Back in Colle d’Anchise – A Better Day

posted in: Italy Travel | 4


I am happy to be back in Colle d’Anchise, and especially to be staying at the comfortable La Piana dei Mulini in the countryside. This morning I had breakfast and then met Signor Michele, the owner, who came and sat down at my table. We had a nice conversation in Italian, and I found out that he had purchased this property 10 or 11 years ago. If I understood correctly in Italian, he is also the Cultural Minister of this area, and wanted to maintain the natural beauty while restoring this nineteenth century original stone farmhouse, once used for dyeing wool.


I also learned that this is not an agriturismo, as I had thought, but actually an albergo diffuso, a fairly new type of hospitality accomodation in Italy. Characterized as part house, part hotel, an albergo diffuso utilizes older structures, renovating them while maintaining their unique characteristics. It typically consists of multi-use buildings spread out horizontally, maintaining the ambience and beauty of an area.

After breakfast Antonella, Michele and Gianluca arrived and drove me to the cemetery on Campo Aperto, where I spent two hours, curiously wandering through each area and reading the names I knew from the years doing genealogy research.


Ninety-nine percent of the monuments were above ground with only a few older ones below ground. Those had markers which could no longer be read but there were flowers at each one.

The cemetery was interesting to me in that the monuments usually listed the father’s name and frequently had a picture of the person who was deceased. Although I found several with my family’s name, none were old enough to be the parents of my grandparents. Antonella had previously told me that those older ones usually had no monuments with names, and apparently this was true.


And elderly man who lived next door to the cemetery was sitting outside and wanted me to come and have something to drink, but I politely declined. In a town this small, anyone walking down the street invites curiosity, as the local people all know each other, most having lived there for their entire lives.

It was now getting warm, despite the fact that the early morning was much cooler, so I found the small park near the statue of Padre Pio and sat down in the shade.


I noticed some nearby homes with large piles of firewood, attesting to the fact that Colle d’Anchise is in the mountains and gets cold in the winter.


After wandering around the little village taking photos, I met Antonella and her husband at her sister’s small groceria, where they bought some things for lunch, and we picked up Gianluca from school. We had a great lunch at their home, which was cool inside since it was made of thick-walled stone. I played ball with Gianluca, who is a typical 4 year-old boy who never stops moving. He is very cute. As an extra perk, Michele was able to find the right size screw and nut so I could repair the broken strap on my luggage.

At 4:30, we met with Don Fredy, the priest from the church where my grandparents were married. He forgot about another appointment he had at 2.


The church was beautiful and as I walked through, to the room where the records were kept, I had a keen awareness that I was walking in the same place where my grandparents and other ancestors have been.


Don Fredy retrieved these old books, some of which are 300 years old, and we found a marriage record for my grandparents, but the month was not the same as I expected, and also the name was Carolina, not Carmina. The rest was the same so we thought it was the accurate record, but I am not positive. We were unable to find the other records I wanted, although we looked through many books. One book from the years 1812 to 1819 was missing.


I was happy though to finally meet this priest and be able to see the church records. He did tell me that many people chose to marry in the next town of Boiano, since there was a cathedral there. This may be why I could not find the marriage records for my great-grandparents. Monday I will be going to the municipio and hopefully I will have some luck there.

When I returned to the La Piana dei Mulini, I discovered that they had wi-fi and were happy to give me the password. So I was thrilled to be connected again and be able to make a few Skype calls and a Face Time call to my family. The wi-fi signal only works outside but it is better than not having any signal at all. I realize that being connected while so far away makes a huge difference to me.

Later that evening I enjoyed a wonderful meal there and a glass of wine.


4 Responses

  1. Jill

    While the names may not have been correctly recorded, it sounds like you found something of your ancestry that is awesome while also reading through books with dates that indicate it is amazing the paper is still in those books! ow do they preserve them?! Walking through an area that your ancestors have walked and lived and celebrated in.. what an incredible day! (Toasting all you came through the day before, too!!). It will be very interesting to see what your visit in Boiano brings in your incredible ancestoral visit 2011, Margie. You look wonderfully content!

  2. David - your son

    I agree about the likelihood of names not being accurately recorded. Interested though to see whether your visit to Boiano turns up anything else.

  3. George Miklas

    Ahhh that “keen awareness” is often eerie, yet peaceful as I get deep in thought.

  4. Bonnie D.

    Be advised: if your grandparents came through Ellis Island it was a cattle call. Names were mispelled, birthdates and other important dates were written down as best as possible with many mistakes. My grandfather had his birth year subtracted by 10 years. When the US government thought he was 107 he was 97 but did live to see 107. If the Ellis Island records were correct he would be 117. He went up and down a flight of stairs a day to feed his ducks. I doubt he was 117. And further more, I think he knew more about it than the Feds. LOL At any rate, many of the “new” citizens were so enamored of AMERICA that they did not argue and just accepted the new spelling of their names or their new birthdates. Usually they were not off by ten years! So maybe that is why the month of the wedding was off. Just saying. Love, love the pics.

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