My Trip to Sicily

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VaDeb
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My Trip to Sicily

Postby VaDeb » 14 Nov 2005, 21:26

Hi All,

My husband and I just returned from our first visit to Sicily and I wanted to share a little of our trip. We went with a tour group because we had never been to Europe and don’t speak Italian. This was a good first choice, we had a wonderful two weeks, saw many of the highlights and hope to go again on our own next year.

We began in Palermo and stayed near Quattro Canti, the center of the city. Many churches, historical sights, opera house were within walking distance. The churches are beautiful. The paintings and mosaics. Also, visited Monreale and Cefalu. I am not a city person and really enjoyed these quaint villages. But Palermo seemed safe and we had no difficulties walking around at night. The driving in Palermo is something I can not describe, but we didn’t rent a car here. It is crazy to watch. The bus driver was amazing!

We went on to Agrigento and visited the Valley of the Temples and the mosaics at Piazza Armerina. Then we went to Taormina, but actually stayed in the little town of Letojanni. Taormina is a walled town, located high on a bluff overlooking the Ionian Sea. Lots of shops and restaurants, oh did I mention the shopping here. The food in Sicily was wonderful. From here we also visited Syracusa.

While in Taormina we had some free days, so we rented a car and drove to the village of Villalba in the province of Caltanissetta. It was a 2 ½ hour drive, but how often do we get to Sicily? This is where my husband’s grandfather was born. We returned there almost exactly 100 years after he had left. This visit was one of the highlights of our trip. We parked our car and immediately an older gentleman asked if we were Americana’s! He spoke no English and my Italian was very lacking. But he took us to the town hall and we met the mayor. Actually we had quite a reception, felt as if we were visiting royalty. I had a list of documents I wanted (written in Italian). They were having a busy morning and didn’t have time to get what I needed together, but promised to mail them to me. We were quite blessed to find a young lady working there who had just finished high school and served as our translator. She did a wonderful job. The mayor of the town told my husband that he was a Sicilian son of Villalba and Villalba would always be his home and welcome him. I almost cried. The mayor also gave us a beautiful print of the piazza and church.

I realized I have spent too much time reading Italian and need to LISTEN to Italian. My English speaking brain had been seeing those words much differently than they actually sound in Italian! Also, genealogy words are not the best source for the average conversation. Best of all, this trip really touched my husband and he wants to learn Italian.

I would encourage anyone who can, go visit your ancestral town. It is an experience that is hard to put into words.

Debbie

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Essgee
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Re: My Trip to Sicily

Postby Essgee » 14 Nov 2005, 21:56

So glad you had such a wonderful trip back "home". It is thrilling to see the places of your ancestors...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about your trip!

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Bivetto
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Re: My Trip to Sicily

Postby Bivetto » 05 Feb 2006, 19:12

We really enjoyed reading about your first trip to Sicily and the experience you had in your husband's "home town." My husband and I have been living in Italy now since April 2005. We spent eight months in Perugia and are now in Sicily until the end of May. We have a long-stay visa and have obtained "residency." It was thrilling to go to the cities where my grandparents were born. In Polizzi Generosa we found the birth records of my maternal grandfather and learned the names of his grandparents (as far as their records would go). My maternal great-grandparents came from Chianchetella where some distant cousins still live and we have visited. My focus now is trying to find anything I can about my paternal grandfather "Libonia Bivetto" who was an orphan and we know nothing of his parentage. Thanks for all your help in this regard. Italy is fantastic. We have been working at learning the language since before we came to Italy, about a year of classes at the local community college, then at the University for Foreigners in Perugia. We are able to speak a bit now but still struggle with comprehension. It's easier to read and understand than to listen, especially on the phone! If you want to see what we've been doing, our blog is www.livecheapmakeart.blogspot.com

Buon viaggio!

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Re: My Trip to Sicily

Postby JamesBianco » 06 Feb 2006, 05:17

That was such a wonderful story Deb, thanks for sharing. I adore Sicily and you just made me want to go back sooner than planned.

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orion
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Re: My Trip to Sicily

Postby orion » 07 Feb 2006, 13:33

Hi, I'm italian. I live in Reggio Calabria(calabria), that is exactly in front of Messina(Sicily). All that Debbie written is beautiful and real. I hope one day can to go and see United States, where my great-grandfhater lived.

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aarongreco
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Re: My Trip to Sicily

Postby aarongreco » 07 Feb 2006, 23:19

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing. We are planning on visiting Palermo on the tail-end of our honeymoon this May. Would love to hear suggestions on lodging/etc.

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darmarnix
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Re: My Trip to Sicily

Postby darmarnix » 26 Feb 2006, 06:59

:P My husband just thought of an idea and I wonder if any of you have heard of this as a way of traveling: He thought of something like a time share; offering our house as like a B&B to a couple or a family that lives in Sicily for a week or two in exchange for the same for them to host us for us to come and visit. When they come out here we would be their guide, you know take them skiing or camping or just touring, there is plenty of "sites" to see in Colorado. Do you think that is a good idea?

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Re: My Trip to Sicily

Postby wldspirit » 26 Feb 2006, 10:46

As a matter of fact, there is another post similar to this suggestion at another forum, see link..........
http://www.italianamericans.com/forum/v ... php?id=455
wldspirit

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mercedesjay
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Re: My Trip to Sicily

Postby mercedesjay » 26 Feb 2006, 10:54

Hi VaDeb! Sounds amazing. I have never been to Italy but can only imagine the feeling that you would get walking the streets where your family once walked. It had to breath-taking I am sure. Thanks for sharing and encouraging others to take the adventure! mercedesjay.
Have been researching family for more than a decade in the provinces of Campobasso and Frosinone.


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