In 1904, Domenico Martino left Ripacandida, in the province of Potenza, to emigrate to the United States of America. There, he met and married a woman from Ripacandida and together they gave life to their numerous family. The existence of Domenico was made of work and sacrifices to give a better future to his children, born in America and, therefore, American citizens.
This is the romantic premise to introduce the tour of the origins played a few days ago in Ripacandida in collaboration with Italianside, specialized in genealogical research: in fact, we accompanied three of Domenico Martino’s nephews looking for their origins. Two of them had never been to Italy, but the call of the roots led them to come for a week in Basilicata.
Visiting Ripacandida to discover their origins
With them we consulted the original records of the registry office of the municipality of Ripacandida, we walked in the street where the grandfather was born, we chatted with families of the same surname, trying to understand if they were distant relatives of our three guests; we also tasted the typical dishes of the local tradition, tasted the good Aglianico wine, discovering that Ripacandida has always produced an excellent honey.
We were thrilled to admire the frescoes of the sanctuary of San Donato, an real jewel set among rolling hills that hosts wonderful examples of Renaissance painting.
Relive the same emotions as grandfather Domenico
Domenico Martino never came back to Italy, leaving behind a trail of memories and affections, but also a life of hardship and fatigue. After three generations, here we are with three of his many nephews, to retrace the same roads that covered his grandfather, to visit the same churches where he knelt to pray, to recall the simple habits that probably fell his days.
Ripacandida today has 1,400 inhabitants, but it seems that at least 20,000 have gone away. Walking in the corridors of the town hall, it is exciting to admire the reproductions of the photos of the early ‘900: scenes of everyday life such as the band of the village playing in the streets, a wedding, the barber at work. Among those photos, our friends also recognized an uncle, when he was still in the village, before he emigrated!
What to say? We shared pleasant emotions and stories with them. Their trip to Basilicata, meanwhile, ended in Matera, symbol of a city with a difficult past that today reappropriates its dignity. An evolution that just recalls the life path of Italian immigrants!