36b-Summer Break: Uncle Sammy & Aunt Kathie’s Vacation in Italy-The Town of Stresa

Private residence in a side street of Stresa.



Stresa is a small town in the Lake District of Northern Italy. Aunt Kathie and Uncle Sammy enjoyed a gorgeous view of Lago Maggiore (Lake Maggiore) surrounded by the Alps (Lake Maggiore) from their hotel. During a walk through Stresa they came upon this picturesque side street.

Uncle Sammy shared his impressions of this street with me today. Now that he is back home in Arizona scenes from the tour are taking on deeper meaning. When he came upon this street Uncle Sammy saw many groups of residents speaking together and going about their activities. There was something familiar about the scene even though it was his first time in Stresa. What first seemed familiar to him was the manner in which the locals were congregating in the street. Also, noticing that Stresa is a town at the foot of a hill added to the sense of deja vu.

Today, Uncle Sammy recognized where that sense of familiarity came from. There was something in the scene that reminded him of Wilmerding, Pennsylvania during the 1950s. Memories of visiting Grandma Rose and Grandpa Nick Muro, Aunt Angie and Uncle Peter Muro and other relatives came to the fore. They would congregate in a similar manner when outside their homes or on the streets with the conversation changing from English to Italian. Wilmerding, like Stresa, is a town filled with hills. This made Uncle Sammy aware of how Wilmerding resembled Agropoli in some ways, too. Our immigrant ancestors would have found certain elements familiar even though the hills and streets were in a different country. Wilmerding reminded them of Agropoli in some ways because of the hills and the way the houses were built not only at the foot of the hills but above them as well. He thinks this is part of the appeal that draws immigrants to a particular location. It’s a matter of family and a sense of continuity that creates a strong link to a geography that somewhat resembles the old hometown.

Photos of beautiful Lake Maggiore, its scenic alleyways and over-the-top décor of the Regina Palace Hotel in Stresa will be featured in the next posting.

–Discussion of July 31, 2016, 4-4:30 p.m.