was what had attracted him to this area. 

However  a wander through the local Itri Cemetery showed that the family name of Parilla was not at all common in these parts.  So, I offered to carry out some family history research online for him to see if we could shed any more light on the matter.  Sam’s grandfather  had emigrated to the States, passing through Ellis Island, New York, before  eventually settling in Chicago, Illinois.  Before too long I managed to find that many of the Italians that settled in the “Loop”  district of Chicago had originated from a place called Ricigliano.  It seems that the place of birth on the certificate had been wrongly recorded.  Further research revealed that Ricigliano is a small isolated village in Campagnia, 81 kms from Salerno, and one of the most common surnames of this town happens to be ….. Parilla !!!

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However  a wander through the local Itri Cemetery showed that the family name of Parilla was not at all common in these parts.  So, I offered to carry out some family history research online for him to see if we could shed any more light on the matter.  Sam’s grandfather  had emigrated to the States, passing through Ellis Island, New York, before  eventually settling in Chicago, Illinois.  Before too long I managed to find that many of the Italians that settled in the “Loop”  district of Chicago had originated from a place called Ricigliano.  It seems that the place of birth on the certificate had been wrongly recorded.  Further research revealed that Ricigliano is a small isolated village in Campagnia, 81 kms from Salerno, and one of the most common surnames of this town happens to be ….. Parilla !!!

During Sam and Carol’s stay we took pleasure in showing them around the Itri / Sperlonga / Gaeta area, which they immediately fell in love with – Well who wouldn’t !!!

We also helped them with their house hunting and were more than happy to share any advice and experiences that we had learned during our relocation to Italy.  They have found a possible house near to Campodimele / Lenola which greatly interests them.  Sadly their fortnight’s stay passed far too quickly, but we greatly enjoyed their company, and that of their travelling companions, Mary Lou and Rik.  I feel sure we will continue this new-found friendship, and they are already planning their next visit.

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It was also an absolute pleasure to meet Jason Soscia, and his brother Nick and girlfriend Nicole, from  Cranston, Rhode Island in the USA.  Jason is a keen family historian and is tracing his  ancestors who originated from Itri.  It seems that back in the early 1900’s, a large number of Itrani people left their beloved hometown to move to the Knightsville district of Cranston.  Thus Cranston is a “sister town” of Itri, where many traditions continue such as the annual celebration the feast of the Madonna della Civita around the 21st July.  Jason belongs to a Yahoo Group known as “Fra Diavolo” –  A group for people researching their family history specifically around Itri and surrounding towns such as Gaeta, Formia, Fondi, Terracina.  

 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fradiavolo

We are soon to welcome a new British neighbour, Peter, a professional photographer, who is in the process of purchase a new, partly constructed villeta just up the road from us.  This property has a lovely sunny aspect and beautiful country view, with even a glimpse of the sea.  I am sure he will make it into a beautiful new home.  Again we are more than happy to offer  him practical help and advice.

Recently we were contacted by a chap who has purchased an old dilapidated farmhouse near to Monte San Biagio which he is hoping to renovate.  It is going to need a good deal of work, but has plenty of  “potential” !!!   However, to-date, this project has been fraught with problems, including a nasty and expensive dispute with neighbours over a “right of way”, and a Geometra who seemed impossible to contact.  Thus Joost came over for a few days to try and resolve some of these problems and once again we were pleased to offer our help in trying to get the project back on track by engaging a new, more approachable Geometra and a good local builder.  Fingers crossed for a positive outcome !!! 

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