I Left My Heart in Piaggine

If you’ve read my blurb on this blog’s About Us page, you know that I went to Italy on vacation in August 2007. It was one of the highlights of my life. I travelled with my Aunt. She was actually the one who had the idea in the first place. Through her genealogical research about the family of my Italian grandmother, she located distant relatives currently living in the small village from which my great grandfather emigrated. Through the exchange of a few letters and then emails with another family member, it was decided that we should go and visit our ancestral village, Piaggine, for the Festival of St. Philomena. This is a weeklong celebration during the vacation month of August, when many who have moved from the village come back to visit. This would give us the best opportunity to meet the most people, relatives or not. And surprisingly, I actually met 3 other people during that week who were also visiting from Pittsburgh. It seems that when one person emigrates, they send word back to others who then move to the same area.

This trip, as you might be able to tell, was not about the usual tourist destinations. We stayed with our family in their home. We lived their lifestyle and did the things they would have done during the festival, even if we weren’t there. We ate food prepared in their kitchen, went grocery shopping with them, picked figs from their trees. We had our large meal in the middle of the day and then rested until evening. We ate dinner at 9:30 pm and then stayed up until 1 am watching a local piano or dance recital on the stages set up in the piazzas. It was glorious. By the third day, my face hurt from smiling so much. The place and the people became part of my heart and I still miss Piaggine almost daily. I hope to go back in a few years and take my son with me. I know that he will appreciate the experience as much as I did.

Upon my return to reality and the United States, I needed to find a way to cope with my longing for a place where I could not be. So, I turned to books. I read everything I could find about people who have made the grand move to Italy, carving a life and home for themselves in a small village, and also about those searching for their Italian heritage. Here are a few of the books I read and others I hope to read soon.

hillsoftuscanyThe Hills of Tuscany by Ferenc Máté – Only in Italy do you know you’ve found the right house due to abundance of porcini mushrooms in the surrounding woods. Funghi, anyone?



thousanddaysintuscanyA Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena DeBlasi – I especially loved the description of the vendemmiamo (the grape harvest), and the celebratory meal that followed.



danceswithluigiDances with Luigi by Paul Paolicelli – The story of a fellow Pittsburgher searching for his Italian roots.



labellafiguraLa Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind by Beppe Severgnini – I enjoyed this amusing look at the thoughts and actions of the Italian people. But I am kind of glad I did not read it before I went or I may have gone with some preconceived notions.


piano piano pienoPiano, Piano, Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant – We ate one midday meal at a local agriturismo (think of a combined farm and B&B), so I can appreciate the spirit of this lovely cookbook by a former Canadian who now runs one of these charming establishments.


ancient shoreThe Ancient Shore: Dispatches from Naples by Shirley Hazzard – We spent one day in Naples upon our arrival in Italy. It was lovely and slightly frightening at the same time. Plus, it is the birthplace of pizza.  Need I say more?


reluctant tuscanThe Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian by Phil Doran – I, of course, can’t imagine why anyone would be reluctant to be in Italy and I highly recommend that everyone find their inner Italian!

Even if your heritage is not Italian, keep in mind there are stories and cookbooks like this for every country of the world. Ask a librarian, who will be happy to help you discover your passion for your heritage.



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94 responses to “I Left My Heart in Piaggine

  1. Cathy

    Melissa, I loved your post – I didn’t know you were Italian! Did you read The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken and the author’s search for her grandparents’ village and ravioli recipes? Also have you seen the new book out by the Russian translator of Umberto Eco: Why Italians Love to Talk about Food? And did you see that there was even a slow city movement in Italy: http://www.citta-slow.com/?
    Oh, so much to read about Italy!

  2. Read the Big Stone Gap trilogy by Adriana Trigiani as the main character, Ava Maria, pays several visits to her estranged father’s home in rural Italy and is embraced by her loving family.

  3. Don

    Great post, Melissa …

  4. Lovely post, Melissa! Methinks you might also enjoy the collection Desiring Italy


  5. Aimee

    Hi Melissa,

    I stumbled upon this wonderful post of yours while googling “Piaggine.” I, too, am Italian-American and can track my great-grandparents (their surname was “Bruno”) to Piaggine before they came to New York City in 1902 and 1905. Back in March, 2005, I traveled to Italy for the very first time and the highlight of my trip was visiting this beautiful village. Since then, life has gotten in the way of my genealogical research, but I have recently picked it back up again. Perhaps we can compare notes through email? With such a small population, there’s a chance we might even be remotely related!


    • Mary

      Hi There,

      Aimee I am interested in knowing a bbit more about your genealogical research. my mum is from piaggine and she is a bruno. she had relatives that travelled to NY inthe early 1900. let’s compare notes if you fancy it.


      • Bernadette

        My grandmother Carmellia Bruno, left Piaggine in the early 1900 at 14yrs old and settled in NY also. I visited Piaggine in April and it was so beautiful. I am returning in October 2011 for 3 nights, so I will have time to explore the area and really see the town. Let me know what your Grandmothers name is.

    • Tom

      I am from Pittsburgh. My grandmother was Carmella Bruno. She may have been from Piaggine. In Ancestry, I found a reference to a servant from Piaggiane, Italy who was coming to the United States in 1904.
      Carmella (Camilla) was born in Italy and emigrated to the United States. She married Donato Cirone; settled in Derry, PA (Pittsburgh PA area); gave birth to 4-5 children (from 1912-1917); and died in a house fire in 1921 in Derry, PA. Her parents were Mike and Mary Bruno. Does this story sound familiar to you? Have you met/talked to any Brunos in Piaggine?

      Tom Bates

  6. I left my heart on that same trip – as I brought my daughter to our ancestral village of Piaggine during the festival. I think we met in the Piazza :) Check out the photo at


    We are looking forward to going back “home.”
    Bernie Gracy

    • Melissa M

      We certainly did meet in the piazza! I remember it well. Hopefully we will meet you there again some day.

  7. Angelica Frabasile

    I just read your blog and I actually came from Piaggine in 1956. I did not know that many others were scattered all over. There are several people in The Bronx, NY and several of my family members are there also. I also have relatives in Pittsburgh although I never met them. Their last name is Petraglia . Any slight chance that you are one of them or that you are acquainted with them. Let me know. I was in Piaggine last in 1999 with my mother and my family and its time to go back.

    • Deborah

      I am from Pittsburgh. My Great Grandparents were both from Piaggine. They both had the last name of Petraglia (though not from same family) My great great grandmothers last name was Carmella Scala. My great grandmother had a sister who lived in the Bronx and one that lived in Montreal and I believe two brothers that lived in Brazil. My great grandfather mothers maiden name was Coppola. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

  8. Jerry (nee Gerald) Petraglia

    Like Aimee’s post above, I stumbled upon your posting and have read subsequent comments. My paternal grandfather, Frank Petraglia, emigrated from Piaggene in the early 1900’s settling in Long Island City, NY (Queens). Frank fathered my dad, Jerry (nee Emil), and my 2 uncles, Frank and Charles. Frank, Charles and my Dad, all grew up in Long Island City as did I, until age 10 when we moved to Northern NJ. Frank and Charles’s family settled in East Islip and Huntington Long Island. I know grandpa Frank and a brother named Joe Petraglia who settled in East Hampton LI. In my recent research, I have located a Pete Petraglia – who lives near me in bucks county, PA – late 70s man who grew up in the bronx, and I have found an Angelina Petraglia from Ft Lauderdale, FL. Her father was an Albert Petraglia – probably mid 50’s or so as Angelina is 28. I also know of a Mike Petraglia who is a sportwriter for major league baseball based in Boston area.

    Please comment, anyone or write to me.
    Thanks, Jerry

  9. Angelica Frabasile

    Jerry .
    Petraglia is one of the most common names in Piaggine. My mother is also a Petraglia but there are no relatives that she is aware of in the New York area. I guess many centuries ago we all had a common Petraglia ancestor .

    • Theresa

      Hey Jerry,

      My grandmother is a petraglia and I live in New York she was also from piaggine and was my granfather who is a Polito also live there. I am trying to become a citizen and am currently looking for the churches they were married in and baptized and birth records. can you help….MAYBE WE ARE RELATED. look forward to hearing from you


    • Annamaria Avallone

      Hi Angelica,
      this is Annamaria Avallone from Salerno. Do you remember me? :-)

      • Angelica Fabasile Poletto

        Yes of course I remember you . We used to play together when we were little girls and you had two brothers. I tnink I also remember your grandmother. Nice to hear from you. Write again.


  11. Giancosmo Di Perna

    Hi everyone, I just read your posts and I was moved.
    I’m now in Salerno, near Piaggine, but I still have a house in Piaggine of my parents and go there often.
    I will to inform you about a project I was working about Piaggine.
    Today, that project has become enforceable through the good offices of the Municipality of Piaggine and his Mayor Angelo Ciniello. The aim is to create a customized social network of piagginesi in the world, a museum of emigration of piagginesi in the world and a dedicated event to them to be held in Piaggine in August 2011.
    The museum will be born as a multimedia museum, gathering materials and digital contents, but also wants collect documents and objects that tell the stories of our villagers emigrants and their descendants.
    I hope you enjoy this project. We would also tell your stories through documents and images preserved, but also through your narrative (textual or video).
    Therefore, I would be grateful if you could send me digital copies of documents and photos in your possession to my e-mail (g.diperna@mindbook.it), as well as a short text or video (mpeg4) contributions in Italian or in the new your language on the following topics:
    1. brief history of the family and Piaggine origins, anecdotes about life in Piaggine
    2. employment pursued in the country of emigration and anecdotes about the new life
    3. what are currently for you the piagginesi and Italian origins
    4. any testimony of descendants, friends, etc..

    I hope you do not mind to be present in a museum with a leading role !!

    For those who wants, finally, you can also donate documents, original content (photos and video), objects (medals, suitcases, bags, etc..) to the museum.
    In any case, I will keep you informed on the initiative, hoping you’ll be able to participate and come to Piaggine to visit your museum.
    Thanks and regards to all of you.

    • Rob DePerna

      My name is Rob DePerna. My grandparents, Angelo DePerna and Angelina Ruocco emigrated from Piaggine via Naples around 1903. They settled in Cliffside Park, NJ and lived there the rest of their lives. Angelo passed away in 1964 and Angelina passed away in 1974 or 75.

  12. Anthony

    I was born in Piaggine. We move to the US 40 years ago. Was there last November visiting family. Had a great time. Your replies bring back a lot of memories. If you check out Elis Island .org you will see a lot of people the left Italy (Piaggine) for the US.

  13. Paul M. Palmer

    Hi Angelica, My Great Grandfather, Grandfather, and great Uncle came from Piaggine in 1910. There names are Rosario, Carmelo, and Giovanni Petraglia. My Great Grandmother past away when she was in her mid to late 20’s. Her name was Marie Bruno. I do have relatives in Bronx, N.Y. and also in the Pittsburgh area. My mothers name is Josephine Petraglia. If you can give me any information on my relatives from Piaggine, it would make us very happy to finally know something about our heritage.

    Thankyou for your time,

    Paul Palmer

    • Angelica Fabasile Poletto

      Hi Paul ,
      I wish I could help but Petraglia is such a common name in Piaggine that at one time we must have had a common ancestry. Are your relatives in Pittsburgh descendants of Luigi Petraglia/ My grandfather and Luigi were brothers. Luigi emigrated here as a teenager, my grandfather also lived in Pittsburgh for a couple of years but went back to Piaggine. Sorry I cant help you further

  14. Bernadette

    My Grandmother came to America from Piaggine at the age of 14 to live with relatives…her name Carmeilla Bruno. She came over around 1905, She had a brother Francisco Bruno. I do know she returned to Piaggine many times. I am going to visit Piaggine this April, 2011. Can you tell me how to get there without a car? Thanks, Bernadette

    • Giancosmo Di Perna

      Hi Bernadette, it is an happy idea you ‘ll come to Piaggine this April, 2011.
      If you have not a car, you can go to Piaggine by bus from Salerno, Concordia Square with Pecori or Sita bus company. If you need, I can find the schedule.
      Sita schedule is here: http://www.sitabus.it/sitabus/campania/orarioCAMPANIA/Quadro-X.pdf
      If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am in Salerno, if you need…

      • Bernadette

        Thank you for the information. It there a train that goes to Piaggine?
        How long is the ride from Salerno by bus?
        I do appreciate all the informatin and help you can give me.

        • Giancosmo Di Perna

          Hello Bernadette,

          there is no train that goes to Piaggine.
          Piaggine is 90 km from Salerno and the bus trip takes 3 hours and 20, while in the car takes 1 hour and a half. Let me know exactly when you ‘ll come. If I can and you like, I can drive you Piaggine.
          Gianco (g.diperna@agora.it)

          • Bernadette

            Hi Gianco,
            Thank you for your e-mails, I will let you know when we arrive in Italy. I do hope you can drive us it would be wonderful to get to know you. I am working on getting as much information for you on my Grandmother Carmilla Bruno. My one cousin is looking for information on the ship she arrive in Elis Island. I willl bring or e=mail you as much information as I can find. Thank you for your kindness. Bernadette

            • Deborah

              I’m so interested in this conversation, as I am planning a trip to Piaggine in Sept 2011. I had posted my family information back on January 17th. So many Petraglias! Bernadette, please post any tips you may have after you complete your travels. Thanks and have a safe and fun trip.

              • Bernadette

                I will keep you informed. Where do you live. I moved to Park City, Utah 28ys ago from Levittown, NY.

                • Deborah

                  Hi Bernadette, How was your trip to Piagginne? Any helpful info you could give?

                  • Bernadette

                    My trip was wonderful though we only stayed for the day. I am returning this October and staying 4 days. I am so excited to be able to return. It sounds like you will be there before me. Bernadette

    • Mary

      Hi Bernardette,

      I only clocked this post now. My mum is from Piaggine and her grandfather was called Francesco Bruno. I need to check some notes I have stored somewhere safe, but I am sure that he had a sister called Carmelia that emigrated to America. This sister visted Piaggine numerous time and I think she was my mum’s godmother.

      Does this ring any bells? did they live in New York?

      • Bernadette

        Hi Mary, Yes my Grandmother had a brother named Francisco, who as far as I know stayed in Piagiane. she lived in Harlem. It would be great if we could talk. My phone number is 435 649 6762 email:bclahane@juno.com

        • mary

          Hi Bernadette,

          I only spotted this post now. if you are interested in still trying to understand whether there is a connection, give me a shout on here and I will get in touch!

          • Bernadette Clahane

            I don;t know if you received my other replies, but yes I would very much like to get with you. I am living in Sorrento. Please let me know how we can connect. my email is bclahane@juno.com Thanks Bernadette

  15. Maria Giuseppa Tramontano

    As many of you I stumpled on this post by chance and I was immediately atttracted by so many familiar stories and names. Of course I was born in Piaggine too and migrated to the states with my parents in the sixties but after living five years in New York I came back to Italy were I’ve lived ever since.
    As I said before many of your names are familiar to me because they often came up in my parent’s conversation but one in particular rang a bell in my mind….Angelica Frabasile! I had a friend whose name was Angelica F. and she lived in Bronx. When she was in Piaggine we were schoolmates . Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she was the Angelica I knew!
    Let me know. Greetings from Italy to all

    • Angelica Fabasile Poletto

      I am Angelica from the Bronx. I remember I came to stay with you and your family in Brooklyn and we went to Coney Island What a wonderful surprise! Please write back Just last week I was talking to my mother and remembering so many “paesani” who went back to Piaggine and your name came up. Ciao Angelica

  16. Deborah

    Would anyone be able to tell me how far Piaginne is from Naples?

  17. Bernadette

    Hi Deborah, I have the same question..since we will be leaving from Naples also. Bernadette

  18. Angelica Fabasile Poletto

    The only way to get to Piaggine is to take a train from Naples to Salerno and then there is a bus in Salerno I would think it should be about 4 hours from Naples. You can also hire a car from Naples which would cut the trip to about 2 and a half hours depending on road conditions etc.

  19. Hi,my name is Felix Conte and all four of my grandparents emigrated from Piaginne.They were Felice Conte and his wife Angela Maria Petraglia who settled in Pittsbugh Pa with Angela Maria’s two brothers Francisco and Vincente who were shoe makers in Mt Washington.Granpa had two sisters in Pittsburgh,Mrs Bianco and Mrs Marrenna and a sister in Brazil who was married to grandmothers brother there.My maternal grandparents were married in NYC and there names were Guiseppe Andrioulo and Josepina Tomasino-DiMazia.My son Michael did visit Piaggine and said that everyone looked like a relative.

    • Angelica Fabasile Poletto

      HI Felix,
      I have been away from this post from some time. Was one of your Andriouli relatives , a dentist ? I used to go to a dentist with that name who was in NYC He had a sister and they both lived with their mother . They were on West fourth Street in NYC This was about 40 years ago. It would be nice toknow if its the same people. They were very nice.

  20. Jerry Petraglia

    Hi all. I am on Facebook and have friended many Petraglias. There are many in south America as it turns out. I do believe we are all related somehow.

  21. mike marmo

    Hello everyone my grandmother Pilomenia DiNome was from Piaggine, and married Frank Rizzo. They lived on Sycamore Street in Mt Washington…Pittsburgh. She passed in 1984. I am going to the town in Sept to visit relatives. I have spoken to them but have never met them as this is our first trip to Italy. My Dad, Angelo was born about 40 minutes away in San Pietro al Tanagro. I am going to the Feast of the Cross Sept 15th. Has anyone stayed in the hotel in Piaggine? Tanto grazie Mike Marmo

  22. Donna Gaffney

    What a wonderful post! I, too, stumbled across this while planning a trip to my ancestral village. My grandfather, Pietro Morena, was born in Piaggine in 1894, and emigrated to the US with his sister Rosa in May 2010. His widowed father – whose name I believe was Pasquale – stayed in Piaggine and remarried, starting another family. Does the name “Morena” ring a bell to anyone out there? If so, I would love to hear from you!

    • Joan

      Hi, I just posted a message about a Morena family from Piaggine that settled in East Harlem in 1887.

      • Donna Gaffney

        Joan, we may be talking about the same Morenas! Contact me off-line (Are you on Facebook? If so, send me a message) and I am happy to share the information that I learned from reviewing the records at Piaggine Town Hall. The clerk was less than helpful, but we did manage to get someinformation from him.

        • Joan

          Thanks for the reply. Can we speak on
          Did you find any relatives there.? I will try to find you on facebook

          • Donna Gaffney

            Joan – I am on facebook; I live in Takoma Park, MD. I found one relative: Vito Morena, the son of my grandfather Pietro Morena’s half-sister, Giovanna Corvo. His father, Pasquale Morena, had married Giovanna sometime between 1897 – 1905, following the death of his first wife, Maria Tommasini.

        • Joan Morales

          How do I find you on Facebook. There are many With your name. Nyroots@aol.com

          Sent from my iPhone

          • Donna Gaffney

            Joan, I am the Donna Gaffney in Takoma Park MD. My profile picture is a glass door with “Gaffney’s No. 1” painted on it.

  23. Please, visit http://www.adottaunalbero-salviamoilbosco.it
    The territory of Piaggine is rich in forests and tree cutting has always been an activity that did get to the city some money.
    This year, the Mayor of Piaggine has decided to launch a campaign for donations to partially avoid the cutting of forests, allocating an area of forest for this purpose.
    Therefore, you can donate by bank transfer with with the data that you find in web page: http://www.adottaunalbero-salviamoilbosco.it/adotta.html
    Thanks to all of you

    Visita la pagina Web: http://www.adottaunalbero-salviamoilbosco.it
    Il territorio di Piaggine è ricco di boschi e da sempre il taglio degli alberi è stato utilizzato per ricavare qualche soldo per il Comune.
    Quest’anno, il Sindaco di Piaggine ha deciso di lanciare una campagna di donazioni per evitare in parte il taglio dei boschi, destinando una particella forestale a questo scopo.
    Perciò, potete donare il vostro contributo tramite bonifico bancario intestato al Comune di Piaggine, le cui coordinate bancarie trovate qui: http://www.adottaunalbero-salviamoilbosco.it/adotta.html
    Grazie a tutti voi

  24. Adriana

    My name is Adriana Cimillo, I was born in Piaggine on June 24 1940. We lived on Via Umberto. I immigrated to Toronto Ontario Canada in 1959. The majority of my family currently live in various parts of Italy.
    I know of many families that have immigrated to the US and Canada from Piaggine and I would just like to say hello to everyone.

    • Angelica Frabasile Poletto

      Ciao Adriana,
      I also was born in Piaggine in 1948 and emigrated to New York with my family in 1956. My family and I also lived in Corso Umberto I in Piaggine Italy .. There was a doctor in New Jersey named Carmelo Cimillo that my family was friendly with years ago. Are you in any way related to him? I believe he passed away years ago.years

      • Lydia Cimillo

        My name is Lydia Cimillo and I am the second of four daughters of Carmelo Cimillo, a physician (psychiatrist) who practiced in Midland Park, then Ridgewood, then Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey until his death on February 11, 1987. He was born on March 4, 1923 in Piaggine. He was the son of Antonio Cimillo and Rosa Cimillo (nee Petraglia). He had an older brother (Nicola) who emigrated to Montevideo, Uruguay; and a younger sister, Teresa Cimillo Butrico, who lived in Salerno.

        • Angelica Frabasile Poletto

          Hi Lydia,
          My parents,who at one time lived in the Bronx, knew your father,
          and he visited us a couple of times many years ago. I am living in Park Ridge , NJ are you located anywhere nearby.

          • Lydia Cimillo

            Hi, Angelica.
            I live in River Edge, New Jersey. Our family made frequent trips to the Bronx, to visit my maternal grandparents (who were both born in Trentinara, Italy)– the Marinos, who lived at 331 E. 188th Street.

            • Angelica Frabasile Poletto

              Hi Lydia ,
              Nice to hear back from you . I did not know your maternal grandparents but my family and I used to live on 190th Street a few blocks away .and your father would visit with us also and now we live about 15 minutes from each other. What a small world!! All the best Angelica.

        • adgezaza

          Hi Lydia,

          Yes we are related. Your father was second cousin to my father Dante.

          • Lydia Cimillo

            Ciao, cugino. I remember the name Dante coming up in family conversation, but I was just a kid then, and that was a long time ago.

    • My name is Nicola Vairo, I have a feeling that I know you and that you know me.

      • Angelica Frabasile Poletto

        I Knew a Nicola Vairo back in the Bronx . Are you the same person. YOur brother Alfonso was ahairdresser

        • Nicola Vairo

          Hi Angelica, yes I am the person who lived in the Bronx and my Brothers name is Alfonso and he is a hairdresser. Looking back at your post, I see that you were born in 1948, that makes you 10 years younger than me, in 1958 when I came to the States, you were 10 years old, therefore the Fabrasile I know must be your Mom. I am honored that you remember me. Ciao.

          • Angelica Frabasile Poletto

            HI NIcola ,
            What a small world we live in. Yes you know my mom and dad. They were very good friends with your parents and visited each other often. How is your brother Alfonso ? Please give him my regards and Buon Natale a tuttti

          • hi, uncle nicola!!! i’m the son of your cousin felice, the cousin that went to live to taranto and who worked with italian navy! i had the pleasure to talk to uncle alfonso some months ago. i called to the salon and i felt very emotionated. i’m in touch with your nephew pasquale by facebook. i hope you are very well!!! xxx

        • hi! my name is mariateresa conte, I’m in italy and my father’s famil comes from piaggine. my father is a cousin of alfonso (the hairdresser), nicola and felice vairo! I’m looking for some news about the father of my grandfather. his name was nicola conte and his wife surname was petraglia. they arrived in u.s.a. at the beginning of the last century and they went to pittsbourgh. i know that nicola conte was killed by a bus (1915???) and he is still buried in u.s.a. but i don’t know were. his wife was in italy with the babies they had. does anybody can help me to find some news about my nicola conte? thank you!!!

    • Nicola Vairo

      Adriana, are you the daughter of Dante Cimillo? If so, I remember buying cigarette from this pretty girl named Adriana…..My name is Nicola Vairo, and that’s one of my good memories of when I lived in Piaggine. Cia a tutti I Chiainari…

    • AbrilLiberatori

      Hi Adriana,
      My name is Abril Liberatori. I’m a researcher in Toronto and descendant of Italians from Piaggine. I’m collecting stories in Canada and Argentina from immigrants from the Campania region and their descendants. I’m looking for people who want to share their own or their family’s immigration stories. I want to connect Italians in both countries in a project that aims to explore what it means to be Italian in different parts of the world. I am wondering if you might be interested in chatting with me about your experiences? I would love to talk further. You can reach me at abrilml@yorku.ca, and you can read more about me at abrilliberatori.com. I really hope to hear from you soon!

      Thank you,
      Abril Liberatori

  25. Maria Kline

    This is amazing! My grandfather, Antonio Barbato Cavallo was born in Piaggine. Last year my brother and I met our second cousin in Salerno who took us to Piaggine where we met my grandfather’s great nephews and niece and saw the house where he was born. We also fell in love with Piaggine and hope to get back for the feast of St. Philomena next year.

    • John Cavallo

      Hi Maria,
      My Grandfather, Giovanni Cavallo, is also from Paiggine. His parents were Antonio and Filomena (nee) Marino. He came to the US in 1914. My father and brother and my sister and her husband on a separate occasion visited Piaggine but did not get a chance to meet any relatives. I wonder if we are related. I have been unable to obtain any other info about the Cavallos in the area. My grandmother (Giovanni’s wife) was born in the US but her family came from the nearby town of Laurino. Hope to get to Piaggine on my next visit to Italy.

      • Maria

        Hello John,
        I don’t know of any Giovanni’s in our family tree. My grandfather is Antonio Barbato. What is your great-grandfather’s middle name? Although, it can’t be the same person because my grandfather came to the US much earlier.

        You must get to Piaggine. It is beautiful. You might have some luck finding family roots at the cemetery.


  26. Peter Corritori

    My grandfather, Barbato Cavallo, immigrated from Piaggine in 1901 at 16. He originally settled in lower Manhattan’s Little Italy, then Italian Harlem and eventually the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx. Along with my wife and sister I visited Piaggine in Sept. 2011. We were surprised and delighted to meet a number of our grandfather’s nieces and nephews, (they are all in their 80’s), along with their children.They embraced, hugged and kissed us like they knew us forever. It was wonderful. We had lunch with our new found cousins Carmello and Antonietta Bruno, brother and sister. The house my grandfather was born in, in 1884, is still in our family. We stood in the room where he was born. We were amazed that they all knew who my grandfather was, he had never returned and was illiterate, so he couldn’t write and had no contact with the family he left behind. We only spent a day in Piaggine, it was a fantastic experience that we are anxious to repeat.
    Peter Corritori

    • Joan

      Hi, I just read your post and I am going to visit Piaggine on October 26th 2013 for 2 days. I am from New York City and am researching ancestors, (Angelo Antonio) Pietro Morena (born 1866) son of Vincenzo Morena (son of Paolo) and Maria Petraglia. He married Angela Guiseppa Bonaventura Petraglia (born in 1867) daughter of Pasquale Petraglia (son of Giovanni) and Angela Prinze. They married in 1887 just before they immigrated to New York City. They settled in East Harlem, New York City and attended the church, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in that neighborhood.

      Can you possibly tell me if there is anyone in Piaggine to contact with my information so that I might be able meet other relatives still living in this town.
      Also do you know how I can get to Piaggine from Salerno without driving and perhaps give me some suggestions.

      By the way there were Bruno’s and Cavallo’s in located in the East Harlem neighborhood. I have done alot of research on these people in New York City.

      Sincerely, Joan

  27. Regina Fátima Viana Calábria

    Hi, I just read your post too. I intend to visit Piaggine next year (probably on May). My name is Regina Fatima Viana Calábria and I am from Brazil. I am researching my great- grandfather FELICIO ANTONIO CALABRIA. He was born in 1833 in Italy , probably in Piaggine, and came to Brazil (Minas Gerais) about 1880.
    Can you tell me if there is any family with CALABRIA surname in Piaggine?
    Grazie a tutti voi
    Regina Calábria

    • John Cavallo

      Hi Melissa,
      My Grandfather, Giovanni Cavallo, is also from Piaggine. His parents were Antonio and Filomena (nee) Marino. He came to the US in 1914. My father and brother and my sister and her husband on a separate occasion visited Piaggine but did not get a chance to meet any relatives. I have been unable to obtain any other info about the Cavallos in the area. My grandmother (Giovanni’s wife) was born in the US but her family (Erricos,Sofias, Mastandreas) came from the nearby town of Laurino . Hope to get to Piaggine on my next visit to Italy. I also have relatives in Pittsburgh, Giovann’s sister’s son lived there for many years but passed away recently. His wife and children are still there. And both of my children are at CMU!

  28. S Tierno

    I too stumbled across these posts on Piaggine. I was looking for records on my mother in law Carolina Ciniello. She came to NYC in 1925 with a sister Maria Stella and lived with her brother Felice till she married my father in law John Tierno. I was lucky to be given a list of Ciniello’s and I ready in one of the posts that Angelo Ciniello was the mayor. Does anyone know of this family or have any stories?

    • Angelica Frabasile Poletto

      Hi ,
      Just read your post. As you ca tell Ciniello ia very popular name in Piaggine. Not all Ciniellos are related however but at one time or other they might have had a common ancestry. I too have a cousin whose last name is Ciniello.Try wriitng to City Hall in Piaggine and maybe you can find some information Ciao

  29. S Tierno

    I too stumbled across these posts on Piaggine. I was looking for records on my mother in law Carolina Ciniello. She came to NYC in 1920 with a sister Maria Stella and lived with her brother Felice till she married my father in law John Tierno. I was lucky to be given a list of Ciniello’s and I read
    in one of the posts that Angelo Ciniello was the mayor. Does anyone know of this family or have any stories?

    • carmelo ciniello

      hello Caroline was my aunt and a lot of Ciniellos did settle in Canada.
      they were a huge family of 7 brothers and 7 sisters unfortunately they have all passed. I only met John Tierno and his family my cousin in Binghamton N. Y
      I have met most of the family except for aunt Caroline and her other siblings would love to catch up one day
      Angelo Ciniello who’s dad livid in New Jersey for a while was the mayor of piaggine for two terms and is the area vet there now

  30. bianca

    I read your post by accident and I felt such tenderness for all of you …. you are the proof that the roots are important and that in any case it is related to the places of origin a warm greeting to all

  31. I’m from Piaggine too! Nice to meet you in the net.

  32. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo cimillo
    I am returning to piaggine in a few weeks
    I left in 1959 to come to united states

    would love to meet some reletives from my young childhood while I was there

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