June 24th

We wake up early and have a number of chores to complete before he head over to Sicignano degli Alburni to spend time with John’s family there. Ivana, one of John’s second or third or fourth cousins (it gets complicated), has told us that she managed to get the certified birth certificates of both John’s great grandfather and great grandmother who immigrated to America.

We arrive in Sicignano in the late afternoon, and they collect the hand drawn family tree chart that Ivana’s father had put together. We review John’s connection to them and discuss family and Sicignano. What a wonderful way of life they have there. The village is so peaceful and beautiful nestled almost at the top of the mountain. The nights cool down substantially, which is very pleasant.

Carmine, Ivana’s husband, takes us to Marc and Desiree’s house as he needs to water the newly planted flowers. We walk up to the fountain and church on the square nearby. The mayor shows up and we get to meet him and he tells Carmine, that if we want to see the castle on the top of the hill, he will get it opened up for us and Carmine just needs to lock it when we leave. How great is that?

Up the hill we walk to explore the castle. The vista from there is incredible and you can see why they picked that site for the castle. It is now in ruins, but is slowly being restored as funds permit.

Later, all three of the sisters (Ivana and her two sisters who live in the same building), and their family gather at the local restaurant with their mother for a large, family style dinner. The food just keeps coming and is amazing. Eventually, both John and I are so stuffed, we just cannot eat anymore!

It is a wonderful time with all of them, and somehow, we all manage to communicate with limited bilingual skills all round. We drive back down to Salerno and arrive in the early hours of Sunday morning. We sleep until 11am – a new record. We were both exhausted from all the activity of the last two days. Time for a lazy day! As they say, the Sabbath is the day of Rest.

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Sicignano
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Dinner with family
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Queen of the Castle – for the moment!
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John outside the church
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