Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chiavari, Conscenti, Zerli (The breeding grounds of my Italian Heritage)

So this post comes before my highly anticipated Interlaken video post due to high demand. the next 2 posts after this will be strictly videos. So this past weekend might have been the most gratifying and satisfying weekend of the trip i guess...no heavy drinking, no big partys, no girls, yet still was one of the best weekends of the trip

This trip started on a limb due to the fact that Prague fell thru again, so rather than stayin and in the english infested florence, i gave my cousin sergio a call and saw if he was free for the weekend, and he was.
So it begun with that, i rallied my long lost cousin paul(who is related to sergio as well) and hopped on the train friday afternoon. Train ride was highly enjoyable as it was very spacious and had some great scenery of some past favorite towns: Viareggio, PietraSanta and Cinque Terre. Around 7pm we arrived in Chiavari too find Sergio browsing thru the local periodicals.
For those who do not know, Chiavari is a sick little sea side town and reminded me a lot like lido and cinque terre. Chiavari was lot cooler than i had originally pictured it.
That night Sergio set us up in his moms apartment all to ourselves.. he completely remodeled the place and it was truly a sick pad. the shower was amazing, it was more of a jacuzzi shower as ther were jets from the sides hitting u while under the shower..also all the blinds r monitored by a remote control..very fancy. we walk in and sergio had all these pastries and donuts waiting for us for breakfast the next 2 morning and a carton of milk. cant get that type of hospitality in any hotel or hostel

After we put our bags down and toured the place we would stay for the next 2 nights, he drove us to Conscenti, a town bout 7 minutes inland from Chiavary, to show us his house. There i met his family and we all went out for a huge italian dinner. they had never tried the testraunt before and it was truly amazing..some of the best ravioli i have ever tasted. after that we got some pesto and some fried plate where i believe i ate cow brains, to this day i do not know what it was, but too be honest it really wasnt bad, atleast to the point where i believe i was told it was cow brains and sergio joking that it was testicles..so yea, either way it was great and a extremely filling meal.
After dinner Sergio went home cuz he was not feeling good and to sleep. Me and Paul went with the girls for a ride in the car to bordering towns. Believe the coast town we stopped in was called Sestri Levante, gotta double check that. So we strolled along the ocean then headed back as we were full and tired. brought me and paul back to our place and passed out in our comfortable beds

Next day after the exciting shower and pastries, we met Sergio around 11 and went to cruise around Chiavary, including some open air markets and fruit stands. lotta fun, THen after our time their we headed to Portofino, stopping at the towns Rapallo and Santa Margerita. Portofino is known for its spectacular waterfront views and for being extremely expensive(5 euro an hr for parking, 10 euros in the summer). we stayed ther for bout an hr, just cruisin and doing a small little hike to Castello Brown that overlooks the port and the rest of the Mediterranean coast. fun times

After that we began our coast drive back to Chiavari. We then went back to Sergios house, after tellin him our enjoyable vespa ventures, he then showed us his 1963 Vespa that he has kept in fabulous condition. took a while to get it started, but worked great after that..

Sergio rode it around for a bit then asked paul if he wanted to drive it, being that paul knows how to drive manual. so he hoped on and cruised then i got on the back and we went for another great vespa adventuregot another great vespa vid on the way. So after our ride we went to the house where Sergio grew up at. The house is now transformed into 9 apartments that he rents out but it was great to see where he lived as a kid. He showed us his 1965 Fiat 850. once again, Sergio keeps it in great condition and has completly restored it with a new engine and motor all with his own 2 hands.

After that he took us to the cemetary where many of our relatives our buried. This cemetery was full of Garibaldi's and Noceti's(Pauls last name). it was fascinating and to even think that i am probly somehow related to almost half of them. i think. I then saw where my grandmothers parents were buried and Sergios mom. It was very emotional as this is where my immediate family started and was truly a satisfying moment. really meant alot to me and hit me deeply.

After the cemetary we continued onward to the town of Noceto, where pretty much all of the Noceti's originate from and where pauls distant relatives grew up. Very small town yet comfortable and tranquil. looking outward from Noceto you could see the house wher my grandma grew up, details to follow

After Noceto we continued up the mountain to Zerli, which is my grandpa's home area. We headed to the town of Gosita to visit with my cousins, more specifically the wife(my dads Aunt) of one of my grandpas brothers, and her son Giuseppe. They run a small restraunt in Gosita which is open 3 days a week and has some great food. I did not get to eat ther because my trip was too short in advance as they already dinner reservations, however when i go back in december, i will be there filling my stomach. It was before dinner, so they were preparing the food. WE sat around and talked for bout an hour and it was enjoyable to meet them and cant wait to go back and try their food.

It was getting late and we headed back to Sergios where we had an amazing dinner of pesto pasta and pizza. once again filling. that night we ate late and was around 1130 so bein that we had a long day we headed to bed

Train left at 3 on sunday so we started the day early. We headed to the house where my grandmother grew up, i forget the village name, however like i said before very close to Noceto. So we arrived and met Stella, who now lives in the recently added house right next to the old house where my grandma grew up. She was very nice. my grandmas house has been preserved and has not been altered at all. Stella was kind and gave us a tour of the house. got to see the room where my grandma slept, wooden floors, and cobwebs on the roof. it was truly amazing and words cant even describe it...definitly somethin special.

After visiting with Stella for awhile and seeing where my grandma grew up as a child we hoped back in the car to go back to Zerli where my grandpa lived.
So Sergio is a great an aggressive driver, and these dirt roads in the mountains r narrow and curvy. sergio takes them without caution. this one turn we came inches from a head on collision with another car. they exchange some words and they recognize they know eachother and drive on..it was about a 4 second interaction. 5 seconds later Sergio says: shit that was ur other cousin! yea it was..name was Benedetto and i made eye contact yet never got to meet him. Fortunately for me ill be seein him in december when we go back..but one of the craziest things of the weekend..to think of the chances, and just passing right by one of my cousins.

So yea funny and unfortunate at the same time. I saw the town and from a distance the house where my grandpa grew up but did not have time to go to it(in december i will). So instead we went to another cemetery to find once again just a myriad of Garibaldis and Nocetis..mostly Garibaldis however. This time i got to see the resting places of my grandpas parents and his brothers. trully remarkable as the pictures look so alike to that of my grandpa. once again very emotional and heart taking.

After the cemetery we had to get back to the train station as our train left soon. and that was pretty much the conclusion of the weekend. here is a picture of Paul and I with Sergio and his 2 daughters
This weekend was up ther as one of my favorites, and all though it ws not as entertaining as my other weekends, it was gratifying in its own unique way. As far as Im concerned family is the most important aspect of life, this weekend was tutta famiglia and it was fine by me. trully meant alot to me

to think that this is only 1 part of the family..still have about 10 more days with the entire rest of my family in Milan and Gallarate. cant wait for that as i know that too will be an extremely enjoyable and satisfiyng experience

leave for Rome with our program tomorrow..should be a interestin and fun weekend..
hope i can get these videos up before i leave but no promises...today is halloween and is also my first italian soccer game..gonna be wild

Peace out and Happy Halloween


  1. Good Stuff cugino. I def remember sergio and his daughters when they were out here. Have fun in Rome

  2. Joe,

    I've been to Zerli too. My grandparents are from Zerli my nonnas maiden name was Garibaldi.