Posts Tagged ‘Molise’

Everybody knows that Robert De Niro is a great Oscar-winning actor and he doesn’t like DT, BUT did you know that his great-grandparents emigrated to the United States from the town of Ferrazzano in the region of Molise?  Yes, Molise, same region that my grandfather was from, and where I visited twice this past May.


As you approach Mirrabello in Molise, you can’t help but notice an imposing village in the distance high up on a mountain.  That would be Ferrazzano.


So when Joel and I went to Molise, we also went to see this pretty town.  We didn’t realize it would be so windy up there, boy did it howl! Tina Di Giglio, a friend we made in Molise last year, led us up there.  We were to follow her, lol, who knew it was going to be a motocross race!  Tina, like every other Italian driver races to wherever they are going at breakneck speed.  We stopped in some parking area with a great view, but not before she led us through a street (I use that term loosely because it was an alley), so narrow,I pulled the side mirror in!

The almost 360 degree panorama was breathtaking. My photos don’t do justice. Joel walked down to another level, but the cobble stones and the stairs were too much for me and my boot.


From our perch, we could look out and see Campobasso which I believe is like the county seat of that province of Molise.


i saw this gate and doorway, thought it was interesting, so…


If you ever thought recycling in the United States was a pain, you just haven’t experienced Guardia Sanframondi’s system.  It is so complex and confusing that every month you can pick up a calendar at the Municipal and every night you take the garbage out and hang it on a hook that is attached somewhere on your building or a wall in your driveway.  IMG-20180503-WA0000.jpg

And the garbage bags have faces 🤓😳🤢!!

Jumping back to Florence for a moment, while on the hunt for the perfect birthday gift for myself on the Ponte Vecchio (naturally), we came across a very Italian street entertainment;  A Punch and Judy puppet show!


It was such a treat to see the little kids sitting down and watching in awe as the hustle and bustle of the Ponte Vecchio area surrounded them.

As much as I loved being in Guardia and Italy in general, there were two disturbing national and cultural issues;  Way too many people in Italy smoke! Really, I was shocked by the prevalence of smokers everywhere.


AND the diesel automobiles 🚗  🚙 hold your nose! Sometimes in traffic we would be caught in the midst of a bunch of diesel powered vehicles.

,VINO and OIL, well that’s what the sign said… I’ve already told you about this place The Forresta Cooperative where both the olive oil and the wine are local  and in great supply!  Remember I said the wine was in huge silver tanks, there for your own pumping so to speak.  Seeing is believing…


And the olive oils



Ciao for now!

To be continued…





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My sojourn in Italy has been full of lazy mornings of sipping coffee and afternoons of grocery shopping and along the way there have been some adventures and misadventures.

The GPS in this car has been a nightmare from the beginning and so it continues.  Last week when I went to Molise I swear we were routed through a vineyard.  This time Joel and I found ourselves in two really bad jams with the directions.  One mistake was as we were cruising along he pointed a particularly pretty village set high up,on a mountain to the right and just beyond that I noticed an old red Volkswagon bug. Said, “you don’t see many of them any more”.  Thirty minutes later Joel says I think we’re going in a ⭕️ that village looks familiar. Naturally I said, “oh so many of them look alike”.  And then 10 feet down the road I spied the red VW. Oh for God’s sake, we hate this British bitch.  F409E9BE-8DF7-4D1D-960B-F5570AB6B714.jpeg

As if that incident were not bad enough, we also found ourselves being routed or re-routed over some tractor trail. It was full of ruts, holes, mud, puddles, rocks and often severely lopsided. Of course that was ridiculous.  What kind of directionS take you through someone’s farmland? I’ll tell you what kind, the stupid kind.

The trip from Guardia to Molise is approximately 58 minutes, it took us about 2 hours.  Here’s one of the reasons why:

To be continued…



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Joel decided he would like to visit his great-grandfather’s ancestral home so we set off for Molise.  Molise is the smallest and youngest of the regions in Italy and lucky for me it isn’t too far from where we are in Campania.

Peter and I made the same trek last week because when we went there last year in my quest to find my roots, we met the most delightful woman, Tina di Giglio, who,was raised in Syracuse NY and then as a teenager, her family returned to Mirabello and now she works in the registry department in the Municipio in the village. Tina greeted us with a warm hug and a huge caciocavallo, which is an excellent cheese, also known as horse cheese.

5FB744B3-C221-4260-BF14-1825A23C54DA.jpegWe spent a couple of hours poring over ledgers from the 1890’s through the early 1900’s.  I was trying to determine which brother was the older, my grandfather, Luciano or his brother, Antonio -a great debate had ensued over the winter between cousins. It’s amazing what can get so-call lost in translation  or just misinformation! Anyway to set the record straight, Grandpa Louie was the elder.

We were also looking for death certificates of 3 siblings, who,we never knew about until my cousin Kathi unearthed records through the Mormons.  I found those; very, very sad, a girl child named Giovanna died at 11months old. A few years later, a baby boy was born and named Giovanni and died 7 days later.  More years passed and a girl child was born and named Giovanna- she died at 18 months.  It was heartbreaking to think of what our ancestors suffered through.

Joel and I stopped for gas on our way and naturally no one spoke Englishand it was a self service station. Well I was a little familiar with how it worked having experienced it with Peter. So I took out 20€ and was slowly deciphering the Italian instructions when an attendant popped over. I indicated I wanted to put the diesel fuel in. OK, he went ahead and took the 20€ put it in his pocket, pulled out some card which he swiped over the pump and proceeded to pump in the fuel. DONE! No change and I can’t see the pump to see what registered.  I’m pretty sure we were taken!

Ten feet out of the station two lights on the dashboard go on !! Now you know that the manual is completely in Italian and at this time I didn’t know how to photograph text and get it translated. So I did what I do best.  Out of the car with cane and manual in hand I walk into a cafe, “do you speak English?” NO. He says the word Tabacchi and points down the parking lot.  We go in, the man speaks a little. I show him the manual with the icons of the lights that are on and he somehow gets it across to us that the pressure is low and he says oil (I think) but I point to the oil can icon so we soon learn it is a tire.  Joel says probably because of the rocks ( more about that later) and the other light – he makes the motion of pulling up the emergency brake and again Joel says it might not have been down all the way. Mille grazie and out we go.  Our luck, there is a small tire shop 2 doors down, unbelievable ! I walk over and stand in the doorway of the garage.  There are two cute men who, are obviously brothers and another very good looking man working on a car 🚗. They look at me, I look at them.  A few more moments pass, one of the men approaches me and I say, “I need help” and I point to the tire which looks a little soft.  He, in turn, tells the other 2 of my problem and they all come over. Si, they look at the tire, it needs air. The main guy gets the air pump and proceeds to check each tire and fill with air. I say, “I hate this car” . They laugh, and it is a Renault. 9E9CFBC2-7ADF-47B9-898E-9AEC45511752.jpeg

My response is “Yes and that is the problem, it is a French car”. That sends them all laughing. Of course the French can’t make a good car.  Joel asks them what do they think the best car is. All together now, “Mercedes and Volkswagon”.

I offered to pay and of course the answer was no.  We are so happy to have our problem fixed but when we get in the car the light is still on 😳.  We sit and I wave at them and we explain that the Luce rossa is still on. Good looking Italian gets into the car next to me, looks at the dashboard, touches something and the light goes off.  Really I did want to kiss him!”Grazie  grazie Italian genius “, we say and off we go.

To be continued…


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