Gwen and Bob Domenico's Observations
on Mary Mollicone's Narrative and on the Trip Itself

September 2006
(Photos will be added as we get time)

Mary, this is quite remarkable - we are so grateful for your effort in bringing the entire experience back to life in this essay. It is beautiful, and far more detailed than we knew about at the time. For instance the history of the old castle/church. If I saw the fresco of the Madonna outside the old barn I don't remember. We couldn't add any further details - you covered everything. There are just a few things I wrote in our travel journal.

Things that amazed me:

You noted it too Mary, but the fact that all 21 of us gathered within an hour or so of each other in the square of Castiligone - all coming from different directions, some getting lost, some getting really lost (no names mentioned,) but we all arrived safe and sound at about the same time, is just a miracle. And Peter and Giovanna there to greet us all to begin this incredible journey.
The wedding in this small village of (142?) between two local people - and the old family traditions carried out before our eyes. Peter had told us how unusual it was that two people to marry from the same town of Castiligone. The groom coming down into the square from his hillside home with all his family and into the church. The bride follows at the arms of her father, leaving her house (right around the corner from the church) as the mother and aunt threw cumbits (sp) (candied almonds.) I remember Grandpa Cosimi throwing those at our wedding and I was very befuddled by it. Forty four years later they are still throwing them at the bride in Castiligone. I'm amazed how some traditions never change.

Things I won't forget:

The church service was beautiful and at times a surreal experience for all of us - even us non-Catholics. And afterward the emotional blessing to all our family members. I was gripped by the fact that so many years ago many of the ancestors couldn't wait to get to America and start a new beginning and what they went through to get here. Some so anxious to leave behind and fit into America they would change their name. And now a 100 years later their descendants couldn't wait to get back to those roots and what we did to get there (certainly not the hardship except on our pocketbooks) It all came around full circle - it just amazes me how this universe works.

I think there were (seven) cars following our leader Pierrino; weaving a caravan through the narrow country roads and streets on the way to Agnone. The lovely candy store that seemed right out of the movie "Chocolate" even the proprietor was beautiful. We wiped her out of the tin of fresh candied almonds she had in the back room. There was the beautiful little cemetery, which was scattered with headstones of our ancestors - all with electric candles and pictures of the deceased. Beautiful headstones that, after 25 years will be torn from the ground and replaced with someone new that has deceased. Everything seems more compact and simpler in this part of the world. The cheese factory on the way home where we bought cheeses so fresh we heard the goats out back. Frank bought fresh scarmotze, mozzarrella, parmigiano, pecorino and when we got back to our bed and breakfast our adorable waiter set up a picnic for us complete with wine, bread, white table clothes and a moon lit sky. We reminisced about the day we had just experienced and the family and how wonderful all our connections brought us to this place. 

I'd say this sorjorn to Castiligone was pretty much out of a movie except I was there so know it really happened.