La Chiesa di Santa Croce del Bleggio, Trentino, Italy
For at least 500 years, my father and his ancestors lived in the parish of Santa Croce del Bleggio, in Trentino, Italy. This is a video of the first time I ever visited the parish church where all my paternal ancestors were baptised, married and buried. In this video you will see the sacred wooden shepherd's cross after which the parish was named, which was discovered on top on nearby Monte San Martino around 1600, and brought to the church in 1624, as well as the 1,000 year old sub-terranean chapel with 800 year old frescos of angels on Romanesque pillars. You will also see the 1,000 year old square baptismal font in which all the babies of the parish were baptised for hundreds of years, and remnants of the even more ancient Longobard church dating from around 700 A.D. If you are descended from people of this region, I guarantee they would have been here! Hope you enjoy it.
Trento Cemetery - by Genealogist Lynn Serafinn, July 2008
A walk through the historical 'monumental' cemetery of the city of Trento, in Trentino-Alto Adige in northern Italy. I also offer some tips for how to combine what you find in Trentino cemeteries (not just this one) with the online database called 'Nati in Trentino' to bring depth to your genealogical research. P.S.: Apologies for it being vertical, as I shot it on my Android phone as I was walking through the cemetery. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
Via Freri – The Serafini Family Explore their 16th Century Roots
High in the Italian Alps is the Province of Trentino. My father was born here in 1919, before his family emigrated to the United States in 1923. With the help of Dott. (Dr.) Claudio Andreolli, the archivist for the Archdiocese of Trento, I had done some preliminary research on the Serafini family. But feeling the need to go deeper, in July 2014, I visited Trentino, hoping to discover more. In advance, I arranged to meet with Dott. Andreolli in the magnificent city of Trento. My dear friend Vanessa (who is from Rovigo, but lives not far from me here in England) came along with me to help translate. Dott. Andreolli was incredible. On my behalf, he had taken upon himself to research the Serafini family name as far back as he could. For this, he used the parish records of Santa Croce del Bleggio (a parish in the Giudicarie Valley). Through this, he discovered that my Serafini ancestors lived in the same tiny village of Duvredo al the way back to 1685. He scanned dozens of baptismal and marriage records and gave me copies, both in paper and in digital format. That was all very exciting to me, of course. But the crowning glory of the research was revealing the names of my 8x great-grandfather Antonio Serafini and his wife Cattarina, born around 1620. At the time this video was made, we also thought we had found the name of Antonio's father (Innocente), but I my later research revealed a different ancestry for Antonio, taking my research all the way back to about 1550. What was even more fascinating was the fact that these ancestors did not come from Duvredo, but from an entirely different part of the Giudicarie, in a village called Favrio, which is the original and most ancient 'zone' within the village of Ragoli. It was not until 1685 that their grandson, Marco Serafini, married a woman named Pasqua Painelli from Duvredo and left Favrio, effectively starting a new branch of the family in the Santa Croce parish. So now I became curious, and so many questions sprang to mind. I wanted to know about Favrio: Where is it? What kind of place was it in the 1500s? Why might my 7x great-grandfather Marco have left there? And finally, were there any Serafini families still there today? Later that week, I made a trip to Favrio, along with my newly-discovered second cousins Adelia Serafini and Luigina Serafini, as well as Luigina's daughter Elena Zambotti, who (thankfully!) translated for me. (Side note: the way I discovered my new cousins is itself an interesting story, but I'll leave that for another day). In this 23-minute video, I document our day in Favrio – called 'Freri' in local dialect – sharing the discoveries we made. You'll learn a local legend about the plague of 1630, see breath-taking views of La Chiesa the San Faustino, Monte Irone and Monte San Martino, discover the 'sorgente' (or source) of the mountain spring that gives life to this ancient village, learn about the practice of 'filò' and visit fascinating mountain houses – with their tiny wooden doors and rounded stone archways – built in 1571. You'll also hear me huffing and puffing, as this mountain village is just never stops going up, up, up! I've also used some beautiful traditional Trentini songs by the musical group Abies Alba as a soundtrack here and there throughout the video, to help set the mood. But most of all, I hope you'll be able to feel what I felt when I walked the same streets and visited the same houses my ancestors would have seen (and possibly lived in) over 400 years ago. This video was just the beginning of my exploration, and there is so much more I want to research about Favrio after this. But even though I have already learned a great deal since this video was made, there is nothing like the moment of first discovery. This video will always be a record of those precious moments for me.
Discovering Duvredo Frazione, Santa Croce del Bleggio
Duvredo is a tiny ‘frazione’ (even smaller than a village) in Trentino in northern Italy, with a current population of only 94 people. In 1919, my late father (Romeo Fedele Serafini) was born in Duvredo, which had been the ancestral home of the Serafini family since 1685 (we've actually traced the Serafini family back to 1590, but they were in a different village during that time). My father’s family immigrated to the United States in 1923, and he never made the journey to see his ancestral home. But I was truly blessed to have been able to visit it in July 2014. Here's a short video I made where I show the town, the Serafini ancestral house (modernised) and a rare walk-through of an old-style mountain house that is very much the way it was 100 years ago (well...maybe a little messier!).
Finding Bono - Onorati Ancestral Village in Trentino, Italy
My grandmother Maria Onorati was born in Bono, Trentino, Italy in 1894. In 1922, she left her ancestral home, along with her 3 children (including my father), sister and brother, to join her husband Luigi Serafini (my grandfather from Duvredo, a nearby village in the same parish of Santa Croce) who had started a new life for them in the United States. For some reason, no one on either side of my father's family told our generation very much about our ancestral homeland, in spite of the fact that their families had lived in the same villages for many centuries. So you can see the majestic and breathtaking setting of incredible place, I've made this compilation of short video clips I took driving up from Riva on Lake Garda to Bono in Bleggio Superiore, and my meeting with my 2nd cousin Betty for the first time. It''s just a little introduction to the region.
Maso Pra Cavai, Bleggio Superiore, Trentino, Italy, July 2014
A brief view of the panorama around the farm B&B Maso Pra Cavai in Bleggio, Trentino. Bleggio lies in the Giudicarie Valley (specifically in 'Giudicarie Esteriore') in the Santa Croce del Bleggio parish
Musical Marmots from Trentino!
Mechanical, wind-up, singing and dancing marmots - an Italian, accordion playing marmot and a German beer-drinking marmot. Just a bit of fun at my cousins' house (a converted castle) near Rovereto in Trentino. Perhaps not as funny as the 'Marmot Scream' video, but I still think it's pretty funny.