For such a small town, everything that I write about Calitri seems to generate a lot of interest. Calitri, for those of you who haven’t read all I’ve written (hey, what’s with that?), is a small hill town in the Avellino province of Campania. My grandparents were both from this town and came to the United States to make a better life. Growing up, I was under the impression that Calitri was really close to Naples. When I decided that I had to visit the ancestral town of my family I discovered that this town is actually closer to the Basilicata region, than it is to Naples.
I’m not sure how we came to the decision that we would make a detour from our trip from Rome to Positano and go and find Calitri, but once decided, we were determined to find our way there. We didn’t have a car and it took a train trip and overnight stay in Foggia (in Puglia), then a bus back into Campania and finally a van that serviced the area since the trains weren’t running there.
We had only one day to explore the town and at the time we spoke no Italian. Everyone that we encountered was friendly and helpful and I cried when we left, knowing that we had barely scratched the surface. J. decided right then and there that we had to return, rent a place for a month, explore the area and find my relatives. I decided that I would learn Italian before our return so that we could really communicate with the people that we met.
I’m fascinated when I hear from all of you that have relatives in Calitri and have been there yourselves. We have yet to return but I have learned to speak (somewhat) Italian and we still plan to go back. I would love to hear from any of you who have done research on Calitri, have been there, or have family who came from there. So leave me a comment and share your experience and who knows, maybe we’re even related!