Thanks to a dive into the past, Mary figured out her roots and some distant cousins in Padula.
The Ancestors Tour with Michele Cartusciello and the Museo del Cognome team was a trip of a lifetime that I shared with my husband and two young adult daughters. This was a 20 year dream and it was beyond anything I had imagined or expected. Over the years Michele had provided a multitude of genealogy research for me and when we arrived he showed us his daily plan for connecting us to this ancestral history. Michele, Giuseppina and Viviana made our experience magical from the moment we arrived. I was in awe of every detail that was planned for our visit. We spent 4 days walking the ancient streets and alleys, visiting the many churches filled with impressive art work, Museo di Presepi, eating local meals, learning to cook local vegetarian polpette with chef Michele, visiting a newly discovered decades old clothing shop, finding relatives and sooo much more! 4 days was not enough- I certainly must return. I was pleasently suprised by the amount of artistry and craftsmanship in the town-stunning at every turn. Padula is a hidden gem in southern Italy.
Michele surprised us with a meeting and lunch with a cousin. In late 1800s her G Grandfather, Francesco brought his younger nephew and my G Grandfather, Pasquale to New York. Pasquale remained and Francesco returned to Padula. Each creating the life direction of each of their descendants. The 2 branches remained unknown to each other until Michele reconnected us! We were invited into the ancestral home, tasted grapes from the property, and saw where the grapes were crushed for wine. They treated us with so much kindness and hospitality. My cousins mother even baked us a sanguinaccio dolce.
Anyone interested in genealogy and connecting to their ancestral history will be transformed after this visit and tour. Michele’s passion for ancestry and the history of Padula brought my families ancestry to life. You will feel deep roots and connection to the people and town of Padula.
Before we left Giuseppina asked if I felt that I was part of this town and I replied yes. She said that was her goal. The tour was emotional and I was so touched and grateful by everything that I was teary when I left.
If you are considering this tour- I recommend you just do it. You will have no regrets except maybe you did not do it sooner. I am eternally grateful to Michele, Giuseppina and Viviana for making my dream come true.