On the way to Catania, we made a stop in Cesarò, the small village where my maternal grandparents were born. This is also the home of Angela’s mother and father, so we planned to stop and see them. On the way to Cesarò, we drove through the Nebrodi Forest and encountered a group of cows with bells on, strolling slowly down the same road. This was one of the high points of the day, as the scene was so surreal.
To say that driving in Cesarò was challenging would be an understatement. The streets were made for pedestrians and possibly bicycles and small cars. Although we had ordered a medium size car, we ended up with a full size Peugeot that definitely did not navigate well in these streets. With a little help from various friendly neighbors we found the house of Maria Cillipollo and Savoca Antonino Savoca. (In Italy, when a woman marries she retains her maiden name.)
We had met Maria four years ago, but not her husband, so it was nice to be able to meet him. They spoke only Sicilian, so the communication was also a challenge but we managed fine. It was a nice visit, although short, and we had to decline their offers to feed us, since we still had to drive to Catania.
I was disappointed that the municipio/official records office was closed, as I had hoped to look up some documents while I was there. The church where my grandparents were most likely baptized was also closed unfortunately.
Cesarò looks much like it probably did when my grandparents lived there, as everything appears to be very old.
By the time we left Angela’s parents’ home, everything in the town was closed, as it was 1:30pm. We grabbed a quick lunch at the only bar that was open, and unfortunately it was one of the few times I would have to admit the food was not good. I wished we had more time as things move slowly here, but it was time to go. We felt like it was a major accomplishment to make it out of the village without damaging the car, and we drove to Catania.