Italy

Casa Nostra: A Home in Sicily by Caroline Seller Manzo

By Caroline Seller Manzo

Englishwoman Caroline vendor met Marcello Manzo at a Halloween get together in London within the mid-seventies. even supposing she spoke little Italian and he spoke virtually no English, the chemistry among them used to be indisputable, and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Caroline used to be invited to go to Marcello's relations in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily.
A huge, eccentric, and loving extended family residing in a powerful, crumbling villa, Santa Maria, the Manzos welcomed Caroline warmly, and shortly she and Marcello have been married. jointly they traveled the area and commenced a relations, yet via all of it, Santa Maria used to be by no means faraway from their suggestions. So whilst the Manzo brothers united to avoid wasting the family's deteriorating property, Marcello and Caroline eagerly signed directly to the project—not fullyyt ready for what they have been getting into!
As noticeable throughout the eyes of Caroline vendor Manzo—an outsider who's frequently stunned and consistently overjoyed by means of her Italian kinfolk and followed hometown—Casa Nostra is the pleasing tale of a villa's tricky, wonderful rebirth and a party of the original good looks and background of western Sicily and its humans.

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She talked to me as though we were sisters who had been separated since birth and she had a life history to cover. ” Maria was as proud of her father’s humble origins as she was of his achievements. In his early twenties he had built up his own wine industry. This was in the 1930s, the age of Fascism and Mussolini’s Black Shirts. I dared not ask her how far Luigi had had to toe the Fascist line, but on a later occasion she showed me a photograph of the family in 22 CASA NOSTRA those early days: Luigi’s five children all dressed in black, the four sons in descending order, with a sullen little Maria at the end of the line.

Marcello was worried that I might meet someone else, and I had discovered that I was not the only female interested in the handsome Sicilian bachelor. One ex-girlfriend in particular was pursuing him relentlessly, brazenly pretending to be his secretary if I happened to answer the phone. ” Marcello exploded in one of our rare long-distance telephone calls. ”Yes, well, I could have done that, but it was 34 CASA NOSTRA not clear what my role would be if I quit all and moved to Panama. How long would he be staying there, and how would I spend my days while he was at work—hanging out at the club, playing bridge and golf, or sunbathing at the pool?

However, before the wedding in England we would go to Sicily together to celebrate the news with the family. Although Maria would not realize her dream of a wedding in the chapel at Santa Maria, she would throw a prenuptial party for us and, most important, she would have a whole week in which to introduce me to the Vaccara family as her official daughter-in-law. Whereas I was fortunate in that I had mastered Italian by then and the Sicilian family had already taken me under their wing, Marcello still had dragons to slay.

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