The plan was hatched at Jillian Giancarli’s H.S. Graduation. Italy 2020. My Mom and her Sisters along with all their spouses… And my immediate family tagging along. We had hoped for more family involvement, but this is a major international trip, and we were lucky to have this much coordination! Not only was the American family making plans. We also had family in Italy making plans to meet us when we arrived.
It was supposed to be the family trip of a lifetime. Not that we are in any danger of losing any family members… But we had the rare opportunity to have 5 (or more??) sets of families organized to meet in Rome… Eventually travelling to Beffi… The old family homestead.
Coronavirus 2020 stopped all that. At the time I write this, Rome has been moved up to a level 3 travel risk by the US government… Following in the footsteps of provinces in the northern part of that country.
This led us to cancel our trip that was scheduled to depart Illinois on the 17th of March. A level 3 alert could mean that we are quarantined upon arrival back into the USA… And that was not going to work for us. None of us could risk being locked down at home for two weeks.
Back to Beffi.
My Mom’s, Mom’s, Dad’s family (Giancarli) immigrated to the US from Beffi a very long time ago! I think? See I am not sure if its a Matioli or Giancarli lineage that arrived from Beffi. Could have been the Mom’s Mom’s Mom as well (Matioli). I was kind hoping to learn about all of this as we got the tour from family members who still remember those long emigrated branches of the family tree that extend to my fam.
Other members of my family have made the trek back to Beffi over the decades and report that the house my Great Grandfather was born in is still there. Truly, this must be a sight to see? I have no other tangible connection to anywhere else in the world that goes back this far. To go to this location and know that my history does not exist without this city in Italy would be an interesting moment to be sure.
Eventually… Some, not all, of the Beffi family made it the USA… And made their way to Peoria. When some members didn’t make it through Ellis Island and were sent back… Things got confusing. Again, I was hoping to learn more. The family that made it in were deposited at Guardian Angel Home on Heading Avenue in Peoria (Where Ang used to work) until more family could make it over to the states.
It was then that Dominic Giancari and Sarafina Mattioli would marry and make a home in Fairbury.
There are more stories involved… Like how Sara got across the border from Mexico as a second option that I dont really know that well. Might be time for an oral history with my grandmother so I have this all clear for the next generation!
This was the trip. Go to Rome for a few days. Hit the Vatican for a day. Then spend 2 days in the mountains Northeast of Rome at the family stomping grounds. Soak it in. I may never go there again. Take the kids, as they may never understand this all again without the extended family who would be present. Lots of opportunities to learn about our heritage that I fear now will be as fragmented as before.
I am not scared of Cornavirus per se… But I am concerned about the repercussions of coming back to the US before they have any kind of cure or vaccination. The bug will span the globe eventually. Its just a matter of time before we see it here whether we went to Italy or not!
On the bright side… We did get trip insurance. The trip we booked was with Great value vacations. We used them for Scotland last year and were really pleased. With the travel insurance, we were able to keep our monies for the trip and move them to a trip to be booked later. We lost a few hundred bucks, but overall, that was a fraction of the trip price. So, if we dont make Italy in the next 12 months, expect to see us in some other exotic local!