Feeling the love in Agropoli


The purpose of visiting Agropoli was to see where Jon’s grandfather was born.  Jon also tried getting in touch with a distant cousin in Agropoli, unfortunately without any luck.  Although, we did know where he worked, so we set out to find the store and see if he was working.  The people that we are renting from, Anna & Sergio, were so excited about us finding Jon’s roots that they offered to come with us to help translate if needed.

We arrived to the store and Jon introduced himself in Italian.  As soon as Antonio heard his name, he came from behind the counter and hugged him and kissed him on both cheeks.  Immediately we were invited to lunch at his home the following day to meet more family and his children.  It turned out that it was Antonio’s wife, Mafalda, that is Jon’s cousin, but you would have never guessed by Antonio’s response!  We were all family.

That evening we wanted to meet up with Anna & Sergio to thank them for being such wonderful hosts and for offering to translate for us.  We went to their favorite pizzeria at the top of Agropoli in the historic district, L’Surcin.  You order a few different types of pizza and they all come to you in slices in a basket for everyone to share and try different ones.

Jon & Sergio with our 2 baskets of pizza.

Jon & Sergio with our 2 baskets of pizza.

As we were leaving the pizzeria, Anna was telling the owner how Jon is in Agropoli researching his roots and that his grandfather was born here.  As soon as Jon told him his name was Patella, he got excited.  Patella!  He said he remembered Jon’s great grandfather coming back to Agropoli from America and that he bought gelato for every kid in the piazza and gave them all a silver coin.  He was one of those kids!  He remembered losing the coin and how upset he was, but that he didn’t want to ask for another one, because Jon’s great grandfather had already given so much money to all the kids in Agropoli.  (His story was all in excited Italian, so thank goodness Anna & Sergio helped us translate).

We were then brought into the kitchen to throw a pizza in the oven with him and pose for a picture.

pizza throwingI have to tell you, the whole experience made me a bit emotional.  Not only has Jon been incredibly happy here, but there is such a sense of belonging, of family, of welcoming.  A sense of love.

The night did not end there!  Anna & Sergio insisted that they take us to the next village to visit the Paestum ruins.  Paestum is home to the temple of Posidon and it is incredibly well preserved.  It dates back to the 7th century BC and was built by the Greeks.  Eventually the Romans took over the city and converted it to a temple for Neptune and Hera.

It is also the location that the United States Military 36th Infantry landed in World War II for the Allied invasion of Italy.





All in all, it was an amazing day.  We can’t wait to meet the family tomorrow!


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