Another Road Trip Back To Sicily After Many Years

Since my sister Laurie & I went to Rome & Sicily in 1999, and met our wonderful cousins, so many things changed. My youngest niece Lori lost her battle with cancer at age 34. My “road trip” older sister Laurie died the following year. Mom died 3 years later and my younger sister Sarah died 2 years after Mom.

So, for many years, I was deluged with paperwork & lawyers to settle all their life affairs. After my niece died without a will, I begged both my sisters to get wills, living wills, power of attorney for medical & finance. My sister Laurie saw the struggles I had with her daughters’ affairs & did get a will, as did Mom, but Sarah didn’t. Things still popup now & then that have to be addressed.

[And as anyone who knows me, will tell you, I am always asking people if they have these 4 documents. I know, it does get embarrassing for my Vito. But it will save their family a lot of heartache & cursing!!]

I had planned 2 trips to Sicily but cancelled after Mom died and again after Sarah died.

Also, 2 years after Sarah died, in October 2010 I received a fax from cousin Bernardo informing me that cousin Lorenzo died. Now, I was devastated. I never saw Lorenzo again which is my biggest regret.

I joined the local Genealogy Society, volunteered to co-chair the Italian Genealogy Interest Group (GIG) & continued researching our family history. But as any genealogist will tell you, there are still many more missing pieces to the family history. As a matter of fact it is a never ending story!!! And Sicily was calling my name.

So, in response to Sicily calling to me, I answered. I told Vito I wanted to go back to do more research. He just rolled his eyes. I sent flowers to cousin Maria with a note that I would see her in May; called cousin Bernardo in Germany to tell him I was going to Castellammare del Golfo to do research; booked a room at Nonna Gio’ B & B (owned by cousin-in-law Felice); and booked my ticket on Alitalia.

On my way back to Sicily!!

View of Harbour in Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani, Sicily from the Villa Comunale
View of Harbour in Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani, Sicily from the Villa Comunale

Goodbye Rome! Hello Sicily! (Part 2)

We had a great time sightseeing and meeting new people but it was time to say “Goodbye” to Falcone!. It was time to hit the road as we had a very special meeting scheduled later in the day. Laurie was in charge of the maps, kilometers & toll info.

Map starting from Falcone [Euro Atlas; American Map Corporation, Maspeth, NY]
Map starting from Falcone [Euro Atlas; American Map Corporation, Maspeth, NY]
On our drive west, we stopped in the town of Santo Stefano di Camastra, which is famous for its ceramics and pottery. I also wanted to stop in Cefalu to show my sister the town, especially the Norman Cathedral, which she loved seeing. We also went to my favorite jewelry store & bought bracelets.

We continued our drive to Castellammare del Golfo in western Sicily including having to go through parts of Palermo, which as you know from my previous blog, is not my favorite city to drive in. [It’s like driving in NYC but the traffic lights are ignored & the vespas just pop in/out from the sidewalk!]

Map continuing to Castellammare del Golfo [Euro Atlas; American Map Corporation, Maspeth, NY]
Map continuing to Castellammare del Golfo [Euro Atlas; American Map Corporation, Maspeth, NY]
We arrived at the designated bar, had some “café normale” and waited for our cousin Lorenzo. He is the person I referred to in my previous blog “A Reply From A Gentleman”.

Folks coming through the door looked like shadows from where we were sitting. But the minute he walked in the door, I saw the outline of Dad – the shape of the head, the shoulders, hips and height. It was very surreal. After hugs, kisses and more espresso, we were off. Lorenzo and his wife Maria were hosting us and we stayed at their beautiful house in town.  All the balconies had a view of the gulf. Absolutely gorgeous.

The Townhouse 1999
The Townhouse 1999

We were on a whirlwind. Lorenzo took us on a walking tour of the town showing us where all the family had lived.  We all piled into the rental car and went to small mountain towns for the view and to sample local delicacies; the sea town of San Vito Lo Capo; Scopello, Zingaro, and the cemetery to pay our respects.

Maria, Lorenzo and Celia in Scopello 1999
Maria, Lorenzo and Celia in Scopello 1999

He also invited some of the relatives that I had written to in my “mass mailings”. They all went to him when they received the letters asking who I was. He told them that I was Rosario’s granddaughter.

We met his son, Renzo, who speaks English. Most days, when we had dinner at the vineyard, Lorenzo & Renzo would talk about what we did that day. One time Renzo told me that his father was upset as when we was leaving after dinner to return to town, I did not make a full stop at the stop sign.  I said that there was a bull in the road and thought it best not to stop.  He laughed as his father said it was like a pet, very gentle.  Really!! I remembered for the next several days, as he was always in the road.

The Vineyard in 1999
The Vineyard in 1999

One evening cousin Renzo drove Laurie & I to Segesta. What a wonderful Greek temple and amphitheatre!! An absolute treasure!!

We had a wonderful time meeting Maria, Lorenzo and Renzo. They are such warm and loving people who opened their home, arms and hearts to family they never knew. The relationship continues to this day.