IMG_0916In 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 The holiday calls made to Rome and the cards sent with a few dollars in it to Mascioni have been replaced by more frequent visits and facebook likes and comments.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.

6 Responses to “About”

  1. Ivan Zvanovic

    fantastic work, the heart of the Europeans soul is to be devoted to the spirit of place for the family in tune with nature with respect for family origins, heritage, culture and love,
    good luck,


  2. Duncan

    Really interesting stories on your blog. I have similar photo’s of Santa Stefano as I have a copy of Estelle Canziani book and have been cataloging modern views of the paintings she created. If you want to see more of her pictures they are housed in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (UK) and they are happy to let you have a private viewing by appointment.
    Keep writing!


    • Helen Free

      Thanks, Duncan. I would love to see the originals. I am also working on getting the full name and life story of Maria from Mascioni. I believe I have her name now! Your own work sounds intriguing. Stay in touch.



Leave a Reply to Ivan Zvanovic Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: