Yesterday, I went to Ripalimosani, another town a few miles away that some of my ancestors came from.
I took the bus into Campobasso from Matrice at 7:30 AM. I wanted to arrive early. In case I had any problems with transportation, I’d have plenty of time to sort it out. I arrived at the Campobasso bus terminal around 8. There were other busses to Ripalimosani from there, that according to the internet, left around 8:15. My original plan was to take one.
However, I looked at the map and realized that most of the walk to Ripalimosani was along a main street in Campobasso. It looked like at the end there was a mile or so of country road before reaching the village. I decided to walk. The total distance each way is about 4 miles.
Some of you might think that’s crazy, but I actually preferred walking to the bus. I was going off the beaten path. When you’re on foot, you can always turn around. If you get on a bus, it could take you far away and then you might have to wait a long time for the return bus. I can walk 8 miles in my sleep (and have been walking a lot recently), so I felt comfortable walking, especially along a main street.
So I started to walk, and I took in the City of Campobasso along the way. I reached the edge of town in about a half hour, where there is a medium sized shopping mall. I stopped in the food court for a quick Italian breakfast (brioche and coffee). I also picked up some water and fruit at the attached supermarket for my backpack during the walk.
I kept walking and crossed the border into Ripalimosani. The first parts of Ripalimosani had suburban-looking stores, a Mercedes-Benz dealership which shared a surname with some of our relatives, and a street called “Via degli Emigranti,” or “Way of the Emigrants.”
(On Italian road signs, the red slash means you’re leaving somewhere. So the following picture is the border from Campobasso into Ripalimosani)
Then I turned the corner and reached the country road part of my walk. Even though I was technically already in Ripalimosani, the historical village was only one part of the comune (similar to a township in Ohio) so I still had about a mile to walk. I was following along on my cell phone/GPS so I could see exactly where I was going. Also, in Italy, it’s relatively normal to walk in the street on a country road, more normal than in the USA anyways. I saw plenty of other people walking the other way.
So I walked along for 10-15 minutes until I reached a pedestrian path which carried me the rest of the way into town. I passed a convent and the town cemetery, as well as the local station for the Carabinieri, Italy’s national police force.
The first thing I noticed about Ripalimosani was it was bigger than Matrice, and had a lot more modern buildings (Though, you’ll have to take my word for it because it looks like I only took pictures of the old parts). There were more people out and about in the middle of the day. I walked to the center of town and did a small tour. Here, pictures speak louder than words:
After my tour I located the City Hall (“Municipio”) and went inside. I walked up to the desk, and in my best Italian, explained that I wanted to find the birth certificates for my great-great grandparents. I had sent an email in April explaining my situation, and they didn’t respond, so I didn’t know what to expect. But the woman at the desk, Elisabetta, had my email printed out and easily located my great-great grandfather’s birth certificate and gave me a photocopy. Unfortunately, we couldn’t locate my great-great grandmother in the town’s records, but she told me to do more research and send her an email anytime. I was only there for 20 minutes but she was very nice and accommodating.
Afterwards, I took a few more photos of the town and started the walk back. After 30 minutes I reached the Campobasso McDonald’s. Some of you may make fun of me for this, but I went inside and had a Big Mac. Sometimes, even in a land of culinary delights like Italy, it’s good to know what you’re going to get.
Then, I stopped at a supermarket and picked up some more food to keep at the bed & breakfast, and I made it back to Campobasso’s bus terminal by 1:00 PM. I took the 1:00 PM bus back to Matrice. It was a productive morning.