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Thu, 03/14/2019 - 09:22

My father was born in Italy and immigrated to USA from Villa latina in the Comino Valley when he was a young adult after serving in the Italian army. (My mom was born here but her parents came from Filicudi, one of the Aeolian Islands.) After my dad died a couple of years ago, I traveled to Villa Latina with some apprehension. My dad had told me there was nothing there as it was a poor town. He was wrong. It was the best experience of my life. To begin, my cousins there could not have been more welcoming and generous. They arranged for my stay at a wonderful agriturismo where the rooster woke me each morning. The showed me many incredible cutural sights: Monte Cassino, Castello Alvito, a tiny musuem for women artists, another small museum for zampongna. I learned from an ancient distant relative the story of the sad moment my dad decided to leave Italy. I saw his abandoned childhood home which moved me to tears. I saw a street sign Via Pacitti. I never felt closer to my dad or to my ancestral heritage than the time I spent in the Comino Valley. That week was the ultimate experience of my life.