Following is a summary of our day spent in the town of Voltaggio on February 22, 1999.  Pictures
will follow as soon I get them.
The day broke with thick, pea soup fog.  Remembering the fog lifting the previous day, we forced
ourselves to be optimistic and went down for breakfast.  We left by 9:00 for Voltaggio (still in fog
and still hoping).  The ride was over an hour and by the time we passed the halfway point, as we
were crossing the Po River bridge, the fog lifted!  Mom was watching over us....As we
approached the town of Voltaggio, our anticipation heightened and when we saw the sign for the
entrance to the town, we pulled over and all jumped out of the van (except Nick, who eased out)
and started taking pictures and video of us in front of the sign.  A farmer watching from a nearby
field surely thought we were crazy.

We spent most of the day in the town of Voltaggio.  First we entered the town and parked at the
"Peso Pubblico" (public scale) and walked up the Via Roma into the center.  Everything was
closed up tight and it wasn't until we reached the church that we saw anyone.  After entering and
snapping and videotaping everything in sight, two women, who I'm sure were overcome with
curiosity, came over and said hello.  I started describing our "genealogical trip" and soon we were
gabbing away like old friends.  It was my first attempt at serious, prolonged discussion and it went
well.  She understood me and I pretty much understood them.

After the church we went to see the ruins of the castle on top of the hill.  Nick stayed down by the
church and Fran, Chris and I went around the church and up the hill.  It was a pretty tough climb
and when we arrived at the top, we had a nice view of the town below and hills around.  The
castle dates from before 900 AD and only consists of a few sections of wall and a television
antenna for the town.   After snapping a few pictures and a few feet of videotape, we returned to
the church.

By previous arrangement through my Internet connection with Allesandro Cavo, we had an
appointment to meet with the Mayor at 12:30pm.  At about 12:15, however, the door to the
Municipio was locked and the whole town went home for lunch!  Fran and I walked through to
the other side of town and took pictures while Chris went back to the car and drove it up to the
Municipal building.  By then, we decided that we were hungry and went into the only Trattoria
opened in town, a few steps from the Municipio.  We ordered Gnocchi and roast veal, followed
by gelato and fell in love with our waitress, who was a Costa Rican emigre', who with her
husband, ran the trattoria.

After lunch we tried the Municipio again (still locked), but this time I rang the bell.  A window
opened from the upper floor and I explained our appointment to her.  He said that the Mayor was
sick, but that she would call the Vice-Mayor.  We went up the stairs to the Council Room and
met Vice-Mayor Repetto, who proceeded to give us about 20 minutes of explanations to the
numerous questions that we had about the town.  It seems that there were 5 churches which date
back to before 1600, but all of them had their records destroyed as a result of the wars which
plagued the area in the 17th century between Genova and Piemonte.  As a result, no real records
remain.  The Mother Church (Santa Maria Assunta) was rebuilt in the 18th century on the remains
of an older church.  Signor Repetto gave us some books and promised to send more to me by

After our visit with the Vice-Mayor, we drove to the "postcard spot", where we took many
pictures and feet of tape at the old Roman bridge, with a great view of the town.  While we were
there we spotted a house for sale at the confluence of two arms of the stream; a perfect spot to
retire to.  Oh well, just a dream.  Before we left town, we were met again by the Costa Rican
waitress/owner of the Trattoria and she insisted in showing us the sulfur spring at the edge of
town.  All during our walk there, she talked  about her life story of leaving Costa Rica, coming
through Miami, where she was detained for two days and arriving here in Voltaggio.  After a few
more pictures, we left her and started home.  Our trip back to Milano was filled with excited
conversations of our glorious day in the town of Voltaggio.