La Nostra Famiglia a Montescaglioso
(Our Family in Montescaglioso)

In 1907, Michele Ditaranto, at the age of 24, left his birthplace in Montescaglioso, located in the Basilicata Region of southern Italy, and arrived in the United States.  Once he had a job and a place to live, he reached out to friends in Montescaglioso in search of a wife.  In 1912, Elisabetta Perrone and her only sibling, sister Rosalia, who had been orphaned in Montescaglioso when they were young girls, also emigrated from Italy and arrived in New York.  On May 23, 1912, Elisabetta married Michele in Manhattan, New York City. 

Elizabeth (Elisabetta) and Michael (Michele) DiTaranto (Ditaranto)

Together they raised a large family in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Their first born son, Angelo, died while still a young man, but five boys and three girls would grow to be the mothers and fathers of a new generation of American Ditarantos. 

Back row l to r: Joseph (Giuseppe) DiTaranto, Peter (Pietro) DiTaranto, Frank (Francesco) DiTaranto, George Gingerelli, Vincent (Vincenzo) DiTaranto and Vito DiTaranto
Front row l to r: Rose (Rosena) DiTaranto, Ida (Aida) DiTaranto and Rosemarie (Rocco Marie) DiTaranto

Today, there are four generations of Ditaranto descendants living in the United States and numbering more than 70.  In 2016, many of those descendants gathered together with their Gingerelli/Gengarelli cousins at a family reunion in Worcester.

Gingerelli/DiTaranto Cousins' Reunion - July 30, 2016

Two months later, two of those descendants, George and Carmella, embarked on a journey to southern Italy to discover their roots and walk in the footsteps of their grandparents.  Armed only with the knowledge that their grandfather, Michele, had a younger brother, Giuseppe Ditaranto, who had several children, they arrived in Montescaglioso on October 6, 2016.  Upon arrival, they learned that three of Giuseppe's children, sisters Agata, Natalina and Maria, were alive and still living in Montescaglioso.  They also obtained the address of the street where Elisabetta Perrone had been born and raised. 

Carmella and George stand below the sign identifying the street where their grandmother lived

the street where Elisabetta Perrone lived

Next came the stuff of dreams, as they actually walked in the footsteps of their ancestor.

Carmella walks in the footsteps of her grandmother with Nancy and Lucia

George walks in the footseps of his grandmother

and then, thanks to the research efforts of Lucia from Il Borgo Ritrovato ...


 and Gianluca, their guide, driver, and translator from, they located "le tre sorrelle" (the three sisters) and made contact ...

(Carmella embraces her mother's first cousin, Maria Ditaranto)

"This is your uncle in America, Michele Ditaranto"

It should be noted that there had been little or no contact between the Italian and American Ditaranto families in nearly 100 years.  Yet, a few minutes later, we found ourselves in the presence of le tre sorrelle, Agata, Natalina and Maria, the daughters of our grandfather's brother - first cousins to our mother and her siblings (see photo above). 

Maria, Agata and Natalina

We were soon joined by other members of the Ditaranto family ...

Carmella, Vita Rosa and George

Vittoria Maggiore and Michele Palmieri

Carmella with Agata and Natalina

Natalina, Antonio, Moris and Tommaso

What followed 2 days later, was nothing short of spectacular.  Our Ditaranto "cugini di Montescaglioso" threw a party for us that included four generations of our Italian family, ranging in age from 92 to 3 months.  We talked (sometimes with the help of our translator, Gianluca), laughed, sang, danced and, of course, ate and drank, until well past midnight.  Words cannot describe the mutual joy that filled the room that night, but these photos will help to tell the story and introduce members of "la nostra famiglia a Montescaglioso."

Agata (far right) and her family l to r: Giuseppina & Mario with Verazanna, Elisabetta & Tommaso with twins Vitalba and Carolina,
 Mariella (holding Veronica) & Antonio, Vita Rosa (next to Agata) & Pietro (behind her)

Natalina (second from left) and her family l to r: Angela & Rocco, Natalia, Giovanna & Francesca with Francesco (behind),
Rosa (next to Natalina) & Giuseppe

Maria (second from left) and her family l to r: Carmine (holding Giuseppe) & Tirsa, Tommaso holding Maria,
Giuseppina & Vincenzo, Giuseppe (next to Maria) and Domenica (holding Francesca) with Giuseppe

Natalina's family & her Cugini di America

Maria's family & her Cugini di America

Antonio Riccio Ditaranto with niece Veronica

l to r: Agata, Nancy, Mariella, George, Natalia, Angela, Carmella, Domenica (Mima),
Francesca, Francesco, Tirsa, Natalina and Elisabetta

Tommaso Ditaranto & Domenica with their children Giuseppe, Maria and Francesca

Mariella Andriulli & Antonio Riccio Ditaranto with his niece Veronica

Nancy with twins Vitalba & Carolina, Giuseppina, Carmine and Angela

Carmella, Agata, Nancy, Rosa, Giuseppina and Vita Rosa

sisters Natalina and Maria with Vincenzo & Giuseppina behind

enjoying dinner

Angela, Mariella, Antonio, Francesco, Natalia (behind) and Francesca

Mariella, George, Rosa, Angela (seated), Carmella, Natalia, Antonio, Francesca and Francesco

Vita Rosa, Agata and Nancy

Mariella, Angela, Carmella, Natalia, Francesca and Natalina

Nancy and one of the twins (Vitalba or Carolina)

Nancy, Mariella, Angela, Carmella, Natalia, Francesca, Francesco, and Natalina

Vita Rosa and Pietro

... and what's an Italian party without music!

It is my sincerest wish that I will someday be with these wonderful people again and that my children, grandchildren and future generations in America, will get to know their Ditaranto cousins in Montescaglioso.  Alla famiglia!

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