MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER:A SOLDIER DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR.My father always tells me stories about our ancestors. The story of my great-grandfatherPietro is worth reminding. He was born in 1893 and took part in the First World War between 1915and 1918 when Italy fought against Austria.My father told me that during this horrible war soldiers lied in wait in trenches, long gulliescarved along the front, where frequently they died of cold and starvation; they also died ofgangrene as a result of serious injuries from the blasts of machine guns fired by the enemy.My great-grandfather also told my father that at the beginning of the war, after the firstbattles, the Italian army had suffered a tremendous defeat at Caporetto. Here thousands of Italiansoldiers died, so the government was forced to send to the front sixteen years old boys born in1899; in fact, nowdays, in many Italian cities you can find streets named after them.After this defeat, the soldiers were not disillusioned and kept together despite the difficultliving conditions in the trenches; they helped each other even if they came from different regions inItaly and spoke different dialects.
Telling his story as a soldier, my great-grandfather felt sad reminding all his companions whohad not been lucky like him because they had died during the war.Besides, he remembered the awful scenes seen coming back home from war with hiscompanions on foot or by makeshift means: they met young and desperate widows with theirstarving little children whose loved ones had died at war, old people who needed help and care.On their way home they tried to took shelter in a house: they thought that the family wholived there could offer them something to eat and a place to rest, but the young widow, her eightchildren and her old parents who lived in that house had nothing to eat. So, the young unselfishsoldiers offered those unlucky people their food supplies and took care of a little sick baby.This story impressed me a lot and now I am aware of the common selfishness whichcharacterizes contemporary society; in times when people suffered hardships, in spite they werepoor they helped each other and showed their solidarity with whoever needed aid.Besides, I realized that man should solve problems and difficulties peacefully because war isdestructive.Simona Bufano
A LEGENDARY MAN IN MY FAMILYCarlo Calò was an ancestor of mine born in Carovigno in 1833 and died in 1933 when hewas almost one hundred years old. I can say that he is a sort of legendary character in my family:first of all he was very tall, strong, brave and bold.Unfortunately, we haven’t so many documents or information about him. The onlydocument we have is an old photograph in which he sat for a famous artist of his time whonoticed him while walking along the street and took him to Rome; in fact, at the age of forty hesat for this artist who was restoring St. Peter statue in Rome. For this reason he became veryfamous both in Rome and in Carovigno and was considered a sort of myth.He became much more famous when, thanks to his fine physique, he fought against abear… and he won, of course!So, I can say that I’m proud of him because he was an unusual character who experiencedextraordinary events.Gaia Casula
MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER ANTONIOMy grandmother Agnese often told me stories my great-grandfather Antonio. He was bornon 4thApril 1912 and was the second of nine children. Unfortunately, three of them died fromcholera, a disease very common in those times.Antonio was a countryman very skilled in pruning trees and set up the first shop ofpesticides in Carovigno. He married when he was twenty-four; three years later took part in theSecond World War when he was already father of two children. He had been fighting for fouryears and then, fortunately, he took up a post as a clerk in the army as he was also an educatedman.In 1945, at the end of the war, he came back home and, as my grandmother tells me, healways sang the songs of the war and, in the evening, he used to tell stories to his children.Despite famine and misery they were very happy and he always managed to feed and support hisfamily.
He died at the age of eighty-seven when I, Beatrice, was only seven months. I’m veryproud of him and the fact I met him makes me happy. To remember his commitment to thecountry, during his funeral some songs, typical of the “bersaglieri” corp were performed.I would like to end my story reminding the Fallen, the soldiers died at war, and all thosepeople that everyday run the risk to lose their lives to defend their mother country.Beatrice Cavallo
A GENEROUS MAN IN HARD TIMESMy great-grandfather was born in 1866. In those times, only few people could go to schooland learn. He attended the first and second grade classes and he thaught his relatives and friendswhat he had learned. So, he was educated and very generous, too.My grandfather told me an interesting and amazing story about him: during the SecondWorld War some British prisoners escaping from the Germans arrived in Carovigno and mygrandfather hosted one of them for a few months hiding him in an old “trullo”, a traditionalApulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. One day, the English prisoner was very hungry and triedto eat some Indian figs which grew on a blooming plant near the trullo. As he had never seen thisfruit in his life, he tried to pick them up with his naked hands and hurt himself with the thorns.Love arrived unexpected when he met a cousin of my grandfather’s and fell in love withher. When the war ended, before returning to his country, he promised that one day he wouldreturn and marry her. In fact, after two years he took her to England with him, they got marriedand had four children.
They come on holiday in Carovigno every year and are proud of their Italian orgins. John,the English man, is still grateful to my great- grandfather for helping him in hard times.Daniela Antelmi
MY GRANDPARENTS’ BIG FAMILYMy grandparents had twelve children and the most extraordinary thing is that my greatgreat grandfather lived with them in a house in the countryside.My grandparents worked hardy all day, they were peasants and because of their pooreconomic conditions some of their children had to be housed in boarding schools for the poorvery far from home. Unfortunately, each of my uncles and aunts attended different schools, sothey were disappointed and sad because they couldn’t live with their family any more. They hadbeen living in these schools for over ten years and then they decided to leave and look for theirbeloved parents, but when they came back home they knew that their mother had died.After few months, my grandfather decided to leave the countryside, moved to Carovignowhere he bought a large house and started a new life with his sons and daughters.Unfortunately, my grandfather died when I was eight. He was very strict, but I loved himvery much because he was a father to me.
Now, I would like to tell you something curious I found out about my surname: “Iaia” wasthe title of a LP by Mario Lavezzi, a famous Italian singer in the 1970’s. Besides, “Iaia” is acharacter in “The never ending story”, a fantastic novel by the German writer Michael Ende.Angelo Iaia
MY GREEK ORIGINSMy mother’s surname is Parianò. It is a Greek surname, in fact my grandfather was born inGreece.My great grandparents met in Greece in the 1940’s. My great grandfather, Oronzo Bottacci,went off to war and landed in Greece on Samus Island.My great grandmother belonged to a very rich and important family in Samus, so shepreferred to hide her relationship from their parents. Some months later she found out to bepregnant, so she revealed the truth to her parents.In the meanwhile, my great grandfather had come back to Italy and his son Carmelo wasborn in 1945. As my great grandmother was not married, my grandfather Carmelo had hermother’s surname, Parianò.They had been writing to each other for four years when my grandmother left for Italy withhis child. They got married, but they couldn’t change their child’s surname, which it’s still Parianò.Greta Lanzilotti
INTERVIEW WITH MY GRANDFATHERGrandpa, I know you were born in Africa. Please, tell me something about your life.In Africa there is Eritrea. A country that was an Italian colony. I was born during the 2ndWorldWar in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea. It is 2400 metres above the sea level.Why were you born in Asmara?My father, your great grandfather Livio, was born in Carovigno in 1913. His mother, mygrandmother, was Carmela Andriani and my grandfather was Pasquale.Carmela was a teacher and Pasquale had a bike rental shop and worked in plots of olivesgrooves. My father lived in Carovigno until he was 13 years old; then he moved to Milan where heworked at Alfa – Romeo as a turner and in the racing experience room. He lived with his brother,a Superintendent of Police, who moved to Lybia in the ‘30s. My father has spirit of adventures: hegathered several friends and they embarked all together as ship’s boys on the ships that plied
from Naples to Tripolitania. He liked this experience so much that he became a volunteer inEastern Africa during the conquest of Etiopia in 1935. … Are you getting bored, Carolina?No, I’m not. I’m very interested.After the war, my father decided to stay in Eritrea where he opened a business of roadconstruction. He met my mother and they decided to get married, but the 2ndWorld War brokeout and he was called up. Italy lost the war, my father was captured but he managed to escapeand took refuge in Asmara. There he married my mother in 1942 and I was born in 1943.Grandpa, tell me something about you, now…I remember everything about my life in Eritrea. I was 15 years old when we moved to Italyagain. Asmara was a beautiful city, built by Italians, in a style that makes it unique in Africa stillnowdays. There were beautiful houses with gardens of flowers and tropical plants, cinemas,theatres, places to have fan. Near our house there was St.Antonio mission where I served theMass and became a boy-scout.
I attended school in Italian state schools where English and the language of Eritrea werecompulsory subjects. I always hunted with my father and we stayed out several days, as you cansee in the photos. We often spent our weekends in Massaua, on the Red Sea to bathe. Thebeaches were protected by nets in order to avoid the approach of the sharks. We could have bathat the sunset and the temperature reached to 50 grades. I had fun with my friends in the gardenswhile we were catching the chamaleons or finding the hedgehogs under the “figs from India”. Wehad tropical fruit, mango, papaya, fruit from Paradise and casimiri.What did you know about Italy?I knew all that my father told me and what I read in the newspaper coming from Italy. It wasvery nice when some Italian famous actors came to work in our theatre: Totò, Macario, RenatoCarosone. And you have to know that the actor Remo Girone was born in Asmara, too. He livedthere for many years like the singers Nico Fidenco and Bruno Lauzi and many others. Moreover,our Italian teachers told us a lot of things about Italy: how it came out of the war and how difficultwas life in the ‘50s.
Why did you move to Italy?In 1957 my father decided that we had to study in Italy. So we left Massaua on the oceanliner “Surriento” and after a voyage of eight days across the Red Sea, we arrived to Naples. Thenwe moved to Bari where my father found a new job and we started a new life. After mygraduation, I was hired in a great company that produced trucks: I wanted to come back toEritrea and this company had plants abroad, too.Have you ever come back to Asmara?I came back to Asmara and I shot many countries in Africa and in Middle East by organizingand opening great workshops. As you already know, finally I managed to open a workshop in Barion my own. However I am writing all about me and my family in order to remember forever whatwe have been and what we have done.
Can you tell me something about the origins of your surname?Well, Santoro is an Italian surname. It comes from the Latin word “sanctus” that means“saint”.Nevertherless we are not sure about the birth of the name: someone says that it was used byfriends and neighbours to indicate people who were “saint”; other say that it comes from amerchant who sold pictures of saints.What we know is that every Italian surname has got an uncertain origin because in Italy, untilthe 19thand 20thcentury, nobody used a fixed spelling to write surnames. Everybody changedthe spelling according to his own will, or adding “ini” or “ello” in order to say “son of”.Thank you Granpa!Carolina Caccetta
THE HISTORY OF MY FAMILYMy surname LORUSSO is a typical Apulian family name, maybe it comes from a dialectnickname LU RUSSU, for a red feature colour hair.My grandmother often repeats to me to study because when she was twelve like me, shecouldn’t go to school, she had to take care of her three brothers and of her sister, besides sheworked in the countryside to harvest tomatoes, olives and vegetables. In the past life was veryhard for children!My grandmother told me that there wasn’t the TV , then , in the evening, people used to tellstories , to sing and to dance all together. For feasts they couldn’t have new clothes and then mygreat –grandmother took the old clothes off, she cut them and she put them together and so thenew clothes were ready!Christmas was above all a religious holiday, people decorated Christmas tree with biscuits,mandarins and sweets; there was no presents but only happiness and fun among children.
I remember that when I was child, I liked listening to my grandmother telling stories abouther childhood, how she spent her time playing funny games. As I had electronic games and toys,I was amazed, I couldn’t understand how girls could play with rag dolls and boys with caps orbuttons .Tania Lorusso
MY FAMILYMy family name, VALENTE, is very common in Puglia and Lazio, it comes from the latin word“valens”, from the verb “valere” , it means to have a good health, to be strong, or maybe fromthe adjective “ valente” , meaning to be able .My family is from Carovigno, the house where I live belongs to my family, from generationto generation, there is my family history in it.The wealth of my family comes from my grandparents’ work, the hard work in the fields. I’mproud of them because today my parents have a good job, they often remind me to study inorder to make better my future life.My grandparents have a typical nickname, like in many southern Italian villages; my paternalgrandfather is famous like “lu scappacipodda” because he picked up onions in the fields; mymaternal grandfather’s nickname is “dodicimilaliri” , because he was very rich.
Sometimes, in winter’s evenings, my grandparents remember when they were young, all thesacrifices they did for their children but also their love for family. There was no confort , notechnology for children, many years ago.It is very nice when my grandmother tells:” In winter , we gathered round the pot and wetold tight or incredible stories because only rich people could allow the TV. In summer childrenplayed in the street, without dangers, we were thoughless”.My grandmother was the eldest of her sisters, she was very busy in the morning because shecleaned, she ironed, she cooked for her family, she attended the 4thelementary school. Mygrandfather is illiterate because he worked in the land, from daybreak to sunset.On Christmas there wasn’t Father Christmas but only “Befana”, a kindly old witch whobrought simple presents like mandarins, walnuts, sweets made in family and coal.My grandmother tells: “In the past, family was balanced, no one was disrespectful, nobodydisobeyed their parents , parents were parents and sons were sons, today there is only a bigconfusion, today there is the chaos.Vito Valente
EGLE’S STORYHi, I’m Egle Massa, I’m twelve and I attend a second class of “Morelli” Middle School inCarovigno.I asked my father some questions because I wanted to know much more about the origins of myfamily.My father is Michele and he works in a bank; my mother is Liliana and she teaches IT(Information Technology) at a High school. I have got only a younger sister Ludovica who is in athird class of Primary School.Well, my dad told me that his ancestors came from a little town near Naples whose name is justMassa Lubrense and they had the noble title of Barons.After some time their offspring moved to Lecce in Puglia. All of them were bank clerks; mygrandfather Giovanni was sent to Bari at the “Bank of Italy”. And there in Bari he got married andthere my dad was born.
My grandad took part to the II World War, he was imprisoned by the German troops andenclosed in a concentration camp and then he received the War Cross.In the Dvd there are some photos of my grandad: my favourite one is that where my grandfatheris riding a horse and he is wearing a uniform.Poor grandpa, he has been through a lot , I can tell you! Anyway, when he was with hisgranddaughters he was always so pleasant and lovely.Did you like my story?
ENRICO’S STORYHello. I’m Enrico and I’m in class II A at “ Morelli” Middle School.My surname , Lanzilotti, is very popular in Carovigno as you can see if you have a look at thetelephone book!!!!From a research on the Net I have discovered that this surname comes from a noble family ofbarons who lived in Sicily some centuries ago.Some branches of the family moved to other Italian regions, three of them to Apulia.Some “Lanzilotti” have had important jobs in the managenent of my town.But … talking about my relatives, I want to tell you the story of my greatgrandfather Oronzowhom I’m very proud of.He was orphaned very soon because his mum died when he was born , his father brought himand his two little brothers up helped by his second wife.He was very good at school, but he left school very soon because his family was poor.At the age of 25 he bought some land for little money on the outskirts of Carovigno . It was a dryand stony land but he sank a well and transformed it in a rich soil.
Then he got married to my greatgrandmother Lucrezia and they had two children who studiedand got important jobs.My greatgrandfather was a cheerful and generous man, always ready to give advice and helpother people.His life is an example that you can overcome obstacles thanks to goodwill and sacrifices.
ANTONELLO’S STORYHello, I’m Antonello and I want to tell you the story of my greatgrandfather Nicola Marinò.He was born to Gemma Pagliara and Vincenzo Marinò in Carovigno on 13thJanuary 1920.He got married to Filomena Lotti and they had four children, one of them is my granny Gemma .My grandad Nicola was a hardworking , he worked as a carpenter and as a salesman of furnitureand domestic appliances until 1962.When he was about thirty he started to dedicate himself to politics.Firstly he was a councillor of my town and then he became major of Carovigno from 1964 to1970. He did a lot of works for our town, he built streets and schools. Later he was electedcouncillor of our district and he filled this job for five years.In 1982 he retired and he devoted himself completely to his family. He died on 24thFebruary2003.Antonello Sacchi
FEDERICO’S STORYMy grandmother always tells me a lot of stories about her childhood.She was born in the 1920’s, so she was a young lady when the II World War broke out. Whenthere were bombing her family moved to the countryside: they suffered hardships and hungerand only the luckiest people had a field where they grew crops.Money was not enough to buy clothes or shoes, in fact she had only a summer dress and shoesand winter ones.Because of the difficult conditions of life in most families, marriages were often planned; thefuture bride’s father chose the husband in order to improve his daughter’s way of life.My grandmother always reminds her childhood and youth with joy and cheerfulness. It was atime when people were able to appreciate even the most common and simple aspects in life.Federico Lapenna