After Rome we packed up and head to the hills to my dad’s home town. Our sole purpose was to visit the cemetery where my Nonna and Nonno are buried and show Ariana the town where her own grandfather was born and raised. Agnone, is a tiny village nestled on the side of a mountain and has less than 6000 people left living there… It is known for its artisans; specifically blacksmiths. They actually make the bells for the Vatican City there. On our first night I was stopped by a good friend of my fathers who recognised me right away. The next think I knew we were having drinks and Adriano filled me in on many anecdotes of my father and his upbringings in the village. It was priceless. We sat at the local piazza and as I watched my own daughter run around the fountain with not a care in the world, I imagined my father doing the same years before.
The most amazing surprise though was when Adriano offered to show us my grandparents’ house that was recently bought and reformed by a local celebrity. I agreed hesitantly as I wanted to keep the photograph in my head of my Nonna sitting at the fireplace with her apple on the fire and the smell of burning wood. I had spent so many summers at that house; I didn’t want to ruin my memories.
As the old door creaked open, we were greeted with the juxtaposition of the original stone walls with the shiny new floors, steel and glass stairwells and crystal chandeliers; breathtaking beautiful. My heartstrings were playing a loud song as we entered room upon room, each one more spectacular than the next. The best part was when we arrived at what was once my nonno’s prized wine cellar. While the contractor started to dig it out, he came across some stone arches that lead to an underground labyrinth with several stone walls, arches and a fresh water well. The pictures don’t do it justice. My husband had to wipe my bottom lip off of the floor and wipe my cheek as tears rolled down. . It was bitter-sweet. It was amazing that someone had the vision, man power and funds to undertake such a project. It was also hard to swallow knowing that a new family would celebrate and enjoy the house that was once part of my own family’s legacy. A home where 4 amazing men were born and 2 extraordinary people lay to rest.