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.
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.
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.
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.