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Thread: Reconnecting with my roots

  1. #1
    mich5449 is offline Junior Member - Learning about Tuscany
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    4

    Default Reconnecting with my roots

    Next summer (2021) I want to spent 2-3 weeks in a villa somewhere in Tuscany. Then travel to Ascoli Piceno to see if I can find any family members. Here are my questions:

    In Tuscany, I'd like to live in a village where there are outdoor markets and where I might be able to take a few cooking classes. I grew up with my Nona's recipes but would like to learn more. I would really like to be immersed in the culture, walk to markets and experience the locals. What village or town in Tuscany would you recommend?

    Second, what is the best way to travel to Ascoli Piceno? When I was in Italy 25 years ago, the drivers were a bit crazy and made me nervous. I'm not sure I could comfortably drive there. Is it still the same way? If it is still fast and furious, what are my options?

    In Ascoli Piceno, I'm sure I can find a hotel. Do you think I would need an interpreter (I speak no Italian) to find birth/death/marriage certificates? If so, what is the best way to procure an interpreter? I have my great grandparent's information and my grandfather's information as well as their address during WWI.

    Lastly, is there some way to do some of the leg work from here (US) to see if I can find any records? My Nona told us that his entire family had died from a disease that swept through Ascoli Piceno... however, it was very well known that she didn't like any of them, so we truly don't believe that happened!!

    Thanks for any help you can send my way!

  2. #2
    DonnaDenise is offline Super Moderator - DiscoverTuscany Team
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    May 2014
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    Arezzo, Tuscany
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    Default Tuscany

    Buongiorno

    You could always consider basing yourself in the area of Val d'Orcia in Tuscany, it is a lovely area and close to lots of interesting sites, landscapes, vineyards - and more. This position would set you in the countryside and give you the best of both worlds - places like Siena, Arezzo, Montalcino & Montepulciano as well as the vineyards of Brunello, Chianti & Vino Nobile.

    Have a look at this link - http://www.tuscanyaccommodation.com/val-d-orcia/
    You will also find that many offer home styled cooking classes, though you might want to try to find one close to Ascoli because they will have lots of different recipes from Tuscany.

    You can try reaching out to the local government for information about the family, you will be looking to speak to someone in the "Anagrafe" department of the local government.

    https://www.comune.ap.it/flex/cm/pag.../IDPagina/6822

    You can google translate the page for a general idea of what it says. Try writing an email (again translate it in Google translate - it will be pretty much OK) maybe they can give you a better idea of what you can do before you get there. I have also heard that the LDS religious group will help you with finding your family tree (for free) you could try reaching out to them, they actually have quite a few English speaking people in Italy...
    When asking for info on the family be sure to give them your grandmother's maiden name - the Italian women don't take their husband's last name, so you may not have any luck with his name, but you could with hers.

    And just as an FYI, the word in Italian for grandmother is nonna (two n's) and the word for grandfather is nonno - it ends with an o


    Buon Viaggio,

    Donna Denise

  3. #3
    Lourdes's Avatar
    Lourdes is offline Administrator - DiscoverTuscany Team
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    Default

    If you don't want to rent a car and drive, then I'd recommend staying in a small town that is easy to access either by bus or train from Florence.

    While not small, Lucca is a possibility as is Pisa - aside from the main sights, the rest of the towns maintain their local flavor and have loads of residents. The same goes for Siena - while the center piazzas are crowded, stay closer to the boundaries of the center and you get the feel of the locals.
    Another possibility is Greve in Chianti if you want to stay in wine country.

    Are you looking into picking up documents to also eventually get Italian citizenship? If you're on Facebook, search for groups such as "Italian citizenship" and such and join in, lots of them share info on how to get documents to show your Italian ancestry to gain citizenship. I am sure they have loads of info on resources - I am not a part of any since I don't have any Italian blood in me ;-). But there are loads of nice and helpful people that belongs to such groups and are willing to point you in the right direction.

    Consider though that if that's your plan, learning some Italian will be a huge plus in dealing with public offices here. No one speaks English well or at times doesn't want to bother at all with someone who doesn't speak Italian -- but they will be nicer if they see you try, even if you're fumbling about with the language. So if this is the path you're on, I'd recommend you look into taking Italian classes while you're here. Full immersion is definitely one of the fastest ways to learn a language. You could even consider a week, two or even three of intensive study while you're here in Tuscany, the Leonardo da Vinci Italian language school for example offers such courses made for people who are here on vacation so fine for even absolute beginners. This would mean staying in either Florence or Siena to make it easier, of course. Siena then is a really good option for your time in Tuscany, if you want to consider that option.

    As far as cooking, the cuisine here in Tuscany will be quite different than in Ascoli, so if you're looking for recipes that remind you of your nonni and childhood, I'd definitely look into classes there. To get to Ascoli Piceno, take a look at trenitalia.com for train timetables - the train is the best way to get there without driving, it is about a 5 hour trip considering you have to first go to Bologna and change trains there and in Ancona.

    Let us know if we can help with further recommendations! Have fun planning your trip - you definitely have started early and that's good ;-)
    In the beginning stages of planning to come to Tuscany? Make sure to read Where to Stay in Tuscany WITH a car and Where to Stay in Tuscany WITHOUT a car for ideas on where to stay in Tuscany. Also read When to Visit Tuscany to decide when is the best times for your visit.

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