The Homecoming – Lacedonia, Italy – Somewhere In Time Weekly Travel Photo
Somewhere In Time is a weekly photo from around the world. Enjoy!
I’ve wanted to visit Lacedonia ever since I was a little girl. Lacedonia is a small little town tucked into the hills of Southern Italy. Most people have never heard or even know where it is and why would they? It isn’t in any Lonely Planet guide books or anyone’s list of must see Italian locations.
Lacedonia is so important to me that this little town was the sole reason why Europe was put first on the itinerary of the big trip. Out of all the bucket lists of things I wanted to do around the world (and it’s a big list!) this one was always number one. Why?
This is where my Nonna & Nunu were born. There were my father’s parents and they immigrated to the U.S. around 1918, 4 months after they married and my Nonnie was just 17. They arrived by ship to America where on arrival our last name was changed from Salvagno to the Americanized Salvon that it is today. Although my grandfather died before I was born I was very close with my Nonnie until she passed away when I was 12. We had a very close bond – I am always told by my aunts how much I look like her and that I have some of her same mannerisms. I have always felt that she has been looking out for me and it’s hard, even more than 20 years later, for me to even think about her without crying.
So Italy was beautiful for me but in a strange way very difficult. It was very emotional from the day we arrived on the train. Lacedonia was the last stop we had planned in Italy and it was pretty surreal even being there. My Nonna had 7 brothers when she left Italy and they all remained in Lacedonia raising their own families. My grandfather left family behind there as well but I’m not sure how many.
We literally wandered around the town asking for the name Pascuiti (my grandmother’s maiden name) in my extremely pathetic Italian. Fortunately having 7 brothers in a small town can leave a lasting legacy and so we were able to track down lost family members and spent 3 days meeting each other, Skyping a lot of family members in America, hugging, kissing, eating & crying. Basically what happened was completely mind-blowing. I was the first visitor in over 19 years and I am the only one to bring back videos and an endless supply of photos (over 1,000) and the only person who was able to unite the Italian & American families by Skype. Before my arrival there I had only seen 1 photo and it was blurry. I had no idea it was perched on top of a hill and that the surrounding landscape would remind me so much of California.
It was almost like sleep walking – walking around town, meeting my father’s cousins and an endless amount of relatives, looking at pictures I have never seen before of my grandparents in Italy, eating amazing homemade food and I also met my nonna’s niece who was 95 years old – after I randomly bumped into her son on the street. When she first saw me she called me Antonietta (Nonna’s name) and started crying. I had to explain a few times that I wasn’t her but really it didn’t matter. I was in Lacedonia, surrounded by family and even with language difficulties there were no awkward silences. I was home.
I have so much to share about this experience but I won’t lie, it’s going to take a while. Honestly I don’t even know where to start – there is still so much to wrap my brain around and organize and my heart is still trying to process it all. In fact right now, I’m wiping away tears trying to get this much down. Paris was beautiful but Italy was like a return home. Visiting Lacedonia was a journey – not a trip, not travel, not an adventure. It was a journey home that was decades in the making. It was so emotional for me that I times, I felt like it wasn’t even my journey. That I took a little bit of Nonna and my other relatives with me and they all got to go home to Lacedonia.
I promise though as I make my way through the photos and get the stories down you will love them. Turns out my Lacedonian family is pretty awesome and we had a great time there! I’m so thankful that I was able to go, meet them and reconnect the families in the digital age – to me it’s mindblowing! I hate to use the word again but I don’t know of another that fits. Before we arrived the families were separated by 19 years of silence now everyone is connected by email, Skype and Facebook – I can’t even believe it! I don’t know, it’s just a bit surreal to me. Even though I was meeting all of these relatives for the first time it was so natural, as if we had been relatives in the same town for our entire lives. The distance between Italy and the U.S. seemed non-existent.
The photo: This was taken our last day in Lacedonia. After we said our goodbyes we took a spin around town a few more times before making the run to the airport in Milan for our flight to the U.S. On our arrival to Lacedonia we were welcomed with blue skies and puffy white clouds – we left Lacedonia in the drizzle and fog. It was beautiful and appropriate and I was so happy I got to see both the light of the bright sun and a rainy day in my grandparent’s home town. I took this photo through the front window of the car, which gives it that kind of cool, textured look. I really didn’t want to leave this little town.
*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of BeersandBeans.com, NarikosNest.com & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!
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