As I enter into my final week in Rome, I am overwhelmed with joy. These almost four months have been some of the best days of my life. Not only did I find my new home in Italy, I learned to live on my own, I can say some words in another language, I found THE best gelato place ever, I have seen so much history and I have made some incredible friendships. I was so blessed to be able to share this experience with the people closest to me and show them a place that I now call home. I made my way not only around Rome but to Venice, Milan, Assisi, Florence, Tuscany, Turi, Positano, Sorrento, Capri, Naples, Pompeii, Sicily, London and even Stockholm. And I met family I didn’t even know existed!
Well, these past two days have been some of the greatest in my life and were also some of the most challenging. My parents and I departed Rome at 10 a.m. on Monday in our Volkswagon Passat station wagon and headed toward Bari. For this part of our trip we were going to meet our relatives that live in Turi, which is right outside of Bari. My great-grandfather Angelo Spinelli on my mom’s side was born in Turi in 1902 and came to America in 1921 to live and raise a family. He left behind his parents and two of his sisters to go to America to join his oldest sister. Once in America, WellAngelo had two children, my grandfather and great aunt. Although my grandpa Perry never met his aunts or cousins, they were in touch by writing letters and sending photos.