Browsing by Category: Basilicata

Back in March, Mamma Parla and I took a trip to Basilicata, one of our southern Italian ancestral homelands. We traced family roots, visited a deserted city, and checked out Francis Ford Coppola’s newest resort. Check out my review of the place in this Sunday’s NYT Travel section.

I have been pretty obsessed with Basilicata ever since my first visit there 5 years ago to update the Rough Guide to Italy. My dad and I spent a little over a week in Matera, the region’s main tourist attraction, and used the Sassi as a base to gorge on carbs research the eastern part of the region and I have returned many times since. Until this week, though, I had never (more…)


Approaching Spinosa from the east.

The story of uncovering our roots begins in 1996 at my maternal grandparent’s 50th anniversary party in Princeton, NJ. Though they had already retired to Jacksonville, my grandfather threw my grandmother a surprise party up north because it was closer to most of their family and friends, who were based in and around (more…)

It has been established that I am not the world’s best navigator. I am surprisingly adept at finding my way through cities on foot, yet in a car, I am totally useless. Since Mamma Parla drives and I ride shotgun, I learn to depend heavily on Google Maps to fulfill my purpose. But since my crap iPhone battery dies daily before late (more…)

When I was growing up I thought my maternal grandmother’s family was from Naples. Indeed, they left from that port, like many thousands of southern Italian peasants, but their city of origin was far from the sea. It’s mind-boggling that so many Italian-American families know so litte about their ancestry, but considering the (more…)