Embracing Italian Roots: Lorenzo Musci’s Journey of Resilience and Family Bonds
In the heart of Santeramo in Colle, a small town in the Province of Bari, Italy, in 1939, a poignant reunion took place. Lorenzo Musci, now approaching the age of eighty, had returned to his Italian roots after twenty-seven years in the United States. The purpose of his visit? To meet his grandchildren, born to his son who had decided to return to Santeramo.
This touching journey is a story of family, emigration, and resilience that spans several decades. The following is based on a text in the National Diary Archive of Pieve Santo Stefano. The archive contains the stories and images of hundreds of Italians who have left Italy and traveled across the world, from the 19th century to today.
Emigration to the USA
Lorenzo Musci’s emigration to the United States took place in 1912. He and his family settled in Ohio, where, life centered around hard work. Lorenzo’s five older children later primarily worked in the Akron rubber factories that produced tires for automobiles. However, Lorenzo’s expertise lay in agriculture, a tradition passed down from his ancestors.
To provide for his family, Lorenzo purchased a farm located not far from Akron. When they were young, the children attended a nearby school. The early years were not without hurdles, as Lorenzo’s wife struggled with their rural life. Eventually, she and Lorenzo moved to Akron, leaving the farm in the hands of Lorenzo’s second son, Luigi.
Nostalgia Beckons …
The desire to return to her Italian roots never left Lorenzo’s wife. After seven years of living in America, she was determined to return to her Italian roots. Lorenzo, however, had different thoughts on the subject. Daily arguments ensued, but it was impossible to persuade her to stay in the United States. Eventually, he gave in. The year was 1919, when the family embarked on their return journey to Italy.
A Bittersweet Reunion: Rediscovering Italian Roots
Returning to Italy after seven years in America stirred feelings of nostalgia and hardship. The aftermath of World War I had left Italy grappling with numerous difficulties, and poverty was pervasive. Despite the adversities, the family persevered. However, their yearning for America grew stronger. After nine months in Italy, Lorenzo’s wife decided that they should make their way back to the United States.
Return to the USA
Lorenzo and his family once again set sail for the United States. This time, accompanied by a young relative. This relative would later marry Lorenzo’s second son, Luigi.
Italian Roots Rekindled
In a large family with several children, only one of Lorenzo’s sons chose to make Italy his permanent home. During their initial return to their Italian roots, Lorenzo’s son had married and started a family. Although the United States held its allure, he found it impossible to return there with his parents and siblings, as he had built a life in Italy. This included owning a café close to the Santeramo Town Hall.
It was in 1939 that Lorenzo’s wife encouraged him to embark on a journey to visit their son in Italy and meet his grandchildren, whom he had never met before..
Mistaken for an American Spy …
However, Lorenzo’s return was not without its share of difficulties. Immediately after arriving in Santeramo, a Carabinieri Marshal came to see him. He issued Lorenzo with a travel document. Lorenzo would need to present the document to authorities in every town he visited during his stay.
Connecting with Italian Roots: Turismo delle Radici
The recurring cycle of emigration and return defined Lorenzo Musci’s life, mirroring the intricate choices that countless emigrants confront. His life story showcases the resilience of emigrants who left their corner of Italy in search of a better life. It is a story of family, sacrifice, and the enduring connection between two countries. Lorenzo’s journey, marked by departures and returns, is a narrative of love and longing, reflecting the experiences of countless Italian emigrants during the early 20th century and beyond.
In 2024, the Italian government is set to unveil an array of exciting events and initiatives under the banner of “Turismo delle Radici” or Roots Tourism. This unique form of travel is specifically designed for Italian nationals and individuals of Italian descent residing outside of Italy – a global community that boasts approximately 80 million people.
The project, spearheaded by the Italian government, will offer a remarkable opportunity for overseas Italians, individuals with Italian heritage, and enthusiasts of Italian culture to explore ancestral ties and connections with Italy. It will provide a profound immersion into the rich tapestry of traditions, culture, cuisine, wine, unforgettable experiences, and heartfelt emotions that characterize Italy’s essence.
As lawyers who specialize in Italian and cross-border inheritance law, we are often asked to look into origins and inheritance. De Tullio Law Firm is therefore thrilled to be part of various Turismo delle Radici projects. Stay tuned for event updates and more. Additionally, if you require assistance with Italian inheritance matters, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
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