Traveling to Italy

You are planning to travel to Italy (how exciting!) and you would like to visit your grandfather's town of origin. We think it's a great idea and to help you make your trip memorable, you can hire one of our bilingual researchers and spend a whole day researching your family, finding your long lost cousins, visiting the local cemetery and looking for your Ancestral home. It sounds like the trip of your lifetime, so in order to learn more, what don't you check what our customers have experienced onsite where it all began...

Top Resources

Kathy McCabe is the host and executive producer of the award winning travel series DREAM OF ITALY on PBS and Create TV. Season 2 is particularly dear to us, not just because we are one of the proud sponsors of the show, but because Kathy traveled with her parents to her Ancestral town to reconnect to her Italian roots. This is what she was able to find with our help… 

"I always knew I wanted to tell the story of Castelvetere sul Calore, my ancestral hometown in the Avellino province of Campania. When my mother and I first rediscovered the town 23 years ago, who could have imagined that our story would turn into an episode of my own PBS travel series Dream of Italy! If you haven’t seen the episode yet, you can watch it HERE. Piecing together any family story is complicated and as soon as I decided I wanted to bring it to TV, I knew that I would need experts to help fill out the research I had done on my own over the years.

One of the people I turned to was my friend Bianca Ottone of My Italian Family for help in finding all of the documents we needed to effectively tell the story or what we thought was the story. In genealogy, it is never what you think! These documents filled in the gaps with their own story…

This small hilltop town overlooking the Calore Valley is so rich in history, tradition and yes, faith; a close-knit community that holds on to its ancient roots and can always count on each other’s help and support. My great-grandfather migrated to Massachusetts in the late 1880s looking for more financial stability if not for him, for his children and grandchildren. But who was he really?

Our first stop was the municipal archives where we discovered that my maternal great grandfather, Generoso Nargi, was born on September 8, 1864 (a date that did not quite match the ages and years declared in the US documents, something Bianca said was common), to a family of farmers and small landowners who most likely worked the rich land still used today to produce great wine.

At the time the Nargi family resided in Via Orticella, a street where originally there were only a few farmhouses, all destroyed after the 1980 earthquake. Generoso had four siblings; only one remained in Castelvetere, Grazia Petronilla Nargi. With Bianca’s help researching births, marriages, deaths and census records, we were able to locate a living descendant who still resides in Via Orticella today.

Photo courtesy of Kathy McCabe

Four Nargi generations later we found ourselves in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a place of worship and miracles. Named after the town’s Patron Saint, the Church was built in the 1400s; it was here that in 1797, Generoso’s grandfather, Vincenzo Luigi DE NARGI was baptized. These ancient records allowed us to identify five more generations of Nargis with Savino DE NARGIO (literally “the son of Nargio”) being the oldest Ancestor, born about 1625. Baptismal records started to be recorded in Castelvetere in 1594.

If genealogy helps us delve deep in our family roots, it is also a necessary tool when it comes to identify records that can prove whether we qualify for Italian Dual Citizenship or not; from the birth record of our Italy-born Ancestor to the US Naturalization records, or lack of thereof, to prove that he or she did not become a US citizen before the birth of the “next in line” child. In my case, Generoso Nargi became a US citizen in 1905, well after the birth of his son Louis here in the US. Unfortunately, prior to 1912, when a native-born Italian naturalized in another country, he gave up not only his own Italian citizenship but also that of all his minor children, regardless of where they were born.

Photo: Courtesy of Kathy McCabe

So I had to look at the other half of my Italian family (my other maternal great-grandparents) and visit the town of Ariano Irpino in Campania to research Marie Cuzzone’s parents, Generoso Cuzzone, a carpenter born in 1862, and Caterina Scrima. Similar to the Nargi Family, the Cuzzones migrated to the US in the late 1800s; based on the 1910 US Census, Generoso was still an “alien”, i.e. an Italian citizen, after the birth of his daughter Mary (her legal name though she went by Marie) here in the US.

Unfortunately, the current law granting Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (by right of blood) states that women could hold but not pass citizenship to children born before January 1, 1948, the date Italy became a Republic. Because my mother was born before this date, I could not at first glance fulfill all the requirements that would have given me Italian dual citizenship.  That law I just mentioned is considered discriminatory and I may still be able to achieve my dream of citizenship by going to court in Italy to contest the law. Stay tuned…

In the meantime, if you’ve watched the episode, you know that I received quite a surprise that more than made up for the traditional challenges of seeking Italian dual citizenship."

DISCOVER IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR ITALIAN DUAL CITIZENSHIP

GET STARTED WITH THE RESEARCH OF YOUR FAMILY IN YOUR ANCESTRAL TOWN

To watch this amazing Dream of Italy Episode, CLICK HERE

Bob Arbucci is a Learning and Performance Consultant from New York who recently made a trip to his ancestral town in Italy. Bob wrote about his emotional journey in Mugnano del Cardinale and kindly agreed to share his story with us. Thank you, Bob, for allowing us to play a small part in discovering your Italian Family as researchers and guides!

GUEST POST BY BOB ARBUCCI

Tracing my ancestral roots in Italy was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was able to better understand the lifestyle of my ancestors by seeing the town firsthand.
 
My father’s family was originally from Mugnano del Cardinale, a town close to the city of Avellino in the Campania region. 

I met Alfredo, the researcher My Italian Family provided, at the local Municipio where we researched the old registers to find clues about my family. I learned they were "sportellari" or basket makers and where they resided before migrating to America. We then walked portions of the town to find my ancestral neighborhood and soaked up the beauty and history of the town. I saw the school that my grandmother attended, and located the home where my great grandmother lived. The locals were very friendly and took time to answer many questions I had.

I was overwhelmed when I met two cousins. One, Giovanni, heads the youth group in Mugnano. They immediately invited me to an outdoor lunch. The youth group members even welcomed me with a fun t-shirt. For dinner, we enjoyed glasses of home-made local wine and ate a delicious meal of pasta marinara, polenta and sausages. 

My family roots spread further than Mugnano to the adjacent town of Baiano, where my great-grandfather lived.  A local gentlemen took us to the home of my cousins. We were invited inside and shared many memories of our families.

These experiences were significant milestones in my life, ones I will never forget. I hope to return to my ancestral towns and further explore the history of those that came before me.

In celebration of Italian American heritage month (IAHM), My Italian Family is donating an Italian genealogy research project valued at $2,000 to one lucky Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America® member! There is still time to enter the 2017 Sons of Italy contest, don't miss out! MORE HERE

Our client, Diana Burdisso Britting, was the lucky winner of the 2015 Order Sons and Daughtesr of Italy in America contest that allowed us to help her find living relatives in Italy. Diana wrote about her experience and shared her life-changing journey with us. Thank you, Diana, for having us be a part of your Italian family story as researchers and guides!

GUEST POST BY DIANA BURDISSO BRITTING

As an only child of Italian and French heritage, my parents nurtured, shaped, and instilled in me this insatiable love for family and traditions. I feel lucky to have many childhood memories of family gatherings with my cousins near and far, of sharing old stories, and of finding reflections of ourselves in hearts both young and old.  

So, in 1969, after the birth of my first child, I started to put together a family tree, gathering bits and pieces of photos, documents, and more for my children who would never know the grandparents whom I adored.  Over the years, as our circle of extended family grew smaller, and my parents passed away, I was left with an even stronger sense of loss.  Spending many more years pouring through microfiche at the National Archives and hours on the computer, I was frustrated with trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Then, about a year ago, my luck took a turn for the better and I received the incredible opportunity to work with My Italian Family. I thought to myself “Find living relatives – was this even possible?”  For years I had traveled to Italy, trying unsuccessfully, to find the grandchildren of my grandfather’s siblings.  Unable to contain my excitement, I waited impatiently, but hopeful, for any news about where my family may be.  

Then, I received an email from My Italian Family; they found my cousins in my ancestral village of Bene Vagienna in Northern Italy! Shortly thereafter I received an incredible package of photos and information about the families of my grandfather’s brothers and sisters.  It was one of the most exciting moments in my life.  I immediately sent emails to my cousins to let them know how happy I was to find them and planned to visit as soon as I could.

In June, I travelled to Bene Vagienna with my oldest daughter, her husband and my three grandchildren to meet our cousins.  From the moment we met, I was overwhelmed with joy and love.  Adriana, my grandfather’s brother’s granddaughter, her daughters, and their families took us to the street where our ancestors grew up, to the church they attended and to their homes for an evening of love, laughter, and pizza! My cousins, Monica, her husband Roberto, Nadia, and her husband Claudio each have three daughters. As I watched my grandchildren tearfully embracing them, it brought tears of joy to my own eyes.  

One night, after dinner, a large orange paper lantern was brought to the table and we all signed our names before releasing it into the sky. I felt that the bond between us would never be broken as we watched our lantern try to gain elevation in the night sky. 

Meeting my new-found cousins has brought me full circle to remember how it feels to bask in the warmth that bonds a family. So many branches are on our family tree, growing in different places and directions, but our roots remain as one and despite the distance between us, keeping us many miles apart, we are blessed and they will always hold a special place in my heart.

Bene Vagienna is a village in the Piedmont region of Italy. It is located between two rivers and has ancient origins dating back to the Augustan period. Today, the town has a population of close to 3,500 people. When traveling to Bene Vagienna, you will be able to explore narrow cobblestoned streets, charming old houses, porticos and small piazzas that offer visitors a taste of its ancient history.

Also this year, in honor of Italian American Heritage Month, the Sons and Daughters of Italy is holding a contest to win a My Italian Family genealogy research project valued at approximately $2,000. Throughout the entire month of October 2017, individuals who join, renew or gift a Sons and Daughters of Italy national at-large membership (ALM) online will be entered for a chance to win one of two available research projects. 

Our client, Chris Lucie, an engineer from Chicago, recently made a trip to his ancestral town in Italy. Chris, with the help of his talented nieces, wrote about his experiences in Liscia and was kind enough to share his unforgettable journey with us. Thank you, Chris, for allowing us to play a small part in your Italian family story as researchers and guides!

Guest Post By CHRIS LUCIE

My wife and I, and three of our nieces recently traveled to Italy to visit the ancestral village of my great-grandfather.  Prior to the trip, I contacted My Italian Family and they were able to provide two of their researchers, Filippo and Marina, who not only performed the research, but guided us on our journey to reconnect with our ancestors. While I knew I would be excited to see original documents, and the village of my Ancestors, I wasn't sure if my nieces would be excited or bored.

The morning we arrived in Liscia (a small town in Abruzzo), the researchers had arranged for us to meet in the "Municipio" (Town Hall). Once we were all seated, they pulled out giant ledgers that had been bookmarked to specific pages of our family history. The heavy binding and old leather spine gave off a musty aroma. Dust had settled on the fringes of the page. As we sifted through the ancient reports ever so gingerly, we discovered stories and rites of passage about people who we only knew the names of previously. All of a sudden these reports weren’t just names on a page, but births and marriages and death, it was as if we got to peel back generations and see our lineage evolve from its core. To see these humble records and watch a family member’s life unfold before my eyes struck me with a pang of nostalgia and reverence for their honest way of living. My nieces were as excited and awestruck as I was.

After gathering a brief synopsis of our family history, we set out on foot to the older section of town where my great grandfather and his siblings had lived, to see their dwellings. Liscia itself is a rather quaint town with a seemingly simple and peaceful way of life. Residents could be seen in groups of two or three meandering lazily down the old cobbled roads. Children ran around and through their mother’s legs, bunching up her dress and poking their heads up warily at strangers. Laundry warmed with the steady breeze that only picked up enough so you could feel its presence on the back of your neck. Everything seemed to have a purpose and everyone seemed to know their place. As we walked down the main road we watched merchants open their shops and tidy their displays. Walking among the village and dwellings where my Great Grandfather was born and lived as a young boy was exhilarating.

We came to a stop in front of a rather humble looking abandoned residence made of stones and old wood. Filippo and Marina explained to us that this was where my great-grandfather had lived as a child, had previously been owned by my great- great-grandfather. I can’t really explain why but there is a strange sense of humility that befell upon me as we stood there. I ran my hand along the old stone and began to think about the life its old walls once housed. The stories the gossiping floorboards could share should anyone happen upon them again. After spending a couple of minutes taking perfunctory pictures to prove seasons on that “we were here” we made our way to the town church. The church was absolutely lovely. We walked in and I was instantly hit with the image of the records we read earlier about the baptisms and marriages and was in awe that we were in the same building where those ceremonies took place. Looking at the pews I wondered where my ancestors would kneel and what burdens they gave up to God. The building was exquisitely simple and had a cozy sort of charm. The old bells chimed and made its voice echo throughout the town.

From the church we headed on to the cemetery. Between the song of the cicada and the sun casting its rays on the graves, the cemetery seemed anything but at rest. We walked among the markers searching for familiar names and realized in one way or another that probably everyone laid to rest here had some sort of relation to one other. Despite it being up on a hill the grounds looked well maintained and cared for.
From the cemetery, we went to the town’s primary restaurant, "I 5 Tigli", where we enjoyed an authentic Italian meal. Everything was absolutely delicious and the service was amazing. We dined on specially prepared traditional dishes and the best house wine I’ve ever tasted. The restaurant had a rustic appeal and the food was always warm and abundant. We even were lucky enough to enjoy some entertainment by way of karaoke; good times and laughs were shared all around, along with a refreshing shot of Limoncello.

After lunch we met with the mayor for cappuccinos and conversation. We enjoyed lattes on the patio and listened to stories about the town we were from.  Citizens’ young and old alike wanted to be by the mayor and it was easy to understand why. He was diplomatic in the most genuine form. He was kind and warm and very easy to talk to. He appeared to really love what he did and the feelings were definitely reciprocated by the residents of Liscia. We are so appreciative for time everyone involved spent in making this leg of our journey so memorable. I can see why our family resided here all those years ago—there is a charming mysticism to Liscia and it captivates visitors and reminds them of a time not too long ago when things were authentic and respect was tangible.

This Thanksgiving while you are sharing your "thanks" with your family, take the time to ask what they remember about their Italian parents or grandparents. Remember, we are here to help you connect the dots and discover your family history!

Click here to plan a visit to your Ancestral town and research your family history. Bring back a lifetime of memories for yourself and your family! 

Don Cariddi, a National Italian American Foundation member, recently traveled to his town of origin to meet his Italian relatives. Thank you, Don, for sharing your rich family story with us. We were honored to help connect you with your living relatives in Puglia. 

GUEST POST BY DON CARIDDI

My grandparents last visited our Italian family in Gravina in the early 1970s. Despite efforts made by my grandparents, our family eventually lost touch with our Puglia relatives. Thankfully I was able to garner clues about my relatives from the letters and photos my grandfather saved - scores of correspondences written between the 1950s and 1970s. I eventually connected with my Calabrian cousins but I knew more cousins existed on my Grandmother's side in Puglia. I was determined to find and meet the Gravina side of the family. I ultimately hired My Italian Family to help me locate them.  

My Italian Family not only found my living relatives in Italy, they helped connect me with my Italian roots. They helped make my recent trip to Gravina an experience of a lifetime. Meeting my family in Puglia was truly priceless!  

Once I made contact with my family in Gravina (they were excited to make the connection and they knew right away what the connection was), I spent about ten months communicating via email, messenger and even a few FaceTime calls with some of my Cousins.  

I then traveled to Italy, and after having spent three days in Basilicata with friends I was travelling with, we finally arrived in Gravina in Puglia and were welcomed into one of my Cousin's home where we met four cousins for the first time. We hugged and exchanged gifts, and of course took pictures. From there we stopped at another cousin’s house nearby, which was the same address as that in the letters that my Grandfather had all those years ago. This was also the address where my Great-Great-Grandfather had lived long ago.   More cousins also met us at this location and from there we drove out to the countryside for a BIG welcome lunch at an amazing restaurant. This lunch included close to 20 of my cousins along with a few of my friends. It was a traditional Pugliese meal with course after course of fantastic food. Needless to say we spent time looking over pictures, talking and realizing the relationships of the family after all of these decades.   

One of the many pictures they had, was sent many decades ago by my Grandfather. In that picture, taken in New York in 1973, my Grandmother was holding a young boy and as I explained to my cousins, that young boy was me!  All these years they had copies of pictures from the family in America and I'm sure there were times they must have wondered what happened to us. Yet, here I was the little boy in the picture 42 years later having lunch with them!   After a few desserts, there was a special surprise that my cousin helped design: a big “Welcome to Italy” cake.

One cousin had taken the entire week off from work and took me and my friends around all over Puglia including eating great meals.  The cousins took turns having lunches and dinners at their home where we were treated to homemade meals with course after course and even homemade wine.   It was amazing how welcoming they were and how happy we all were just enjoying the food, the company and our time together. We saw many places from Polignano a Mare to Matera and from Altamura to Castel de Monte. We would stop for gelato (sometimes twice a day) and would sometimes enjoy an Aperol 'spritz' on a HOT day to cool off:  now one of my favorite summer time refreshing drinks!

Some of my cousins speak English very well and others just a little. Between my practicing Italian and some of them speaking English, we never had a problem.  Sadly the day came where we had to say goodbye; one by one we hugged and we all had tears in our eyes. But they of course welcomed me back anytime and next time of course they want it to be longer. My one cousin is getting married in August and I was invited....which sounded amazing until I realized it was THIS August so it’s not going to be possible. But, another cousin may get married next year and I would love to go and experience a real Italian wedding. I know we will stay in touch and I know I will go back again next year!

I don’t know a lot about what my Great Grandfather did when he lived in Gravina; some records show he was a shoemaker.  However, going to America certainly showed he wanted to improve the life of his family.  I was told he would wire money back to Italy to relatives to help them out since family was so important to him. It was evident during my visit to my family in Gravina that they also have worked hard. The way they welcomed me and opened up their hearts to me during this trip certainly showed they also knew the importance of family.

It was truly a memorable experience and I know that I am now part of their family.  They even created a 'group' for me on WhatsApp and a day does not go by without a good morning, some conversation and fun, and a good night. I think they were as amazed to meet me as I was to meet them.  Words cannot express how fantastic the experience was and in knowing how my Gravina Family welcomed us.

Click HERE to Discover your Italian roots and make family connections that last a lifetime! 

 

Our client, Vita Giannone, an avid family historian, proud American of Italian descent and Order Sons of Italy member, recently made a trip to her ancestral town in Italy. Vita wrote about her experiences in Campagna and was kind enough to share a portion of her unforgettable journey with us. Thank you, Vita, for allowing us to play a small part in your Italian family story as researchers and guides!

Guest Post By Vita Giannone   

Recently, I made my "Pilgrimage" to my Town of Origin - Campagna (Salerno): it has blown my mind entirely. I am completely overwhelmed with the emotions I felt that day.  It started with the anticipation of what might be ahead and ended in sheer amazement of all that this town held for me. It held my past, my present and hopefully some part of my future. There were so many coincidences as we researched and walked through the town. People may call it luck. Or coincidence. I call it Fate. My family was on the other end guiding this trip, and I felt it.

My day started at 7AM meeting the onsite researcher, MY ITALIAN FAMILY provided, Giuseppe. Originally from NJ where his parents immigrated several ago, he chose to come back home to Avellino at 20 where he has been living with his beautiful wife and children.

Giuseppe took us to the State Archive in Salerno early in the morning to get started. We found out that my great grandmother Teresa Cioffoletti celebrated her birthday on July 19th (1889), but our family had her birthday off by a year (it was 1888). After we logged a few more dates, and a few more sets of great grandparents, we had new dates to look up.

From this process, we are able to record the street addresses that my ancestors lived on, and the parishes they belonged to. The two churches we wanted to visit were San Salvatore (now known as San Antonino) & San Bartolomeo. In addition, we learned about their occupations: my great-grandfather Ferdinando Mirra was a lumberjack while his wife Teresa Cioffoletti was a farmer. The names Mirra and Cioffoletti were HUGE in this town, as well as a few other surnames that run in the family.  Casale, Caponigro, etc.

 


After we gathered all of this useful amazing information, Giuseppe handed us off to his sweet son, Giovanni.  Giovanni drove us to my Ancestral town of Campagna. As I looked at the church of San Antonino in Campagna and took some outside photos, Giovanni went into a little cafe' to ask about the church and if it would be open.  As "luck" would have it, the father of this particular church was in the cafe' and offered to come out to meet the "American researching her familial roots". Again, you say luck, I say Fate & Family.

Father Carlo (in the picture) was such a sweet man that seemed as genuinely interested in finding my ancestors as we were. And he gave us an educational tour of the church and the town as well.  After researching more family records with his help, I asked Father Carlo if we could make a donation to the church and I hope I didn't embarrass him. He blessed me with a medal for the church of San Antonino. I was very touched.

As we were leaving, I asked him if he recognized the Statue from a family picture that I felt pretty sure it was taken in Campagna. I can't explain the happiness I felt when his face lit up. He said with a big knowing smile, "Would you like me to show you this statue?" I couldn't contain myself. This for me, is the biggest mystery I haven't been able to solve. I may have done a little dance right here in the street. After Ferdinando's wife Teresa died in 1959, Ferdinando in 1960, went back and married Carmelina and brought her back to the States with him. She was raised in a convent for orphans, as her parents were both deceased.  But who was she? So when Father Carlo offered to take us there, I was beside myself.  It was run by the "Charitable Sisters". It is now a museum that tells the story of the women who helped so many people.  At the very back of the Convent, he unlocked a door that led out to a terrace. At this moment I was just overwhelmed with emotion as I stepped into the courtyard and this white beautiful Mary statue stood looking over Campagna. 

After that really emotional moment, we stopped at a cute little restaurant in the center of town and were served a feast. We were served Prosciutto with Buffalo Mozzarella, spinach and beans in garlic sauce, pancetta "pizza", and then the Pasta Fagioli.  I think it's pretty apropos that I had Pasta Fagioli in a town where my grandmother's family came from, who used to make that dish for us all the time.

After researching additional family information in the church archives of San Bartolomeo, we took the time to walk the rest of the town and took some great photos. We visited the old addresses on the list of where my ancestors were born.  Most of the buildings seemed converted or the streets were renamed.

It was such a beautiful city, and I think part of my heart is there. I am so grateful for this day and blessed to have made this trip. It was absolutely amazing!  Best. Day. Ever.  I can't thank those involved enough!

Click here to plan a visit to your Ancestral town and research your family history. Bring back a lifetime of memories for yourself and your family!  

For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in my Italian roots.  I was very curious of my paternal grandfather's heritage because he died before I was born.  Then, recently a friend told me that the US allows its citizens to have dual citizenship with Italy, which sparked my interest even more.  Knowing so little about my Italian side of the family, I decided it was time to discover Italy and my family history.

My grandfather, Frank Tamburini, grew up as a 1st generation American raised by my Italian great-grandparents, Virgilio and Pasquina Credi Tamburini. My great-grandparents relinquished their Italian citizenship and became United States citizens in the 1940's.  Grandpa Frank was their first child born in the United States and was a combat engineer with the 1st Infantry Division for the United States. Through online research, I was able to get most of the US information myself but I needed help with the Italian side of the documentation and research.  I reached out to My Italian Family for assistance.

My first project was a five-generation research project on Virgilio Tamburini.  Bianca and her team found a lot of information about his family.  He came from Iola, a hamlet of the town of Montese located in the province of Modena in Emilia Romagna and had two sisters and a brother. The Tamburini family had been in this area of Italy for a long time. 

My second project was the research of Pasquina Credi Tamburini who also came from Iola. After having My Italian Family provide me with such interesting information and superior services, I thought the ultimate experience would be to meet family in Iola if any were still in the area.

On October 3, 2013, I traveled to Iola which is in the Apennines Mountains with Olivia, a researcher with My Italian Family. Olivia had found my relatives in Iola. As we were driving up the mountains, I was just so excited to meet them. Did they know about us? Did they know that Great Grandpa Virgilio came to America?  

As we reached the meeting place, I met Ornella, Paola, and Alfredo in front of the museum in Montese. Ornella is a granddaughter of Virgilio's sister Liduina. Paola was the great-granddaughter of Liduina and Alfredo was her husband. They did not know that Virgilio's descendants were in the United States. They thought that his branch was somewhere else in Italy. They must have been shocked to hear that they had a cousin from the United States that was interested in meeting them!!!   

We toured the museum.  It had a lot of artifacts from World War II and had information about life in Montese/Iola. Ornella shared childhood stories about her life under Mussolini. I was fascinated. We visited homes that housed my relatives, the cemetery and the town hall. We went out to lunch where another granddaughter of Liduina's met us. Bruna drove all the way from Bologna to meet me.  We spent all day together sharing family stories. Even though we spoke different languages, we still were able to communicate (in part thanks to Olivia's heroic ability to serve as a translator). It was very memorable. I am very lucky to have family in Italy that was interested in meeting me and able to spend all day with me. They are wonderful people!

It was difficult to leave as I wanted to hear and experience more. Since my return to Chicago, we have exchanged emails (using an online translator) and pictures. I have introduced them to my family here and they have introduced us to other members of their family in Italy. Without My Italian Family, this meeting would not have happened. I am forever grateful to Bianca and her team. 

As I reflect on my journey, I go back to where it started, to my Great Grandpa Virgilio.  He left the Apennines Mountains to journey to the United States in 1908. He went through Northern Italy to France and got on a boat headed for United States. He landed on Ellis Island only to be sent home.  After a second trip, he was admitted into the United States. Once he got settled in Taylorville, Illinois, my great grandmother and great aunt came to the United States.  

After reaching America, it is unlikely that he ever saw his parents or siblings again because they remained in Italy or in other parts of Europe. Now, more than 100 years later, his family is reunited again! 

A special THANK YOU to Lisa Tamburini who traveled to find her Roots and Relatives and kindly offered to share her amazing and very emotional experience with all of us. 

US Citizens traveling to Europe will soon need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa waiver, the new travel authorization for Europe, which will come into effect January 2021. This authorization will cost Euro 7 (approx $8) and will be valid for three (3) consecutive years, allowing for multiple trips within the 3-year frame. The ETIAS application form will be obtained through a simple online process that will be able to be completed quickly (no more than 10 minutes) with the authorization being granted in a matter of minutes. 

Similar to other countries and regions in the world, Europe has recently decided to improve its security level to avoid any further problems with illegal immigration and terrorism. To obtain the Europe visa waiver for Americans, U.S. citizens will need to have a valid passport, a credit or debit card, and an email account. The online form will require you provide some personal data, including name, date and place of birth, sex and nationality, information on travel documents (validity and country of issue), residential address and contact information, and the European country where the first entry is expected. It will also include questions related to previous criminal records and presence in conflict zones. 

Countries that will need the ETIAS authorization include Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, United States. 

All Resources

April 16, 2019
Resource

US Citizens traveling to Europe will soon need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa waiver, the new travel authorization for Europe, which will come into effect January 2021. This authorization will cost Euro 7 (approx $8) and will be valid for three (3) consecutive years, allowing for multiple trips within the 3-year frame. The ETIAS application form will be obtained through a simple online process that will be able to be completed quickly (no more than 10 minutes) with the authorization being granted in a matter of minutes. 

October 26, 2017
Article

Tracing my ancestral roots in Italy was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was able to better understand the lifestyle of my ancestors by seeing the town firsthand.

August 08, 2017
Article

Meeting my new-found cousins has brought me full circle to remember how it feels to bask in the warmth that bonds a family.

November 19, 2016
Article

Our client, Chris Lucie, an engineer from Chicago, recently made a trip to his ancestral town in Italy. Chris, with the help of his talented nieces, wrote about his experiences in Liscia and was kind enough to share his unforgettable journey with us.

July 31, 2016
Article

Don Cariddi, a National Italian American Foundation member, recently traveled to his town of origin to meet his Italian relatives. Thank you, Don, for sharing your rich family story with us. We were honored to help connect you with your living relatives in Puglia. 

June 20, 2016
Article

It was such a beautiful city, and I think part of my heart is there. I am so grateful for this day and blessed to have made this trip. It was absolutely amazing! Best. Day. Ever. I can't thank those involved enough!

March 19, 2016
Article

On March 19th Italy commemorates a joyful holiday dedicated to St. Joseph, San Giuseppe, Saint Patron of family life, hand-labor, and carpenters. It is in Italy that St. Joseph's day is also known as Father's Day.

February 15, 2016
Article

It is undeniable that genealogy has become a popular pastime for 21st century Italian Americans, who have become very interested in learning more about the lives of their immigrant ancestors.

But to believe that our family tree will simply pop up from a search on a computer, is simply not true. The good news is that if you have a knack for family history, we have a service that provides an enviable "hands on" experience in Italy with the help of experienced and bilingual genealogical researchers. How does it work?

January 01, 2016
Article

In the past there were three kinds of fountains: for drinking (also used as troughs or abbeveratoi), for washing clothes (also known as lavatoi) or for decoration. If you are traveling to your Ancestral town, most likely you will find a public fountain.

From Roman times until the end of the 19th century, fountains operated by gravity, requiring a source of water higher than the fountain itself to make the water flow.

August 17, 2015
Article

Almost every town in Italy has a civic coat-of-arms. Most of these colorful crests or banners tell a little story of each town featuring animals, mountains, trees, vineyards, castles, etc.

August 05, 2015
Article

Do you know that although modern standard Italian is used all over Italy, very few Italians use it as their first language?

June 03, 2015
Article

We are all very familiar with artists like Michelangelo, Raffaello, Giotto but there are so many more very talented ones who worked in small towns and decorated churches and other buildings. 

We found one in the town of Bianzone (province of Sondrio in Lombardia) who painted these beautiful frescos in the Mother Church of San Siro; his name is Cipriano Valorsa, painter from the 1500s also known as “the Raffaello of Valtellina” (Valtellina the alpine valley in Lombardia known for its landscapes, parks and wines).

May 29, 2015
Article

There are more than 8,000 towns in Italy, almost double the number of hamlets but they all have one thing in common: each one has a unique name with a history behind it. 

May 07, 2015
Article

A few years ago, Mayor Vincenzo Tamburi, came up with a bright idea to repopulate the ghost town of San Basile, located on the slopes of Mount Pollino in the province of Cosenza (Calabria). The online initiative was called: "A home in San Basile". He put up for sale about 150 abandoned homes and parcels of land ranging from as little as Euro 5,000 each (about $5,600) to a maximum of Euro 60,000 ($69,000). San Basile was an instantaneous success with buyers from all over the world. 

Have you ever wondered if your Italian family abandoned property in Italy? 

March 24, 2015
Article

For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in my Italian roots.  I was very curious of my paternal grandfather's heritage because he died before I was born.  Then, recently a friend told me that the US allows its citizens to have dual citizenship with Italy, which sparked my interest even more.  Knowing so little about my Italian side of the family, I decided it was time to discover Italy and my family history.

Subscribe to RSS - Traveling to Italy

Call Us Toll Free:

1.888.472.0171


Email us:

[email protected]