After 32 years as a Florida resident, I am finally going international! For my entire life, I’ve dreamed of traveling to Italy, eating the food, seeing the ruins, speaking Italian and experiencing where my Italian ancestors sprung from.
Since first writing this, I have become a travel affiliate. If you click some of the links in this post and make a purchase, hopefully I’ll earn some cash to keep traveling and helping other make their travel dreams come true.
When I became a parent for the first time, it caused me to reflect more on my roots. I wanted to know where I came from, where my child came from. I created an Ancestry account and started digging. A college project spurred my research on further. I interviewed family members and connected with relatives I never knew existed from across the United States. I’ve toiled for over 10 years on my family tree. I have somewhat of an obsessive personality and when faced with a puzzle, project or goal, I easily fall down the rabbit hole. This has been the case with building my family tree and learning Italian.
At this point in time, I have 793 individuals in my tree. I have relatives who served the United States in every war and members who fought on both sides of the Civil War. I have traced back my paternal grandmother’s side to when our first Irish descendant immigrated from Ireland. She was born in 1794. On my maternal side, I have traced back to my 5th great grandfather born in 1798.
The Italian portion of my tree has been the most difficult to build, since our relatives were born, lived and died in tiny villages in Italy. The Italian records aren’t digital and must be obtained in person. We know that my great great grandfather, Venanzio Carmen Pulcini, was born in Pacentro in 1863, and his father’s name was Giovanni.
Last year, my father took advantage of an opportunity to visit Europe and Italy. He learned of a town sporting our surname, Pulcini, and was set on visiting it; however, I have no record of our ancestors coming from this little Villa. My great grandfather and his parents were all born in Pacentro, Italy not too far from Villa Pulcini. It took much convincing, but my father finally agreed to travel to Pacentro to try and obtain the records I needed about his grandfather and great grandparents.
After walking the streets his forefathers walked, beholding the countryside they lived in, and put face-to-face with his history, he finally felt the connection I’ve always experienced. Now it’s my turn to travel to the home of my ancestors with him. Not only will we continue our research, but my father returns to take part in a long standing local tradition, Corsa Degli Zingari (The Race of the Gypsys) at 60 years old.
He has trained for almost a year to prepare for the race. Not only will he be expected to run down a mountain; he will be barefoot. It is a brutal test of masculinity.
Join me and my father on this journey.