John is trying to obtain his dual citizenship with Italy so we could potentially spend more than three months at a time in a six month period in Europe. It turns out, that if he can obtain all the documents between himself, and his great grandfather who immigrated from Italy through Ellis Island to the USA in 1902, he would be entitled to citizenship.
Agropoli is only just over an hour’s drive up into the mountains to Sicignano degli Alburni, where his great grandfather Guiseppe was born and also John’s great grandmother, Carmela. Both moved to the USA separately and then got married in the USA.
We headed to Sicignano degli Alburni to meet up with John’s family there. He has many second cousins and relatives who still live there. They are going to help with the quest to obtain the records. We arrive in the morning to see a goat herder herding his goats down the main street entering the town. It is spectacularly beautiful on this town high up in the mountain, quite close to the summit. It overlooks rolling hills and valleys. We meet up with John’s family and go to the local municipality with them so they can assist with the process. It is great to see the original documents. There is one snag. They spelled the last name with a single G instead of two G’s in one spot. However, it is correct in a second place in the register. This results in lively debate and conversation and we are told that John can get the documents the next week.
John’s second cousins, three sisters all live in a three story building. The oldest sister has one child and lives on the first floor. The second sister, who is helping us, lives on the second floor and has two children. The youngest sister has three children and lives on the third floor. Ivana, John’s second cousin and the sister in the middle, cooks a delicious Italian pasta for us from a recipe passed down for generations. They had also picked up fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese from the local cheese maker after we were done at the municipality.
Everyone in town seems to know each other. Not much has changed here in the last 100 years or more when John’s great grandfather lived here. It is pristine, peaceful and very beautiful.