A Funny Thing Happened at the Hotel Quirinale in Rome!

I told my sister to select her bed, get freshened up and then we had things to do. She balked as her head was still spinning with all the sights and sounds coming from the Rome airport. She was eyeing the bed and giving me the evil-eye at the same time.

Two things were needed: First, strong coffee and then I wanted to speak with the concierge about how to obtain tickets for the St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel tours. These were the places Laurie said she wanted see.

St. Peter's Square - Preparing for 2000 celebration.
St. Peter’s Square – Preparing for 2000 celebration.

Ok, we’re out the door and on our way to the Espresso Bar. You’ve got to love the Romans – cars & scooters are lined up & running while folks run in, gulp down a shot of espresso & then are out the door!!

We found the ticket office and purchased tickets for the next morning’s Vatican tour. Laurie finally understood that, as a tourist, you cannot procrastinate while in Rome. You need to have your plans set and then you can pace yourself. We walked around the city and arrived at the Colosseum!!  Unbelievable!!

Laurie in the Colosseum in Rome
Laurie in the Colosseum in Rome

After our morning excursion, we head back to the hotel to rest. As soon as we entered our room, the phone rang. We just looked at each other, as only 3 people knew we were in Rome – my Vito, my niece Lori and our cousin Lorenzo in Castellammare del Golfo.

I answered the phone and a lady was speaking to me in that very fast-paced Italian. I said “Signora, no parlo Italiano”. She hung up. A few minutes later the phone rang again. This time it was a gentleman named Alfonso who was speaking English and was explaining to me that the Signora who called was the sister of Lorenzo in Sicily!!! She wanted to meet us and so arrangements were made.

When the call ended, Laurie just looked at me and asked what just happened. I told her that we will be meeting Lorenzo’s sister, Signora Maria and her family the day after tomorrow.

Little did we know what other surprises awaited us!!!!

A Reply from a Gentleman

Everyone at the Language School in Red Bank NJ knew of my research. The fact that I was there with an “incoming” letter in hand was unreal. They had all warned me that answers might not be forthcoming and that outsiders are not let in.

But one gentleman did reply. He is Lorenzo Milano and first cousin to Dad!! He said that he and many other family members [with the same and different surnames] received letters. They all went to Lorenzo to see if I was legitimate. He vouched for me as I had included information not included in official records.

Thus began a many year correspondence between us. But as time rolled on, I decided it was time to meet this wonderful man.

So, in April of 1998, I wrote to Lorenzo to tell him that my sister Laurette and I were planning a trip to meet him and his family. Really, I was planning it, as Laurette had never been out of the country!! I told Lorenzo that we would be in Rome for 4 days, then fly to Palermo and drive to my timeshare Falcone for a week [to visit Signore Giuseppe in Librizzi and see the town] and then drive to Castellammare del Golfo.

Everything was set, we left and arrived in Rome. But a funny thing happened while at the Hotel Quirinale.

View from our room at the Hotel Quirinale in Rome
View from our room at the Hotel Quirinale in Rome