My surprising Italian Side

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Follow your Italian roots!
June 23, 2019
I learned about my Italian ancestry in an unconventional way.
My father is a private investigator, who discovered a genealogical surprise after his parents died a couple of decades ago.
He used his research skills to track down his family members in Italy, discovering three Italian half-brothers.
This commenced a decades-long relationship, the fruits of which I am enjoying now.
In college I decided to study Italian, proceeding to use my language skills to connect with family members and explore Italy as a tourist (2014), study abroad student (2016), and now mother tongue English teacher this year (2018-19) after winning a Fulbright fellowship to teach at a southern Italian high school.
I am currently based in Matera, Italy, but frequently see my Italian uncles and cousins who live in Rome and Milan.
One of my uncles has given me a bit of background on our ancestry: originally hailing from Spain, my ancestors arrived in Southern Italy in the mid-1400s. At some point they laid down roots in a Calabrian town called Morano Calabro.
In 1806, Napolean invaded southern Italy and my ancestors used their palazzo to host the headquarters of the resistance, which sided with the King of Naples.
They lost the fight, escaped to Sicily, and then returned to Morano Calabro in 1812.
Some of my ancestors still live in this town, but I have yet to visit them because I don’t have a car to get there.It is delightful to be in contact with my “Italian side” — a remarkable posthumous gift my grandmother left to my dad, albeit inadvertently.