Today was the best day ever. EVER. I don’t think I’ve had a cooler day in my life. First we went back to the church in Santa Giustina and Joel looked through some archives there. Then we went to another cool, old cemetery and looked for a relative’s grave, but couldn’t find it. Every 20-30 years they clear out the cemetery and throw away some of the bodies.. yikes right? After that we went to the village (called a hamlet in Italy) Campel to find Noni’s house. (Noni is Tranquillo (my great grandfather)’s mother). The population of Campel is about 200 people. It is right by the Dolomites and so gorgeous. We drove up closer to the mountains and then walked up and up the path into the mountains. It was gorgeous and smelt like a yummy wood chip fire. You could hear the crickets, a rooster and church bells coming from different parts of the valley below us. We looked at the houses and didn’t find Noni’s house. My Aunt Rene brought a picture of it from when they went and saw it 35 years ago and we couldn’t find a match. We saw a woman up the path a bit and Joe and Joel decided to go and talk to her, I followed behind. (It was so nice having Joel-the genealogist to translate.) We walked up the hill and was greeted by a cute farm dog. We started talking to the woman and showed her the picture of the house we were looking for. She pointed to one of the women standing in front of the house in the picture and said that it was her mother in law in the picture. (I just about died). She called to her husband, who was cutting wood farther up the farm/property. He came down with his machete in hand..he was prepared just in case. His cute wife took his machete out of his hand and told him what was going on. Their last name is Casagrande. And we found out he was born at the house where we were at and that the house we were looking for was just up the path. He said that the people who lived there moved to Pennsylvania though after finding out we are from Utah and Kansas. It was so exciting though because Pennsylvania is where my grandma and aunt grew up-on the farm in Export, PA. So, we made the connection. He knew our family. Aunt Rene showed him another picture from 35 years ago and he said “Virginia”. He knew Noni’s sister, Virginia and worked with Noni’s nephew, Aldo in Switzerland. We talked for a while and I played with the dog (Bruno) and looked at the animals. They have donkeys, including a 3 week old donkey-SO adorable! They have such a beautiful property, their backyard is the Dolomites. Theirs and Noni’s house was the furthest house up the mountain. The pavement was just laid about ten years ago. They have the most gorgeous view of all of the valley and this adorable little Italian cottage that is all original. A woman delivered two huge bags of bread while we were there. (I doubt they go down the mountain much- I don’t think they have a car-just tractors and a horse). It was a dream. The wife was the nicest lady ever. She got us drinks and we all hung out like old friends. Then with kisses on both cheeks we were on our way and walked up the path and saw where Noni was born and lived. The house has no one living there now. It was so SO neat to see it. Then we headed down the mountain and to San Gregorio to go through the church archives. It was pouring and I ran in to what I thought was where the Pastor lived and where we were going to be doing our work (I saw the Pastor come out of there) only to find this cute little Italian woman standing there in here house wondering what this crazy American was doing in her house. With a lot of “sorry! Sorry!” I was on my way to the real place we would be working. We went through the old books with death records, birth records, and marriage records dating back to the 1700s. I found Noni’s parents’ marriage record. (My third great grandparents’ marriage record). It was so neat to see it right in front of me written in Italian in this old book. Joel gave us all different tasks and names to find in the books and we went at it for a few hours total. In the middle of our research, the priest came in and told us that a woman with the last name DeZanet (one of our Italian family names) wanted us to come over for coffee or tea because she heard (from the priest, I’m assuming) that we were doing family research through the DeZanet line. We went over to her house and of course it was the little old Italian woman who I ran in to her house by accident earlier. I had Joel explain what had happened and she laughed. We sat down and she got us drinks and cookies. She was adorable and so hospitable. We found out that we are related to her probably though two lines. Her name is Gianna DeZanet. We talked for a bit and then with kisses on both cheeks (of course) we were on our way back to finish researching. This is how I imagined our trip would go. It was seriously so cool.
|On our way up to the Casagrande's.|
|Path up to the Casagrande's overlooking Campel.|
|The Casagrande's home in the distance.|
|Talking to the cute Casagrande's.|
|I loved Bruno.|
|The Casagrande's house. Mr. Casagrande, Joel, my mom and my dad.|
|The Casagrande's home.|
|Mrs. Casagrande, Aunt Rene, and Mr. Casagrande.|
|The Casagrande's home.|
|Sara! The 3 week old donkey.|
|The Casagrande's horse.|
|My cute parents walking down the path from the Casagrande's and|
|Dad and Mom in the back then Grandma, Gianna, Aunt Rene, me and|
the nice Pastor.