Do you want to discover your origins? Do you want to complete your family tree? You can do it with me!
I started to work with Ancestry tours many years ago while working for a Car Company in the area. My job was to drive people to their relative’s village and work more as an interpreter.
I always felt that it is an amazing job where you can learn lots of stories about Italian immigrants and families. It’s very emotional to see when they find a relative, when they meet each-other and they are looking into each other's eyes to find a similarity.
So I made up my mind and I said I want to do this!. I want to make people happy and build a family tree. I'm not a genealogist, however I am passionate about people’s stories and discovering and connecting them with their Italian roots.
I would love to help you to find your family.
The success of your ancestry tour is contingent upon of me receiving as much information as possible, having this in advance will help me to understand your goals and plan your journey.
I offer an exciting and emotional tour to give you the opportunity to visit your ancestral hometown, spending the day with townspeople and/or relatives to find out your heritage of affection. I can facilitate the access to documents, serve as an interpreter and finally get in touch with your family members and possibly to meet them, maybe have a lunch together in a local trattoria where the traditional flavors have not change and drink the local wine. In Italy we say that wine "melts the tongue and opens hearts."
We will meet at the lobby of your accomodation at the fixed time, and I will drive you to your destination by a sanitized and comfortable Luxury Air-Conditioned Mercedes Vehicle and entertaining you with my "blah blah blah".
Upon our arrival in your town of origin, we will go directly to the town hall to meet the Major who will welcome you and where we will have the opportunity to do a first search together. I will stand by your side and I will be your interpreter. We will be able to browse the old records of the birth, marriage or death of your relatives then you can take pictures or have a copy of them.
In the afternoon I will also help you to access the ancestral birth and marriage certificates at the local churches. Often times it helps meeting the oldest priest who always knows the stories of the local families.
Then before our journey back we will walk through the streets of the village looking for the family home, talk to the locals, there are always gossip or funny stories to know. At the end of your exciting day with a backpack full of new emotions we will go back to your accommodation.
This tour is not available on Saturday, Sunday and during festive days because the Town halls are closed.
The tour could be arrange for one or multiple days in the Campania Region. In all the municipalities in the Province of Salerno, Naples, Benevento, Avellino and Caserta. However, tell me the name of the village or town where you want to go and I will let you know if it is possible for me to help you.
"Every family is unique and so are my services."
I would like to share the story of Bernie Gismondi, from Michigan, who reached out for my services finding his Italian heritage. He had planned a visit to the Amalfi Coast and it was the perfect opportunity to fullfill his dream of finding his family.
Bernie’s trip included searching for his Grandfather's birthplace in Italy. He had never met his Grandfather who had passed away before he was born and his GrandMother never spoke english and lived in a different state in the USA so he had very vague and limited knowledge of his family's roots.
We had talked over the phone before his visit to Italy and I advised him that I could assist him in the search of his family's history. He was able to supply me with some birth dates, marriage records and death notices to begin my research of his family's history.
With this limited information, I was able to search Italy's Military records which at that time required all 18 year olds to register with the military. I also was able to search ship records which identified the names and surnames and the dates of his Grandfather's and Grandmother's arrival in America. The ship records for his Grandfather identified his home town of Calvanico Italy. Once I identified his Grandfather's town of Calvanico, Province of Salerno, I was able to start my research of his family members.
I had contacted the churches in Calvanico who at the time of his Grandfather's birth kept all Birth records only to discover that an earthquake in 1980 had destroyed them. I contacted the municipal records to discover that the Mayor of Calvanico was named Francesco Gismondi.
I then visited mayor Francesco Gismondi in Calvanico before Bernie's visit to Italy and found out that they were related and second cousins. What are the chances?
When Bernie and his wife arrived in Amalfi, I picked them up at their Hotel to make the short trip to Calvanico where I had arranged a meeting with Bernie and mayor Francesco.
During our drive to Calvanico, we made an immediate connection with one another sharing our lives and families histories and I was able to give them a history of the surrounding towns as we drove to Calvanico.
Upon arriving in Calvanico, we stopped at the city's entrance and took pictures and then parked in the center of town and walked to city hall to meet Mayor Francesco Gismondi and his brother Raffaele. The meeting between these family members was very special where Bernie was presented with a book of the town's history and dedication with the town's officials.
I served as a translator for Bernie who did not speak Italian and for Mayor Francesco and his brother who did not speak English. We were able to show pictures of Bernie's family in America while they shared pictures of their family members in Calvanico.
Both Bernie and the mayor shared stories of their family migration to the USA and discovered many new facts about their families histories.
After our visit to city hall, the Mayor and his Brother escorted us to the town's premier bakery where we experienced their local dessert called “calzoncello” made with chestnuts. We then visited a local restaurant where the chef made an array of his favorite dishes and we experienced the local wine. I had to decline drinking wine due to my driving duties. 😉
The day was full of activities and brought an array of emotions to Bernie to discover his new family members and the history of his family's origin.
Upon our return to his hotel in Amalfi, he was overwhelmed by the effort's that I went through in advance of his arrival in Italy to connect him with his past. Bernie hopes to plan a future trip to learn more about his grandmother's birthplace.
I have shared this story with you on my website so if you find yourself visiting Italy in the future, I can provide you a guided service on finding your family history. If you decided to go for it, I suggest to start the research in advance of your visit to help you reconnect with your past.
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“…Stefania is absolutely amazing. We went to the Amalfi coast to celebrate my birthday and Stefania did an incredible job to make our trip unforgettable. She is an extremely competent driver and we felt safe and comfortable the entire time…”
- Amanda Leigh Prokop
“…Special thanks to Stefania who provided us with a family outing to my husband’s family home. She provided transportation, information and translation for an unforgettable day for my family and I. She MADE the whole experience above and beyond with her sociable style and caring personality. I can't thank you enough. Use this service! She is the best!”
- Lynn Di Poto
“…The four of us had a wonderful experience and it was all because of her. Stefania shared so many facts about the region and its history, she cued the best places to take formidable pics and always she did it with a big smile on her face. She was just wonderful…”
- Julio Proano