Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

July 1, 2017


Calitri-What I Discovered


Take a look at this gorgeous town. I remember seeing photos similar to this when doing research on Calitri and there I was taking my own shot from down below the village. On our first full day there (which was a Sunday)  we were looking for a place for lunch when  the friendly woman from the tourist office let us know that many of the restaurants were fully booked due to the fact that it was First Communion (or Confirmation) and families were celebrating with lunch. She directed us down the hill  to Golden Mill, the restaurant where I had my first plate of cingul‘ and after our meal I walked outside and got my own shot of the borgo.


The following day we saved for our visit to the Commune, the home to the town offices. We were met there by Emma, our rental agent and Enzo (I think that was his name) the local genealogy  expert. Armed with only my grandparents’ names and birth dates Enzo set to work to find their birth certificates in the the town records. The books were massive and of course all hand written in beautiful script. His first task was to search for their families and after that he moved onto smaller bound books where he looked for their actual birth certificates. My grandfather Lazzaro Capossela was easy to find, but initially he couldn’t locate my grandmother, Maria Maffucci. It turns out that there was a discrepancy with her birth date, but eventually her records turned up.

at commune

Enzo worked tirelessly for quite some time on this task and then moved on to seeing if there was anyone still living in town who I might be related to. It turns out there is a gentleman who is my mother’s first cousin, but unfortunately we didn’t get to meet him.

birth certificate

What I did learn was that my grandfather’s sister Teodora (who was his only sibling not to emigrate to the US) lived in the same apartment that we were renting! We also discovered the location of my grandparents’ births.

grandpa's street

This street is where my grandfather was born and below is the doorway to my grandmother’s home.

grandma's doorway

And finally-Lazzaro and Maria on their wedding day. I don’t believe that my grandfather ever returned to his home town. He did fight in France for the US during WWI, but am not sure that he traveled to Italy. My grandmother returned once after WWII and I remember hearing that she left everything that she had brought with her for her impoverished relatives.


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17 thoughts on “Calitri-What I Discovered

  1. How awesome to make these discoveries ❤️

  2. How exciting to see my father’s family name appear in the Calitiri public records. Thank you for this information.


    • June-there are only a few Caposselas left in Calitri now. Do you know about Vinicio Capossela-his parents were from there and he’s a well known Italian folk singer. He does a big concert every summer at the Sponzfest celebration in August. I hope to be there some year for that.

  3. You have their shape of face!!

    Barbara J. Friedman

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Barb-that’s too funny!

  5. How exciting to find this info. You will have to go back and meet the cugino while he is still alive. Ciao, Cristina

  6. What wonderful discoveries!

    • Debra-it really was a special moment for me. The wonderful gentleman who helped us spent almost two hours working on it and he’s actually retired and just comes in to help people with genealogy inquiries. I was touched by his kindness.

  7. What a beautiful journey Janie…I am so happy for you. I am fortunate enough to have cousins remaining in Italy, due to an unfortunate situation with my Uncle when he was a child. One of my cousins still lives in the town in Calabria where my Mom was born. He helped gather the records I needed when I because a citizen.

    • PB Levitt-I didn’t realize that your mother was born in Italy. You are so lucky to have relatives there and your citizenship. I would love to get it, but don’t think I qualify because my grandfather had already become a US citizen by the time that my mother was born. I suppose I should talk to someone further about it-there’s a lawyer (from Italy) here in San Diego who does this kind of work.

  8. Un Po’ di Pepe-I finally looked up your town on a map and it really isn’t that far from where we were exploring. Have a wonderful stay with your family and I look forward to reading your posts during your stay. Buon viaggio!

  9. How great to be able to go and discover more about your family’s history.

  10. Finally had a chance to sit and read and enjoy this post. All these years of looking at grandma and grandpa’s wedding picture on my shelf, reading your post gives it a real history and I will think of this post and the other pictures of Calitri you took. I am glad you have been able to do the genealogy for the rest of us.
    Someday I will go with you!

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