Since booking flights to Italy, there is one thing, and one thing alone I have wanted to do. Mount Vesuvius was exciting for sure, but today, today was nothing compared to that. Today, I have been waiting for for the last seventeen years! I was going to the small Italian city my Nonno is from. When I came to Italy in 2000, this is where we spent most of our time. It’s a small town of less than eight hundred people, at the very top of a mountain. It takes twelve hairpin turns to get to the top – on a very small narrow road. I told the kids where we were going, and they spent days asking when we were going to be there. My family still has a home in town, so I was excited just to see that; show my boys! Show my husband!! This was a happy day for me!!
The entire time we had been in Italy so far, for some reason, we didn’t get an “Italian feel”. We aren’t sure what exactly we thought it would feel like, but the big cities wasn’t it. Driving to the top of the mountain to Gorga, was the first time we had this Italian feeling we thought we’d feel. Old Italian men climbing a ladder to the top of their pear/orange/olive trees. Old Italian women watching their husbands climb to the top of the trees. This is exactly what we thought of when we “dreamed Italy”.
We finally got to the top after our 12 hairpin turns, and oddly enough, I didn’t need the GPS anymore – I remembered where to go. I remembered the street, the entire area! I wanted to find parking near “The Fountain”. This is in the middle of the piazza – the town square. The “main hangout” in town – really the only place in town lol We found a spot really close, and out the kids ran, and of course, without me saying a word, right to the fountain. It’s like they knew that’s where I was heading. I just stood admiring – exactly as I’d remembered!!
From there, I was heading to what I remember as “The Lookout”. It overlooks everything. The view (if I could find it) was incredible! Again, oddly enough, I remembered exactly where to walk… On the right of the fountain, up the hill a little bit, turn left, and you will see exactly where I am talking about! I stood at the edge, and stared out. Remembering.. Reminiscing.. Loving.. I stood here with my grandpa. My absolute favorite person in the world! The memories standing in this spot brought back, I cannot even explain. I could picture his smile. His laugh. His “old man” walk. His hat!! Everything about this man came flooding back. John took a picture of me – without my realizing it. He captured in one moment, everything I was feeling. My (now) husband told me when we started dating, that “when you lose someone, someone else comes into your life unexpectedly”. That’s exactly what happened with us. His words hold true to this day. John came into my life when my Nonno passed away, and now our kids – our absolute everythings. John knew what this moment meant to me – and captured it perfectly!
We slowly made our way back towards the piazza to see if we could find any kind of store for small snacks. One “dep” type of store was closed, but when they saw us walk by, this adorable older lady came out, pointed to the kids, and called them over. She ran inside, and gave each kid a quite large piece of plain pizza. They only opened at one o’clock, but still wanted to feed the kids – amazing!
I was shy, but John decided to ask, since it’s a small town, if they knew my family. The lady smiled and told us she did! Without me even having to ask, she brought me over and showed me which house was my family’s! We parked, and walked right by it a few times, and I didn’t even recognize it. The lady smiled, and went back to her shop. I was so happy! I showed my mom the picture below, and she told me that my boys standing in front of that home, is AT LEAST a 5th Generation of my family standing there. My Nonno’s parents, Nonno’s, my mom’s, mine, and now my kids! Absolutely incredible!
Even though there was nothing much to do in the town a this time of the year, I couldn’t bring myself to leave just yet. In the piazza, there was a small café which was open – so we decided to have a coffee. I have read a few articles saying Italians do not drink cappuccino after breakfast, so I asked for the “biggest coffee you have”. The barista said his biggest was a cappuccino, so he made two for us (I noticed afterwards others in the café were drinking those also). The kids all had an ice cream cone. We sat back and relaxed while we had our snacks, and then it was time to leave.. Not like I wanted to, but we still had a three-four hour drive to do, plus another stop along the way.
Leaving here, honestly, was not easy. I was having a hard time saying goodbye. This is definitely one place I will have to come back to. Back in the summer time when the area is a little more “booming”. I remember more happening when I was there in summertime, so we can go back. We will someday go back! And with more time. A couple of hours just didn’t do it justice! ❤