Summer 2017: Michael Muro’s Trip to Italy, Part 3-A visit to the Aiello Family

Updated on 8-13-2017:

Thanks to Antonio Eugenio Aiello this posting is updated with the name, address and screen shots of the restaurant where Michael and the Aiello family had lunch.  The caption for the fifth photo was corrected.  Updated info is in italics.

Introduction

Cousin Michael Muro vacationed in Italy this July. He stayed in Agropoli with relatives including Giuseppe Carnicelli.  Giuseppe accompanied Michael when he travelled south to Calabria to visit Antonio Eugenio and Aldisa Aiello.  Antonio’s daughters Stefania and Sandra were also in town.  This was such a good development for Michael and Giuseppe.

It looks like the day in Calabria included lots of good food, good scenery, good company, and good conversation! Uncle Sammy and I are very happy that Cousin Michael had a chance to enjoy La Dolce Vita during this trip to Italy.

We introduced Giuseppe Carncicelli in two earlier postings.  Please see links in the Related Postings section.

Relationship Notes

Antonio Eugenio Aiello is the nephew of Michael’s paternal Grandmother Rose Aiello Marasco Muro.

Michael and Antonio connected after Antonio’s son Amedeo Aiello contacted me earlier this year. It is a beautiful thing to have facilitated the introduction through this blog and watch the relationship grow.

Ristorante Pesce Fresco

The Aiello family, Michael Muro and Giuseppe Carnicelli dined at the Ristorante Pesce Fresco.  The following screen shots from Google Maps provide the location and street view. 

Aerial view from Google Maps.  The orange dot denotes the restaurant location.

Street view from Google Maps. 

Michael Muro’s Photo Album: A visit with the Aiello Family of Calabria, July 2017

The white strip you see running across the sand on this beach is a concrete walkway. People can walk along it to avoid the hot sand.  When you reach a point where you want to be you can then go onto the sand.

At the beach (left to right): Antonio Eugenio Aiello, his wife Aldisa, Michael Muro, and Antonio’s daughters Stefania and Sandra.

The restaurant where Michael and the Aiello family had lunch is located near the beach. Around the table from left to right are:  Michael, Antonio Eugenio, Aldisa, Sandra and Stefania.

Michael enjoyed the meal which started with this dish of marinated fish, tuna and pink marinated onions.

The next course consisted of a choice of pasta with fish, spaghetti with claims and ravioli with scallops. Here are the raviolis.  Is anyone getting hungry?

Michael described the third course for me when I asked about how this fish was prepared. He told me that “There was a choice of swordfish or fish that was cleaned of the bones and split open with seasoning and breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. This fish was served with the head which I had the waiter remove. Sorry but I don’t remember the name of this fish. But it was very good.”

At home with the Aiello family.  Left to right: Antonio Eugenio, Aldisa, Michael Muro, Sandra and Stefania.

Michael’s beautiful day in Calabria concluded with Antonio asking for some photos of the family members back in the U.S. And so the relationships will continue to grow and, we hope, flourish.

Related Postings

Summer Break 2017: Michael Muro’s trip to Italy, Part 1

Summer Break 2017: Michael Muro’s vacation in Italy, Part 2

 

Links to postings with photos of 1976 trip to Agropoli

One of our blog subscribers, Amy, asked about photos of the Carola Hotel which was featured in a family story in the previous posting.  I’m sorry to say that during my move into my current apartment things got lost including those photos.  The rest of the photos from the trip to Agropoli were included with the very earliest postings to this blog.  My Uncle and I decided to use them as a starting point for presenting different members of our family past and present.

I have compiled a list of all the postings that contain the photos.  It is not necessary to read through each posting since each photo has a caption that tells you where the photos were taken and who is featured in the photo.

I know this is a lot of clicking and scrolling but if you have the time you can take an armchair journey back to the Agropoli of 1976 when convenient to you and at your own pace.

3-The Byzantine Gate 1976
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/3-beginnings/

4-Agropoli Through the Centuries
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/4-agropoli-through-the-centuries/

5-The Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Luigi and Angela Maria
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/5-the-serrapede-family-in-agropoli-luigi-and-angela-maria/

6-Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Sabato and Filomena
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/6-serrapede-family-in-agropoli-sabato-and-filomena/

7a-The Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Gennaro and Rosa
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/7-the-serrapede-family-in-agropoli-gennaro-and-rosa-part-1/

30b-Muro Family in Agropoli-The house where Josie was born
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/30b-muro-family-in-agropoli-the-house-where-josie-was-born/

31a-Bella Italia in 1976:  Paestum
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/31a-bella-italia-in-1976-paestum/

31b-Bella Italia in 1976:  Amalfi
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/1258/

31c-Bella Italia in 1976:  Positano
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/31c-bella-italia-in-1976-positano/

31d-Bella Italia in 1976:  Gaeta
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/31d-bella-italia-in-1976-gaeta/

31e-Our last week in Italy, July 1976:  Back to Rome
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/31e-our-last-week-in-italy-july-1976-back-to-rome/

 

Family Story: The Carola Hotel

Title:  The Carola Hotel

Location:  Agropoli, Salerno, Campania, Italy

Occasion:  Visit to Muro and Serrapede Families in Our Ancestral Hometown

Time:  Summer 1976

My Maternal Grandparents, Josie (nee Muro) and Sam (Sabato) Serrapede, took me on a three week trip to Italy in the Summer of 1976.  The main purpose was to celebrate my Grandmother’s retirement and to reconnect with the family in Agropoli.  Both my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather were born in that town which is near Salerno in Campania Province.

Grandma Josie was firm that we were going to stay at the hotel because she wanted the comfort of all the modern conveniences.  I did not understand her emphasis until after we arrived in Agropoli.

The Carola was situated at the foot of the Old Town, a slight distance from the high hill upon which the Old Town is located.  There was a view of the beach from our room.  It was especially beautiful at sunrise.  I remember how the water looked bronze and the side of the hill began to light up from the base to the top as the sun climbed higher in the sky.  At night we could see the night fisherman out in their rowboats carrying lanterns.  I was told the light would stun the fish and make them less likely to escape from the nets.

The weather was very hot and on some days slightly humid, on other days dry.  I ended up taking two showers a day, frequently washing my hair.  The hotel did not have air conditioning at that time.

My Grandmother and I shared a room while my Grandfather had a large room to himself on the floor above us.  We could hear him from the terrace right above ours as he talked to friends who passed by on the street below.  Our room was very simple by American standards.  There were no rugs or fancy drapes or slip covers.  I’m glad there weren’t because the room would have felt too closed in during the hot weather.  The walls were smooth and painted a neutral color, beige or sand.  The furniture was very simple, too.  Everything was very neat, well-ordered and very clean.  Given how bright the sunlight could be and how hot the long days were, I found that simplicity and order all I needed to be satisfied with the comfort the room offered.

I didn’t appreciate just how much the conveniences at The Carola Hotel meant to me until we visited Grandpa Sam’s sister Italia.  She lived in a very, very old Pre-WWII building right at the foot of the stairs leading up to The Old Town.  It was quite an accomplishment that Italia’s family had gotten running water up to her apartment.  The toilet, though, was still a shared facility.  It was situated in a little room in the hallway of the floor where she lived.  Other tenants on the floor also used that toilet.  There were times a bucket of water had to be thrown down to ensure everything got flushed away.

I wasn’t aware that the Carola Hotel was owned by the family from which Mary Angela (née Carola) Muro’s father was born into.

Mary Angela was my Grandma Josie’s sister-in-law.  We always called Mary Angela by her nickname of Angie.  Angie was married to Grandma Josie’s younger brother Peter Muro.

On February 13, 2014 Claudia Muro, daughter-in-law of Angie and Peter Muro, told me the Carola Hotel was closed some time ago.  Claudia is married to Angie and Peter’s son, Robert Muro.

Claudia told me that the Carola Family operated the hotel and its restaurant separately.  She knew one of the cooks who worked at the restaurant.  He wanted very much to work in America and he loved Wilmerding, the Muro’s home town in the U.S.A.  He was unable to complete the process, though and could not come here to live and work.

As much as I loved visiting all the relatives, I was thankful we had the hotel room to retreat into each night while we were in Agropoli.  I enjoyed the quiet company of my Grandma Josie and the view of the beach each morning and night.  I needed that quiet time after all the sightseeing and visiting each day.

EmilyAnn Frances May

May 14, 2014

Family Story: “Special Conversations”

Introduction

This short story is a distillation of many memories I have of family get-togethers at holidays and throughout the year.  My maternal grandparents were not close to my paternal grandparents due to the friction between my parents as the years progressed.  Yet in that tug and pull that worked on me there was always a little oasis of calm wherever Grandma Josie’s sister Philomena was.  In her company I could even enjoy prolonged conversation with my paternal Grandmother Blanche.

Here I will share with you the bond I observed between Philomena  and my paternal Grandmother Blanche.

Relationship Notes

Philomena  was the sister of my maternal Grandmother Josie.  Technically she was my Great Aunt but because I was so close to my Mom I grew up calling her my Aunt.  There was no separation of the generations for me.

Blanche was my paternal Grandmother.

Family Story

Title:  Special Conversations

Summary:  Philomena was one of the few relatives who enjoyed long conversations with Blanche.

Place:  Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY 1950s to mid-1970s.

Grandma Blanche never backed down from a question and always had the confidence to stand firm on an issue.  One thing I always respected her for was her encouragement that I be consistent in my views and behavior.  Grandma Blanche said I was too easy-going and too eager to appease everyone, too quick to want to quell a conflict.  “Sometimes you have to stand ground,” she said firmly.  “You can’t always have peace between two people.  It’s not important if they like you or not.  They have to respect you.”  If I continued to make getting everyone to agree with me or with each other, she warned, I’d be here, there, everywhere and nowhere in terms of having any kind of a moral compass.

The relatives were polite to Blanche but kept their conversation to a minimum and of the most topical kind.  I’d watch my Aunts seek a retreat because once Blanche got started it was hard for her to stop.  The conversation could roll on and on and go back and forth between different time periods in her life .

At some point Grandma Blanche lapsed into the role of the Great Mom who knew everything and was going to make sure you learned about lessons her mother taught her or what she learned from experience.  Not everyone was always in the mood for a lesson, especially at holiday dinners.  There was never any offense taken but more a sense of wanting to be distracted by something else.  I’d watch whoever Grandma Blanche was seated next to offer to help wash the dishes or make the coffee.

The only person who sought Blanche out was Grandma Josie’s younger sister, Philomena.

Aunt Philomena was a quiet, modest woman of great faith.  She was especially devoted to the Blessed Mother and would share her experiences of prayer and divine intercession with whoever would ask her.  Aunt Philomena always said  she persevered through the many difficulties and challenges in her life only because she had a powerful advocate in the Blessed Mother.  Like Grandma Blanche, Aunt Philomena was also a teacher.  She just had a softer way but she was always insistent that God is in all things that happen to us.

Given Grandma Blanche’s belief that there were very definite forces for good and evil in the world I can now see how they would enjoy each other’s company.  I think that Grandma Blanche’s upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish home and Aunt Philomena’s great faith in God through devotional worship shaped them in different ways.  Yet they could look past the differences and find a common bond.   They both believed that in God there is mercy and justice, instruction and guidance.  Given how loquacious Grandma Blanche could be and how low key Aunt Philomena was they were an example of complementary forces in action.

 

EmilyAnn Frances May
Sunday, December 7, 2014