June 17, 2017
paninigirl

10 comments

Calitri Italy

countryside

Twelve years ago we made the trek to Calitri traveling by train and bus to reach this town. A day and a half was not nearly long enough to really explore and we vowed to return and so we did. We flew to Bari, picked up a car and set off.  As we left Puglia and traveled into Campania the landscape changed from fields with vines and olive trees to rolling green hills dotted with windmills. After exiting the autostrada the roads narrowed and farm houses popped up here and there. Occasionally a car would drive by, but for the most part we were the only ones on the road. Eventually we started seeing signs for Calitri and I can’t begin to describe my excitement.

into town

It began 110 ten years ago when my great grandparents put their son Lazzaro on a ship leaving Naples heading to New York. You have to wonder how hard their life must have been to send their children thousands of miles away in hope of a better life. Four years later my grandmother’s parents did the same thing. These two young people both came from the small hilltop town of Calitri, but did not meet until some years after their arrival in the New York. I don’t have all the details, but I can only imagine it went something like ” there’s a girl from your town that you should meet” and then they were married.

through town

The drive into town was easy and we spotted sites that were familiar from our last visit. Finding the meeting point for our rental agent was a little more difficult than we expected, but finally we pulled into the piazza and there she was. I immediately recognized Emma as she had been on an episode of House Hunters International. We unpacked the car and started hauling our bags through the narrow lanes of the borgo. It wasn’t really that far, but by the time we rounded the corner and saw those last uneven steps to the apartment I was ready to hand my suitcase over to J.

last steps

Turns out our neighbors were the couple that we saw on the House Hunters episode and we enjoyed spending time with them and getting the lowdown on living in Calitri. They had relocated from Colorado and were warmly welcomed by the locals. Our apartment, owned by another American couple, was roomy and had a fully equipped kitchen.

la casa

The best part however was the surprise we had when we opened the shutters on the bedroom window and saw the view-green hills as far as the eye could see with Monte Vulture (an extinct volcano) off in the distance. What we were gazing at was the border of Campania and Basilicata. I have to tell you that in our week there I never tired of staring out the window and seeing this landscape.

 

out the bedroom

more country

The town is actually divided into two areas. After a devastating earthquake in this region in 1980 many of Calitri’s residents moved from the old borgo into new housing that was built. It seems that many thought it would be easier to relocate rather than repair their damaged homes. When we visited twelve years ago there were not many people living in the older section of town, but a lot has changed since then. There’s been quite a bit of redevelopment, both by locals and foreigners who have discovered the charm  of spending time in this quiet town.

new 2

new section

More to come on our week in this magical place.

Panini Girl In Lucca May 2018get in touch for details paninigirl4@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Calitri Italy

  1. Love Calitri. Just beautiful with friendly people.

  2. Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous view. And how wonderful to be in your great grandparents’ home town. Savor every moment. I look forward to reading more about your visit.

  3. Those are some pretty gorgeous views and I absolutely love the little narrow streets!

  4. Did you ever get to read Mario Toglia’s book : ‘They came by Boat’? A history of all our ancestors who came from Calitri.. Thanks for the pictures.

    • Kempfjomach-yes I have read his first book. I know he was working on another one-I sent him a photo of my grandparents for it. I’m not sure if the second book is released.

  5. What a wonderful story you have told of our grandparents town and later meeting. Your pictures help set the scene. Thanks. C.

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