The Cesario Connection and the Age of Internet

On an average, I’d say my husband and I get 10-12 emails a month from English-speaking guests asking about our bed and breakfast in Catanzaro. And nine times out of 10, I’m the one who responds.

Most of these would-be guests are interested in visiting Catanzaro because their family tree has branches here in Calabria and oh, I’d say two times out of 10, I know the village they are asking about.

Well a few months ago, I responded to a Mississippi woman now living in Colorado who wanted to celebrate her husband’s 50th birthday near his grandfather’s village … in San Fili.

Now for many people San Fili is just like any other southern Italian mountain village. There are about 2,000 people or so currently living there-and one stop light. Maybe two.

But what was interesting to me is that my husband’s mother was also from San Fili.

That evening I told him about the coincidence.

“What was your grandmother’s last name, by the way?” I asked him, still excited about this small-town connection.

“Cesario,” he said. Pronounced “chay sarr eo.”

“Uhm.” I thought about it for a second and ran to my laptop. “Is it spelled C-E-S-A-R-I-O?” I asked.

“Yea,” he said. “Why?”

Because it was the same name!

Our would-be guests who hoped to visit in the spring had ancestors from San Fili and shared a last name with my husband’s grandmother.

How exciting.

I immediately emailed them back with the news and we exchanged several emails over the next few months.

Finally, they arrived.

And they were wonderful.

Roger and Teresa Cesario

While a true familial connection could never be traced, we are fairly confident that my husband’s American cousins paid us a visit.

We were also lucky that week to have a fun father-daughter team visiting from Australia. So, in true Calabrian-style. We all went out for dinner.

And gelato.

Il Cedro B&B guests enjoying gelato at Catanzaro Lido

In other San Fili news, we have a house for sale there. If you are interested in a cozy, three-floor house in an ancient southern Italian mountain village … let me know.

11 Responses
  1. What a small world! How amazing that they choose your B and B to stay in…there cannot be many people with that name, from that area, can there?
    I asked the same thing and apparently P’s dad doesn’t have connections with anyone else from there. I’d have loved it if we could have traced the connection.
    You all look like you are having a fun time 🙂
    .-= anne´s last blog ..A Fun day out in Oxford….. =-.

  2. joanne at frutto della passione

    Isn’t that amazing! What fun you’re all having! Did they find any other relatives in the village? I hope they talk up your B&B so more long lost relatives make a visit!
    From what P’s dad says there aren’t many (any?) more of them left in the village. Sad, huh?
    .-= joanne at frutto della passione´s last blog ..A childhood favourite revisited =-.

  3. Anon

    Funny, I’ve had the opposite experience — found that certain last names are VERY common in some small towns in Calabria. So while a name might account for less than 1% of the population in the province, it’s 10% in one town. Or maybe not that high, but you get the idea. We think it’s funny to look at the war monuments in some Calabrian towns and find how many people with the same name as ours.
    Are none of them related to you, even distantly? I wouldn’t really know from a personal experience, but the guests we’ve had here at our B&B have all met relatives with their last names when visiting the small villages around us. I guess they were lucky!

  4. Amber~ Care and Feeding of Wild Things

    That is so cool, Cherrye! 🙂
    Wasn’t it?
    .-= Amber~ Care and Feeding of Wild Things´s last blog ..What Boys Like =-.

  5. Teresa Cesario

    SO..what about that apartment for sale in San Fili?
    Cherrye Roger and I had such a unforgettable trip and staying at your B&B was one of the highlights..You and Peppe treated us like Family..
    We will not forget.
    Hope that you are wonderful.
    Teresa Cesario Back in Colorado
    Thank you for your kind words, Teresa, both on here and on Tripadvisor. We appreciate it. We had a great time with you and Roger, as well. Oh and the house is a small little mountain village “apartment” that was in Peppe’s mother’s family for years.

  6. MaryFran OConnor

    I read your article about the Cesario connection.My greatgrandfather was from San Fili and his name was Francesco Cesario he was married to Francesca Passerelli. I am hope to come to
    Calabria for my 40th wedding ann. I saw Calabria was having a reunion for ancestor who’s relatives came from there. Do you know anything about this. And any suggestions?

    Hi MaryFran. I have heard of Calabria 2010, but I am not sure of the specifics. They planned to have a large event in each of the five provinces. San Fili is in the province of Cosenza. Please stay in touch and let me know if you get to make your big trip! Auguri for your 40th anniversary!

  7. Mike Cesario

    I am a Cesario and proud of it! My family came from San Fili, just outside Cosenza. I have hundreds of photos from the original Cesario and Lucchetta families from San Fili around 1910. From Italia they went to Trinidad, Colorado. And, from Colorado to Redwood City, California. I am currently living in Manzanillo, Mexico and speak some Italian, Spanish, and of course English. I would like to come to the Bed/breakfast inn and enjoy this area for a month! And, I believe a distant relative relationship exists in area of Calabria!

    Con Piacere!

    Mike Cesario

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