Italian Memories – Back Down Memory Lane

italian memories Last month(August), my two younger sisters, Lucia and Claudia along with Florence and myself headed off to my dads home place in Italy for 10 days. This was my third trip back there since 2010. My father hails from an area of Lazio called Frosinone – more specifically in a little semi village called “La Macchia”, right in the heart of Casalattico. I have a lot of childhood Italian memories from when I used to come here with my parents.

The 10 day trip was meant to be a nice chance to catch up with relatives, eat good food and get some sun. And it turned out to be exactly that kind of trip!

We had a car rented for the duration of the stay making it very easy to travel around the area.

The main reason why we choose to come out in August was due to the local festa(festival) which takes place there every year, literally right outside the doorstep of the family in La Macchia. This festival is a celebration of Saint Augustine. It was something which I heard a lot about growing up so I was finally glad to have been there for it. Its probably best to keep details of the festival for a separate post, so I won’t go into detail about the actual festival.

Back in April, I also came out here for a week, with my two sisters and mother. This was my mothers first time back in Italy in 25 years and also the first time to see a lot of my dad’s family in equally as long. What amazed me the most was the fact that she was more than capable of speaking Italian and conversing with them. We knew she had decent enough Italian but seeing her talking away with our Italian relatives with ease was just brilliant.

It annoyed me at the same time, because here I was not knowing much Italian, apart from the a few very basic greetings. So much so, that I was unable to really communicate with any of them. They didn’t speak English either so something had to be done. This was my own fault and years and years of procrastination finally had to be eliminated.

Fast forward to August and this trip! While I certainly can’t speak Italian with any fluency or claim to know bucket loads, I do however now possess a decent building block of Italian thanks to “Michel Thomas” and his Italian for beginners audio course. I worked on this steadily from April to August and it has given me a solid base from which to develop further when I want to.

So during the 10 days for this trip not only was I able to communicate more effectively with my Italian family but I was also able to get around and use the Italian I had learned in everyday situations like restaurants, local markets etc. Florence was very impressed with how much I was able to understand and speak, so that alone was worth the effort.The saying is true though regarding learning a language – speaking and practising are the best ways to fully get to grasps with a language.

Laying by the pool, shopping in local markets and eating spectacular food was the normal day to day routine out there. The scenery was just amazing and I brought my Nikon D80 SLR and Canon G12 cameras with me just so as I could experiment with different types of shots and settings. With guaranteed hot, summer weather it would have been a shame not to make the most of the potential for a cracking photograph to arise from the trip, so I was rarely seen without at least one camera draped over a shoulder.

Myself and Florence had visited Rome back in 2010 for a day while out there, and we just went to the Vatican and some other spots, but we didn’t get off at the correct stop for the Coliseum. Which meant due to time constraints caused by our train home to Casalattico, we were unable to visit the Coliseum. So we decided to head back to Rome this time around and just visit the Coliseum and nothing else. And that’s exactly what we did. But rather than go on a tour we just stopped outside and got our photo’s taken and went again. So we’ve that ticked off the “to see” list.


Apart from that day trip, we basically stayed around the local area and chilled. A few days, we drove around Casalattico visiting other quaint villages which are pebble dashed on the mountains. You’ll be able to get a better picture of these villages from the photos included.

One other strong motivation for me visiting my dads home place is to see Giacomo Colizza, who is my first cousin. “Jag” as he was always known as lived with us here in Ireland for 8 years back in the 1980’s. He moved over in the late 70’s as a young 14 year old to try and make a life for himself. He helped my mum and dad in the chipper business and lived with us throughout his 8 years in Boyle. For me as a young boy, I always viewed Jag as my brother and I suppose I didn’t know any different initially.
However, in 1987 Jag’s parents wanted him to move back home in order to help them and his other two brothers and one sister with the farm work. I remember the pain and heartache to this day leaving him up to Dublin airport with my dad to say goodbye. The pain was mutual as Jag was now a 22 two year old who had spent 8 wonderful years in Boyle and was a big part of the community. Everyone loved him and he was a character. He was totally troubled by the thoughts of leaving Ireland, but his family needed him and he did the right thing. When he left Ireland that day, it would be 22 long year’s before I returned to Italy to see him. So I’ve met with him a few times now and he acts and thinks exactly the same as he did all those years ago. What astounded me the most, was the fact that he could speak English just as well as the day he left Ireland. Kind of like a reverse of my mum speaking Italian.

One day, I know Jag will come back to Boyle(when the time is right for him). For him, Ireland is where his heart was, is and always will be. He makes no secret of this fact. He wears his heart on his sleeve and leads a very simple life tucked away up in a mountain region called Rocco D’evandro

So we had a brilliant time in Italy yet again. Being able to stay in the family house is a huge advantage and it gives us a chance to hopefully catch up more with our relatives over the coming years. I regret not making more use out of it before 2010, but you live a learn I suppose.

Italy and Italian culture has always played a major role in my life. Even though I was born in Ireland, its nice to have that second country to call home as well. Its especially handy come football time when I’ll always have a country to cheer in the world/Euro championships if Ireland don’t qualify.

And yes, I was shouting for Ireland to beat Italy in the European championships this year!

Here’s a collection of some of the photos that I took during our time there.

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