|The family shield, taken outside the house|
in Montecarlo with the shield over the door.
always interesting to find old family records—names, photos, places
of birth and occupations of deceased ancestors—but it’s 10 times
more fun to meet living relatives, especially when they are as
lively, gracious and cheerful as our distant Italian and French
weekend has been a celebration of the return of two Seghieri families
who immigrated to France from Italy in the 1800s (see Long lost French Seghieri families . . .). Two of the families
from the Marcucci neighborhood welcomed the seven French visitors
with a pizza dinner at La Terrazza pizzeria in Montecarlo Saturday
night. Linda, Cori and I also attended, while Lucy remained at home
to prepare food for the next day.
|Pizza dinner at La Terrazza.|
Linda and Cori had to return home early Sunday morning, Elena
presented Linda with a copy of the Seghieri family shield painted on
concrete. Elena had the shields hand-made by a craftsman from Lucca
especially for the French guests, but Linda and I each ordered one as
well. The rest of us received ours later.
|Our song leaders.|
met again in the yard of Davide, Elena and Flavia at 11 a.m. Sunday
for a potluck lunch that included many of the other Marcucci
families: Sergio and Silvana, Celestino and Antonella and their sons
Matteo and Diego, Ivo, Sandra, Nicola and Laura, Rita and her mother
Nicoletta (her son Dario and his fidanzata Federica came to the pizza
dinner but not the potluck). There was even a brief appearance from
Emanuele, Dante’s grandson, whom we met for the first time.
|And the chorus . . .|
were also blessed with the presence of Andrea Mandroni, who was well
qualified to join the party. Like me, he had a grandmother who was a Seghieri.
He is the top genealogy researcher in the area, and he helped Marcel
Seghieri trace his ancestry back a couple of generations further than
Marcel was able to do on his own.
fact that we represented three different countries and languages
didn’t slow us down too much, although the conversations made me
think of the Tower of Babel. Only a couple of people spoke any
English. I could understand the Italian most of the time and the
French once in a while. However, some of the French cousins knew some
Italian, so we conversed in Italian as best we could. However, they
might start a sentence in Italian, but lacking the vocabulary to
continue, they would finish it in French, leaving me with only half
of the meaning. Or it’s possible that they said the whole sentence
in Italian, but with a French accent so thick that I couldn’t
tell if they were speaking Italian or French.
events left me quite emotional. The first was when Marcel directed
the entire party in the singing first of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Va,
Pensiero,” and then in the Italian
national anthem, “Inno
di Mameli.” I was touched to see how proud the French families were
of their Italian heritage. Flavia accompanied on clarinet for the
anthem, Elena and Marcel did a great job of getting everyone involved
in the singing, and after some initial feelings of embarrassment,
everyone smiled and laughed through the rehearsals and then the final
production. A few people recorded the performance on their phones, so
eventually I may get a copy to share.
the French group sang the French national anthem. At that point, I
hoped that everyone would forget that Lucy and I were there, but no,
we had to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
|Our food expert, Ivo|
other memorable event came when Marcel pulled out some photos of his
family. One of the photos (I think it was of one of Marcel’s
uncles) greatly resembled some members of Sergio’s family, both his
brother Pietro and his grandfather, also named Pietro. This provoked
one of those special Italian moments where everyone is talking at the
same time, saying things like: “They look almost the same, it could
be they are the same person, it can’t be the same person, even if
it’s not the same person the resemblance is surprising, etc.” All
of this in Italian and French at the same time, and it went on for a
good 20 minutes.
the potluck, the party continued when we went up the hill to see the
concert of the Società
Filarmonica Giacomo Puccini at the teatro
of Montecarlo. Although the community is small, the band is
incredible, and we enjoyed it immensely. We filled an entire row of
seats and then some, applauding enthusiastically, especially for our
favorite musician, clarinetist Flavia Seghieri. Lucy and I walked a
few blocks home, contentissimi
to be part of such a grand family and community.
|The whole gang! Actually, more people came later and didn't make it into the group photo.|