Tour with Mark Holzbach in Sanza (Salerno)

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Friday 28 October 2022

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The last October 25 was a memorable day for Mark Holzabach and the Museo del Cognome. Sanza, a tiny village in the Salerno province, welcomed us with open arms.

It was not our first time in Sanza. Indeed, we got access to the local archive to check a bunch of records some days earlier. Thanks to the information we collected and the hints from the person in charge of the Registry Office, Mrs. Mariantonietta Iodice, we figured out some of Mark’s local distant cousins.

In the morning, Mario De Stefano brought us to the Town Hall to let us visit it once again. In the morning, Mario De Stefano brought us to the Town Hall to let us visit it once again. Mario also opened his home’s door to let meet his mom, Rosa Curcio, a lively 91-years old woman. Rosa’s grandfather was Mark’s great-grandmother’s brother. They showed us a lot of photos before leaving and visiting the other houses that belonged to the ancestors.

Lunch break at Saro restaurant. Tasty and rich. Homemade pasta and mushrooms tickled our appetite.

At 3:30 pm, we met Padre Giuseppe, an easy and well-educated person, at the Mother Church. After a visit through which we figured out there were some works made by Andrea Carrara, an artist from Padula, we moved to the sacristy, where the parish registers are kept. While scrolling through the pages of the baptisms books we found out Mark’s ancestors, ancestors with Cozza as a last name.

After some minutes, Mr. Giuseppe Catania reached us. Giuseppe is an amazing person. First, he brought us through the alleys in search of magnificent portals. Then, while the light was fading, we moved to the countryside. It was dark. Giuseppe stopped at the Fontana Vecchia (old fountain), the place where the sanzesi went to get water, and many marriages were born after many and long dates.
Dinner out at Bella Imbriana restaurant.

Besides Mario, we also met Franco and Tommaso, his brothers, and Michele Confuorto, Mark’s distant cousin from the Cozza line. We were delighted with many specialties: stuffed eggplants, omelet frittata, homemade salami, any kind of cheese, savoy cabbage and ricotta, mushrooms bruschette, polenta, and delicious ravioli (cauzuni). We shared chestnuts and desserts with Marisa Vitolo and Angelo Marotta, members of the Municipal administration, and also Vittorio Esposito, the Mayor. They came for the greetings.

Our thanks go to all the people we mentioned and to all the ones we met along the way while touring. Nice and friendly. A great thank goes to our interpreter Astrid Meijer. Without her, it would have been a “silent tour”.

Thanks to Teresa Lombardi who gave us the first hints to deal with this other amazing family history journey.