I think back to our very brief visit to Calitri three and a half years ago. This hill town in the Avellino province of Campania was the birthplace of both my mother’s parents. As a child I knew they were from Italy, but I was too young to ask them about where they had come from ( I also struggled to understand them-they did speak to us kids in English, but to each other and to many of the relatives who visited they spoke Italian). When we began traveling to Italy I knew that it was just a matter of time before we made our way there. It was something that I felt we had to do.
We had been in Rome and were heading to Positano and I thought this would be the perfect time to make the detour to Calitri. It was an adventure and something that I cherish, even though we only stopped there for one night. We walked through the older part of town, wondering which doorways led to the homes where my grandparents had lived. At the time, this part of town was being re-developed and we talked about how great it would be to buy a place. Now we lament the fact that we didn’t do it, as the prices have increased and the choices on what to buy are not what they were three years ago.
I dream about returning and renting a place there for a month. I know that we will do this, but am not sure when it will be. For now I will have to live vicariously through Jason at Un Calitrano Sordo who will be leaving soon to spend the next five months there. Jason has graciously given me incredible information on my family’s genealogy and I anxiously await his news from everyday life in Calitri and his fabulous photos. Until J. and I can get back there, I have the memories of our very brief visit and when we do return I’ll be able to converse a little with the Calitrani that we meet.