Saturday, June 19, 2010

How did I get here?

This adventure of mine, moving to a small Italian town, started a couple of years ago. My husband Michele, was born in Italy and moved to the US in 1967. We met in 1969, started dating in 1970 and got married in 1973. He was an Italian citizen when we got married, so after three years of marriage, I became a citizen as well (which was completely unknown to me).
In 1980, he took his American citizenship and in doing so, he lost his Italian citizenship. I however, did not. While preparing to retire, Michele decided to reacquire his Italian citizenship (dual citizenship now being allowed), so we made a trek to NYC to the Italian consulate to see about completing the paper work etc. Much to our surprise, we discovered that I, and our daughters, were all recognized as Italians, while my husband was not! I agreed to "sponsor" him as a resident of Italy, and to support him financially if necessary.
So, after retiring in 2009, we made our initial move to Italy. Our first foray into life here began in September of 2009 and ended in November of that year. These two months were dedicated to unraveling the incredible bureaucracy that comes with trying to do any task here. To establish residency here, you must notify the town in which you will be residing and must show title to a property, a lease agreement, or have signed permission from a relative with whom you will be living. Then you must await a visit from the Vigile Urbano (local police), who will verify that you do indeed live at the stated address. We waited over three weeks, then called upon a friend who had just retired from the police force. He called upon his friends on the force to give us our approval. After that, we had to go back to town hall, photos and documents in hand, to get our carta d'identita. From then we could start the process of registering our car (that took a total of six months!), getting our sanita cards (health care), and our codice fiscale (social security cards). Michele had to go in to Caserta several times to file himself as an extracommunitaro (an alien from outside the European community), and to apply for citizenship again. He should get his citizenship back in another year or so!
So, here we are, back in Italy. We arrived on June 20 and will be here for almost six months. We have established ourselves as legal residents and we are becoming accepted into the community. Life here is slower, but with its own unique sets of challenges. I hope to share some of these adventures with you all as we wend our way through my life in Cervinara.


  1. I can't believe I stumbled upon this blog. I was just in Cervinara on July 23rd and visited with some distant relatives who showed me around town. Cervinara is where my grandparents and great grandparents came from. My great grandfather died there on a return visit and I was able to visit the cemetary where he is buried.

    My sir name, Marro, is not a common Italian name but it certainly is common in Cervinara! Many of the Italians where I live (Rutland, VT) came from Cervinara. Walking around the cemetary there was like walking around the cemetary in my hometown; the names are all the same: Marro, Cioffi, Zullo, Romano, Valente, Moscatiello, etc.

    I enjoyed reading this blog very much. It gave me a real connection to my past and I love the narrative of how life is lived there today. The house where my grandfather and great grandfather were born was destroyed in the flood you mentioned and my cousins who still live in Cervinara lost their home from it. Please continue writing so I can learn more about Cervinara!

    Maria Caterina Marro
    Rutland, VT

    1. Hello Maria,
      My grandparents immigrated to the United States from Cervinara. My great great grandmother was Maria Marro from Cervinara. Most of the children landed in landed in Rutland, VT and Massachusetts , They were the Pitaniellos and Boves. I know there are Marros in Rutland and I suspect they are all related.

      Cheryl Clermont

  2. Dear Maria,
    I just read your comments today, two months after you posted them! If your family lost their homes in the flood, then we must be neighbors, because it was in the Ioffredo section of town that most of the damage occurred. What a small world. Our neighbor, Giovaninella Zullo has a brother who is a dentist in VT. We met him last year during our initial move.
    Marro is the last name of my husband's half-sister. She was married to Luigi Marro and lives up in the Castello area.
    Did you only spend one day here? It would be nice if you could spend a week or so getting to know the area. It's so lovely to go up onto the mountains to see all the chestnut trees, to visit the fontana Mafariello where there are lots of picnic tables, a wonderful source of fresh spring water and lots of hiking trails. The villa communale is a lovely place to hang out while nibbling on a Micione gelato!
    Our fruit vendor is Carlo Cioffi...he is on Facebook if you want to friend him. The Moscatiellos run the bakery we go to, and our neighbors here in the summer are named Valente. It's fun how the same names keep turning up! Raviele is another name that has its roots in Cervinara but the clan is now found all over the world.
    Thanks for your comments!

  3. Huh, I've traced my family back to an Antonio Valente (father unknown) born around 1894, and Daria Zullo (born 1899; father=Giovanni), who were married in Cervinara in 1919 and immigrated to NY in 1921-22. Maybe you could hook me up with a Valente or Zullo (sounds like you are surrounded by my relatives!) that could answer an email in english and help me figure out more about my family history. Cervinara sounds quite pleasant from your blog, I'll have to find time to visit it one of these days!

  4. Matthew,
    Your grandfather's relatives are everywhere! I'm thinking of working up a connection with the Cervinara website or the Pro Loco to help people who want to visit to connect with their origins. I hope you manage to make it's a lovely spot!