Dear Blog Reader…
After a 6 hour train ride from Venice we arrived in Giulianova, Italy. These next few days are about my family history…might be a little boring ;-) but you're welcome to read ...
Archaeological findings show that the area around Colonnella, Italy was inhabited since Neolithic times, then in the pre-Roman era on the place there existed a lively commercial and maritime centre, called Truentum, which disappeared in the period of the barbarians' invasions following the fall of the Roman Empire (476 A.D.). It was then reconstructed after the VIII century, and the name appears for the first time in the X century. Colonnella was for a long time under the rule of Ascoli, and later of the Rosales family.
And on May 28, 1877, Abramo DiMizio was born in Colonnella. He grew up farming and would sneak off to school when he could with his older brothers. When he was 31, in 1908, he married 19 year old, Tecla Amanzina, who was born in Giulianova in September 24, 1888. They married in Trasacco, Italy about 100 miles from Giulianova and Colonnella. At this time we do not know why they went so
Looking from Alta Giulianova (the old city on the hill) to new Giulia or "Giulianova" and the Adriatic Sea
far from their families to get married. Did they “run away”?
Later in 1908 or 1909 they moved “back north” to Teramo, Italy, between Colonnella and Giulianova. In 1910 Abramo left his young wife behind and along with many others from the region made his way to Naples and bought a ticket on the ship “Duca d’Oro” bound for New York (Ellis Island). He arrived on March 10, 1910. It appears his brother, Pietro, had already left for America and he was going to meet him there. Although Abrahmo was a tailor by trade, he did not speak English and went to work doing heavy labor building the Lackawanna Railroad in upstate New York. He lived mostly on grilled Bell Peppers to save money. By 1912 he had earned enough money to send for his bride, Tecla.
Tecla, and her adopted sister, Candida, made their way to Naples and arrived at Ellis Island in mid- 1912. Tecla and Candida were not birth sisters. They had both been adopted and were from separate families. We do not know who their real parents were. We do know they went to Catholic church (who didn’t ;-) and they were close all of their lives, even though Tecla and Abramo moved to California in about 1938 and Candida stayed in New York.
Colonnella sits on the top of a mountain and is strategic as they were able to see all around and no one could surprise them by land or sea. On the top of the mountain is the Palazzo where the rich people who owned most of the land, (we think) lived and down in the valley farmers grew crops. It is “down in the valley” that Abramo lived on a farm. The records show that he lived on a “street”…. or perhaps it was a dirt lane at 317 Via Chesea or “Cherry Lane. It does not appear to exist any longer and numbers in Colonnella do not go as high as 317. It is a beautiful place. People here say that the Tuscany region is even more beautiful than this region called Abruzzo, but that is hard to believe.
On the east side of Colonnella and down a long, green, rolling valley is the Adriatic Sea. To the north is a very wide and large valley for crops and with a river, to the west are the Grand Sasso Mountains with peaks covered in snow and to the south, over the rolling hills and on the sea is Giulianova.
So, how does a boy in Colonnella, meet a girl 20 miles away in Giulianova in 1906 or 7? It appears that the “guys” from the farms in Colonnella would walk to the “big city” every now and then. Why probably the same reason they do today, to have fun and meet girls! ;-)
And… there was Tecla 17 or 18 years old in Giulianova. Boy meets girl, boy woos girl, boy marries girl, 1908, 100 miles from their homes. Hummmm why? A puzzle.
Giulianova also sits on a mountain but not as high as Colonnella and just above the sea. There are towers for lookouts to see invading armies from the sea. And…of course there are churches, and more churches and more churches. Churches dating from very old pre-roman times to “only” a few hundred years old. Giulianova currently has 27,000 people.
Colonnella currently has 3000 residents and Ms. DiMizio in the records office was able to find the records for Abramo’s birth, May 28, 1877 and for his marriage, June 9, 1908 in Trasacco to Tecla. Abramo’s father was Biaggio (Ciafardone) DiMizio and his mother was Maria Ciapanna. Currently in Colonnella, there are listed 7 DiMizios, 7 Ciapanna’s.
It will be fun to try to piece together more on our families: DiMizio, Ciafardone, Cipanna, and Amanzina.
That’s all for now from Giulianova, Italy, where a storm has just blown through from the Adriatic Sea. We have one more day here and will go to the farmers markets. Today was a national holiday and we went to a festival and memorial service for deceased veterans of wars in a beautiful hill town called Ascoli Piceno. There was a bicycle marathon, a parade, the churches were doing tours and we ate olives from street vendors that were stuffed with meat and rolled in bread crumbs then deep fat fried! YUM.
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