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.


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

4-Agropoli Through the Centuries

5-The Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Luigi and Angela Maria

6-Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Sabato and Filomena

7a-The Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Gennaro and Rosa

30b-Muro Family in Agropoli-The house where Josie was born

31a-Bella Italia in 1976:  Paestum

31b-Bella Italia in 1976:  Amalfi

31c-Bella Italia in 1976:  Positano

31d-Bella Italia in 1976:  Gaeta

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

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

I received a few photos and an update from Michael Muro today.  The weather in Agropoli continues to be very hot and very humid.  Michael is staying with the family of Giuseppe Carnicelli, the cousin I met during our May meet-up in Brooklyn Heights.


July is a festive month for Giuseppe and his brother Vincenzo.  They both celebrate birthdays this month.    Vincenzo will turn 23 on July 29th.  This photo of (left to right, Vincenzo, Michael and Giuseppe) was taken at Nero Cafe in Agropoli.  I love the bright, upbeat colors in the décor.

Giuseppe’s birthday was on July 11th.  The combination of birthday cake and champagne is irresistible!   Uncle Sammy and I wish both brothers a very good year ahead.


A festival was recently held during the time Michael has been in Agropoli.  Here we see the Piazza all lit up.  I love the way the colors of the lights are so vivid against the night sky and the old buildings surrounding the piazza.


Michael also had time to visit another cousin from the Carnicelli family, too.  Michele lives in Santa Maria which is about 20 minutes from Agropoli.  His mother is from the Carnicelli family.  I think I see some resemblance between Michael and Michele.

Giuseppe continues to take courses online with the school in Pittsburgh where he studied English conversation, reading and writing this past Spring while he was in the U.S. visiting Michael.  On Saturday, July 25th Michael and Giuseppe head to Calabria for another get-together with the newly discovered relatives of his Grandma Rose.  Eugenio and Aldisa Aiello and their children will spend a day with Michael.  He’s promised more photos along with all the details.  Eugenio is Rose’s nephew.

Uncle Sammy and I wish Michael safe travels, sunny weather and the continued pleasure of good company during this last phase of his vacation in Italy.


Summer Break, July 2017

Update July 5, 2017:  I have received many positive responses here and by email to the inclusion of the YouTube clip featuring the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge Scene from the 1977 film “Saturday Night Fever”.  The film was shot entirely on location in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Bensonhurst and other nearby neighborhoods.  It tells the story of a young Italian-American named Tony Manero.  The story is about coming of age and coming to terms with the serious issues of what he wants to do with his life.  Stephanie Mangano, his dance partner, has the ability to both enchant him and bedevil him which makes for a believable and ongoing tug and pull between them.  She is the only one who challenges him to become  more than what he is when they meet, to work on becoming good and having a direction.  Even with her flaws, Stephanie just might be the right woman for Tony.   Below I have included another link to the clip featuring Tony and Stephanie at the disco dance competition.  After the bridge scene, this is my favorite.

Greetings to all our WordPress friends, subscribers, readers , relatives and paesani!  The weather here in Brooklyn, N.Y. is absolutely perfect right now.  Warm, dry, bright and slightly breezy at times with the bluest of skies all day.  It is the perfect time for long walks and being outdoors.

Today I walked along Shore Road all the way up to John Paul Jones Park.  From there I walked down towards the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to take photos.  The bridge was named after the early 16th century Italian explorer, Giuseppe da Verrazano.  He was the first explorer on record to sail into New York Harbor.  The bridge was opened in the early 1960s and was an occasion of great excitement and a mark of progress for residents of Brooklyn, and Staten Island.  Prior to the bridge’s opening, the only way for Brooklynites and Staten Islanders to access each other’s boroughs was by ferry.  The bridge also offers another way to travel to New Jersey via Staten Island.

The Verrazano-Narrows bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.  It is also famous for being featured in the movie “Saturday Night Fever.”  Here are some photos from my walk today.


The bike and walking path continues along the Narrows all the way up to the 90s Streets. In the background is Staten Island.


The view in the distance is in the direction of the lower numbered streets where my walk began.



These large ships dwarfed the pleasure boats that zipped past before I could focus to get a good photo.


View of the Brooklyn side and Tower of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.


This close-up of the Staten Island Tower and side of the bridge was only made possible by the use of a 35mm camera.


Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Saturday Night Fever 1977 Verrazano-Narrows Bridge movie scene

Saturday Night Fever – More Than A Woman (Bee Gees)





41d-Christmas 2016 at the National Cathedral, Washington, DC

Christmas morning I went to mass at the National Cathedral.  My Uncle Sammy (who is my Mom’s brother and like a brother/dad/godfather and best friend to me), recommended I make the cathedral the focal point of the trip to Washington, DC.  He told me there is such a feeling of sanctity and history in the Cathedral that I would not leave without feeling uplifted.

He is right.  Not only did I feel uplifted, I was inspired.  The choir had the voices of angels. The clergy,  laymen and lay women at the service conveyed such dignity and joy.  I also felt the good will during the exchange of peace at the service.  Episcopalians, and Catholics too, exchange a sign of peace before the Eucharist is given.  In Brooklyn, it is a very anemic exchange.  People wave to each other while some make a peace sign and nod in your direction.  I’ve noticed in my parish most people only shake hands with those they know.  At the National Cathedral on  Christmas Day not only did I shake hands with all those near me, I had a few people hug me, too.  The warmth was very tangible.  I felt as if I’d received an energy transfusion.

At 1:30 p.m. there was a recital given on the grand pipe organ in the cathedral.  The selection ranged from The Nutcracker  Suite, to modern carols like “Bring a torch, Jeanette Isabella” and culminated in a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah”. Two organists were needed to handle the four keyboards on the cathedral’s grand pipe organ for this last piece.  They are both young men in their late 20s-early 30s and so very talented.  As I watched the large screens placed throughout the church so we could see the organist I was so taken by passion and joy on their faces.  It brought such a feeling of happiness and joy that moved me to tears.  Again, other people nearby were responsive and just as moved by the recital as I was.  Strangers, we smiled and hugged and wished each other well without any reserve and without any analytical thoughts about who is this person and what are the thinking.

I think this was what I had come looking for:  that spontaneity and ability to feel with and for other people.  That it happened during the service and recital at the National Cathedral during Christmas day brought home the meaning and significance of this holiday that I haven’t felt for many years.  For me 2017 will be not only a New Year, but one with newer way of looking at what the real gifts of Christmas are all about every day of the year.

From my photo album

The National Cathedral, Washington, DC, Christmas Day 2016


Main entrance of The National Cathedral.

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41c-Winter Break 2016-Washington, DC

Greetings to all!  I returned on Monday, December 26th, 2016 from a much needed retreat and rest during the holiday season.  I hope all our readers and WordPress bloggers enjoyed their get-togethers with family and friends.  I will be back to a regular blogging schedule in 2-3 weeks.  In the meantime, I want to share some impressions and photos taken during my stay in Washington.  There will be one more posting after this one about the awesome Christmas day I had at the Washington National Cathedral.

My wish is for all to have a year ahead that includes good health and quality time with loved ones.  Here’s to a Happy 2017!

Impressions of Washington, DC December 23 through December 24, 2016

I stayed at the Adams Inn which is made up of three adjacent rooming houses built in the 1920s.  The main house where we gathered for breakfast was Guest House 1 at 1746 Lanier Place NW.  I stayed next door in 1744 Lanier Place NW.  There are smaller dining rooms and kitchens in the other 2 houses.  1744 and 1746 had pantries filled with instant oatmeal, snack bars, coffee, tea, cocoa, a fridge and microwave.  I found this very convenient when I got hungry and wasn’t up to a big dinner or lunch.  Each house has a comfy and inviting quality.  There are books and magazines as well as charming decorative elements.

Lanier Place NW is a very scenic block.  The entire area has similar houses.  My cousin says it reminds her of Greenwich Village in the 1970s.  I agree.


The area where the Adams Inn is located is called Adams Morgan.  It is a very charming area.  I spent Friday and Saturday afternoons exploring Columbia Road NW.  There is a popular café and bookstore called Potter’s House Books that has a long history in the community as a place selling delicious coffee and a varied selection of books, many of which deal with social justice and civil rights.  The store is very involved in community activities to help the homeless. I wanted to stay and enjoy their coffee and baked goods.  However, the service was much too slow.  I ended up at Starbucks.

I found that Adams Morgan had two groups of people living parallel to each other.  There are the wealthy, upper class professionals and young students living in the area and frequenting places like Potter’s House Books.  The escape I temporarily felt from the worrisome effects of gentrification that I have for Brooklyn, NY came back when I saw how many homeless people there were out on Columbia Road NW as evening drew near or very early in the morning.  I took a bus ride on  Christmas Eve on the Circulator Line, which costs only $1 per ride to any point along the route.  I went through the entire line in Columbia Heights and found a replay of parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.  There is a park along I Street in Columbia Heights that was filled with homeless people sleeping and milling around.


While there were homeless people along Columbia Road NW, I did not find them along 18th Street NW on the 2400 block.  This block has a great assortment of restaurants, cafes, book stores, salons and other shops.  The food available at the places I went to like The Diner and Jyoti Indian Restaurant is reasonably priced.  I had some pleasant conversations in passing with regulars and wait staff and booksellers, too.  It was a very light and positive feeling on that block.  My favorite place on 18th Street NW was Idle Time Books.  They have a wide variety of used books including sci-fi paperbacks from the 1950s.  Also sold there are post cards featuring photos of the book covers of pulp fiction from the 1940s through 1960s.  I bought a few because they are humorous on one level but also serve to dispel nostalgia for the “good old days”.  Women have come a long way since then.  I don’t see this kind of book or art work anymore.  For example, there’s one called “Dime a Dance Queen.”

From my photo album

Adams Inn, 1746 Lanier Place NW, Washington DC


Main entrance.

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