210 – Itri 2015 Festa della Madonna di Civita


We are delighted to have our friends, the White family and three of their girls, staying with us once again at Tre Cancelle. You may remember that Niamh had already spent a month here in June with her elder sister Shannon.  One evening we decided to trundle down to Itri to check out this year’s summer festival. 

Here are the girls heading down the old Roman Via Appia towards the main square of Piazza Incoronazione.


Bethan, Caitlin, Niamh – “The Three Graces”


The festival is dedicated to the Madonna della Civita who is  the patron of the town of Itri  which nestles in the foothills of the Aurunci Mountains.



The main streets were decorated with brightly coloured illuminations.


A stage had been set up for the evening’s musical entertainment.


The long road of Via Farnese was lined with stall after stall of amusements and street vendors.



There were numerous food stalls selling items like roasted peanuts, lupini, multi-coloured sweets, nougat, candyfloss, guanciale, and rolls filled with porchetta.






Also for sale were every type of clothes, shoes, trainers, hats, caps, jewellery, watches,  sunglasses, trinkets, noisy children’s toys, household goods, terracotta cooking pots, handy kitchen gadgets, garden implements, artificial flowers, holy paintings, goldfish, ducklings, parakeets …  you name it there was a stall selling it !!!



On almost every available piece of pavement there were African peddlers, who could not afford to rent a stall, so they simply displayed their wares on a sheet stretched out on the ground. 

I took a peek inside La Chiesa dell’ Annunziata.


Here the resplendent silver statue of the Madonna and Child is displayed for all to see, resting on a lavishly decorated altar. 






When I stepped outside I could hear that the music had already started. 

This evening  a Jovanotti tribute band, known as “Jovanotte”, were to give a free concert in Itri. 






We were impressed by their musical ability and the energy of their performance. 

Well their music certainly got Paul’s feet tapping !!!


The following evening was the last of the festival.  Having seen all the stalls the night before, we all decided to meet up for a pizza with Pat and Melinda at the Bellavista.


Jenny and Andrew


Caitlin and Bethan


Niamh and Caitlin


Pat and Niamh

We enjoyed a cheery evening while we waited for the grand finale of the Festa della Madonna della Civita, a spectacular firework display. 

The Bellavista has a superb view of Itri and its ancient castle.   








It astounds me how a little town like Itri can put on such a magnificent firework display every year.

Brava Itri !!!  We love you !!!

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#itri #trecancelle #italy #SouthLazio #MadonnaDellaCivita #travel



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga and Itri

209 – Minturno – La Sagra delle Regne and International Folklore Festival


La Sagra delle Regne is a religious festival dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie, the patron of the old medieval town of Minturno. It takes place every year on the second Sunday in July. 

Our American friends, Pat and Melinda, very kindly invited us to spend the afternoon and evening with them, so that we could see the festival for ourselves.  They have purchased an apartment in Minturno and have now left their old life back behind in Ohio, and begun their adventure of living in Italy. 


Melinda, Pat and Paul

Pat and Melinda had very kindly had the foresight to reserve a table at their local bar, which was located directly  in front of the event’s main stage. It proved to be an excellent viewpoint.  Of course I had my trusty camera with me !!!  I was hoping to capture some good shots of this colourful event.

The term “regne” has Latin origins, meaning bundles or sheaves of wheat.  The festival had pagan origins. Local farmers would beseech the Roman Gods of the earth to protect the wheat harvest and bless the fruits of their labours. During the Middle Ages the festival became a Christian one, in which the Madonna delle Grazie was entreated to grant local families, farmers and fishermen success in their personal endeavours.

In Minturno’s main square stands the 14th century stone church dedicated to San Francesco.  Inside there is a side altar with a beautiful fresco depicting the Madonna delle Grazie.




As the festival began to get under way we watched decorated carts being transported to the centre of the village, some were horse-drawn, others were towed by tractor.



photo © Melinda Abbott










In the evening Minturno hosted the Festivale Internationale del Folklore.

We watched an impressive performance by a band of sbandieratori or flag wavers / throwers, an ancient Medieval tradition.



Many local people, both young and old, were dressed in the typical costumes of this region.   There seems to be so much passion, diligence and pride in trying to preserve the old traditional ways.

Everyone gathers in the main square to see the wheat being threshed manually by the “vigilatori”. 














There were numerous performances by local dance groups

and musicians from Minturno.







At this year’s 2015 festival Minturno welcomed colourful dance troupes from

Mexico, Panama and Poland.


















The evening’s entertainment culminated

in the castle being seemingly set alight.

We retired back to Pat and Melinda’s apartment where we sat on their wonderful roof terrace.  Here we were able to sit and relax, and enjoy the cooler night air whilst watching the festa’s grand finale  – a colourful firework display.



Thanks to Pat and Melinda for a wonderful evening.

All photos (except were indicated) by me © Louise Shapcott

#minturno #italy #festival #festa #sagra #FolkDancing #SagraDelleRegne #WheatHarvest #tradition #culture


Just recently I have been updating my Minturno web pages.

Minturno has a fascinating history and it is so interesting to wander around the old Medieval town.

You can read more about Minturno and see more photographs here at my website:  




Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga and Itri, South Lazio

208 – Alison, Shannon and Niamh’s Summer Break at Tre Cancelle – Part 2


Recently we have had the pleasure of getting to know a lovely Italian family who live in Italy, although Santo originates from Sicily. They have a large family with two grown up sons, Ivano and Jordan, three daughters, two of them are in their teens, Miriam and Sharon, and then there is the piccolina  Ysabel who is just 5.

We thought it would be a good opportunity for Shannon and Niamh to meet Anna, Santo and their girls.  Shannon had studied Italian for a couple of years when she was at school, so has some knowledge of the language, although perhaps a little rusty.

Anna, Santo and their daughters popped in to see us one afternoon so that they could meet the Shannon, Alison and Niamh. Anna speaks English fairly well, and Miriam and Sharon are also keen students and would like to develop their language skills.


Niamh, Alison, Shannon, Anna, Santo Miriam, Ysabel, Aneurin and Max

Anna invited us to their home in Itri for “afternoon tea” which was lovely.  Anna then said she would like to teach us how to make pasta and so we organised a date, time and the venue, which was to be Tre Cancelle.  Sadly Alison wasn’t going to be able to take part in this, as her two week holiday had just about come to and end and before long she was winging her way back home.

On the designated afternoon Santo, Anna and the girls arrived and Anna was keen to get started.  Sharon and Miriam started to prepare the meatballs and the tomato sugo, in which they were to be cooked.




To make the pasta Anna used 2 kilos of Italian 00 type flour, also known as farina di grano tenero, and 12 eggs.

(I would just like to point out that this made a huge quantity, so perhaps it would be better to at least halve the quantity). 

I thought Anna would use an electric mixer to blend the pasta mixture, but no !!! Anna stated that it was better to get your hands in there, so as to be able to feel the consistency of the dough.



At first it became a sticky mess !!!


However, as they continued working the dough by kneading and stretching the mixture it gradually began to come together and eventually  form a smooth soft ball.


Then this was left to rest for a little while.  Anna had brought along her manually operated pasta machine.  I have one too, however I must admit it sits right at the back of one of my kitchen cupboards, and to my shame I have only used it once.

The dough was then divided up into small lumps.

Little Ysabel wanted to help too.



The rollers of the pasta machine had been set to the thickest setting. One by one the lumps of pasta dough were coaxed into the machine’s roller mechanism.  Then as the handle was turned it began to churn out strips of pasta.


This was just the first rolling.



The strips were then laid out on a clean surface to dry for a few minutes.


The pasta roller mechanism was then adjusted to a slightly thinner setting and the pasta strips were once again fed into the machine, which duly churned out slightly longer and thinner strips of pasta.

Once again the pasta had to be laid out on a clean surface to dry for a few minutes. We were running out of space in our kitchen !!!

The roller was adjusted once more and the pasta rolled out.




Now ….  Was the pasta thin enough? 

No, Anna thought it needed one more rolling !!!

“Che pazienza !!!”


Finally the sheets of pasta were of the right thickness.  So the next step was to feed the strips through a different set of rollers which had a cutting attachment that had been adjusted to make tagliatelle.



Brava Anna !!!



Mamma Mia !!!  Pasta Galore !!! Tante tagliatelle !!!


The tagliatelle were left to dry out a little. We had made such a large quantity that we bagged some up to put in the freezer.


A huge saucepan was put on the gas hob and filled with water.  A little salt was added. Once the water was bubbling the tagliatelle were added a little at a time.  This freshly made pasta only needed a few minutes to cook and then the pasta was drained in a colander.

The meatballs were removed from the rich tomato sugo.


 The sauce was added to the drained tagliatelle

and the pasta tossed so that all of it was evenly coated. 


The meatballs and a little extra sugo were served on top with of course

a generous sprinkling of parmeggiano.


Buon Appetito !!! Mangia !!!

We all ate “al fresco” out on the terrace.

Buonissimo !!!


Niamh, Shannon and Anna


Miriam, Sharon,

Niamh, Shannon and Anna


Miriam, Santo, Sharon,

Niamh, Shannon and Anna

Thank you to Anna, Santo and their girls for sharing this fun packed afternoon and evening with us. 

It was such a wonderful experience for us all.




Sisters !!!

Some of the other things that Shannon, Niamh and Alison achieived / enjoyed during their stay here at Tre Cancelle included:

Helping Paul to re-build a dry stone wall, helping to prepare the apartments for guests, helping me (Louise) with some jewellery making,  a trip to the beach at Sant’Agostino, wandering around the local markets of Gaeta and Fondi, sunbathing and cooling off in the swimming pool, and of course sampling ice-cream.



The girls are real animal lovers and have numerous pets at home.

They also helped out with the horses

which were proving to be ardent escapologists.


Paul has been feeding a stray cat for several months now, a big white fluffy thing and just recently, during the girls’ stay, two more cats have turned up here, The girls have named them “Starla” and “Chester” and we’ve also caught a fleeting glance of a little kitten.


Shannon and Niamh also helped to bath the dogs, and generally spoiled them by giving them lots of treats, fuss and attention ……




….. especially Max.




Sorry Paul, I just had to sneak this picture in !!!


Just to say “Thank You” girls for all your help,

your great company and for sharing with us your fun and laughter !!!

Niamh is to return to Tre Cancelle

soon with her parents and other sisters Caitlin and Bethan.


Soon after getting back to the UK,

Shannon and Alison attended their graduation ceremony

and they are both about to start their new jobs.


Well done girls and good luck with your future careers !!!



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga and Itri in South Lazio

207 – Alison, Shannon and Niamh’s Summer Break at Tre Cancelle – Part 1

Alison, Shannon, Niamh

In June we welcomed Shannon, Niamh and Alison to Tre Cancelle.  This was not to be their first visit, especially for Shannon and Niamh who have stayed with us many many times now, in fact we are practically like family.  The three girls had just completed their exams, Shannon and Alison had just taken their finals at university and Naimh her ‘A’ Levels. They now had some well deserved time off and we hoping to relax a little and unwind from the stresses and strains of the last new months. Shannon and Niamh, who are sisters, were to stay for a month with us, and Alison for 2 weeks. They very kindly volunteered to help with a few jobs around Tre Cancelle during their time with us.

Alison, Shannon, Niamh

Alison, Shannon, Niamh

The grass and weeds in the olive groves had grown almost waist high, and if left like this would become a definite fire risk during the hot and dry summer months.  Since his heart problems Paul does not have the energy to strim all the grounds, so Pietro had recently brought back some of his horses to graze under the olive trees and at the same time do a little natural fertilization !!!  This time there were 6 mares, and old Pino came back just for a few days.  Alison is a lover of horses so she was in her element.





The girls’ visit coincided with Kay and Elsie being here for a few days. Last year Kay and Elsie drove to Tre Cancelle from South Wales.

Here is Kay relaxing in the pool.


We were all invited to have lunch with our American friends, Pat and Melinda, at their apartment in the characteristic Medieval town of Minturno.  Their property has a beautiful sun terrace with a magnificent panorama of the Campania coastline and plains.



Elsie and Kay



The following day Shannon and Alison were on tenterhooks as the results of their final exams were due to be published imminently.  Suddenly we heard high pitched screaming and screeching !!! The girls were elated !!! Both Shannon and Alison had obtained first class honour degrees. 

We decided to celebrate with a bottle of bubbly to congratulate them both on their wonderful achievements.


Shannon and Alison’s visit also coincided with the arrival of our grandson Aneurin, his Mum Emma and another of our good friends, Michäel.

We all decided to celebrate being together by going for a meal at one of our favourite restaurants in Campodimele. Pat and Melinda have nicknamed it as the “Gas Station”. They decided to tag along with us too.  I have written about the “Casareccia” restaurant before,  Maria’s food there is simply divine !!!















Alison, Shannon and Niamh were inspired to do some cooking of their own.  Our amareno cherry trees had a bountiful crop this year.  The girls and Aneurin helped to de-stone them.



Some were to be used to make jam. Some were bagged ready to go into the freezer and some were set aside to make a bottle or two of cherry liqueur (see more about making liqueurs below).


This was the girls’ first attempt at jam making.




They also had a go at making some lemon marmalade.


They baked a cake or two …..


….. and then tried their hand at making scones to go with the jam.


The scones came out of the oven more like biscuits.  Shannon named them the “Scones of Death” !!!  Paul still devoured them anyway and lived to tell the tale !!!


Now moving on to Making Liqueurs. 

Melinda was keen to have a try at making some home-made liqueurs, and she started using some of our amarena cherries, and some white mulberries that had been gifted to us by Frank. I had never seen white mulberries before. Shannon was more than happy to assist Melinda.

The cherries were washed and then dropped one by one into a large wine bottle. When each of the bottles were approximately two thirds full neat alcohol was added until it covered all the fruit. The fruit in the alcohol then has to be left to steep for between 30 or 40 days.  Ideally you need to shake the bottles from time to time.

After this period the mixture must then be strained and filtered to remove the fruit from the liquor.  Next between 300 and 500 grams of sugar  is slowly dissolved in a pan containing a litre of warm water to make a clear syrup, Then this must be left to cool thoroughly.  The infused alcohol is then diluted with the sugar syrup using about the same amount of syrup to alcohol, however some people may elect to add a little less if they want the liqueur to pack a real punch.

Melinda and Shannon carried out the same procedure with the mulberries.

Next – Walnut Liqueur

This liqueur is traditionally made on the feast day of St John the Baptist which falls on the 24th June. So we took 24 green immature walnuts from our tree. These then needed to be cut into quarters and placed into a larger bottle with a wider neck, such a demi-john or kilner jar.  A cinnamon stick, a vanilia pod and 5 cloves were then added and enough alcohol to cover the fruit, and were then set aside to steep as above.


Next – Cedrino Liqueur

In our garden with have a cedrino or lemon verbena bush, the leaves when crushed between one’s fingers give off a wonderful lemon aroma.   We gathered 120 cedrino leaves and dropped them into a large wine bottle.



We then added the rinds of 4 lemons and topped the bottle up with a litre of alcohol and left it to steep.



Let’s wait and see how all the liqueurs come out !!!

Melinda can’t wait !!!

photos except where indicated are © me, Louise Shapcott, Shannon White and Melinda Abbott


Last year Last year Kay and Elsie drove to Tre Cancelle from South Wales:

182 – Kay and Elsie’s 2014 Mega Road Trip To Italy

A previous post about the Casareccia Restaurant:

177 – Ristorante La Casareccia In Campodimele


TCTitleTre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga and Itri in South Lazio

205 – Aneurin’s Italian Holiday 2015


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



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

204 – Itri’s June 2015 Infiorata


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



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

203 – A New Arrival in Itri


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


Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

202 – Our New 2015 Video For Tre Cancelle Farmhouse and 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


201 – Celebrating Pasquetta With Friends


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



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy