For the love of villages

Andre our human alarm pops by outside the window. We are taken to The Meeting Café for breakfast this morning and feast on fluffy cornetti again. I also discover the biggest jar of Nutella that I have ever seen; this one is so big it can be used as a seat.

My taste buds are exploding at the moment and it is only appropriate to match this giant jar with a giant spoon- I’m all set for the morning. What a dreamboat this big jar is!!

Andre then took us to his partner, Federica’s family business, one shop is a lingerie and ladies wear boutique and the other menswear, I went totally over board on items here but the range and quality is top notch. We have been ridiculously spoilt. Thanks so much guys!!

We went for a walk around the town and spent a little bit of time exploring the shops and got lost in an old school toy shop, it’s fun remembering how the old back yard toys use to be before technology took over. Lots to choose from so we bought gifts for the kids of the families we are seeing during our time here.

Anton’s cousin Danielle invited us over to her house for coffee. It was another change to really get to know each other and exchange stories of our families. It was a pretty raw time hearing about their mother’s death through the disease. The resilience and strength of these guys is quite amazing.

We added our hand print and wrote a thank you message on a feature wall of their home, all guests add to this wall when they visit their home. What a cool idea.

It was back to Zio’s house for lunch, Lorenzo has cooked up a big pot of home made pasta. We are salivating over the aroma as we walk inside the house. Over vino we look through old family photos and learnt more about Anton’s family of origin.

This is quite a special time and you will understand where I’m coming from if your parents migrated to Australia. If you have been lucky enough to return to their home land (with or without them), you will know that no matter how much you learn about your heritage and family history – until you actually visit their home land – it’s difficult to really understand and feel the connection with the life they lived abroad.

It appears to be a bit of a Cianflone family trait as Marco serenaded us with his guitar, all the boys appear to enjoy a bit of a strum. Marco is a very talented guitarist. It is also exciting to meet Marcella, Marco’s girlfriend who just arrived; her English is excellent so we have great conversation.

It’s time to hit the road Jack. We travel in a convoy to Sant’Onofrio to meet with the other cousins and for Anton and I to stay with them for a few days. On the way we stop at the villages where Anton’s parents were raised. Anton was able to get the same photo his parents got at his age, standing in front of a tree at the old church in Dupodi.


Apparently all the family photos were taken in front of this tree back in the day. The old railway station is near by and although now defunked, Zio told us stories from when they use to catch the trains as children.

We walked the land of Pinopoli where Anton’s mum was raised as a child. Apparently in this small village the authentic Italian coffee is brewed; barley based and tastes a little different to the average blend.

As we enter the cafe, we are welcomed into an old coffee bar that is home to nothing more than a few dining tables and quality coffee. In a village where English is very limited (perhaps non existent), it had to be a sign that Tom is with us when we hear his funeral song playing faintly from a radio behind the counter.

As we drive closer to our next destination there are many refugees from Africa roaming the streets, apparently there is a detention centre near by processing the men and women. Also evident was many prostitutes working on the sides of the highway, it isn’t unusual to see a sex worker every few kilometres.

We arrive at Sant’Onofrio to Zio (Zio means uncle if I haven’t mentioned that previoiusly) Pino’s house. He is Anton’s dad’s sister (Anna) husband – you got it? Anna is also deceased; she is one of the sister’s that was sadly taken by the disease.

We are introduced to Anton’s three cousins –Rosa, Antonella and Giovanna and Rosa’s husband Franco and their two boys Giuseppe and Antonino. We also spoke to Anton’s other cousin (the forth of the sisters) on skype as she is living in Torino practicing medicine.

How sweet that colorful bunting and a hand made sign, that read Benvenuti a Casa Nostra – Welcome to our Home.


On this property the entire family lives, there are two houses and then another house that all the “living” occurs at. In many Italian (and European for that matter) houses the cucina (kitchen) of the home often doesn’t get utilized. There is usually another one built out the back that is used. This is the exact set up here.

We all enjoy dinner together, everything that is on this table is home made and from the garden including the vino, antipasto, prosciutto, cantaloupe, boccocini, olives, ndujia (salami mix with chili- it is a specialty to Spilinga) and even the bread.

Then we enjoy the main course Calabrian sausage, pork, cucumber, tomato and red onion salad. The cipola (red onion) is sweet and is renowned in this part of Italy. For dessert we eat homemade strawberry flan, cream and strawberry scroll, Nutella crossing cakes and champagne.


The two young boys play music for us all night; they are 13 and 8 and play drums, tamborie and piano organetta (accordion) at the local pizzeria and at other functions but tonight put on a show for us.

We dance until 3am. Definitely time for bed.. X

Anna Owens is the founder of ownsit! A mama working in Community Development and Partnerships Education. Anna is a colour crazy, creativity enthusiast who loves to design, collect shoes, eat & travel.. x

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