San Michele has a private beach for guests. Its late owner, Mrs. Claudia Siniscalchi, was very supportive of my genealogical research efforts when I was there.

[nz_sep top=”20″ bottom=”20″ width=”” height=”” type=”solid” color=”#e0e0e0″ align=”left” /]

Cetraro, Calabria train station view

It was a five-hour train ride from Naples to Cetraro, a town located on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western coast of Calabria in southern Italy, which represented the starting point of my trip.

I have had a lifelong interest in learning about my Calabrian-Sicilian family history and started genealogical research to solve family mysteries. My paternal Nana, Maria Caterina Spagnuolo Andreoli Perri, was the centre of our family dynamics in my hometown, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada and she represented the starting point of my Calabrian genealogical research.

Nana Caterina was born in Mottafollone, Calabria, southern Italy in 1889 and left Naples, Italy on a steamship destined for Ellis Island, New York in 1912. She arrived in Sault Ste. Marie in 1913 and never returned home again. I’d been trying to find out information about Nana’s early life for years and in 2004 went to Mottafollone to continue my search.

My father encouraged my genealogical efforts and, as I was the first in our family to go to Mottafollone, my trip became a pilgrimage of sorts for him. I gave him an album of photographs I’d taken when I returned and have posted some of them with this blog. My father passed away in 2008. He cherished these pictures very much and I hope you enjoy them, too.

[nz_sep top=”20″ bottom=”20″ width=”” height=”” type=”solid” color=”#e0e0e0″ align=”left” /]

Do you have cherished photographs connected to your family history? I’d welcome your comments. Cetraro, Calabria train station view

 

Cetraro, Calabria

Cetraro, Calabria Cetraro is situated in Cosenza Province. The coastline has dramatic rocky cliffs as well as stretches of sandy beach.

Cetraro, Calabria

Old town Cetraro is perched above the coast where a modern marina is located. Fishing and tourism are the major activities for the 10,000 people living here.

Cedri Riviera coastline

Cetraro is between Paola on the south and Praia a Mare on the north on a stretch of coastline known as the “Cedri Riviera” that is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination.

[nz_sep top=”20″ bottom=”20″ width=”” height=”” type=”solid” color=”#e0e0e0″ align=”left” /]

Mottafollone, Calabria

Mottafollone is a mountain village about 18 miles northeast of Cetraro. It is situated with Pollino National Park and accessible by driving up a winding road.

Andreoli's small grocery/convenience store

My father was excited when he saw the name “Andreoli” on the sign of this small grocery/convenience store. It had been his mother’s maiden name but I was unable to find a family connection.

The Grand Hotel San Michele

The Grand Hotel San Michele is situated on a 125-acre estate overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea about two miles outside of Cetraro. It has an onsite farm that produces most of its food.

[nz_sep top=”20″ bottom=”20″ width=”” height=”” type=”solid” color=”#e0e0e0″ align=”left” /]

Mottafollone, Calabria cemetery

Mottafollone is a traditional town of about 1,300 people. Farming, olive production, grape cultivation and government offices are the major economic activities.

Piazza Dante Alighieri, Mottafollone, Calabria

These are the abandoned ruins of a medieval castle that once served as the fortified residence of a feudal lord. The village’s symbol is a crab.