Travel blogger Anthony Bianco retraced his roots all the way back to Italy.
As was the case with many Italian families post World War 2, my parents left Italy as kids for a new life in Australia because my grandparents on both sides thought the future was pretty bleak. Many Italians emigrated to either the United States or Australia. I had always been curious about why someone would want to leave the country of their birth, never to see it again to venture to another place that was completely foreign and where they didn’t know the language.
Going back to the country of your heritage to discover your roots is a pretty common occurrence for Australians as a large proportion of the population is made up of immigrants!
I went to Italy as part of a round the world backpacking trip in 2002 (well, I do call myself The Travel Tart!). I thought it was a great idea to pop in and see my origins! When I went to visit, some of my grandparent’s brothers and sisters were still alive so it was an ideal opportunity to see where they (and myself) came from. They were getting on a bit, so it was a good time to meet them in person.
My dad is from a small village called Muzzana del Turgnano in the Fruili region in north east Italy near the Slovenian border, and my mum is Sicilian – from a town called Giarre-Riposto near Catania. Some of my relatives have moved to other places in Europe like France and Switzerland.
I was pretty overwhelmed at first because I felt like a bit of a novelty. It’s a big deal when someone from the other side of the planet comes to visit, considering many of them had never ventured far beyond the village! Hence, when your grandparents where one of multiple kids, you end up becoming dragged around the village to as many relatives as possible who all want to meet you.