During October we were pleased to welcome some American visitors – Mary was accompanied by her three children and by her elderly father Vincenzo De Luca.
Vincenzo’s family had originated from Bella Itri, his father had left Italy in the early 1900’s for a new life in New York. This was to be Vincenzo’s first visit to this beautiful area of South Lazio.
During their stay we had great pleasure in showing them around some of the interesting sites of Itri.
We first paid a visit to the Church and Convent of Santa Maria di Loreto. At one time this had also been used as an orphanage, where Vincenzo’s father had been brought up as a child.
We then moved on to the Chiesa Della Vergine Annuziata in the centre of the town. Inside there is a chapel which houses the beautiful silver statue of the Madonna della Cività, the patron of Itri, whose annual feast day falls on the 21st July.
Then we headed for the old historic part of upper Itri, which can be reached both on foot and by small car, although some of the roads are especially narrow. The fortified medieval quarter is a warren of narrow cobbled streets, archways, gates and stairways. The dominating castle, dates back to the IX century and being strategically positioned high on a hill, it has a commanding view of the surrounding area.
We visited the XI century Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo and we showed Vincenzo and family the remains of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore and its impressive bell-tower which was built in an Arabic / Norman style. From this square there are beautiful views of the lower town and surrounding mountains.
We then drove out of Itri, through the Valle d’Itri, and climbed up towards the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Cività. This houses the sacred painting of the Madonna and Child.
Mary and Vincenzo were keen to find out more about their family ancestors from Itri, and we accompanied them to the office of the Anagrafe in Itri Town Hall / Comune, in search of further information.
During their stay the children, Gavin, Anna and Lena, enjoyed meeting some members of the “Woof Gang” and even managed to fit in a swim down at Sperlonga beach (the water was still warm in October). We also celebrated Anna’s birthday with some delicious pastries from a local Pasticceria. Scrummy !!!
Although their stay in Itri was brief, Vincenzo and family all seemed to thoroughly enjoy their visit, and hope to return again sometime, hopefully in the not too distant future.
#DeLuca #itri #italy #familyhistory #family #NewYork #Anagrafe #genealogy #borninitri
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All photos by me © Louise Shapcott