Sunday, August 28, 2011

Where I Come From

The following is a post from SweetiePetitti which is where many people come to find Faeto. I decided to copy the post here as well, and hope that we can start getting comments, names, places here. As you will read, I have many comments already, and I would really like to hear from Narcisi again, I am certain we are related. I think her grandmother Rose was my Great grandfather's sister. Please add your info in the comments section, it is a great place to begin to gather information!





So I have blogged about my Croatian/Bosnian adventure and the maternal side of the family history, now for my paternal heritage. The last part of the great European adventure was spent in Faeto, Italy. Faeto is a small town in the Puglia region about an hour from Foggia, unless of course I am navigating the terribly marked roads, then it could take closer to 2 hours. Faeto clings to a rocky hillside, probably looking very much as it did when my grandfather left there at the age of 14. This was my second trip there, and it was as moving as the first. But the first must be revisited to bring perspective.

In 2003, my entire family, 23 of us went to Italy. We were celebrating my parent's 50th Anniversary and saw Italy in our own bus. We hit the highlights, David, the Leaning Tower, Ponte Vecchio, the Coliseum, the Vatican and Amalfi. But hands down the highlight was the culmination of the treacherous drive on the narrow roads to Faeto. The last few miles are canopied by trees that were in blazing color. The bus parked at the edge of town, and our new internet friends met us for the day, we had 3 guides to help us with the language. Faeto has a heavy French dialect and the Italian there is different than any other region.
We began at the small farmer's market where this cute old man walked up to me and and said "Who are you?" And I said, "We are Petittis." He smiled and said "So am I". And that's how it was. We were quite a sight as our mob walked the small cobblestone streets my grandparents walked. We made offerings in the church where they were baptized and walked Vico Valentino, the oldest street, dating to the 15th century and named for the women of my family, sisters or cousins Rose and Maria Valentino who married the Petitti men.

Six years later we took the same walk on a similar fall day. The air was heavy with the smell of fires in the small homes, and the cemetery was filled with Petittis, certainly we all share the same blood. The cemeteries are peculiar here, perhaps because of the rocky terrain or the wet winters, but they do not bury the dead. They have large walls like a mausoleum and a headstone, wired with electricity so they have a light on all the time. The addition of a photo is also very common, and a little eerie for sure, but a rarity in the U.S., although my great-grandfathers grave in Chicago bears his photo. Sitting alone in the cemetery on a small rock wall, was an old lady, wearing black and saying her rosary. The whole town has been burying their dead in this small cemetery, it is a moving place.
We have very little information on the lineage of the family. My great grandfather came here as a young man and was murdered in Cleveland, OH. My grandfather was just 14 when he made the trip from Naples, just a year after his father died. They were so willing to walk into the great unknown for a better life. My own dad says that there was very little information about Faeto from his parents. Like many immigrants, you were careful to only speak English and absorb the new culture. No one wanted to be labeled an immigrant, they wanted to be Americans. My grandfather served in WWI to become a citizen. The history of the Italian heritage was literally lost over the years. But there is something oddly familiar and comforting in Faeto. Maybe because it is so small and after two trips I know the town like the back of my hand. Maybe it is because although my grandfather came to America, he left many family members in Faeto, and the names in the cemetary and the faces in the windows are my cousins, many years removed.

On this trip my parents, my sister Lori and I arrived in Faeto at dusk and found our hotel in the small park in the woods outside of Faeto. The lights were aglow and we entered the modern building and found no one there. We laugh to think that this could never happen in the U.S. There on the counter was a note (in Italian of course) and 2 room keys, skeleton keys, no less. We brought in our luggage and hunted for the bar for a little wine to take the chill off. Our host arrived shortly thereafter and spoke NO English. Our old friend from the last trip, Pepino, came to have dinner with us at the hotel in the woods and we celebrated my dad's 80th birthday that night. Imagine, celebrating your birthday in the town where your own father lived 100 years ago? It was a poignant evening. The food was rustic and home made and delicious. I love a 3 hour meal, what a wonderful way to live!

We spent a few days exploring the area, eating the wonderful comfort food of Italy, and meeting the locals. One afternoon we walked into the bakery. We had been eating this wonderful bread everywhere in the area, and the small bakery where they bake it was warm and inviting. We sampled the day's offerings, my favorite being the bread stuffed with sweet cipollini onions. The funny thing was Anna the bakery owner was sitting with her laptop surfing facebook! I gave her my card and she friend requested Lori and I. Too bad my Italian is pitiful and we can't really chat, I am very dependent on Google translator. She especially loved the photos I posted of her, her family the bakery and some of the colorful locals. It was a short visit to Faeto, but we have accepted the fact that indeed, this is where we come from. Many of the little details are faded and lost, and that's okay. We embrace what is left, we hope the grand children and their children will someday drive under those canopied trees and walk Vico Valentino, pray for the Petittis buried in the quaint cemetery and feel the same connection to generations of family.






Happened upon your site via some family research!
I have ties to two Faeto families...my great-grandmother (a Petitti) married a Degirolamo-both from Faeto!

Loved the pictures. I hope to visit someday too!

November 11, 2009 2:32 PM


M.A. DeGirolamo said...
My ancestral home is also Faeto. I am a DeGirolamo, however my paternal great-grandmother was born Vincenza Petitti. My mother was of Croatian heritage from the Gorski Kotar region. Twice I made the Faeto and Croatian/Bosnian pilgrimage and my daughter wants to take me back once again next year for my 60th b'day! Very interesting blog and I'll check back time to time.

Regards, Michael DeGirolamo, Alliance, Ohio

November 28, 2009 5:27 AM


Susie said...
It was my hope that people searching Faeto would stumble here. I am sure M.A. DeGirolamo that we are somewhere related, isn't that amazing, that tiny little town.....I am certain with your Croatian and Italian blood you must even look like my family!

December 12, 2009 8:13 AM


Anonymous said...
I stumbled across this site by accident. My parents are from Italy too. My mom's maiden name is Altier and my father is Spinelli. After not being there as a kid the summer of 1990, I had the opportunity to take my wife and 2 sons back to Italy to see some sights in Rome, Florence, Assissi, Pisa & Venice. We spent the last 2 1/2 weeks in Faeto with my uncles, aunts, & cousins. It was great to see my kids bond with their relatives they had never met. Words can't describe how well we were treated and how my wife and kids were welcomed like they had always been a part of the family.

July 12, 2010 11:30 PM


J. Narcisi said...
This is a very nice site. Thank you for sharing it.
My great grandparents on my mother's side were Carosina "Rose" Petitti and Leonardo Martucci. Both were born in Faeto, Foggia. They emigrated to Chicago in 1910. I visited Faeto in 1997 and met several Petittis. Faeto is a truly unique place.

Distinti saluti e Dio ti benedica.
J. Narcisi
Hillside, IL

July 27, 2010 4:20 PM


Maureen said...
My parents are going to Foggia and Faeto for their 50th anniversary. My paternal grandfather, a Morrella, was the only sibling of 12 that was born in the USA.
I'd love to get my parents a momento gift for their anniversary...any suggestions? I was thinking of a map of the Puglia region that I could frame and present them but haven't been able to find one. Let me know if you have any ideas...
Many thanks, Maureen

August 13, 2010 2:18 PM


Susie said...
Maureen, If you are on Facebook you can find help there under Faeto Libera. There are many English speaking Italians from that area. When we went for my parents 50th we bought an enormous photo print of Faeto from a little private museum. When we were there this last fall, someone in charge had just passed and I don't know who you could contact. Send a message on Facebook, someone can help!

August 13, 2010 4:37 PM


golfr44 said...
Your site gave me hope that we may find a thread to my wife's grandparents past. Her grandfather, a Marella, married a Petita, or maybe Pettiti?, and the 1930 census indicates 1910 as the year of emigration from what we believe is Faeto. So far no joy with passenger lists or immigration records. Any directions such as records in Faeto will be of much help. golfr44

January 24, 2011 7:18 PM


Susie said...
golfr44, this is the Faeto home page http://www.comune.faeto.fg.it/cms/home.php there are also facebook pages for Faeto and Celle San Vito, and there are many people on them who have answers. We know that the records from Ellis Island are not accurate. Good luck in your search, and I hope you get to experience Faeto one day!

January 25, 2011 2:53 PM


Anonymous said...
So nice to find your site. I was searching for typical foods of Faeto. My grandmother came from Faeto in early 1900's. I have done a lot of research in the past. Family names from there are Cocco & Nardone. Thanks for the facebook suggestions.

January 26, 2011 7:52 PM


Bob said...
My Grandfather came from faeto in 1884 and immigrated to chicago and lived in the taylor street area.He had 11 kids and I`am the youngest of many grandchildren,I`am 51 years old and my name is Bob Petitte. I don`t know the reason he changed the I to an E at the end of our name but his brothers kept it petitti.I remember my father saying our cousins were the martucci`s and the Daddano`s who also came from Faeto.We also had a cousin they called patsy petitti who had a farm in Dundee il. in the 1940`s.One day I will visit Faeto, it looks like a interesting place.If anybody out there has info on the petitti family, or thinks there related to me e-mail me petitte60@comcast.net.

May 4, 2011 12:29 AM


Anonymous said...
Wonderful site.
I came across it while searching for my ancestors, the Pavia family.
My grandfather was Nicola Pavia.
born in Faeto in 1852 (not a misprint, lol).
He came to the U.S. late 19th century, settled in Stamford, CT and became a citizen, I believe in 1893. His son, my father, Michael, lived from 1910-1969.
Recently I have found many distant relatives and paisani throughout the Fairfield County area.
There is an annual Faeto reunion in Newtown, CT where Pavia, Gallucci, DeGirolamo and other Faeto descendants get together this time of year with a fun picnic. All Faeto folks are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Joe P.
Fairfield County, CT

August 27, 2011 8:39 PM


Anonymous said...
Wonderful site.
I came across it while searching for my ancestors, the Pavia family.
My grandfather was Nicola Pavia.
born in Faeto in 1852 (not a misprint, lol).
He came to the U.S. late 19th century, settled in Stamford, CT and became a citizen, I believe in 1893. His son, my father, Michael, lived from 1910-1969.
Recently I have found many distant relatives and paisani throughout the Fairfield County area.
There is an annual Faeto reunion in Newtown, CT where Pavia, Gallucci, DeGirolamo and other Faeto descendants get together this time of year with a fun picnic. All Faeto folks are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Joe P.
Fairfield County, CT

August 27, 2011 8:40 PM


Susie said...
So happy to have you here Joe. We have a dear friend we met in Faeto named Pepino Pavia, we are Facebook friends too. It is amazing how many people find this post. I am hoping I can get my dad to one of the many Faeto reunion picnics. I also was told of one in the Cleveland area. I am updating this page to include a link to my Faeto page at Faeto.blogspot.com

11 comments:

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  3. Hello - just came across this when I was quickly researching my dad's background. Giovanni Petitti, born in Faeto in 1916, arrived at Ellis Island in 1923. Grew up in Newark, raised a family with his wife Estelle (Hornster) in Nutley.

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  5. Hi, would love to find out more about my connection to this family and this town! My great-grandmother was Angelina Petitti. She married Antonio Grasso, who I think was also from Faeto, and they settled in Fairfield, CT. They had 4 children and many grand, great-grand, and great-great grand children who are still in this area. I don't know when they came to the US though, and I would love to be able to find out more. I wish I knew her parents' names. Her sisters were Philomena and Giuliana(?), I believe. Thanks! - Dan

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    1. I just discovered this site and am so excited to know about the gathering in Newtown, Ct for Faeto decedents. My grandfather's sister married a Grasso and they had 8 children, some of who I remember. My grandparents were Paoletto & Benedetto and much of the family settled in Bridgeport, Ct, Binghamton, NY, Salamanca, NY & NY City. I've done some fairly extensive research on the family. We were in Salt Lake City recently and visited the Family History Center there. They assigned us an Italian interpreter and we went into the Italian records and found birth records, marriage records, etc.

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  6. I just got off the phone with my Great Aunt Virgina, maiden name, Petitte. She just told me all about Faeto and I had to look it up. So i found this site. So cool to look through the comments and see that wow, many of us come from the Petitti family. She said she used to call her Grand Mother "Mamo" (although it meant mother) - did anyone else?

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  7. I just came across your blog online while researching Faeto. My husband's grandfather and grandmother immigrated from Faeto to Connecticut. Vito Benedetto settled in Bridgeport, CT and Rose Montanero settled in Stamford, CT. They were married in Stamford, CT and Vito built a home for his family in 1928 in Noroton Heights, Darien, CT. The Benedettos had five daughters and a son. My husband told me that they called his greatgrandmother Mamo. She lived into her nineties. Helen Obermeyer Simmons, Lunenburg, Massachusetts, formerly of Darien, CT.

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    1. I just found this site and want to reply simply because my grandmother was Rose Benedetto.She married Leonardo Paoletto just before coming to the US. They went to Bridgeport and later settled in Salamanca, NY Her siblings were Antoinette, Gaetano, Giovanna, Louis (Luigi), & Vito.

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    2. My father-in-law is related to Benedettos in Noroton Heights, Darien. Most likely the same family.

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  8. My husband's grandfather, Giovanni Cerulli, was born in Faeto in September 1900. His parents were Vito Cerulli and Grazia Maria Forchionne. They immigrated to the Stamford, CT. My oldest son visited Faeto this summer and loved it there. We hope to have a Cerulli Family Reunion there soon.

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