Jeannie Graiff Newman
The last night I spent in Italy, Andrea and Giancarlo asked me to write about my visit there, sharing my reactions and expressing my thoughts.
When I first returned to my home, the distance between Italy and I did not seem so far.
It took several days to absorb all that we had experienced and put it in some sort of order in my mind. I felt it might be more appropriate for me to write about the trip when there was a little more distance from the event.
My two year effort, Searching for my family in Val di Non, has evolved into a wonderful trip and incredible experience.
The fortunate thing for me is that the experience of this pilgrimage could be shared with my Aunt Ruby Graiff Krimm, who is the only surviving child of my grandfather, her daughter and my cousin Susan Krimm Lochmann, and my late Aunt Evelyn's two daughters Joan Mottoh Segna and Carol Mottoh Hope.
This group represents the daughter and grand daughters of Virginio Anselmo Graiff. It seems so appropriate that we share the experience of this trip.
Speaking from my heart, I'd like to share the following with you:
Andrea became our exclusive tour guide, with the help of Giancarlo and Marcello, and we saw things we never would have seen were it not for this very special effort.
We rented an apartment from Gino & Valeria Graiff and absorbed some of the lifestyle of the village where my grandfather was born.
We shopped in the local businesses: the meat market, the bakery, fruit & vegetable store and the local grocery store. We adapted reasonably well to the hours businesses were closed. .even mid day.
We enjoyed dinners hosted by Giancarlo & Nori Graiff, Georgio & Elena (Graiff) Tell & family, Pio Graiff, Stefania Zucali.
The hospitality at Albergo Villa Nuova was wonderful. Thanks to Clara and Roberta.
There was also a special polenta dinner, which had been planned as an outdoor event on a Sunday afternoon, but the rain forced us indoors at a really wonderful restaurant.
We enjoyed visits with the Virginio Gabardi family, Gina DiCiccio and her son Stefano and grandson Lorenzo, Silvano Graiff & family.
We had Tea with a real Countess in a private medieval castle.
We had an audience with Presidente Margherita Cogo in Trento.
We dined with Dr. Paolo Magagnotti who is President & Director of Trentini nel mondo and Maurizio Tomasi, a Journalist in Trento. They were had knowledge of our site and expressed interest in gathering information in an effort to establish an Internet site whcih would be dedicated to reconnecting the descendants of the people of Trento.
There were two newpaper articles written about our visit.
We received presentations from the Mayor of Romeno, the birthplace of my grandfather and also from the Mayor of Dambel, the birthplace of my grandmother.
We had the opportunity to attend performances by local choral groups.
We went to Venice, Verona, Trento, Innsbruk and the Mendola Pass (which was a favorite place of my grandmother's) in addition to many of the local villages and towns.
We toured cathedrals, castles, museums and a winery.
We walked a lot and indulged in GELATO whenever possible.
We were gifted with books at every turn.
We met many relatives, new and known.
Predictably, we managed to squeeze in some great shopping and brought home a few treasures.
Each of us had our own purpose for making this trip. Our focuses were as individual as we are.
Speaking only for myself, the trip fulfilled a long time dream to see and experience some of the history surrounding the life of my grandfather and his family.
Perhaps the most special experience came on the very day I was leaving. We had the opportunity to see and tour the home where my grandfather was born and raised. This was a very special moment in my life and it was made possible by the graciousness and thoughtfulness of our cousin Elena Graiff Tell and her mother, Giulietta Graiff, who opened this home and let us wander. There are moments we experience in life that defy description.... this is certainly one of them.
The relatives and friends we've met, in addition to the hospitality and many expressions of kindness extended along the way have touched me deeply.
My trip to Romeno has come to an end, but the relationships have just begun and the memories will last forever.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to each and every one I've had the pleasure of making contact with.
To anyone I may have failed to mention here, my sincere apologies. Everyone there helped to make this trip most memorable, I assure you. It has been my pleasure sharing this with you.
My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
My residence address is: Jeannie Graiff Newman 42270 Agena Street Temecula, California, USA 92592