My great grandparents are from Italy – from the towns of Gragnano and Salerno, small towns near Naples and the Amalfi Coast.  My husbands grandparents are from Sicily, Mazara del Vallo.  That is one of the reasons we had always wanted to travel to Italy.

Though were were not able to visit the towns of our ancestry during our recent trip, it felt great knowing we were close. The port we visited in Sicily, Mesina, is on the opposite side of the island from where my husbands family is from, but our tour guide spoke of what Sicily was like in the early 1900’s (when his grandmother emmigrated) so we felt a connection to the history.

When we visited the port of Naples, our tour to the Amalfi coast took us past the town of Gragnano, where one set of my great grandparents were from.  The exciting part for me was when our tour guide spoke of the town and mentioned it was known all across italy for making the best pasta!  Though we didn’t visit, we found a bag of pasta from this area when we stopped in Amalfi.  Salerno is where the Amalfi drive ends so we were able to see a bit of that town, where the other set of great grandparents were from, on the conclusion of our coastal drive.

We hope to one day be able to visit these small towns in Italy where our ancestors walked and lived their lives.  This experience of our visiting our ancestry, not only in the places but in the foods we have grown up with, made us feel more grounded, more connected to our history and who we are.

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