Woke up this morning feeling a little anxious and very excited. Today we we were riding to Liardi the very small village that my Mum was born in, Pasqualina Sirianni and my Nonna and Nonno raised their 10 children.
We left the small town of Conflenti, the village was about 20 minutes over the hill and in the next valley. Google at its best again took us on the most remote winding, rocky, potholed, gravel road, we were the only vehicles on the road thank goodness.
The only indication that we had arrived was the signpost! Not knowing where to start but thinking with only about 10 houses in the village surely, we would find the house… wrong I found 2 houses that could have been it. Only recollection I have is off photos that I have seen. We went to the next little village up the road about 2 minutes for a coffee, sitting outside we started chatting to a man at the table next to us (as you do) it turns out his last name is Sirianni too! Angelo Sirianni. We explained who we were and what we were trying to do, he said he would do some investigating for us through the local council. We wondered off for a walk down the road, on way back we bumped into Angelo again who had gone to find a friend of his that spoke better English.
Once again, small world stuff – Ivo Rocca knew my whole family! He used to have a pizza shop in Melbourne and remembered when the Sirianni’s left Italy for Australia in 1957. He was also good friends with the tailor who made a lot of the Sirianni’s clothes. Both Angelo and Ivo said to follow them back to the village of Liardi to see what we could find out.
The few locals came out to give us what information they could, there were a lot of hand gestures and Spanish/Portuguese/Italian attempted, also let’s not forget google translate… best invention yet.
Angelo invited us back to his house for lunch, we were most grateful, especially after all the running around he has done for us. Mortadella, bread, pasta and let’s not forget the red wine! Angelo had the most amazing happy eyes, they are greenish/blue and reminded me of my Nonno. The few hours turned into a whole day and we have been invited back to stay with Angelo on our return up the country.
One of the last memories of the day for us was the short distance between villages as the crow flies, but how distant they were by road because of the steep hilly terrain. People from one side to the valley had little idea of the towns on the other side, still to this day.
Liardi, a special place!