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Help! Is Molise/Campobasso, Italy worth a visit to see birthplace of my grandparents?

Help! Is Molise/Campobasso, Italy worth a visit to see birthplace of my grandparents?

Dec 29th, 2001, 07:47 AM
  #1  
George
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Help! Is Molise/Campobasso, Italy worth a visit to see birthplace of my grandparents?

I'm on my way to Italy again in a few months and this time I would like to visit the area of my grandparents' birth, Campobasso, in Moise. I hear there is nothing too exciting to see in Campobasso or Molise. The saving grace is that since it is still so untraveled, it is considered a way in the present to view the bygone days of an "older" Italy. With that said, has anybody been there to tell me what there is to see, and if it is worth visiting for a couple days?
George
 
Dec 29th, 2001, 11:48 AM
  #2  
Joanne
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George: I am not familiar with the Molise/Campobasso area, but I can tell you that visiting the little town (Tricarico) where my husband's father was born was a remarkable experience and one we will never forget. We were amazed when we neared Tricarico and found it was a medieval city with a Norman tower and historical convent.

That aside, just being where he (and many other relatives) was born and perhaps we walked where he did, we found very moving. In the small piazza there was an obelisque where his name and his brother's name were engraved as veterans of World War I. This, needless to say, brought tears to all our eyes.

No one spoke English and we were forced to try to speak Italian and explain why we were visiting, which we very much enjoyed doing.

I think what it boils down to is whether or not you are interested in seeing where your family came from, whether or not there are nearby sites of interest. No one can decide that but you.

j
 
Dec 29th, 2001, 03:36 PM
  #3  
cmt
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I agree completely with Joanne's answer. If I were in your position, I'd be excited about visiting the Molise region and the place of my grandparents' birth. I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to the little towns in Sicily and Basilicata where grandparents were born. They were life-changing experiences for me, and the memories continue to feed my imagination. The visits were especially wonderful because the areas are still relatively unspoiled and traditional, and therefore it is better to visit these places sooner than later. If you'd like to see some of my comments about my visit to the region where one of my grandparents was born, you can read this thread:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessages.jsp?fid=2&tid=1300139&numresponses=55&start=0&searchText=basilicata

Joanne, did you read Torregreca by Anne Cornelisen? (If not, I'd highly recommend it.) Someone I know figured out that the town called Torregreca in the book is in fact Tricarico!

P.S. George: If you do go, it would be good to brush up on your Italian if you studied it long ago, or learn a little if you don't know it at all. I don't know about Campobasso, which is a much larger town and probably more accustomed to foreigners, but in the ancestral towns that I visited NO ONE spoke English.
 
Dec 29th, 2001, 03:57 PM
  #4  
Sherry
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My parents have been to Campobasso twice because my Dad still has first cousins who live there. They say it is a very small town but quite lovely. They are trying to get me to visit the area when I go to Italy in the late spring. If you decide to go, George, I would appreciate your comments on the area. I do not believe there is really a lot to see in the town. But they always enjoy their stay there very much. My parents both speak Italian, so language isn't a problem for them.
 
Dec 30th, 2001, 09:43 AM
  #5  
Joanne
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cmt: Thank you for telling me about Torregreca! I will try to find it and look forward to reading it.

Your experiences and appreciation of them seem to be similar to ours. I therefore thought you might enjoy the following. On our way to Tricarico we took a wrong road and finally encountered a man in a horse cart. We asked for directions and he told us where we made our mistake. A short distance further a group of sheep and goats were crossing the road so we had to stop. There were two dogs guiding and guarding their charges. The larger of the two placed himself between them and our car. We saw no people, only the dogs. We managed to take some pictures and we treasure them. It was things like this that made the trip so special.

j
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 08:44 AM
  #6  
Joanne
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cmt: Followed through on searching for Torregreca by Anne Cornelisen. Ordered Torregreca: Life, Death, Miracles and then to my total confusion, found she also wrote Flight from Torregreca: strangers & pilgrims; Torregreca A World in Southern Italy.

I imagine all are interesting, but which one did you refer to in your post? All seem to be out of print and are available used, some with rather steep prices. Hope you see this and reply. May post a new thread to see what I can find out.

j
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 09:34 AM
  #7  
carol
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Hi, Joanne. Thanks for the story about the herding dog. I can just picture it. Two wonderful things in one story: dogs and Basilicata

The book I was thinking about was just plain Torregreca. It's out of print, but widely available at public libraries. After I read the library copy I bought a used hardcover copy from Amazon for a reasonable price. I also bought, but didn't read Women of the Shadows, which is still in print. Then there's also some title like Where It All Began, or something like that. I'm going to send you an e-mail now, OK?
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 09:49 AM
  #8  
Joanne
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Carol:

Thanks for your response. Will look forward to your e-mail.

Wonder what happened to George?

j
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 09:55 AM
  #9  
cmt
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Maybe our enthusiasm overwhelmed him. Some people just can't get too excited about trips to "unimportant" old-fashioned places where no one speaks English. Some people I work with think that my taste in vacations is a little strange for that reason. (Oh well, that's what keeps these places "unspoiled," right?)

I sent you the e-mail.
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 09:57 AM
  #10  
cmt
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P.S. I think Toregreca: Life, Death and Miracles IS the "basic" Torregreca. Will check my copy when I get home, and if I'm wrong I'll let you know, but I'm pretty sure.
 
Dec 31st, 2001, 06:01 PM
  #11  
George
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Thanks all for replies. I got enough positive responses to encourage me to make the trip this time, and just enjoy the significance of seeing where I come from.

I too love wondering around small towns and passing through rural areas with goats and sheep on the road (I had similar experience in Greece with sheep in the middle of the road, and the watch dog growled every time we wanted to get out of our car to take pictures. What a laugh. Needles to say, we ended up taking our memerable photos safely inside the car.) Molise sounds just like that kind of slow-paced rural area, so I am more eager now than ever to go and see the birthplace of my roots. A lot depends on me, and not only the town, to make the trip enjoyable. And with that said, I now need to brush up on my italiano.

George
 
Jan 1st, 2002, 04:39 AM
  #12  
cmt
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I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Unexciting places can be the most exciting places to visit. Be ready for surprises, and it's probably best to keep plans flexible because you never know how involved you may get with local people, distant relatives, etc. The more you can speak Italian, the more fun it will be for you.
 
Jan 1st, 2002, 06:05 AM
  #13  
Mark
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George, Molise is one of my favourite regions in Italy: a bit like nearby Abruzzo but without the crowds. I've been several times to the Roman site of Saepinum (just close to Campobasso), which is fascinating - complete with forum, baths and theatre. It's also great for hill-walking (my favourite is a newly-created WWF reserve called Guardiaregia, again reasonably close to Campobasso). Pietrabbondante is also well worth a visit - a Hellenistic-age theatre with an amazing view, while the hill village of Pesche close to Isernia is really atmospheric.. It all depends what you're looking for, but I hope to be heading back there soon.. Buon viaggio! Mark
 
Jan 1st, 2002, 11:02 AM
  #14  
Joanne
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George: I'm very pleased that you've decided to visit your "roots." There's no doubt in my mind that you will find it a rewarding experience.

After reading Mark's post, I think we would be interested in visiting the area even though none of our family came from there. We love Roman history and try to visit sites everyplace we go. We most recently stayed literally next door to the theater and colliseum in Arles. Also visited another site on our drive down from Paris. We have visited many sites in Italy, Italica in Spain and Ephesus in Turkey.

Have a wonderful visit. Will look forward to hearing about your trip.

j
 
Jan 2nd, 2002, 10:51 AM
  #15  
Nancy
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I, too, am planning a trip to Italy this year for a "roots" experience - only the roots belong to my father-in-law who is 88. I am of Polish descent and found it to be a totally awesome experience to visit the little towns of Pilzno and Krzemienica in Poland that I went for a second visit in the same year. Enjoy yourself - you won't be disappoined!
 
Jan 6th, 2012, 06:05 AM
  #16  
 
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I am going to Italy in June and think? my GF came from Campochiaro. Does anyone know how to get there from Rome? The surname is Picciano. Anyone familiar with it?
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Jan 6th, 2012, 06:58 AM
  #17  
 
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This is a old thread. Why don't you start your own? Click on the yellow "Start a new Topic" button at the top left of the page. Though I commend you for searching the archives first.

For anyone of Italian descent, this is a interesting site: www.gens.labo.net. Among other things, it locates on a map of Italy the frequency of occurrence of a given surname (cognome).
Mimar is offline  

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