John and his son were hoping to find lots of fun tidbits about their family history so we left Naples and headed, by train, to the island of Sicily, birthplace of their grandparents/great-grandparents. But first, how do you take a train to an island that has no railroad bridge or tunnel that takes you across the water? Well, we found out...by boat. The train cars were loaded onto a very large boat with tracks inside. After that, we were ferried across the water to the seaport of Messina, on Sicily. Then unloaded, hooked to a new engine and off we went. We traveled to the Taormina-Giardini/Naxos stop and walked to our little Miramare Bed & Breakfast. What a delightful place it was! Beautiful views of the water and a walking distance to some of the best parts of the town. The owner, Aldo, was so nice and very helpful! We would highly recommend it if you are in the Taormina area. Click here for more information.
|Our views from the Miramare Bed & Breakfast.|
We found a gentlemen, Nino, who, in very broken English, said he could help us, and took us to the room with all the old books and started pulling them off the shelves. We knew the basic information as to when his grandfather was born and his name, and with that, they pulled the book that had just the information we were looking for. Nino made official certificates of the information that they found in the books and the guys took pictures of the handwritten data, that was all in Italian.
|John and J in Bronte, Sicily, Italy|
|Pistachio gelato at Feudo Marullo Resort.|
The next day we headed to Giarre, where Grandma Politi came from. We had no idea where we were going here but once again, the helpful Sicilians came to the rescue. A couple drove us to the building we needed to find the same type of information we found the day before on grandpa. These folks did not speak any English, however. Communication was a little more strained. But a very nice man, who was standing in line behind us, asked if he could help and he translated for us. He told them we were looking for birth information on Grandma Politi. The man behind the counter said we would have to come back on Monday. We told him we were not going to be able to do that because we would be leaving before that. So he said to come back later that afternoon. When the guys went back, they weren't real hopeful that there would be anything for them, but sure enough, the guy pulled out the same type of books and got them the information that they were looking for.
One of the stories, that bounced around the family, for years, was that their grandfather didn't come to America at the same time as the rest of the family. The story goes that he had an affair with someone and ended up killing her husband. It shamed the family so they left for America to get away from the shame. However, in there research they found that their grandfather actually did come to America. What they found out this day, was that grandma had been married before their grandfather. Was this the man who actually went to prison for killing the man? A new trail to check into? A new story to be told? The guys left Giarre with another goldmine and were thrilled they had made the trip to find out more about their family.
We spent the last day touring around the beautiful town of Taormina. It sits up on a hill, overlooking the coast and has some gorgeous views. We hated to leave this beautiful island but the next day we had to head back to Rome, to catch our plane home, the following day.
|Pictures of Taormina but these were taken on our last trip there.|
They were better.
|The amphitheater in Taormina.|
We had to do the ferry ride again, and had a long train ride back to Rome but the scenery was great and the trip very relaxing. The plane trip home the next day would not be near as interesting and a whole lot longer. But it was worth it for all the fun and adventures we had during our stay in the wonderful country of Italia!
|This is the ferry we took from Sicily back to the |
mainland of Italy.