31e-Our last week in Italy July, 1976: Back to Rome

Route from Gaeta to Rome.

 Our Vacation in Italy 1976: Remembering our last day in Rome

It was a hot day when we left Gaeta for the two hour drive back to Rome. At night we enjoyed the coolness of Italia and Antonio’s apartment, sleeping very well. The next morning it felt as if New York City had already rung the doorbell and entered the room, ready to claim her residents and bring them back home. Breakfast was a hurried affair as was getting dressed and doing our last minute packing.

I looked out the window and considered the bird bath in the garden of the apartment building where Italia and Antonio lived in Rome. There weren’t any birds playing in the water. The scene was so still in the bright summer sun.

I thought about Dyker Heights back in Brooklyn. In eight weeks Autumn would begin. The oak trees would change color as the season progressed. The sparrows would still be twittering each morning and I’d awaken to hear the leaves rustle if the wind was blowing. Thoughts of home began to tug at my heart again. I felt the desire for a donut and cup of coffee from Chock Full o’Nuts on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge. I wanted to kick-off my new wedgies and put my flats on and walk up to Woolworths’s on 86th Street. As I packed my clothes and souvenirs for the family I started going over all the memories of the past three weeks. During the years I took care of my Mom as the Parkinsonism she suffered with advanced, I often remembered these days in Italy. In quiet times from 2002 through 2007, I looked at the photos so I could touch these places in spirit. I never thought that they would help me connect our ancestral past and the present. That has happened now that Uncle Sammy and I are working on our project for the Muro and Serrapede Family History.

From Our Photo Album

Have any visitors to Italy come across a bird bath like this?

This is the birdbath in the garden of the apartment building where Italia, Antonio and Stefania lived. When I saw this garden on my first morning in Rome I thought it a very strange and stark place. After three weeks in the bright Italian sun shining on the rough and wild mountains of the Cilento Coast line this seemed familiar and in keeping with the surroundings. I still couldn’t understand where the appeal of this bird bath and garden were to be found. But I no longer compared it to the ones in Dyker Heights with splashing water and little cherubs in the center.

At that moment everything felt right. I didn’t have that feeling that Brooklyn was better than Rome or Rome might be better than Brooklyn. That feeling was replaced by a sense that all was right for the time and place. Each location had become a part of my life. This feeling of balance did not last long after I returned to home and the fast pace of New York. I did keep the practice of an afternoon nap whenever possible which is something my Mom always enjoyed, as did Grandpa Sam.

New Directions Ahead

Beginning with the next posting we journey into the lives our our Muro and Serrapede family members after they came to America.  There will be local history, articles from period publications, family photos, stories and so much more.  Stay tuned…



Google Maps
Gaeta to Rome


7 thoughts on “31e-Our last week in Italy July, 1976: Back to Rome

  1. You were so young to have a sick Mom, it must have been alot to cope with… I love that crazy birdbath, it looks like it endured a Pompeii like volcanic ash coating 🙂

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    • Andrea, you have me laughing myself silly about the bird bath. I have to tell that to my Uncle.

      My Mom’s symptoms started in the 1980s but since Parkinsonism is idiopathic and mimics other illnesses no clear diagnosis was given until 2007. It was difficult but I think the purpose of my life was in remaining as her companion through that journey. I’ve no regrets.

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