A Great Day – Café Garibaldi and San Vito Lo Capo

At this point in time, I did not realize that word had spread throughout the town of my family history search.  Nor that people noticed that I had my coffee at the Café Garibaldi on the Corso Garibaldi every morning but Wednesday, when it was closed.

Corso Garibaldi
Corso Garibaldi
Corso Garibaldi
Corso Garibaldi

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I was surprised when I arrived at the Café Garibaldi, and was greeted by two older gentlemen. I was asked by one, if I spoke Italian. I said unfortunately no. He introduced himself as Leonardo Galatioto and his brother Felice. They have a sister in Floral Park NY. One gentleman is a retired police officer, who spoke some English. I told them that my “parenti” came from Castellammare del Golfo.

[Note:  My grandfather, Rosario Milano’s mother was Anna Galatioto (daughter of Rosario Galatioto and Catherine Sceusa). I wondered if they were of this lineage. Add to that, I recently received a copy of my parents’ NYC marriage record, which shows a Rosario Galatioto as Dad’s best man.]

Leonardo and Felice asked to see my family tree chart and the book. While perusing, they told me that I may want to check documents, especially the city directories, at the library. But said the archivist is on vacation until Monday.

They were amazed at the amount of information I had. Plus, when they saw the photos, they were surprised to see my cousin Lorenzo, who had recently passed away, as they were friends. They hugged and kissed me.  My friend Enzo also joined us for caffé normale.

Cousin Bernardo also joined us. He said we will take a drive to the sea town of San Vito Lo Capo. I wanted to go back to this town as my sister and I enjoyed it many years ago.  It is beautiful there and very relaxing. 

Plus, I wanted to take photos of the inside of the church, Santuario San Vito Lo Capo.

Inside the Santuario (Church) in San Vito Lo Capo
Inside the Santuario (Church) in San Vito Lo Capo
Grotto inside the Santuario (Church) in San Vito Lo Capo
Grotto inside the Santuario (Church) in San Vito Lo Capo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Castellammare del Golfo that evening for a delicious pizza at Mama Cocha and gelato from Vernaci next door at Villa Comunale Regina Margherita.

Another wonderful day!!!!

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.