Saturday, January 8, 2011

Italian Travel - Mangia!

A visit to the 'old country' for my family means a trip to lovely Italy.  My grandparents on my mother's side were Italian immigrants.  As my sister Frances and cousin Dawn Marie had been doing some family geneology in preparation for our family reunion (100 years in America), we organized a trip to those regions of Italy where both my grandmother and grandfather hailed.  As they met after they had arrived in the United States, they had come from two different regions.  (Click the photo at right to enlarge that set.)

My grandmother, Carmela Infante born in 1882, came from the Calabria region down toward the 'toe of the boot' and arrived in New York City from the port in Naples in 1905.  She lived in a small town name Rose which is still a small, quaint village.
For us the trip was a geneology tour but we weren't going to miss the good food found throughout the country.  As we had started out in southern Italy to find more info on my grandmother, we also found the food traditionally thought of as Italian by most Americans.  This meant plenty of good pasta with varieties of red sauces and good red wines.  In the south not many people speak English and it was sometimes challenging to order from the menu.  We were fortunate that at our first hotel the front desk clerk sent along an wonderful English-speaking member of his staff who not only helped us find our way around, but took us to a local restaurant for some good Italian food (a couple photos of us there shown at right.)  As there was not another tourist in site, we certainly felt we were getting an authentic Italian experience.

My grandfather, Angelo Alesiano born 1883, hailed from the coastal region of Marche; a small town called Castel di Lama.  To get there, we flew back up to Rome, changed planes and crossed the pyrenees mountains arriving in Ancona, which is a port city on the Adriatic Sea.  As such, we found most meals offered all types of fresh seafood which was delicious and beautifully presented.  I re-created the black mussels with red sauce after we arrived home (photo shown at right.)  In Ancona we visited our geneology sites, but also shopped in their grocery stores and outdoor markets and stood in awe of the large variety of fresh, regional foods.

We all have wonderful memories of that special trip, which ended in Rome and provided us with several more days of touring and good Italian food.  If you've not been to Italy, it is a highly recommended destination.  The people are very friendly, the sites are historic and the food is fantastic!

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