Third Trip to Vasto 2006
June 17, 2006
In the morning I got the last things to take for the take to Italy. I needed to have beer for the limousine. I did get the Zanax, but I did the trust the pills. I could get sick. The limo pulled up at 1:30 P.M. I unplugged the electrical wires I could find at the last moment. With beer in my hand I was off to the airport with my wife Anna, my mother in law, Maria, and my son Greg. This was going to be a big adventure, but one with my family. More people more problems. Everything went smooth at the airport. But I was always at the bar. Anna was yelling at me to get going. By 5:30 we were in the air. It was an easy flight so far.
June 16, 2006
Flying with the family
Greg was a pain on the flight. When he fell asleep he peed on Anna. I should have seen that one coming. The landing was great and really smooth in a Boeing 777. I messed up on the seats. Nobody said to reserve your seats. Anna and I were split up momentarily until some nice man traded seats with me so I could sit near my wife. My mother in law was in another port on the plane.
After landing at Fiumicino Airport it turns out the airport was very modern. I have not been at the airport in many years. The line for immigration was a mess. After, I got a car from Avis. The tricky thing about the car was that there was no key. It had a credit card type key and you had to stick it is the dash, press the start button, and keep your foot on the clutch. It took five minutes to figure out how to start the car. Anna's mother Maria was picked up by her brother Salvatore.
On the road we got lost. What should have been an hour turned out to take two hours to drive. Last time I let Anna be the navigator. We found Pomezia where Anna's family lives, but finding the Hotel Enea was a real mess. I figure we asked five people to find our point of destination. There are no road signs, few traffic lights, and the exits on the highway are a mess.
The Enea Hotel was not the Hotel I saw in the internet. Very run down and it was in a commercial area. The road we are on, Via del Mare, was very commercial and a lot of traffic. But, it turns out that was good because I always have to run out for something with my son. Greg and Anna slept after we checked in for a while. I went out for a beer run. I found the old Cerez beer, that is very strong, but I stayed with Peroni Beer.
Once we were settled in it was time to meet the family. Uncle Salvatore came to the Hotel and I was followed him to his house in our cars. His house is an apartment on the other side of town. Once we got there I met his wife Mariella. After, we ate spaghetti, veal cutlets, and Aunt Mariella would fry eggplant. Her eggplant was a floured fried eggplant. They were very tasty. Also we had bread, black olives, and pork with peas, which was very good. After, we had fruit and then the rest of Salvatore's family came to the apartment. Cristina, who I met at the airport with her father Salvatore, was with her husband and children. Also, Elisabetta came with her husband and children. Also, one husband lived in Australia for a few years in Sydney. What a small world due to the fact I had distant relatives in Australia.
After hanging out with the family we followed Salvatore though the maze of streets with no names to our hotel. We all fell asleep quickly.
June 19, 2006
Around 1:00 A.M. we all woke up due to the time change. After getting re settled we all sent back to sleep. Greg gave us a hard time due to his dislike of Italy's lack of routine, and more of his regular toys to play with like the ones at home.
Around 7:00 A.M. we got up and Greg was still upset. We had breakfast at the hotel and it was great. It took twenty minutes to get Greg in the restaurant. The restaurant had a buffet with a lot of Italian fatty food. It was great because Anna was having second thoughts about the trip with Greg freaking out al the time over his toys at home.
After breakfast we took a ride to see another hotel that was no better than our hotel. We found a McDonalds and we finally headed for the beach.
It turns out there is a lot more to do in Pomenzia. We found an Aquarius Mall and a decent beach. After, we headed back to the hotel and changed our clothes. Then we were off to Uncle Salvatore's house. Greg gave us a problem going into the apartment, but he calm down. We had left over's to eat and they were great. After we headed to the hotel and we went back to the beach. This time we stayed at the beach for a while. I met a person from Philadelphia, but now lived in Italy.
After, we went back to the hotel to rest up. We are getting ready to eat at Uncle Salvatore's house later that night. I finally figure out how to navigate a town with no street signs when driving.
At Uncle Salvatore's house we had great provolone, mozzarella, prosciutto, and salami. Also, the salami which is a lot like pepperoni, but is also was like the old sausage my father used to eat from the Bronx. This time Greg got in the apartment without less hassle. We had a great time talking around the table. After, we drove back to the hotel. Uncle Salvatore wants to take us to the country some day.
June 20, 2006
We woke up late around 10:00 A.M. I had to go to the restaurant to bring up food. The free breakfast buffet closed at 10:00. We are to get ready for the beach.
It turns out there are always changes in the plans. First, Cristina and her son Fabrizio stop by the hotel. We all jumped in her car and we went to a castle called the Villa Borghese outside of Pomezia. Borghese, today, is a famous line of cosmetics. We saw a ceramic store and walked along the old streets in the castle. We also stop by a bar. Greg acted up and did not want o go in. But, after persuading him he finally came in. We had beer and other drinks. Greg dropped my beer bottle on the floor. After a few pictures we went back to the hotel. From there we got our car and we all went to Uncle Salvatore's house.
Of course Greg gave us a hard time getting in the apartment again. But, he is becoming less of a problem each time. At Uncle Salvatore's we had a soup with zucchini, sauteed green beans, bread, and other old cuts. All the zucchini's and green beans were great because they came from Uncle Salvatore's garden.
We took Fabrizio with us to the beach. He is off from school and eats at his grandfather's house. At the beach we went to a part that had chairs and umbrellas set up on the beach. Elisabetta rented an umbrella for a month at the beach near Pomezia.
At the beach Anna, Greg, and Fabrizio went to the water, I ate at the umbrella, and got eaten by bugs that you cannot see. Later, we were joined by Elisabetta and her children, Julia and Marco. And then Nicola, Elisabetta's husband, and Maurizio, the husband of Cristina showed up.
While the girls and children were at the beach Nicola, Maurizio, and I talked. Luckily, Maurizio lived in Australia and London for a few years and spoke some English. We had a few beers and we talked about the United States, sports, etc.
Later, we all went our separate ways. Anna, Greg, and I went back to the hotel to get ready to eat at Cristina's house. But, I had a special assignment to find a card store and get a Communion card for Fabrizio. After, I took a shower and then we went back to uncle Salvador's house. From there we followed Uncle Salvatore to Cristina's house. We were warned, as a joke, that Cristina is a bad cook.
At Cristina's house we all sat at a table in the living room and the children were in the kitchen. Cristina made a cold dish with eggs, tuna, and other ingredients. Also, there was mozzarella, prosciutto, bread, cristini's on whole wheat bread, and some sort of cold bean dish. Of course we all sat near the television to watch the world cup. We all talked and ate. They asked about Greg's scar on his chest and we told the story of Greg's surgery. After dinner we had fruit and ice cream. Later, we followed Maurizio, Elisabetta, and their children back to our hotel.
So far on this trip we are lucky to have a McDonalds near the hotel so Greg can get his Happy Meal.
June 21, 2006
I woke up early to eat breakfast. We have been going to bed around 11:00 P.M. and waking up around 10:00 A.M.
We had some errands to take care of before we went to Uncle Salvatore's house. First, Anna did not bring the correct adapter for the computer to match the Italian electrical system. Second, we think there is a problem with the car and the oil. Third, we had to get to the bank. Finally, we were going to Uncle Salvatore's house.
At Uncle Salvatore's house we ate fresh pasta with steak in it. After we had steak and he had a side order of fresh roasted peppers. All of which came from the Uncle Salvatore's garden a few miles away.
After we stop by the Iperstore, or supermarket, and picked up more food. There was no grape juice in Italy.
Finally, we went to the beach. We used Elisabetta's umbrella and chairs. I took a nap and Anna and Greg went for a walk on the beach. Later, Greg and I went for a walk. They had fishing boats right on the beach and people were going for clams with rakes. After a few beers we went back to the hotel. See Picture of Boat on Beach See Picture of Mediterranean Ocean Beach
At the hotel we found out about a Chinese restaurant. So, it was back to the beach area and we at outside at the Chinese restaurant. The Chinese food was different from what we have back at home. Of course, Greg dropped a glass on the floor. The mix vegetables were more like Chinese chow mien in the United States. After we went back to the hotel to our surprise a tour group of Asians was in the lobby.
In the morning Anna wanted to sleep late. So, Greg and I went to a Museum called the Archeological Museum Lavinium, but it was closed. So, we went to the mall called "Sedici Pini." The mall was a regular mall, but inside the music was very loud. We found a gym and in the gym was a small playground for children. After, we went to the toy store. After buying Greg a toy train we went back to the hotel.
After, we went to Uncle Salvatore's house to eat. I forgot what we ate. But, after we went in Uncle Salvatore's car and we drove to the country. First, we went to a place were Uncle Salvatore get fresh water from a well. You had to pay a person and you helped yourself to the water coming out of the faucets. After that we went to the garden. At the garden uncle Salvatore had an enclosure in a huge field.
The enclosure was to keep sheep out and other animals. He had all types of vegetables and a huge palm tree for shade. Also, there was a spot where his camper or trailer was burned down by vandals. After, we walked around and the sheep came out to the pasture on the huge field. The shepherd was named Angelo who was a friend of Uncle Salvatore's. After, we all jumped in the car and went back the hotel. Because it was not a great day, no sun, we went back to the mall. See Angelo's Sheep
Later that night we met with Cristina and Mauricio, her husband, and met for pizza at a restaurant on the beach. We had thin crust pizza. That night I drank too much wine. After, we went back to the hotel. That night it was the first time I spoke to Maurizio about United States politics and the Iraqi War.
June 23, 2006
We woke up early and hit the road to Uncle Salvatore's house. There we met Uncle Pietro and another cousin name Adda. Adda drove us in her car to Palestrina outside of Rome. But, on the way in Pomezia, somebody hit Uncle Pietro in his car by running through a stop sign. So, we drove about forty-five minutes to Palestrina. Anna had an aunt that lived in apartment basement in Palestrina. But, this aunt had an outside yard that had plants and lots of places for birds to live. Her husband died many years ago, but had a pigeon coupe. The apartment was filled with dolls and little odds and ends toys. Greg was going nuts with boredom. So Greg and I went for a walk. The city of Palestrina was the same as Rome. In fact, we were only twenty minutes from central Rome. We went to a park nearby and in the park there was an old Roman theater and arena. After, we went back to Anna's aunt's house. After, we had rice balls for lunch. The rice balls were awesome. Later, Adda drove us back to Uncle Salvatore's house. From there we went back to the hotel to change to go to the beach. It was a very hot day.
At the beach we met Elisabetta, her husband, Nicola, and there son Marco and their daughter Julia. It was so hot that I had to jump in the water. Nicola left early to go shopping. At the beach Greg love to go to the ice cream stand to get an ice cream or lemon ice. Greg played with Julia on the beach. After, we all went back to the hotel to change.
That night we went to Elisabetta's house. She lived near the ocean. Her house was a two family house that was very modern. They had a pool and a deck on the second floor. The basement apartment was the apartment of Nicola's parents. Nice people. They also had a German shepherd named Zano. Nicola cooked on the deck, but for a grill they had a fireplace set-up with a chimney. It also had charcoal and a frill that pulled in and out.
After, Cristina and Mauricio came. Their son Fabrizio was at the Communion camp. Mauricio did all the cooking on the grill. We had steak, sausage, and there were side dishes of roasted peppers, roasted eggplant, and there were white beans that were in a vinegar sauce. They had a nice grill, but they do not know how to grill like Americans.
After, we had fruit and ice cream. Greg had a great time with all the toys and liked to play with Julia.
Later, that night I showed the video of when Anna and I got married. Anna got mad, but everyone was thrilled. I was surprised the video worked. After, we said our goodbyes. Most likely we will see them before Anna, Greg and I leave for Vasto.
June 24, 2006
Woke up, got a good breakfast, showered, and slowly started to pack up the family. After leaving the Hotel Enea we went to Uncle Salvatore's house to say goodbye. We needed to get ice, but in Italy it is almost impossible to get ice to keep your sandwiches and drinks cold in your car. We got some ice from Uncle Salvatore. After, we started our trip to Vasto.
We took the highway Pontina north, to the G.R.A. east, and then we took the "L'Aquila/Pescara" exit 14 east to the east coast of Italy. The trip was spectacular for Anna and Greg. There are a lot of mountain, castles, and cliffs that are very high. There was still some snow on the top of the mountains. Greg liked the long tunnels. We went through many tunnels. The last time I did this trip was in 1993. We stopped at rest stop call the "Autostop" to get something to eat. It was around 2:00 P.M. and the restaurant was crowded. We had lunch and we ate pizza, sandwiches, and a few beers. We had driven about two hours and we had an hour to go. Funny, I would say I was doing 75 M.P.H. and other cars were going 100 M.P.H. See Picture of Apennine Mountains
We finally reached the exit for Vasto. But, there was an exit for Vasto North and an exit for Vasto South. So I took the exit for Vasto South. From there we got lost. But, after driving around we found our way to the Palace Hotel. I almost got hit by a car pulling out of a driveway while looking for the hotel. People in Italy drive like maniacs.
The Palace Hotel was very nice. But, when I went to the front desk to check in the dizzy lady said the hotel was full. She could not understand my pronunciation of my last name. Too much United States accent when I speak Italian. Another problem was that there was a wedding going on. We checked in our room and settled down.
After I took Greg for a swim in the pool and he loved the water. But, some of the guess near the pool were kind of weird looking with their clothes. One lady had green cowboy boots on and another guy had silver tennis shoes on with a suit. They would grab a chair with a girl in it and drag her and the chair to the pool. Also, when I showed Greg the faucet to spray your feet before going to the pool, a guest at the wedding took the hose and started to spray another guest at the wedding. After our time at the pool Greg and I went back to the room to get ready for a ride.
Anna, Greg, and I went for a ride to find a place to eat. We stopped by the beach area and parked near a beach area where my second cousin Nicoletta has umbrellas and chairs. The "Lido la Bussola" has changed. Now Nicoletta's family built a restaurant on the beach. I thought I saw Dominico, Nicoletta's son at the new restaurant. After, Greg played on the coin operated amusement machines near the beach. After, we took a ride to McDonalds. We were lucky to find it. Also, we stop by a bank for cash. After, we went back to the beach to the "Lido la Bussola." There I introduced myself to Dominico. Before you know it his whole family was there. There was his mom Nicoletta, and his brother Lino, and Marco. Also, one of the brothers had his wife there. I think her name was Mariella.
We had dinner on the beach at the "Lido la Bussola." On the beach there was a play area and we could eat and watch Greg at the same time. Also, the restaurant had a huge television showing the World Cup soccer tournament.
Greg had his happy meal and we had pasta. After we said out goodbyes and we went back to the hotel. The wedding was still on and we could hear music upstairs in our room. Finally the music ended and we went to bed.
June 26, 2006
In the morning I call Gina Tabilio to make plans to meet for lunch. But, I was surprised to hear that my sister Laura and her family had flown to Italy. At first, I could not believe it because Ashley had broken her ankle and the plans to Italy were dropped. But, it turned out she brought her crutches and ankle bracelet to Italy. In fact, we had missed her by five minutes at the "Lido la Bussola" restaurant last night. It turns out that Nicoletta had called Gina and told the news of my sister Laura’s arrival. Then Gina called me. I am thinking the whole time that I made a mistake with my bad Italian and the news of my arrival was twisted. Or, everybody thought my wife was my sister. Anyway, once I made plans for lunch at the "Le Cisterne" with Gina Tabilio. I then called Laura and I made plans to meet her at the Europe Hotel where she was staying.
It was Sunday and there was no place to park the car. So, I dropped off Anna and Greg and I went to park the car. I parked the car illegally and gave Laura directions to the "Le Cisterne" restaurant. After a short stay I picked up Anna and Greg. From there we drove around Vasto and found the restaurant. We walked around a little, but it was too hot for Greg. So, we hung out by the restaurant with the view of Vasto Marina before us.
First, Laura and her family showed up and then Gina, Bernato, and later Giovanni showed up. We had a great time talking and catching up. It turns out that Gina’s daughter, Anna, is getting married in September in Bologna. Also, the owner of the restaurant was a Molino and had family in the United States. His family had restaurants also in the United States. One was called "The View" in New York City. Picture of Gina Tabilio
Before lunch we went to Saverio Tana's house. I rang the bell and Saverio yelled out the window. We went up to his apartment and we meet Saverio’s son Patrizio who still lived with Saverio. We talked a little and made plans to meet again. One a sad note Margherita, Saverio's wife, had passed away about five years ago.
After lunch we went back to the hotel to the pool. Later, Laura and her family came to the pool. By accident I fell in the pool with my towel on. I was pretty drunk.
At the hotel they had a D.J., an outdoor cook, and people were playing cards on outside tables. I guess there was a card championship going on because I saw trophies on one table.
After, we went to the "Lido la Bussola" beach restaurant at Vasto Marina. We saw Gina Tabilio, Nicoletta, and Dominico. We had pizza, pasta, and wine. Greg played in the sand while we ate. Later, we went back to the hotel to go to sleep. We slept well on our hard mattresses and pillows.
June 27, 2006
I must have gone up and down the elevator about ten times to take care of Greg and Anna in the morning. I brought up food, checked out information, and other things. I finally was able to call Gina Di Paolo. We made arrangements to meet tomorrow here at the Palace Hotel for lunch.
After breakfast Greg and I went for a swim in the hotel pool. After we all went to the McDonalds to get Greg something to eat. Then we went to Vasto Marino to the Europa Hotel. We met my sister at the hotel and made plans to meet her on the beach. But, Anna and I got something to eat. We went to a pizzeria in Vasto Marino. There I had pizza with potato on it with rosemary. They also had other weird pizza combinations like pizza with corn, cheese, and ham. After, we went back to the hotel to change into our bathing suits.
On the beach the water was great. There were waves and the water was warm. Greg loved the water. Laura's kids were also in the water. After we left and went back to the hotel to get ready for Gina Tabilio's house.
At the hotel I tried to get a map to find Gina Tabilio's house, but her street was so small it would not appear on the internet maps. So, I had Anna call Gina to get directions.
We found Gina's house with little problem. But, Anna told me to go out and by wine and ice cream as a gift. But, Gina complained that they all drink homemade wine. But, what are you going to do? Later, Saverio Tana and Lucia showed up. Lucia's husband, Americo was there, but he left early.
Now, Gina Tabilio's house had to be ninety degrees. It was so hot I had to go outside and take my shirt off and dry myself off. In fact the first half hour of the dinner I only drank beer and went outside to talk to Bernato, Gina’s husband, who was cooking on a grill. Funny, in Italy they still use the old charcoal grills.
Gina Tabilio made a type of manicotti with cheese, meat, and spinach. Also, there was tube spaghetti and other food. Later, Giovanni showed up. Also, Gina had pizza for the children. After dinner I showed my wedding video tape to then. They all got a big kick out of the tape. Also I talked to Lucia and Saverio about meeting other people in town who I met on the internet while working on my family tree. They really did not know most of the people. Later, I told Gina Tabilio and her son Giovanni about meeting people from Vasto on the internet and it turns out one of the persons I met on the internet lives a few doors down from their home. I also told them about my plans on working on my family tree using the town hall and church in Vasto. But, it would be a long shot working with the town and church.
But, the big news that day was that Italy won over Australia one to zero in the World Cup. Vasto Marino was kind of quiet, but in Vasto people were going nuts. People were driving in there cars with the Italian flag waving and children drove their motorcycle with somebody on the back holding the Italian flag. I recall on a truck with people drinking, yelling, and waving the Italian flag. It was nuts.
After I picked up some water for Greg and then we went to the hotel. Laura may be switching to our hotel. Due to the fact the Europa Hotel was in the middle of all the action at Vasto Marino. The Europa Hotel was in the center of town, on the main road, on the beach, and it was on a long sidewalk that expanded the length of the beach. So there was always a lot of noise at night and the air conditioning was pretty poor.
After Greg and I spent some time in the pool we went to a mall that had a supermarket in it. We needed to get food and snacks for Greg. The mall was nice and air conditioned. But, many stores were not occupied.
I had a light breakfast knowing that Gina and her husband Fernando Di Paolo would be coming soon to our hotel. I made arrangement to have a table for ten people prepared and also a cake for Ashley's birthday. It turns out that Laura and her family is now staying at the Palace Hotel. We were able to get candles for the cake as well.
Laura's family and my family were at the pool while Laura and I waited for Gina and Fernando Di Paolo to show up. When they arrived I could not believe how tall Gina was. Also, I always thought Fernando was a quiet guy who only spoke Italian. But, Fernando spoke English and was a very talkative person. We all stayed by the pool. I had water and glasses delivered to the pool to keep all the relatives comfortable on the hot day.
We had a great time talking about the family in Australia, Italy, and the United States. After, we went to the dining room area for a buffet lunch. There was mozzarella, prosciutto, tomatoes, and a lasagna type pasta, and veal scampi. We all had a great time talking and eating. Later, we had the cake for Ashley and we sang the song "Happy Birthday" to her. See Picture of Party.
After the cake we all went back to the pool area. Though Gina and Fernando invited us to their home, but I turned them down due to the time constrictions. After a while it was time to go. I walked Gina and Fernando to their car. The car was a small Ferrari for two passengers that had a convertible roof.
After, a quick swim with my son and Anna we went back to the hotel room, changed our clothes, and we headed off to downtown Vasto. It turned out it was not as hot as the day before.
We walked to Rossetti Plaza. Greg was infatuated with the fountain at the plaza. I had Anna take a picture of Greg and me on the statue column of Rossetti. Later, we walked near the Palace and stop by a restaurant called "La Tana Trattoria" for some pizza. I talked to the owner who told of his family in Baltimore. I told him I was also related to that same family in Baltimore. After, a picture with the Tana brother’s we walked around Vasto. See Picture of Brothers See Picture of Statue of Rossetti
While waiting for our pizza I saw a tourist office near the "La Tana Trattoria." I walked in and to my surprise I met Luigi. I recall Luigi from my first trip to Vasto many years ago. I asked for a map and other information on Vasto. He took me to the Palace then I met a lady who spoke English and she sold me a book on important sightseeing places in Vasto. After, I thanked Luigi, but I asked him if he knew Paolo Calvano. He said, "Yes," and told me he could be found in a library near the "La Tana Trattoria." I could not believe that there was a library in Vasto near Rossetti Plaza, but there was no sign on the building. I must have walked by that library a million times and did not know it. Anyway, I figure I would look up Paolo Calvano on another date. I walked back to the "La Tana Trattoria" and ate my pizza. On funny thing about Vasto is that there are a lot of dogs in this town.
After the pizza we walked to the view overlooking Vasto Marino and the beach. Later, we walked to the Pietrocola house, were my grandfather was born, and to look at the family crest. But, it turns out the crest is just an angel for good luck. Then we walked to the Church of San Pietro, but only the front door remains because the rest of the church had fallen down a cliff. Then we walked to the where the Roman baths were located near some mosaic floors that were recently uncovered. Later, I tried to find the street of Carlo Pietrocola, but I could not find it. By this time Greg was getting tired of the walking. So, we walked back to the car and headed back to the hotel. See Picture of Pietrocola House
One funny note about Gina Di Paolo is her hatred of Vasto. It seems that when they sold Alfonzo Pietrocola's house, her father, they had a lot of problems with the lawyers. It turns out the lawyers were very unreliable to get to the meeting and caused Gina and Fernando Di Paolo much aggravation.
June 29, 2006
We all slept late. After I went to the breakfast buffet and got breakfast for Anna and Greg.
After, we went to the pool. I got busy on checking the fight reservation. After the pool we took a drive to McDonalds to get Greg something to eat. After, we took a drive to Pietrocola Pharmacy. The pharmacy had moved from the center of town to another street further from the center of town. But the pharmacy was closed.
We went to Vasto Marino to get Greg's inflatable airplane toy pumped up at the store. It was way too big when we got it inflated. We were lucky enough to get it in the car. After, I stopped for some pizza and beer and Greg and Ann went for some ice cream.
After, we went back to the hotel. Greg and I and the huge airplane went to the pool. Anna worked on the computer. Greg just wanted to push the airplane in the water and not get on it. Luckily, Laura and her family were at the pool to keep Greg occupied. After, Anna came down to the pool for a swim.
Soon we went upstairs to get ready to eat at Lucia's house. Laura had cancelled since Ashley was sick. But, Ashley started to feel better and was in the pool that day. When we left the hotel we saw Gina and Bernato Tabilio stop by for a visit at the hotel. But, we were just leaving. We could not stop laughing due to Laura cancelling out on Lucia's dinner and here is Ashley in the pool. Here is Gina and Bernato Tabilio at the hotel wondering why Ashley is sick and swimming in the pool.
First, we stop by La Tana pizzeria for a mushroom pizza for Greg. But, it took us half-hour to find Lucia's house even though I had a map. It turn out that there are a lot of hidden roads in Vasto. But, we found the house and we met Saverio, Lucia, and her husband Americo.
Americo took out an atlas to get a better understanding were we live in the United States. After, we had dinner. We had home made pasta in a meat sauce. Also, there was another dish that was called "capello di prete" or priest hat. It was a cubed shaped lasagna dish with peas, meat, and ricotta cheese. Also, there was another meat dish that was more like a braciole, but was not. Also, there was salad and for dessert a pizza with fruit on it that resemble a fruit pie. It had bread bottom, but had all types of fruit on the top. Also, we had a shot of Lucia's home made lemon creme liquor.
Later, that night Gina and Bernato stop by. We had a great time talking about her family and my family research. Lucia really liked to bust Bernato balls. After, we went back to the hotel.
While we picked up the pizza for Greg I ran off to find Carlo Pietrocola's house. I found it with no problem. But, while I was looking in the house a man came up to me and told me that Carlo was in the hospital. He had broken his leg. I figured he was at work, but he was really in a hospital close by. I could not believe what bad luck I have trying to meet Carlo. First, he was never home and second he broke his leg.
June 30, 2006
I did the usual breakfast thing in the morning. I would go downstairs to get the food at the breakfast buffet and then I would go upstairs to bring the food to Anna and Greg. Then I would go back to the buffet and eat by myself. After, we got ready to go into the town of Vasto to do some shopping.
While my son and I were waiting for Anna in the lobby, a lady at the reception desk told me I had a phone call. It turns out it was Filippo Pietrocola. He told me he would like to meet me. It turns out that Laura and Gina Tabilio had gone to the Pietrocola Pharmacy to meet Filippo and told him I was in town. So, he told me on the phone he would come to the hotel and see me.
I told my wife the news and I told her to watch Greg while I was gone. Filippo pulled up in a black Mercedes Benz. He was around the same size as I and he had a mustache. We sat down in the lobby and talked. He brought a family tree with him. But, it was an old one I sent him many years ago. I guess he never received the new family tree. Or, he lost it. Anyway, I showed him the new family tree and it turns out that most of the information about his family was correct. I also asked him if there was any family in Bari that had a pharmacy. He told me there no such family in Bari. There is a Pietrocola Pharmacy in Bari, but he told me we are not related. I also asked about a pharmacy in Rome. On the family tree two Pietrocola went to Rome as pharmacists. Filippo told me that they returned to Vasto and had past away. After, he told me he had some books for me at his house.
So we jumped in his car and we took off to his house. On the way we talked about his time in Australia and meeting my cousin Lida Pietrocola in Perth. It turns out Filippo lived in a house in Vasto Marino up on a hill. He had a big home with a small pool. He also had a huge area to view the gulf of Vasto Marino down below.
We sat outside, had a beer, and talked about the family tree. He told me that his father had left him information about the family. But he has been mayor and also involved with town as an administrator for many years. He explained that he was ready to go into semiretirement and work on the family tree. The big bombshell he explained was that there is a family story that there were two brothers from the island of Rhodes off the coast of Greece. Filippo told me the names of the brothers were Pietro and Nicola who were Greeks. They came to Vasto and changed their names to Pietro Cola. Sounds like a good story, but who knows if it is true.
After our beer we went back to his car and he drove me back to the hotel. On the way back he told me how he wanted to add a small bed and breakfast to his house by the huge viewing area of his house. It turns out he had a lot of land with cherry trees and other fruit trees. People could go to the beach or wander around his land.
In the house of Filippo gave me a two book set on the history of Vasto by Luigi Marchesani. One was a book on letters of Vasto and the other book explained the letters.
At the hotel we stop by the lobby. I could see Gina and Laura in the other car. I flagged them down and we all met in the parking lot. From there I said goodbye to Filippo who had business to take care of in town. In the parking lot I showed Gina the family tree.
After, Anna, Greg, and I went to Vasto and at lunch at "Le Cisterne." Later we went for a walk. Most shops were closed, but we made it to Pietrocola Street to take a picture and picture of Porto Nuova. It was very hot and Anna wanted to get Greg out of the heat. Se we walked back to the car and we stop by a ceramic shop. There Anna purchased some pottery to give away when we get home. Later, we went back to the hotel for a nap. See Picture of Pietrocola Street See Picture of Porto Nuova
We woke up and went to the pool for a dip. Later we met Laura and her family at the La Tana Pizzeria for some pizza. At La Tana I then took Laura to see the family crest near San Pietro's church. After dinner we had ice cream and it was back to the hotel. We all had great time. Especially Greg had a great time.
The next morning we packed up and checked out of the hotel. We drove back to Pomezia and to the Enea Hotel. But, first we had to go to McDonalds to get Greg a "Happy Meal."
After we went to Uncle Salvatore's house and ate. Mariella made us pasta with eggplant. He used the small eggplant that were chopped up and sauteed. Also, he made grilled eggplant and steak.
After we said our goodbyes and we went to cousin Elisabetta's house. There we stayed by the pool and watched Marco, Fabrizio, Julia, and Elisabetta play in the pool. The water was too cold so we had Greg's feet in the water.
Later, Cristina, Nicola, and Maurizio showed up. We ate outside and had cold cuts, bread, and other things. Later, we all went upstairs to watch the world cup. When Italy scored everyone in the room went nuts. Maurizio brought a blow horn to signal a score to the rest of the town by blowing it out the window.
After, we went back to the hotel and went to sleep.
July 1, 2006
I did not sleep well that night. In the morning when Cristina, Fabrizio, and uncle Salvatore came to escort up to the airport by taking the back roads. I told Anna I am staying in Italy for one more week and Anna was not a happy camper.
We got to the airport and I said my goodbyes to my family. I knew if I would have gotten on the plane I would have been miserable at home knowing that I did not get to see all the people and places I wanted to see.
After, I drove back to Vasto.
It took three hours form Fiumicino Airport in Rome to drive to Vasto. On the way I tried to take pictures from the camcorder of the mountains and the towns in the Apennines Mountains. I drove back to the Palace Hotel and checked in. Picture of Apennine Mountains Picture of Apennine Mountains
After a few beers, eating, and a nap I felt refreshed to walk around Vasto. First, I went to Carlo Pietrocola’s house. His wife Maria opened the door and I went up stairs to see Carlo. It turns out that Carlo broke his let at work. He had six pins in his leg on the lower shin bone. He was on the couch with his foot up. We talked, but I could tell he was in some pain. On top of his leg being broken his son, Fabio, had chickenpox and was at Maria's mother’s house. It turns out that Carlo has never had chickenpox or the shots for chickenpox. So, he had to keep away from his own son.
But, I did ask about the family crest by San Pietro church. He told me that his father told him it was a Pietrocola family crest. Anything else about the crest he did not know.
After, I asked about his sister and brother and he told me everyone was alright.
After, I walked to the apartments where Anna Notorangelo lived. When I rang the bell a feeble old lady asked who I was on the intercom. I explained who I was when I told her my name. She did not open the door. I guess she must be up there in age and could be suffering from dementia.
After, I took a walk to the plaza near the castle. There I sat at a cafe and watched the Saturday night crowds walk around Vasto. Later, I spotted Laura and her family in the plaza. I told them about who I met and did not meet that day.
After, I went to a restaurant called "La Lanterna." I ate there once with Gina Tabilio and her family years ago. I sat next to the television and had fresh spaghetti and salad. After, I looked for a cigar, but you had to buy the whole box. Or, they had very strong Italian cigars. But, I wanted to sleep good tonight. So I did not smoke a cigar.
After, I went back to the hotel and went to sleep. Unfortunately, there was another wedding going on at the hotel.
July 2, 2006
In the morning I went for a walk on the beach near the hotel. To my surprise I saw a couch on the beach. After, I got ready for a trip to Vasto. But, to my surprise I got a ticket for parking. I was hoping I would not have to pay the ticket since I had a hard time reading the signs in Italian.
In the morning I went to the house of Federico Pietrocola to see if I could get more information from him. At the first meeting he seemed mad at me in front of his apartment building. I found out his son Rodolfo had taken his family on a vacation and was not home. It turns out that Federico lives with his son, his wife past away, and he is diabetic and needs to watch his blood sugar.
So we took a walk to a cafe and talked about the family. He really did not know much about his family. It seems once a person left Vasto, Federico lost complete contact with them. But, we had a great time talking about my research on the Pietrocola family tree. At the cafe a person who heard my bad Italian ask where I was from. It turns out that this person, Franco, was born in Italy, lived on 187th Street in the Bronx, and moved back to Vasto. He told me he loved Vasto, but worked is hard to find. It was funny for me to talk in English for once to an Italian. I told Franco about my parking ticket. Late he brought another friend over to talk to me who a real "burn out." I believe he was smoking marijuana at the cafe. They all told me to go to the town hall to pay the fine. After, I said my goodbyes to Federico and took a ride to Gina Tabilio's house to see if Giovanni was around. See Picture of Federico Pietrocola
Surprisingly, Gina and Bernato Tabilio were to go to Bologna to purchase a gown for their daughter Anna's wedding this September. But, it turns out they decided to stay in Vasto and leave on Wednesday. They informed me that Laura and her family was to stop by for lunch at 1:00. So, I stayed for lunch. Bernato, his dog, and I took his car to meet Laura. He droved like a maniac to the McDonalds to meet Laura. You can tell Bernato is a bad drive due to all the scratches and damage to his car. We met Laura and she followed us to Gina Tabilio's house.
At lunch we had ravioli, spaghetti, a type of meat loaf with American cheese and prosciutto, and peas with pork. Also, we had fruit and ice cream. We also drank the Vasto Commune Wine that was excellent. We had a great time talking and eating. Gina Tabilio tried her best to speak some English that she had learned. I translated for Laura to talk to Gina Tabilio.
After, Giovanni had a website on family pictures on the internet. We saw pictures of his sister Anna and her fiancé Gregory. Gregory is half French and half Italian. His mother is from Paris. It was funny to watch Laura's children watching television and Bernato snoring in his lounge chair while he was sleeping.
After, Laura and her family parted and I stayed and talked to Bernato outside. It was a beautiful day. Later, I talked to Gina outside. Our conversation dealt with my parents being sick, terrorism in the United States, the war in Iraq, and hurricane Katrina. After, I said my goodbyes and went back to the hotel. I was mentally exhausted from all that talking in Italian that day. I rested in my room and then went to the bar for some beer. This time there was a communion party going on in the catering hall. After, I went back to my room to make some phone calls.
I found out my mother was in a nursing home. I then called my sister Kathy and talked to everyone. I talked to Anna, Greg, my mother, and Kathy. I finally went to sleep in bed.
July 3, 2006
Woke up, showered, and went into town. I noticed that there is a lot of traffic and the shops are busy in the morning. I went to the Pietrocola Pharmacy to talk to Filippo. The store was busy, but I was able to see him in his office in the back of the store. Also, I met his wife, who speaks English, and she is from Brazil. I asked Filippo about seeing the archives in the town hall and my parking ticket. So, he made a phone call and told me to go to the town hall or "comune" and locate the director or the town achieves. I also saw he had the new family tree that he said he did not have in his office. So, I want off to the town hall.
Parking was a pain, but I found a spot and I had a paper of the names of the person I had to meet to see the town archives. But, I ended up going from one person to another person and I finally met a person named Professor Luigi Murolo. He took me to the room of archives. I wanted to see how many books there were in the archives. To my surprise there were more books that I thought. I also got a lecture from the professor, but I really did not comprehend everything he said. When I asked a question he would give me lectures instead of a simple answer which made things worst. But, a few answers were found. First, the family crest is really a symbol to keep away evil spirits. Second, the Mormon Church only has a piece of the town archives. Third, there are more Pietrocolas in the archives that I could find at the Mormon Church. So, I would have to research that archive to really find more people. Fourth, there is no way to go back further than 1635. There are no church records. I did see that the first book was 1809 and the archives did go to the present date. The Mormon Church records only go from 1809-1906 and that is it. The professor even showed me how there were many Pietrocolas in the archives and not on the family tree. After, I asked the director about my parking ticket and he said he to disregard the ticket. But, I still feel I should pay.
Filippo also told me to look for the Mattioli Library to locate Paolo Calvano. After the comune visit I went to the Palazzo to ask Luigi, director of the Palace, where is the Mattioli Library is located. It turns out it is located at the Corso De Parma right in the main plaza by the Palace. There was no way a person would have known that this place was a library. I must have walked by this building many times and I did not know it was a library.
At the library I went up the stairs. The library had many floors. I asked a librarian where I could find Paolo Calvano. The librarian told me he was not there. But, he had his phone number. He called Paolo and I finally talked to him on the phone. We set up a meeting at 3:00 at the Rossetti Statue in the Rossetti Plaza. In the meantime I looked at some books on the history of Vasto. I met a man who lived in Australian and was from Vasto. This man worked for the United States military and knew a lot about Vasto. Also, I talked to the librarian about my research on my family tree. I asked for a book on the Pietrocola family and there was none.
So, I had time to kill to 3:00 and I went off for a bite to eat. Most restaurants were closed. But, I did find a restaurant near the palace gardens. There I had mozzarella, prosciutto, bread, and penna pasta with tomato sauce. There was a beautiful view of the Gulf of Vasto and Vasto Marino. The sauce reminded me how my grandmother made her sauce. A lot of olive oil, but it had fresh tomatoes in the sauce. Also, the sauce had no vinegar. My grandmother used balsamic vinegar in her sauce. Also, the restaurant also had cats that watch you eat. I never saw a cat eat Italian bread and prosciutto. After, I talked to the owner and it turns out that the owner’s wife is a sister of the owner of La Tana Pizzeria. She also told me about having family in Baltimore. The owner of La Tana Pizzeria also had family in Baltimore. The owner's wife and the owner's of La Tana Pizzeria all had the same eyes as my grandmother. Maybe, a little. After talking to the owner and his wife I then took off.
I stop by the church of San Giuseppe. I met the priest and asked about the church documents. But, I really could not figure out what he was saying. But they do have records that date back many years.
Many places were closed by 3:00. I was looking for a place that was open so Paola and I can meet for a drink. I could not find a place so I went to the Rossetti Plaza and waited.
Paolo Calvano had grey hair, but cut short. He was full of energy and talked a lot. He had a passion for the history of Vasto. He took me for a walk. A walk I would never forget.
First, we went to Via Valerico Laccetti. Paola showed me a plaque on the wall of the house of the Valerico Laccetti near Carlos Pietrocolas house. Second, he showed me a house on Corso La Palizzi. It was another house that for many years the Pietrocolas has lived in. Also, there was a plaque with a Pietrocola name on it. Third, we went to the Pietrocola house by San Pietro Church on Via Adriatico. There he also confirmed that the family crest was not a family crest, but a "elemento d' potuo paico" to keep away bad luck. Fourth, we took a walk to the palace and right across the street from the palace there was another house of Pietrocola. It turns out that this is the house of Filippo Pietrocola's family. We went into the hallway of the building and there was a plague in the hallway of Filippo Pietrocola family. Also, on the gate in the house there was a "F.P." on the gate. I also notice that Filippo's mother and other relatives still lived in the building because I saw their names on the doorbell signs. After, we took a walk to an ice cream shop for some water. Paolo told me he was an elementary teacher of chemistry, he also is a teacher at a college, and he knows a lot of the people in town because they were his students at one time.
At the ice cream shop we looked at the family tree. He knew many of the people it because he had seen another copy of the family tree by Vittorio d'Anelli. But, he had died and his son was not interested in the town's history as his father. I also told him how I found the family tree at Carlo Pietrocola's house. Paolo explained it was most likely copied from the d'Anelli version of the Pietrocola family tree. The family tree of d'Anelli is on different pages and not on one page. I asked him for a copy of the d'Anelli family tree. But, he could not get it. It was getting late and at 4:00 he had to bring one of his children to a bus. So, I walked him to the Rossetti Plaza and we made plans to meet at the Pace Hotel at 11:00 tomorrow to talk some more.
I walked to my car and I noticed on the town hall a plaque of the men who died fighting with Garibaldi. There was a Carlo Nicola Pietrocola on the plague. I drove back to the hotel and relaxed after a day of lectures and touring. My brain was fried. After, I met my sister Laura and her family at the pool. I told them of my adventure in town. Funny, Dan Junior kicked a soccer ball, it hit our table at the pool, and a glass cup fell and cracked on the floor. After I drove down the street to the pizzeria for a pie and talked to the waitress who also spoke very good English. After, I went back to the hotel.
July 4, 2006
At 11:00 A.M. I met Paolo Calvano at the Palace Hotel. He brought his two children with him. Funny, he has to be 52 years old and his children are around 4 and 7 years old. As a gift, also as a celebration of the Fourth of July, I gave Paolo a flag of the United States. We talked about several topics. First, Pietrocola Street was probably named after Floriano Pietrocola. I always thought Pietrocola Street was named after the mother of Gabriel Rossetti, Maria Francesca Pietrocola. Second, the origin of the family tree came from the town historian Vittorio d'Anelli. Paolo brought a copy of the family tree from the d'Anelli achieves. It was an exact replica of the one I found at Carlo Pietrocola's house many years ago. It was obvious that someone in Carlo Pietrocola’s family, probably Carlo's father, who was friends with Vittorio d'Anelli, first got a copy of the family tree. Third, Paolo gave me photo copy of books that had the name Pietrocola on it. Two books that dealt with Nicola Maria Pietrocola and his works as an architect. A third book was on Gabriel Rossetti by Teodorico Pietrocola. Fourth, we talked more about the family tree. When I mentioned about my research at the Mormon Church I mentioned how many children died and were not on the family tree. Paolo explained how one child died, but the name was then given to another child. Paolo said usually the father always named his first child after his father. Therefore, you can see a pattern of the names in the family tree. Usually the first born had the name of his grandfather, and if the first born died, the name was given to another sibling. Also, Paolo mentioning the year 1817 a terrible plague came though Vasto. One in three people were killed. On the family tree there were at least three people that were killed that year from the plague. It was plague, but I could not figure out the name of the disease. Fifth, we talked about how we met on the internet. Paolo asked about Carl Rossetti and his website. I did not know the address, but I would send it to him. Also it was funny how I met Carlo Rossetti, who was friends with Nicola D'Adamo, who is friends with Paolo Calvano. This chain of friends, through the interment, was a stroke of luck that I was able to meet Paolo. Sixth, I showed Paolo a letter from Flora Pietrocola who lived in Rome. The letter came to me on my research in Italy on finding more Pietrocolas. Flora's family is from Vasto, but there is no connection on the family tree. Paolo said we have to be related, but it has to be researched. But that brought up the question of maybe there are two Pietrocola families in Vasto. But, Paolo said that is impossible. Only one family of Pietrocola is in Vasto. After we said our goodbyes and made plans to meet the next day. I took a photo of us holding the flag of the United States for the Fourth of July. Also, I walked to his car and he gave me a book he wrote about Vasto. It seems he has written different books on Vasto. See Picture of Fourth of July in Vasto
After, I took a ride to the center of Vasto and started to make my movie on Vasto. I took my video camera and took footage of al the important places in Vasto. After a while I stopped and had lunch at the "La Lanterna" restaurant. I had a cristini's, spaghetti with clams in a red sauce, and a salad. After, I took more footage of the city. I went to San Michele church, but there was a funeral going on. I then walked back to the town and had a beer. I then saw the funeral procession walking down the street and to the cemetery. I followed it and saw the cemetery. After, I went to Gina Tabilio's house to meet my sister who was leaving tomorrow to Rome.
We all talked and the children had some ice cream. I stayed and had dinner with Gina Tabilio and Bernato. Gina sauteed onions and peppers and made bread balls with egg and cheese. We also had prosciutto, mozzarella a cheese that tasted like locatteli, and another meat, like soppressata, but it broke apart easily and had its own distinctive taste. We also had bread and wine.
After, I took off during the World Cup game. I want to get out of town in case Italy won. The roads would be packed with people celebrating. I stop by a pizzeria and talked to the waitress who spoke English after I went back to the hotel.
After parking the car I could hear the roar of people through the valley and mountains as Italy scored a point against Germany. It seems all the windows of the houses were open and people were yelling at the same time. It was amazing.
July 5, 2008
I woke up early to get the museum in Vasto early. But, it turns out that the museum opens at 10:30 A.M. So, I took a walk to pay for the parking ticket. At 10:00 I met Paolo Calvano at the Rossetti Piazza. We went for another amazing walk through Vasto. First, he told me that the Rossetti Piazza was a Roman amphitheater many years ago. By the Torre di Bassano you can see old sections of the amphitheater in a clothing store window. Second, we took a walk to the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Outside the church he told me how they built the tower separately on top of the church on the later date. Also, how the front door was changed from the side of the building to the other side of the building. Inside the church we took a walk around the church. He knew many facts of the artwork and other items in the church. Also, he knew all the family crests that were in the church. One of the D'Avalos rulers was in the church in his tomb. Paolo was very religious because he always crossed himself at the church. He also read many of the inscriptions on the church walls. Third, we went to the church of San Giuseppe which is the main cathedral of Vasto. Outside he showed one Latin inscription on the church facade. Also, there was an opening, now blocked, that was used to put money in for the dead. I guess the money was used to bury the dead. Talking about the dead, I asked Paolo about the cemetery and my family. He said there is only one Pietrocola in the Vasto main cemetery. Later, we went inside the San Giuseppe church and he showed me many of the artwork and relics in the church. One was a wooden fresco of the Madonna and two saints. It was very interesting because it had both Greek and medieval art influences in the artwork. After, we took a walk to the rectory of the church to look at some books. Fourth, in the rectory we went to a room that had the baptism records. I opened my family tree and he opened the baptism books. It is obvious that Vittorio d'Anelli got the information on the family tree from the church books many years ago. But, one thing I noticed is that Vittorio d'Anelli did not include the children who died as infants or as a child. All the church books were written in handwritten Latin and Paolo had no problem reading all the handwritten text. Paolo asked me to take some photos of the records with my camera. He pointed out on my family tree there were a lot of people missing. There is reason to believe that the church records are more informative that the comune, or town hall, records. It turns out that the cathedral of San Giuseppe has all the records from the other churches to prevent competition of the churches. After, we took a walk were his car was parked and we drove to his house. Walking to the car Paolo pointed out all the convents that the church or state had closed many years ago in Vasto. See Picture of Paolo Calvano with Baptism Book See Picture of Baptism Record
Paolo Calvano lived in Vasto, but in the newer section of Vasto. The apartment building he lived in looked like a condo complex which was beautiful. At the kitchen table I put out my family tree and he took out his notes on the Pietrocola family. It turns out that many people were missing on my family tree compared to Paolo's Pietrocola family tree. It turns out that Paolo had a real passion for the history of Vasto even if he studied other family trees. While I was getting tired he was so excited to research my family tree and compare notes. I guess not many people study their family tree and to find a person like I, who does study their family tree, and travels all the way to Italy must have bee astounding to Paolo. Paolo's children were watching us the whole time. Later, he showed me his study room and his newest projects. He had the old baptism books of San Pietro which is the church that fell down a cliff. The book was very worn with book worm holes on the cover. He showed me the Latin writing inside and how the ink writing was slowly disappearing. Also, I was interested how there was handwriting on different pages. He was writing detailed genealogical information on each person in the book of San Pietro. After he showed me his other books from churches and other research he had done. He had detailed files of different family trees of Vasto and files on different family crests of Vasto. Unfortunately, there was no Pietrocola family crest.
Later, his son Giacobbe gave me an Italian flag. After, Giacobbe asked me if I could go to his room. In his room he had a picture of the New York skyline on the wall. He knew the where the World Trade Center was located in the picture. His sister Catherina asked me questions about New York City, Ellis Island, and Stature of Liberty. Later, Paolo gave me some books on immigration of Vasto, a book on the landslide of 1956, and a newspaper that had an article that he had written on Vasto. He also showed me other books in his house. I told him he needs a bigger house with all the books he has in his house.
After, Paolo drove me back to the center of Vasto. On the way he gave me copies of his notes on my family tree. I said my goodbyes in the car and he promised to keep in touch. I walked to the Rossetti Piazza and then to "La Lanterna" restaurant. I asked if Paolo would join me, but he was tired, and usual eats later in the day. I also believe he has to watch his children. I recall his wife stopped by the house while I was there and she only stopped for a short time because she sold homes for a living. Also, Paolo is 52 years old and has young children and older children in college. He also has a brother who recently past away recently according to my cousins in Italy. Maybe, he is raising his brother's children.
At "La Lanterna" I had homemade spaghetti with a braciole. The braciole was folded meat with prosciutto and cheese inside. Also, I had a salad and wine. For 21 Euros it was a great restaurant.
After, I got some cash from the bank machine, they are hard to use because all the instruction are in Italian, and I went to Pietrocola Pharmacy to see Filippo. But, but he was not there and I went back to the hotel.
At the hotel I made some phone calls and booked the hotel at the airport so I have a place to stay before my flight home. After, I went to Vasto Marina to take more video footage of the beach and the view of Vasto. I looked for Nicoletta, but it turns out that she comes to the beach at night around 9:00.
So, I took off to the museum at the Palace. There was a problem. Nobody has change for a large Euro in Vasto. I had 50 Euro note and I had to go to "La Tana" Pizzeria to get change of a 50 Euro note. But, at the museum they did not have change for a 10 Euro note, so I had to by some beer to get change for the museum.
At the museum I saw all the artifacts of Vasto. There was a lot of Greek, Roman, and medieval artifacts. Most, if not all, were all broken or cracked. After I went upstairs of the museum and saw the portrait and painting collections of Vasto. There was a lot of work by Filippo Polizzi and his brothers. After, I tried to take video of the museum, but I was told not to by the museum director. Instead, I took video footage of the Palace Gardens outside the museum.
After, I took a walk around the town one more time. I then went to Vasto Marino to the "Lido la Bussola" beach to wait for Nicoletta. While I was waiting I met other relatives. One was Ernesto, who had his beautiful blond Milan girlfriend. I recall I talked to Ernesto eight years ago at the beach. I met Nicoletta and then I said my goodbyes to all. Nicoletta wanted me to say, "Hello," to my family that she does not know in the United States. See Picture of Nicoletta
After, I went to the Palace Hotel, had a beer, and went to bed.
July 6, 2006
I woke up early, packed up, had breakfast, and checkout of the Palace Hotel. It turns out that one of the ladies that worked at the front desk was traveling to New Jersey in the future. It turns out she had a relative in Totowa, New Jersey. It took me a long time to figure out what she was saying because she could not pronounce the name "Totowa" correctly.
I drove straight to Fiumicino airport, check in the Hilton, put my bags in the room, and then returned the car to the rental station. Funny, all I had to do is park the car, sign a slip, and I was done. After, I walked back to the Hilton and went for a beer.
The Hilton Hotel at the airport was expensive and filled with rich business men and wealthy travelers. Two Beck beers at the bar were 17.00 Euros or 20.00 dollars. After I went to the room and called Giorgio Pietrocola. We agreed to meet at this apartment in Rome. I was apprehensive about the trip to Rome. I only had 6 hours of time to kill so I went to Rome to meet him.
At the Fiumicino airport there is a train station. I took a train to the Tiburtina station. I also must have asked a hundred people were I was and were I was going at the station and on the train.
The Tiburtina station was a mess. It made me recall the old days of traveling and dealing with gypsies, bums, the smell of urine, and being lost. I thought I could walk it to Giorgio's apartment, but everyone I talked to said the address was too far. But, in reality, it was a very short distance. I guess Italians do not like to walk. After asking a million questions, I finally took a bus to Giorgio's street with the help of the people on the bus.
Giorgio looked liked his pictures on the internet. He had blue eyes and gray hair. He had a nice apartment filled computer equipment, rubric cubes, and he liked chess. After talking and a glass of wine we took a walk to a local bar on Via Tiburtina. We talked about Vasto, teaching, travel, and Italy. He is a nice person. But, I always think that he was confounded on why an American would travel all the way to Rome to see him. For me, since he helped me with the family tree, it was important me to meet him. I wish I could have stayed longer, but I wanted to get to bed early. Giorgio had a friend that worked at Saint Peters at the Vatican City and he wanted to take me there. But, I said I do not have much time left.
After, we walked back to the station. I said my goodbyes and got on the train as it was leaving the station. I always wished I brought my camera to take our picture, but I was paranoid about the camera getting stolen on the train.
At the Hilton I checked out the buffet they had. I changed my clothes, I was all sweaty from the train trip from Rome, and I ate at the restaurant at the buffet. It was good to eat some vegetables and salad for once. I cannot wait to get home and eat more vegetables. The food in Italy was great, but too much food with a lot of carbohydrates and calories.
July 7, 2006
I woke up early and I did not sleep that great. I showered, shaved, and checked out.
I walked to the airport early, checked in, waited for security to arrive at the check point for a half hour. After, I had a few beers and got on the plane.
Before I got on the plane I noticed that Fiumicino Airport had a lot of shops and was very modern.
I spoke to two old ladies from the Chicago area the whole trip back to the United States.
The owner of Hawthorne Limousine picked me up in a limousine. Pasquale, the owner, had to in his eighties, and was driving limousine with his dog at his side give the ride home.