Reader Questions: Calabrian Genealogy / Trip Planning

I started this Reader Question series last month and so far have discussed some of my favorite “stopping points” for travelers passing through Calabria from Campania and given some ideas on things to do in Palermo.

Today’s question(s) are helpful for first time Italy-bound travelers AND those with roots in Calabria might find the answers especially helpful.

Diane from Indiana wrote:


My daughter and I are planning to make a trip to Italy in June 2012. When do we need to start planning? I just don’t know what to do first, and when to do the serious, “make reservations”, book flights, find rental cars.

I want to see Calabria. This will probably be the only time I get to Italy, and I want to see where my Grandparents are from: the house they lived in (if it’s possible to find that info), the views they saw from their windows, the streets they walked on.

I’m thinking since it’s such a small town, there may not be anyone there who speaks English, and unfortunately, I speak no Italian. What would we do about communication in such a small town?

We hope to get to Catazaro while we’re there too and would love to stay at your bed and breakfast. Any information you can give me as to when to start planning would be very helpful.

Thank you for your question, Diane. I am happy to offer my two centesimi on when you should start planning and I think you’ll find some of my new services helpful for visiting your ancestral villages next summer.

First things first, let’s talk about when you should start planning, or rather, when you should start making reservations and booking your trip. Since you found my site, you are likely already thinking about where you want to go, you’ve read up on what there is to see and do in Calabria and you might already know how you plan to arrive (via northern Italy, directly into Calabria, etc.)

As to when to start booking? That varies from person to person. I’ve had clients book six days out, which is not ideal if you are picky about hotels and/or want your first choice of everything. I’ve also been contacted up to 18 months out … a bit long, in my opinion.

In my experience the best time for families or individuals to start securing hotels, excursions and other trip details is six months before their trip. Groups will need more time.

Regarding tracing your family’s roots … yep, we can help with that. We have a network of guides and translators we work with who can go into your ancestral village before you arrive in Calabria to research your lineage. Then, once you are here, they’ll return to your village, show you around, introduce you to people and help you communicate with the locals. Although there are never any promises, our guides have had huge success in finding living family members and creating those once-in-a-lifetime moments like you described.

Thanks again, Diane. If you and your daughter need any assistance with your itinerary, I’d love to help you plan your trip.

Do you have a southern Italy-related travel question you want answered? If so, let me know and your question could be featured here at My Bella Vita. If you’d like help planning your trip, then consider a custom itinerary or travel consult to ensure you have the trip of your lifetime!

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