Friday, January 2, 2015

More Research in Trani, and off to Chieti

This is a continuing saga of our research trip to Southern Italy in search of ancestral data.  In this post, we get one more surprise visitor, say good by to the farm in Palo del Colle, and begin our journey north to Chieti.  First, we stop in the village of Trani for a little research at their Archivio di Stato
This is the 9th installment

Oh no!  Not again!  Yesterday we walked at least 1000 miles through the streets of Bitonto and Bari.  We're dead tired and there goes that blasted donkey again, at 5:00 AM.  Couldn't he let us sleep in just one day?  But just look at him.  How could you possibly be angry at a face like that? 

We got up and washed and immediately began fretting about how we were going to get back to civilization from the farm.  There were not enough uneaten breadcrumbs to mark the path to the town.  The GPS had not a clue as to where we were.  Oh bother!

Down to breakfast for one last time and again we feasted on the fresh eggs from the farm.

We were mentally plotting our departure in the lobby when unannounced, in walks Domenico Tricarico, our guide from yesterday.  Domenico must have seen the glazed look in my eyes as he was drawing his "exit" map and trying to explain to us how to get on the road to Trani, the night before.  He decided to come and personally lead us out to a main road and show us the highway to Trani.  And so, we bid farewell to Marie and her husband, got in the car, and began to follow Domenico through the back country roads, to a fairly major highway.  There, we said farewell and we were off to Trani.

An angel shows us the way to our next stop
 You should understand that the Archivio di Stato for the province of Bari is in the city of Bari.  However, they have a branch archive in the small commune of Trani, some 20 miles north of Bari.  The records for Palo del Colle are kept in Trani.  Since we missed our opportunity to go to the Ufficio Di Anagrafe in Palo del Colle, we wanted to spend some time in Trani before we made our way to our next destination near the commune of Vasto.

Trani is an amazingly clean looking commune right on the coast of the Adriatic.  The incredibly blue sky made the whiteness of the buildings seem even whiter.

A church in Trani with a bright blue sky background
 We parked in a small piazza and walked a short distance to the Archivio.  There we were greeted, almost like royalty.  You develop a distinct impression that the clerks here don't see too many "Americani" searching for "dead people".

Lots of help at the Archivio di Stato
We spent several hours in Trani, and photographed a few more interesting documents.  If it weren't for the fact that most of the Palo records are available on line, we might have stayed longer.  

Archivio di Stato, Bari - Sessione Trani

We said arivederci and began our trip north to the commune of Rocco San Giovanni.  This is a village on the Adriatic coast which lies almost halfway between Vasto and Chieti, two important destinations for our research activities.  Vasto is the home of my paternal grandmother.  

The ride was scenic, but otherwise uneventful.  We stopped at an Auto Grill for some lunch.  When we got to our destination (close to the village of Lanciano) our GPS ordered us to ascend a very steep and very narrow road.  We were having apoplexy as it seemed we were driving straight up, at a 90 degree angle.  Eventually, we stumbled upon our hidden B&B, and what a magnificent surprise.  

Rifugiomare is a B&B high up on a mountainside, overlooking the Adriatic Sea.  The view was simply amazing.  The building was constructed on two levels.  The main house and the lounging area were on the upper level.  The rooms were on the lower level, underneath a grassy patio area.  From both levels there was a breathtaking view of the sea, and it seemed so close that it felt like you could touch the water.

The Rifugiomare Lounge
We settled into our very spacious and very comfortable room (with a walk in shower).  We climbed to the upper level and sat down in the lounge to catch up on our emails and other internet activities.  Our hostess, Brunetta, brought us some (American coffee) and introduced us to Wine Cookies.  

Fish - Adriatic Style
We did some planning for our next day and then went down the mountain to a seaside restaurant.  We had pasta and fish.  Eating fish from the Adriatic, Italian style was a new experience for us.  It was hard work breaking all those shells, but the food was delicious.

Beach in front of the Restaurant
We took a little walk on the beach after dinner, and then we went back to the B&B.  We met Brunetta's husband, Bepe, and had some coffee and more wine cookies.  We capped the evening with a little limoncello and slept soundly.

There are many more stories and bits of information in the book, "1800 Kilometers in a Fiat 500" available by clicking the link below.

Next Post:  More fabulous genealogical finds - A trip to the Vasto Ufficio di Anagrafe and to the Archivio di Stato in Chieti.

Wine Cookies:
3 Cups of flour
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of wine (red or white)
1 cup of olive oil (maybe a little less)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Mix the ingredients into a pasty dough
shape into small meatball size balls
Roll in sugar
bake at 375 for 20 minutes 

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