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.