Our trip from Buccino to Senigallia was long but we were all excited by the prospect of seeing the second half of our Italian connection. Some of us had already been to our grandparents’ birthtown of Stacciola (pop 55!) so we have fond memories: cousin Art Belluci playing the 17th century organ to an audience which included my mother; Kevin proposing to my daughter in front of the chapel during our 2006 tour of Le Marche and Tuscany. How could we possibly top those experiences? I think we did.
Our first day we went to the Museum of Mezzadria (sharecroppers), a fascinating introspective into how our ancestors lived until the 1960’s! They were impoverished slaves to the landed gentry but when mezzadria contracts were banished, the landlords were slowly forced to sell off their land and that was the beginning of the middle class.
That afternoon we went to a winery and farm near Stacciola where everyone went on a buying frenzy of wine, jams and olive oil. Then we went to Stacciola where cousin Art played the organ, this time accompanied by the beautiful voice of his lovely wife Gail. I assure you there were tears in everybody’s eyes. The entire group was invited into a cousin’s restored house for refreshments. What a great first day for memories!
The next morning we had R&R on the lovely beaches of Senigallia, although mini Vin and I found time for a bike ride through the old town. My son did a fun video and posted it to Youtube; you’ll thoroughly enjoy the scenery.
Then our cousin Valeria escorted us on a guided tour to the Benedictine monastery of Fonte de Avelana built in 1049! On the way, we stopped in Castelvecchia so cousins Marc, Joy and Mike Battista could visit the birthhouse of their grandmother. Then we went to Valeria’s agriturismo in the valley below Stacciola for a sublime evening of music, dancing, food and wine. The food included porchetta and piadini made by our relatives. The bus couldn’t get access to the farm so we walked the 300 meters along a former Roman road and a herd of goats.
We returned to our hotel late but some of us still found the time to stroll along the boardwalk. The next day we left for Rome and our farewell dinner at the hotel, where we were joined by still other relatives: from Rome, Vito, Giuseppina and son Francesco and hsi girlfriend Romina; and Roz’ first cousin Penny from England who was on vacation in Rome at the time with husband Nick. We ended this unique and never-to-be-forgotten journey by the bar where Art thrilled us with his superb piano skills in Italian and American sing-alongs.
Memories to last a lifetime!