In 1967 my parents reconnected with my mother’s family in Mascioni, Italy. WWII and and the early death of my mother’s father, Frank Antonelli who left this Abruzzo village at 14, contributed to the Italian and Italian American Antonelli’s losing track of each other.
My mother is now 83 and the relationships between i cugini have evolved. The holiday calls made to Rome and the cards sent with a few dollars in it to Mascioni have been replaced by more frequent visits and facebook likes and comments.
The first time I saw Abruzzo referenced in a newspaper was in 2004 in The Washington Post. The article, Medieval Towns Pray for a Renaissance by Daniel Williams described a town not too far from Mascioni – Santo Stefano di Sessanio- which had a patron, a visionary who saw the town’s beauty and enchantment for modern travelers and who respectfully restored a third of its buildings.
In 2009 I co-founded the writing workshop Italy In Other Words to bring thoughtful travelers to the region. I worked with Samantha Dunham of LifeinAbruzzo.com to create Let’s Blog Abruzzo, a workshop for bloggers. We created The Abruzzo Blogger Community in 2013 to inform visitors and to support bloggers.
I hope to make more opportunities to hang on to the vine. My blog is primarily a personal one, but I hope that it inspires people to visit the region or take pride in his or her Abruzzese heritage as I have.