Kathleen's Grandma Mary Peila
This is where it all started... to the far right is Kathleen's Grandmother, Mary Peila Laraia, as a small child.
And to the far left is her Great Aunt, Antoinette Peila Iwasyk.

We visit Kathleen's roots in Pavone Canavese, Northern Italy

August 30th & September 10-12, 1999:

Isabella's Front DoorWith no language skills, we found Pavone (not on any of our maps) through the friendliness of the Italians. It's the village from which Kathleen's grandmother came. Her cousin Isabella still lives here in the house that has become the life's work of her and her husband Andrea.

Their front door has no stoop before the street. When the house was built, traffic was slower, announcing itself with the sounds of horse hooves. Backing into paradise

They insisted we drive our van inside their villa.




Closing the fortress-like doors  

It was only then that we began to understand their world.

Calling for language help   

At first we needed a lot of help communicating. Isabella's first step was to call her son, Olivier, who speaks English.

Soon we discovered her first language was French, and she helped Henry to get simple messages across.



The original stairs   

Originally all the rooms in their home connected only through the outside. One used these stairs & decks to move from room to room.

'Inside' is also outside   

Notice the small window in the wall on the second floor landing. That's where the neighboring farmer passes milk to Isabella twice daily.







The courtyard.


The old ways in action.    

The neighbors keep an older breed of cow in the traditional ways, milking them by hand twice each day.




Proud farmers   

Starbucks can never compete with coffee made from fresh milk.



Isabella makes us coffee   

Isabella made it for every meal of the day.






Kiwis on the tree.
Kiwis are used as winter fruit.
They ripen slowly over the months after they're picked.

Herb trees in pots   

Producing their own food is a way of life for all Italians with rural roots.

To the left they are growing lemon trees and herbs in pots.

Jaconda takes out the compost   

Gioconda, now 76, takes the compost out to make more fertilizer.





Figs on the tree   

We ate figs straight from their trees.

AppleAnd apples,

Pearsand pears,

Plumsand plums from their orchard all melted in our mouths.



Gernations of Dani   

Three generations of the Danni family, with extended family thrown in.

From left to right: Andrea Jr. (age 11), Susanna (wife of Olivier), Gioconda(Danni Cousin), Isabella Quilico in Danni (Mary Peila's cousin), Henry (distant in-law), Oliviero (Isabella and Andrea Sr.'s son), Kathleen Laraia (cousin), and Andrea Sr..

One pumpkin per season   

The plant that supports this beast of a pumpkin is trained up on arbors to keep it overhead, out of the way and protected from pests.



Top of the garden arbor   

Spagetti dinner








Homemade cheese   

And that milk can't go to waste. Isabella makes the leftovers each day into soft cheese for the next day's meals.

Excited guest   

Their guests are happy with their food.




Dog in paradise   







Photo albums   

After dinner, we looked through Isabella's photo albums. Notice the drawer they're kept in: the date the bureau was made was 1742.

Isabella and photo albums


Siesta in Pavone.

Laraia home   


The house where Kathleen's grandmother was born.








Horse show   

We happened to come at the time of the Fete d'Pavone, their fall country festival.

Grande Dame   

Everything you can imagine was for sale, from pure-bred dogs,



Cheese man   

to locally made cheese,


to spent phone cards from every nation on earth.

These two would make you any deal you wanted. Three for the price of two, six and get one free, ten and pay for a dozen... wait a minute.




   Fair at the town hall

Old Tractors   

It took these guys an hour to get this old diesel tractor started.

Watching them, we wondered how these machines ever took over from oxen.




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