My brother, Vinnie, has been doing a lot of research regarding our family history recently. It turns out that my father's father never officially became an American citizen when he immigrated here at the age of 11, which means he never renounced his Italian citizenship and that means that his Italian citizenship, figuratively speaking, travelled through his line of blood to us. There's a big long process you've got to go through - and Vinnie is doing all the work - but the point is that we could potentially have dual citizenship if we wanted to, and we both think this would be great. Figuring out how to go about this has been difficult and Vinnie's put a lot of time into the whole thing. While there have been several complications and frustrations, one of the cool things about trying to get this done has been how much he has learned about our family's history in Italy.
My paternal grandfather's family lived in a town called Roggiano Gravina in the Calabria region of southern Italy, and my brother has been sending me and my family information about the area and our family's presence there since he started his research.
Today he sent me two YouTube videos depicting life in Roggiano Gravina. The first is a seven-minute long video taken from a car as it makes its way through the town's winding streets, past historic looking buildings, while a slow Italian pop song plays in the background. He headed his email with the subject line: "This is where we're from."
The second video, which was recorded at a party in the southern Italian town, he sent shortly after the first, and the second video's purpose, I suppose, is to remind us that not only do we come from a place of great beauty and culture, but that we are descended from a people who live life to the fullest.
Vinnie introduced the second clip with the subtle comment, "There is also this:"