Mosciano Italy, A Hill above Giulianova

Ristorante Antichi Sapori Di Campetti Pierino
Montone TE Italy



It felt longer than 7 miles, perhaps because there were 6 of us in a small car, but once we arrived at the front patio of Antichi Sapori we had nothing but excitement.

In homage to my grandfather we retraced his steps. We flew over the ocean with some research and a few pictures to find family of his that he came to Italy to meet 40 years ago. For the Competti’s it would always be family first. Everything stops in time to host people for whom the blood flows the same. With a few empty addresses, and by finding a map posted only once we were in the small Italian town, and equipped with hope. Most of our relative’s street addresses we’d found in our research didn’t exist. Our name sake was in the name of a restaurant, seven miles out of town, and even that was suspicious, because once in Italy, the Antique Sapora restaurant had dropped the Competti name. That’s what we found when we arrived.

When my Grandfather had come forty years prior he could walk off of the Giulianova train to one of his Aunt’s homes. The luxury of knowing anyone still living where we originated was out of the question. Uncle Tom, who had traveled to Italy as my grandfather’s brother-in-law had just passed away two years ago. What had been walkable to my grandfather all those years ago was unreachable now without any direction. The hopes of recognizing my mother’s sister (as he had) was lost to us, only one generation later. So, we came to Giulianova knowing we had relatives here, we had their pictures of long ago faces and some names from my great aunt’s journey in the 90’s. and had been helpful but was limited to the American’s side of the ocean. How oceans would change us. How easily language could be lost on one generation. For two years my mother and I began to pull back layers and unearth something she had been born into.

Finding your family through genealogy can be addicting, especially when signatures, wedding dates and things they wrote in their own handwriting can be understood. These observations led to all sorts of possibilities –all in a search to understand where someone who is still living may be.

But, here we were with pictures, addresses, names and thing’s we’d cobbled together from our own relatives archives in Ohio to try and find someone from our past. The only plausible plan, finding family in a city of 20,000 was to start with a restaurant that at one time had our family’s last name. The Ristoranti di Antique Sapori was a quick cab ride away that cost 28 euros. Cabs didn’t get much exercise there apparently. Up to the Angelo di Mosciano hills, past Giulianova of the ancient city, we rode into a quaint village lined with stone houses and this restaurant entrance with a sunken courtyard we couldn’t all fit in at once. The view over the hills was priceless. From the flower box window of this restaurant we could see rows and rows of live grape vineyards. We were the only people there at one o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. The single woman there spoke no English and we barely spoke Italian though that didn’t deter my Mom and I. We politely ordered what we thought would be a good sampler for us all –thin meats, lamb on the bone, fried cheese… and then we asked. “Is this the restaurant owned by the Competti’s?” Our waitress didn’t understand. So, we let it go. When she came back again with our starter we couldn’t help ourselves. We asked again and this time our Italian language meant something. To which she responded that, oh, the restaurant had been sold three years ago and she thought the Campetti’s now owned a Chateau restaurant down on the water, but, they were on vacation at this time and the restaurant was closed. Oh, well ok. We began eating. The food was incredible.


A Day for Finding our Family ~ Giulianova

Breakfast the next morning was a few levels off of the ground floor –encased in white travertine and with the bright overwhelming faded sunlight that one finds on the edge of the coast. Black tuxedoed waiters were there to show us what there was to offer.

I was ready to swim in the Adriatic Sea, lay on the beach, and catch up on my writing. Mom was going to take a walk, my brother and husband were going for a run and Dad was going to do something in between. The beach in front of the Europa was sunny and clear with a nice cool breeze. A gentleman who introduced himself to me as someone with the hotel offered to set up beach chairs for us.

I laid there for a few pages of writing, listening, closing my eyes and tanning my legs. It was the most restful thing yet. The African pines and groves further north with ever-interesting beach schemes led the runners along a flat run that never felt like a chore. The boys ran 8 miles.


The day before I’d called Campetti Sapori restaurant to ask in broken Italian if they were open today and at what time. Our hotel would call a taxi to go up to Mosciano. So, lunch in the hill town of Mosciano, at a restaurant that bore our family name was ahead of us.

When we had cleaned up from our morning fun and were ready, we asked the front desk to call our taxi.


In Giulianova Italy ~ Day 1


The bus took us from Roma, east and into the mountains. We slid into the low-lying hills as they backed up into the Apennines –the spine of the mountain coursing down the center of Italy. Gran Sasso loomed highest of all. Black granite and snow-capped peaks. The sky darkening. We started to see the signs for Giulianova –our destination on the beach. We drove through a crane-ridden city, Acquila which needed rebuilt after a seisma, an earthquake. There were poppy fields through Abruzzo, arms of grey green olive trees grasping, closed fists, open fists to the sky. Our bus drove through Mosciano, a dusty road right before the train stop in Giulianova. I could imagine my grandfather taking this trek, stepping out into the city from here with my great Uncle Tom forty years earlier. Lucky for them, they knew where they were going.

Map of Giulianova ItalyIMG_6932A view of the ancient city above sea-side Giulianova. Also the view I enjoyed from within the Adriatic Sea.