Our Family dinner in Bisaccia, Avellino:   Shown around the table are first cousins, second cousins as well as third.  It was a most wonderful and emotional reunion especially for my sister Teresa who visited for the first time.   They were most thrilled and honored to meet her and emotions were stirred all around.   I will not go into the long history of my Father’s Family The Romei Family which actually goes back hundreds of years and originated in the Ducale city of Ferrara.  The original name of Romei most likely a derivative of ancient Romulea; hence the name of the actual street where our house is located: via Romulea which is now called Corso Romulea.   So from Ravello I drove our family group about two hours; partially along the Amalfi Drive to Salernno then North to Avellino and then East into the Irpinia’s and the rolling fertile hills dotted with sheep and bales of hay, wheat farms, etc. to the little village perched on top of a rocky mount; Bisaccia, Avellino.   We stayed where I have stayed before at The Zia Nicolina which is a very popular restaurant and pizzeria; they have very simple rooms upstairs costing about 25 euros for a single and 45 euros double including a simple breakfast.   Yes it is simple, somewhat rustic even, but the pasta, breads, and pizza will delight every bite!!   Maria is he owner; she is actually a distant cousin; her son Nino is also The Chef and helps runs the place.   Its conveniently located at the large intersection which is at the beginning of Bisaccia Nuovo or New Bisaccia (the new town was built because of several earthquakes over the years in old or original Bisaccia).   Because my sister does not speak or understand much Italian; I contacted the Museo Civico which just opened a few years ago and asked if there was perhaps a young student or someone who spoke English who I could hire for an afternoon to walk us through the town and explain the history in English to my sister and her husband Joe.  A few days later I received a message from Antonia Franscione who was delighted to assist.  Her father who I know was publisher of the La Torre which was the magazine of Bisaccia for many years.   Recently her father actually wrote the Bisaccesi Dictionary which is a wonderful book of the local dialect of Bisaccia.   Yes in this small little village and hamlet; there is a very unique and definite culture unto to itself including food, language and not to mention its Five Churches, One Cathedrale, Ancient Ruins dating back to the Iron and Bronze Age, a ducal Castle going back to King Frederick II! and now they even have a Museum complete with galleries of artifacts and the famous tomba 66 of the principessa and her jewelry dated back to 400 BC!!   We were amazed to learn so much about the history of this land and mini kingdom however the visit was mainly to reunited my sister with her family and showcase only a piece of the family history from this part of Italy!

One of my father’s cousin’s Vincenzina Deluca who I have not seen in almost 30 years!!!

My sister Teresa and myself in front of the Romei House still being restored after the devastating earthquake of 1980!

Three cousins finally together.   Yesterday morning I drove our Group to Aquilonia; another village even further away where my cousin Antonio lives with his wife and family.

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  1. David Romei says:

    Michael, what an amazing trip! As i’m scrolling thru and reading about where you’ve been, it makes me wish that I could have been with you sharing those wonderful experiences. It makes me want to go there and visit every single place you were at! Hope to see you soon, and i hope all is well. Love David.

  2. Ciao, Michael! My grandfather, Michael (Michele) Nigro is also from Bisaccia. He first cousin, Tony, is still there. My husband and I visited him, his wife, Rosa and daughter Maria and her family in 2009. I hope to visit again in September of 2013. I am co-host and c0-producer of an Italian American radio show, CIAO! here in Central New York, Perhaps we are related going back to an earlier century! I’m at

  3. Richard D. Romei says:

    Michael, Could we be related? My grandfather, Vincent Romei, was born in Bisaccia in 1873. He and his brother, Michael, migrated to Brooklyn were my father Julius was born in 1914. My grandparents died in 1922. Uncle Mike had a Taylor shop on Dekalp ave until the late 1940’s

  4. Joanne Pocchiari says:

    Hi Michael, my name is Joanne – my mom was born in Bisaccia along with her siblings, of course, this was years ago. I remember the town so well; visited there in 1957 & 1968, my mom’s maiden name was Arminio and I am sure your relatives know of our family. my email address is:

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