Saturday, December 13, 2014

On to Palo Del Colle
But First, A Few Last Minute Things in Sassano

This is a continuing saga of our research trip to Southern Italy in search of ancestral data.  This post covers our journey to Palo Del Colle, a small commune in the Puglia region, near the city of Bari on the Adriatic side of Italy.  This is the 6th post.

Today, our plan includes a long drive across the country to the Adriatic Side.  There lies the small commune of Palo Del Colle, home of the Tricaricos.  It is near the larger city of Bari. It's a Friday, and our hope is to get there in time to visit the Anagrafe office.  Our next two days, Saturday and Sunday, are going to be sightseeing days.

Before we go, however, we wanted to clean up a few details here in Sassano.  Today is May 2nd and the government offices are once again open after Italy's Labor Day holiday.  Yesterday we could not visit the Sassano Anagrafe office so we decided to go back to the town hall and inquire about civil records.  We also wanted to re-visit the town cemetery one more time to look around and make an inquiry to the caretaker.

We had our breakfast and checked out of our hotel.  Check out is unusually easy when you are the only hotel patrons.  

We drove to the cemetery and found the caretaker at the far end.  He did not know anything about the name Barbella.  Sadly, the last Barbella was likely removed from this cemetery over 100 years ago.  The caretaker suggested a visit to the town hall to see if a map of families existed. 

Clerks at the Ufficio di Anagrafe in Sassano
So, off to the town hall we drove.  There in the Anagrafe Office, we did not find a cemetery map, but we persuaded the very busy clerk to look for some old records for us.  He brought out some books and allowed us to look through them.  This was exciting, and we found some old Barbella records and snapped photos.  We thanked the men and they gave us an email address in case we had future inquiries.  I believe it was their first encounter with anyone interested in these old records.

It was now almost noon, so we stopped at our favorite lunch spot and had some wonderful pasta with clams.  Then it was off to Palo del Colle.  Farewell Sassano!

This turned out to be a very long auto ride.  Somehow, our Italian GPS got stuck in a mode to avoid toll roads, and the result was a ride through some small towns, with some very narrow streets.  We fixed the GPS problem, but that put us on a long detour to a toll road.  Finally, we were on our way to the Adriatic Sea.

We drove through some spectacular countryside.  The many hills were continually dotted with wind turbines along the way.

Rows and Rows of wind turbines dotted the hillsides

After what seemed like a whole day of driving, we approached the village of Palo Del Colle.  Now I was confronted with the day's second GPS challenge.  It seems our GPS did not recognize the address of the farm (agriturismo) we were staying at.  OK, I thought; no problem.  I'll just stop in the village and asked for directions.
Beautiful towns along the way

So that is what I did.  At the first gas station I was at, I stepped out of the FIAT and asked a man if he knew where "Masseria Vero" was.  He told me that he did, but that it would be very difficult to explain.  After some discussion, I succeeded in getting him to point me in the right direction.  I went down the road and made the left turn that he had advised, and I was confronted with another intersection.

Here, I spotted a woman walking her small dog.  I asked the same question, and to my surprise, I got the same answer.  The woman began giving me one direction after another.  I think she sensed I was having some difficulty understanding her.  As she rattled off more directions in Italian, my eyes grew larger, dimmer, and emptier.  Finally, she realized the futility of the task and simply said, "aspetti".  She picked up her dog, got into a car and motioned me to follow her.

After a number of turns, she pointed down a long dirt road and indicated I would find it there.  We began to drive down the road but soon came to another intersection; this time, three way.  I asked a man if he knew the way to Masseria Vero, and this time, he said no.  I was contemplating which of the three directions I should try when, all of a sudden, the woman with the dog drove past and motioned us to follow her.  She, somehow, had sensed that we needed more help.  She proceeded to drive us to the gate of our stop.  I don't think that in a thousand years I would have been able to find this place without her help.  There must be a law against putting up directional signs.  But, as you shall see, Masseria Vero was a very good find.

A very comfortable room
It was evening by the time we got to the farm so there was no chance of getting to the Anagrafe office.  This was not a major setback because many of the Palo records are available on line at Home:Antenati.   So we unpacked the Fiat and moved into our clean and comfortable room.

After settling in, we went down to the dining room for some dinner.  Our host, Maria Vero, brought out course after course of very nice food.
I'm a little confused about what I'm holding
There was antipasto, insalata, nice olives, bread, cheeses, and, of course, some very nice grape juice.  Our biggest problem was figuring out what to try next.  Then Maria brought out some pasta and meat.  We spent a good long time at the table and had some wonderful conversation.  Maria speaks very good English.

We were quite full by the time we retired.  We sat there going over options for the next two days, Saturday and Sunday.  This is sightseeing time and we were considering Altamuro and Matera as prime possibilities.  We went to bed not realizing that some very nice people were going to come and provide us with good company, good history, and private guided tours of many local sites.

Next Post
Our Italian Alarm Clock, 
The shower dilemna,  and
The Festa Della Croce

Next time I come when there's water in the pool

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