Well, it's a new day with the same old bad weather. Rainy, cloudy, clears a little then lightning, thunder and it pours again. It started clearing up and I took this picture of a mountain from our hotel window. Just one hour later I took the next picture - now you see it, now you don't!!!

We decided that the weather wasn't going to stop us and we piled into the car. Pouring rain, but we're on the way to Roccadaspide. It's in the mountains so I don't know what to expect, but the hotel clerk said it should only take about 30 minutes to get there.  Yeah, right, on mountain roads? I'll believe it when I see it.
 


So far, so good....

Ok, what do the snow flakes under the "slippery" sign mean? Slippery in the snow??  Duh!!

Our first sign that we're approaching Roccadaspide!!

Still very cloudy and rainy but starting to clear up a little.

This sign says that we're at turn number "6" of "8" tight, hair pin turns!!!  See the arrows coming up?

Started raining harder again   :(

There it is!!! Our first view of Roccadaspide.  Just a few more hair pin turns to go!!!  ha ha


Ahhh, there's the sign - Roccadaspide!!  We're here!


Here's the castle I heard about.

Wow, this town is not as small as I thought it was!!

Ok, looks like there's a church. Maybe they'll have some info???

Inside the church was beautiful. Here's some pictures.....

I walked up to that little organ and talked to a Priest (with my very limited Italian) and managed to communicate to him that I was looking for family. His eyes lit up when I told him my name and my grand fathers name - I knew I was onto something, but that was a far as we could get without a translator. He made a few phone calls to get someone out there who could translate for us. More pictures while we waited....

Found out we were related (somewhat)!! The priest's brother was married to my Great-grandfather's granddaughter!!
Left to right...
JP, Charlene, my newfound cousin Antonette, Leonardo (the translators son), me, Priest who is my cousin's brother-in-law, and Pasquale (the translator)

This is where my cousin Luciano Rubano was born. I met Luciano in NY for the first time last year.

...and this was my great-grandfather's house. They still have his initials in the wrought iron above the door "PR" for Pasquale Rubano.

This is Antonette's house - look at her view!!!!   OMG!!!!!



Inside, we talked some more and looked at her picture album of family.

The top left picture is Antonette when she was 18 (that would be about 67 years ago!!)

I can't believe I forgot to get pictures of the other two floors of her house. Downstairs, the garage was converted into a finished "house" complete with it's own kitchen, dining area and living room and a spare bedroom. Below that in the cellar was where the wine and other storage was.

That's Gretchen showing us her house, down in the valley, looking from Antonette's balcony.

I zoomed in to see their house next door to their cabinet factory.

More pictures of the surrounding hills and landscape....



This mountain is called, "Mussolini's Face" - if you look you can see the forehead, nose and mouth. In an adjacent town, there are still "Mussolini's Rules" painted on walls for everyone to remember!!  More very cool history!!

Saying goodbye to Antonette...

Now we went with Pasquale and Gretchen to tour the city since it stopped raining.

Lot's of hills and steps.

...and unlimited gorgeous views.

Old arch ways....

Old churches....

Had to take this one - see the "add on" attached to the wall? These buildings are so old, they didn't have bathrooms. So, in order to add the plumbing facilities, they attached them to the outside like this. Very interesting!!!

Very old church - build around 1100??  not real sure exactly but that's how old this part of town is.


More walking in the old part of town...

Old churches bell tower...

Very old arches and steps....

The castle - still privately owned by two brothers who live there now. There's about 400 rooms but they only occupy a small part of it.

...some fun with the camera and long exposures since it was now too dark for any good shots.....

There is a project to restore the castle and the surrounding roads funded by the state....

Back to town - in the center, far right of the picture was the restaurant we ate at. Very hard to find but super good food.

We found out the the name of the town, Roccadaspide, comes from "Rocca" which means rocks because the entire town is built on rocks for a foundation, and "daspide" which translates to a snake, actually an asp, that a princess who lived in the castle was bitten by.
And that's how it got its name!!!  So cool.