Sunday, December 17, 2017

Salvatore and Other Fishermen

Fishermen from Stazzo, Sicily.  This is the way they fished on the islands.
  This group includes Rosa Fichera's father Salvatore Cafarella. Second from the left facing you.
  Thanks Patrick and Lucia Van der Hoeven for the photo.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Bersaglieri and Military in the Family

Please understand that when I post something like this,
 I make no distinction between the patriotism of serving in Italy, Australia or the US.
  Serving your country honorably is not restricted to one country.
Bersaglieri in English is Marksman  Originally a corps of the Sardinian army it became the Italian Royal Army in time.  They are characterized by the black plumes and are still in use today.  They tend to be seen in public using a rather fast jog instead of marching.  They were intended to be a very mobile branch of the army.  Above is Francesco the son of Domenico Cafarella and Rosa Patane.
Below are two images of  Bersaglieri from Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is a fine organization that is always in need of financial help and volunteer editors and contributors.  Please check into it so this fine organization can continue to function.

Italian Uniforms would be a very interesting field of study for those who are of Italian heritage.  Garibaldi's Red Shirts, The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the Kingdom of Sicily etc. would be fine subjects for research especially since our family members have a very fine history of service in the military.  Col Joe Cafarella, Joseph Cafarella the Marine, Dr. Joe Cafarella, William Cafarella, John Cincotta, John Cafarella, Anerio Cincotta and many, many others continued the legacy.

Anyone who wishes may send me photos of our relatives in the military over the years.

Tony Cafarella and (Luigi)Sangiolo
Joseph Cafarella
Navigator and later Colonel Joe Cafarella second from left.
Dr. Joe Cafarella
William Cafarella
Anerio Cincotta
John Cincotta
Nick Perry I don't know why Nick has ended up on the left, but I cannot seem to fix it.

Alfio Greco
Giuseppe Cafarella

Giuseppe Greco

Salvatore Cafarella
Salvatore Cafarella bottom right

Domenico Cafarella,
son of Antonio and Carolina Cafarella and his wife Anna.
The uniform is Army, but the insignia is too indistinct to see the branch.  Possibly artillery?

  We know two of the men here.
The man with the moustache is Vincezo Cafarella, father of Francesca and
therefore father-in-law of Carolina Cincotta Cafarella's son Salvatore.  The man in the
military cap is believed to be his brother Giuseppe, that is to say Francesca's
Uncle Joe.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Carving from a Sicilian Cart

A carving from a horse cart. Also known as carretto siciliano in Italian, and carrettu sicilianu in Sicilian.
Carts reached the pinnacle of popularity in Sicily in the 1920s. The cart has become a symbol of the island of Sicily.  The Museo del Carretto Siciliano, is located in Terrasini, Palermo, Sicily.  It is a museum dedicated to the decorative art of these wonderful folk art carts.

This piece is about 13 inches long X 2 1/4 inches thick X 5 1/2 inches tall.  Remnants of the decorative paint remain though faded.  These carts can be wildly decorated in many colors, the horses, too, dripping with fringe and plumes.  Today, though sometimes in regular use, they tend to be brought out for festas and special occasions.
I bought this one, feeling more connections to Sicily in the family.  This is a part of our heritage.

This piece is an especially fine example, though there is little paint.  Very few had so much rich carving as this, most being satisfied with the tops of posts and surface carving to accent the colors and give them more dimension.
I found this one at auction and could not pass it up.
Originally advertised as a crest rail. now that I have it in hand, I see that there is a channel. though shallow, along the top, suggesting that there was another panel or rail above it.
The carts generally had a metal frame below with the wooden superstructure above.  This piece has a deep square groove in the bottom that has much rust on the entire surface, so I now assume it must have been from the foundation of the cart.
Also, there was a small and faded tag on it that seemed to say: "Sicily 18th century__________"
Of course this is possible, as these are a long standing tradition in Sicily, and would be passed from generation to generation.  They did, however, have their heyday more recently.  The earliest that are likely would be the early to mid 1800s.
I have seen complete carts in decent condition going for more than $60,000.00.
When you hack a chunk out of any museum piece, it diminishes that value, but if a cart was badly damaged, it might be an answer to getting a good price from it to cut it up and sell the pieces.  I do not like to assign value to something(This was over 100 dollars and the former owner said she had purchased it on line for over 200.  I felt that I go away cheaply) but rather, like jewelry, you invest in something that sparks your imagination and you really want, without regard to the actual value.  It has a heritage value, and that is enough for me.

Image result for sicilian carts

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


I have just ordered this book.  I kept quiet about it for a while as I gathered up the cash to buy it. 
I think this is great for those who are nostalgic about the islands of our ancestors.  It is, I believe, out of print.  That is what I seem to find all the time.  It can be quite expensive when you do find it, as it will probably be something that will be shipped from Italy.  Plan on a maximum of about  $50.00 US.  This, in case you do not read Italian, is a series of prints in black and white from the 19th century.  It is all about the countryside and the architecture of the islands.  I have tried to upload my sketches of the boats, for instance, but this will give you an accurate view of them as well as a host of other information that may never be available to you otherwise.
You may have to search Italian sites to get it, but a general search on the Internet may turn one up.  Mine came from Italian EBAY.
If you simply put this line into the search bar of your home page, several sites will come up with the book.  Just copy and paste this:
 Le isole Eolie. Paesaggio e architettura nelle stampe dell'800

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

To many Americans, Europe is all about romance.  I know that after many years of travel in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, my dreaming images of Europe have a lot in common with a Wagner opera scene.  I think of towering pinnacles of rock, wreathed in mist, with half ruined castles perched on top.  Below, the Rhine flows by flaked with silver sparkles.   Square sailed wooden boats sail past laden with knights and ladies heading to exotic destinations or just up to Cologne with its lacy stone cathedral looming over the river.
There is romance in Stonehenge and the ghosts of prehistoric rituals.  The Hunchback of Notre Dame defines our images of Medieval Paris.  Of course nothing can compete with the ghosts that seem to crowd the Colosseum and the Appian Way with about the longest recorded history in Europe.
Somehow, I do not think that our relatives think in those terms about the Aeolian/Eolian islands.  We think of farmers cultivating and pruning the grapes.  The merchants' wives baking hard tack for trading voyages in the outdoor ovens of plain white cube houses.  Below the houses are storage places where it was cool enough for my great-great aunts to weave linen in the shadows.  The islands are lovely....beautiful blue vistas, and Salina, at least is a sea of green and yellow, but do they have the romantic appeal that other Italians may see in their homelands. 
In fact, the islands along with Sicily, have some of the longest and most romantic and troubled histories of any part of Europe.  Lipari has its castle on the promontory above the beach, a setting for its towered cathedral smack in the middle.  There is a vast cemetery dating back to Greek times that has yielded up many sarcophagi and grave goods on a par with any site in the central Mediterranean.  The castle and town suffered a great and brutal Pirate attack that virtually wiped out the town and enslaved the populace. 
Obsidian has been mined and traded all through the prehistoric world. Pottery also dates to these times, found all around the islands in many classic forms and decorations.
The islands, like Sicily have been the crossroads of a dozen invading and trading cultures...Jews, Greeks, Medieval Germans. Romans, Arabs, Spaniards, and French.  All of these cultures have left their marks on our bloodlines, our rural arts, our diets and our personalities. 
Romance just percolates through the islands and our history.  and I sometimes find myself dreaming of farmers and tradesmen trooping into the castle and battling off the pirates and also the gently arts of husbandry practiced generation after generation in their sundrenched villages.
They certainly lived with deprivation in their isolated and comparatively poor islands, not to mentioned the cloud wreathed volcanoes spewing out occasional destruction.  The people who left the islands sometimes thought of their home as a sort of "armpit" of the earth, but they left in a time when they knew that there was more available elsewhere and longed for an easier life, but their parents and grandparents also knew the islands and a source of great natural generosity and fertility.  Salina particularly was a gift to her people, green, fertile, blessed with both beauty and plenty, but when the virus hit the vines and wiped out the prosperity they had come to enjoy, the island became a prison for many.
Still, now that people have prospered and convenient transportation has made it easier to live in the beautiful islands, people have started coming for the wine, the scuba, the romantic volcanoes and the wonderful weather(most months). 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Why the New Blog?

I have had a few complaints about this but I am sure that all the mountains of information I have been uploading into the Cafarella-Cincotta site make it a little difficult to navigate and to understand the purpose of the site.
Originally I wanted the site: to do nothing but show off photographs of family members. Secondly, I wanted the site: to be all about family stories. 
Recently, however, I have been purchasing many maps, photos, antique prints, and have been uploading island information along with them.  This is a bit of a departure from the original intent, so I thought I might as well return that site to its original format and move all the more general island and population stories and images here.  So This will be my task for a while, first purging the old site of these intrusions and moving them here.

This is just the core map of the family tree that I have been working on for a number of years now.  John Cafarella, Son of Joseph Gaetano Cafarella(The Marine) did the original Power Point central portion, but now this family tree is about three feet by three feet, and does not include my father's side at all.  Eventually, I will transfer all this to a new tree that will make more sense and look a bit less like a spaghetti bowl, though many of us really like spaghetti!!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A series of beautiful photos of the island

Go to the following link for some beautiful photos of the island of Salina from all sides. It really gives you a good idea of the topography. Under view more photos at the lower right, the final photo will show you a great direct view of Malfa and Capo Faro at the left. This is especially good for memebers of my central family as that is the area where most of the immediate family is from.

You may have to type the entire address into the address bar at the top of your page, copy and paste into any of the search bars yeilds poor results at best.

You might try the search at the top of the page for pictures of the other islands. These are for sale as downloads or prints if you want a copy. I have no affiliation to this site, I just think it is beautiful.