Apella, Taponecco, and their unification hero.
Apella is a small restored town and houses a visitors centre for the Parco Nazionale Appennino Tosco-Emiliano, as well as a small museum in the birthplace of Anacarsi Nardi, a hero of the Risorgimento (Italian unification), who was shot in Rovito, Calabria in 1844. As far as I know, my 2nd great-grandmother was Pasquina Nardi, daughter of Pietro Nardi (b.1849), son of Luigi Nardi, who may be related to this unification hero, as being from the same area and having the same surname.
Just down the road is Taponecco, a picturesque example of a ‘borgo’ village with narrow cobbled lanes and stone houses connected by arches and passageways. It’s fascinating to see how the residents go about their daily routine as if nothing has changed for centuries. Most of these are farming communities however in recent years they have attracted buyers from other parts of Europe looking for a unique and unspoilt place to spend their holidays. Many houses have been restored to strict regulations to preserve the heritage of these villages.
My nonno’s house in Apella is still in his family with his nephew. Nonna’s family home, which was in disrepair, was bought by a local and has been under restoration as a holiday apartment.
I was lucky enough to visit these villages in 2011 with my family and nonni. I was introduced to members of their extended families, old childhood friends as well as other villagers; all were very welcoming especially to grand children! I visited many of parts of the villages and was shown how they lived at that time and heard many stories about their childhood before migrating to Australia.
Featured image: La Torre between Taponecco and Apella, 2007