Belated Weekend Reading: The New York Times Travel


Happy Monday all! In case you didn’t have a chance to read it, I wanted to share this lovely story that ran in yesterday’s New York Times Travel section:  Digging up Family Roots in Sicily by Russell Shorto.  The focus of the piece is pretty much what the title suggests: the writer traces his ancestral roots  back to Sicily. Pursuing something of this capacity is no small feat and, at times, I’m sure can be incredibly daunting (kind of like the fruitless Italian citizenship on which I wasted years and lots of my hard-earned money for nothing. Yes, I’m still bitter about this!).  Tracing your ancestry can be classified as one of those things that people say they want to do–myself included–but never get around to (or haven’t yet!) because life just gets in the way.  Kudos to you, Mr. Shorto!  I admire that you followed it through.

The other reason I wanted to share this is because I think it helps prove the recent point I made about how the Italians are willing to do whatever they can to help you out of the goodness of their own heart with zero expectation. Now, I won’t ruin the story if you haven’t yet read it, but there’s a kind man in Sicily from whom he receives some guidance, and this man really goes above and beyond to help.   Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Sarah May

    I am a first generation American, so knowing “who” I am is of interest to me. Being married to an Italian whose family has been from either one town or another 5km away for centuries is an interesting experience. He knows his roots exactly. I do not. I have lived in four countries trying to unveil my identity.

    1. I completely understand as it’s such an important component to identity. I’m second generation American (Irish and Italian) and I think that’s why I feel more content here because I’m in the land of my ancestry. I have genuine roots here and I’ve been not wanting to live in America since my first time in Europe in 2001 and I think a lot of can be tied back to my identity. I don’t want to be where my family emigrated…I wanted to be in the land where I have roots. I really don’t know much about my history and would be cool to go back hundreds of years in both countries to know where I came from!

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