Provincia di Catania
|Death: ||Jan. 2, 1944|
Provincia di Catania
She was born Maria Gullo in Bronte, Provincia di Catania, Sicilia around the year 1880. Bronte is a small town, up the mountain from the large coastal city of Catania in Eastern Sicily.
Her Parents were:
*Serafino Gullo of Bronte, Sicilia
*Nunziata Luca of Bronte, Sicilia
Her Maternal Grandparents:
*Vincenzo Luca, of Bronte
*Angelina Moraci/Manace, of Bronte
Her Paternal Grandparents:
Maria was the eldest of her siblings and she was named after her paternal grandmother, Maria Franco.
In the Italian/Sicilian custom the first born daughter would be named after the Paternal Grandmother.
Since Maria was the oldest she helped her mother quite a bit in taking care of her younger brothers and sisters. Maria was 20 years older than her youngest sister Margherita.
When Maria had her first baby, her mother was also taking care of her last two toddlers, Giuseppe and Margherita.
Maria had the following brothers and sisters:
*Felicia, married name Minio
*Margherita, married name Zerbo
She was the only one of her siblings who remained in Sicily, all the rest of her brothers and sisters moved to the USA and lived in New York state.
She married Tommaso Calcagno of Randazzo, Sicilia on or around 1900. However, she always kept her maiden name.
I have listed her using her husband's last name of Calcagno, just to help any family members who might be looking for her by using the last name of Calcagno. However, in her era, most Italian wives kept their maiden names. And on her grave it shows her maiden name, "Maria Gullo".
They had the following children listed in order of birth :
*Francesca, later married name Francis Zerbo in the USA.
*Vincenza, later married name Jennie Laurie in the USA.
*Gaspare, died as a young child.
*Elisabetta, later married name Elizabeth Gangi in the USA
*Giuseppe, lived in Italy his whole life and died in La Spezia, Northern Italy.
*Serafino, moved to the USA after the war and lived in New York City till his death.
*Agatina, never married and died in her 20's in Palermo, Sicilia.
*Nunziata, later married name Nancy Orecchia in the USA.
*Serafino (Ensulo), Lived in Italy his whole life and died in Milano.
For the rest of her life, Maria mourned the loss of her young son who died of a very high fever when he was around 4 years old. She would always talk about how smart he was for his age and what a good little boy he was. (I will do more research on him and update the information).
Maria lived in Bronte, Sicilia her entire life. She enjoyed her family and friends. However, Maria always wanted to move to the USA and join her parents and siblings who were all living in Jamestown, NY. Her husband Tommaso did not want to go and prefered to remain in Sicily. He was worried about the safety of the ship travel. He would say: "I eat the fish, they're not going to eat me".
Unlike her husband's family, the Gullo family was very close and they always wanted to be near each other. They were close in life and in death.
Most of Maria's family are all buried close to their parents in Jamestown's Holy Cross Cemetery
Maria loved to go to the big city of Catania on the coast and do her shopping. Catania is the second largest city in Sicily and it's a great place to shop. Six days a week they have the "La Ferra Luna", which is a giant outdoor Flea Maket. There's a huge selection of everything you can immagine.
Maria would take the little local train, called "La Littorina", and go down the mountain passing by all the small towns to get to Catania. It's a fun ride going down that mountain and you get a great view of the live volcano, Mt. Etna. Back then the train was so slow you could jump off and grab a few cactus pears and be able to jump back on.
It's interesting to note that when Maria was a girl the train service had not been built yet. Horse drawn wagons were used to go up and down the steep, dangerous mountain road to Catania. When she was a teen the train service was constructed and put into service. And it was a very big thing for Bronte. It linked the small mountain towns to Catania.
In Catania she had a cousin, who was a well known mid-wife and when Maria was in town they would go out and eat. Maria's favorite dish was "Pasta con Sarde", which is a local favorite in Catania. Catania is known for it's fresh fish and great restaurants.
While in Catania Maria would buy leather and supplies for her husband's Shoe Repair shop.
Maria did most of the cooking and baking for her large family but on holidays and special occasions she would ask her husband Tommaso to do the cooking. He was a very good cook and she prefered to have him make those special dinners.
Maria and Tommaso could not read or write, nor speak or undersand Italian. And in the era they grew up in Sicily, most Sicilians were illiterate. But they made sure that all their children went to school and they were so proud when their youngest daughter, Nunziata, received a medical nursing degree.
In Jan. of 1933 Maria was able to buy a very small, 700 year old stone house on Corso Umberto, the main drag of town, and it was her pride and joy. She had saved for years to buy this stone hut. What made this possible was her children in the USA sent money back home and Maria managed these funds very well.
And this was a very big thing for poor Sicilians to own land and she was so proud. Her daugher Nunziata always said it was as if she had touched the sky. She would at times sell vegetables there and her husband would also do his shoe repair business there.
The old place is still standing as of 2011, and it still looks the same. The address is now Corso Umberto #72. The street number used to be #74. I don't know why they changed it.
Maria, who suffered from very high blood pressure, died suddenly from a stroke in 1944 in Bronte. She is buried in Bronte's small cemetery. In a crypt under the chapel.
And in 1989 me and my mother Nunziata (Nancy) visited Bronte and went to see her grave, good thing we did because we found out the "rent/lease" was due on the grave. Me and my mother went to the office and paid for a permanent grave for Maria and now there will be no more problems in the future about rent/lease.
If we had not paid up, her remains would have been removed and put into a communal grave. Then her gave would have been sold or "rented" to someone else.
This system of rent/lease of graves was common in Sicily. It was the only way poor Sicilians could afford to bury their loved ones.
On the RH side I have loaded some photos, there are more that you don't see so please click on the link and all of them will open up and there is a description for each one.
Riposa in Pace, Cara Nonna.
From your Grandson, Joe Orecchia
Serafino Gullo (1855 - 1910)
Nunziata Luca Gullo (1858 - 1945)
Tommaso Calcagno (____ - 1950)*
Francis Calcagno Zerbo (1902 - 1959)*
Jennie Calcagno Laurie (1904 - 1994)*
Elizabeth Calcagno Gangi (1909 - 2004)*
Agatina Calcagno (1910 - ____)*
Giuseppe Calcagno (1913 - ____)*
Serafino Calcagno (1914 - 2004)*
Nancy Calcagno Orecchia (1916 - 2007)*
Serafino Calcagno (1920 - 1996)*
Note: On her grave it shows her maiden name of Maria Gullo
Comune di Bronte Cimitero
Provincia di Catania
Created by: Joe Orecchia
Record added: Oct 09, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 77901227