Patrica Homecoming!

It was Bobby’s 70th birthday gift from his daughter. Although he had visited Italy before he had never made the trip to his ‘home’ town of Patrica. His daughter hired me to take him and his friends there for a tour of the town……and more.
I arrived to meet Bobby and his 3 friends at the train station in Frosinone from where we would drive to Patrica. The day was hot 37° with no promise of relief. Our first encounter as we made our way to the town squaare was with a local who proudly told us of his family in Toronto as he gave us directions. It was market day although the stalls were in full swing, the people were few. We stopped at the bar for some refreshments before we went to City Hall.
I had already arranged with the ‘anagrafe’ office to prepare a photocopy of the birth record as a souvenir but more importantly it would give us the address where his father was born. 16 Via Vittorio Colonna! We started to climb a formidable flight of stairs towards the Palace of the Colonna family at the top of the town. Sure enough, the street was the one below the Palace. A small narrow street facing the wall of the Palace rising high above it. It was a sad narrow street with little to reccommend it. A neighbour was helping us locate the missing number 16 when the door of number 10 opened and a gentleman came out to see what all the noise was about. He was the local shoemaker/mender and as he listened to our story he asked the name of Bobby’s Grandfather. Cesare was the name of the man from his family had bought the house many years ago. He went inside and a few minutes later returned and invited us inside offering us refreshments in his small kitchen. Bobby was visibly moved by this kindness, the opportunity to see the inside house where his father was born was the icing on the cake for his birthday adventure.
From this emotional moment we went up to the Palace where we walked around the grounds of what had been imprssive gardens in the past. Today they were a little unkempt but still bore the signs of their past grandeur. Finally a gardner told us we were trespassing but allowed us to finish our tour before leaving the property since the Princess was in residence.
Our next stop was the parish church of San Pietro Apostolo. The largest church in Patrica but now closed by order of the Mayor as its condition had deteriorated to the point of being dangerous. We had hoped to see the altar and baptismal font but now would have to be satified with the images from the locally produced DVD of which I had prepared a copy for Bobby.
An impressive lunch at the Valle dei Lepini restaurant brought this perfect day to a magnificent close.

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